Stories published in February, 2017

Series 7: Dada Baba and me Part 4 ‘A conversation with death’

Salima left, and took my sanity with her. I hate to admit it but for someone as arrogant as I am, my world turned upside down after an ordinary girl left it. Or so it seemed. I had never seen the side of her that I saw that day. I did not blame her though.   A series of unfortunate, unforeseen circumstances had led to that moment. My weakest moment, perhaps. My drug addiction. My love confession. Everything might have hit her like a freight train. I don’t know how she felt because I never got the chance to ask her. ...

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Trump’s ban on Muslims is just as offensive as Pakistan’s racial profiling of Pakhtuns

Not every Muslim is a terrorist but a significant number of terrorist incidents are conducted by Muslims. This statement is controversial and yet, deep down we all know that there is some sort of evidence for it. At least the terrorist incidents which are indiscriminate and use suicide bombings are overwhelmingly committed by Muslims. Of course, as already mentioned, this does not mean that every Muslim is a terrorist and in fact thinking in such terms would be overstretching and overgeneralisation, resulting in bigotry if endorsed by the general populace and institutionalised discrimination if incorporated into laws by the state. Donald ...

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This isn’t the first time Shahid Afridi decided to retire, but will it be the last?

Recently, Shahid Afridi announced his retirement from international cricket. This is not the first time this has happened, and it’s probably not the last either. #ShahidAfridi1996: Debut2011: Retired2011: Came back2014: Retired2014: Came Back2016: Retired2016: Came Back2017: Retired — Umair Shahid (@UmairShahidK) February 20, 2017 FUN FACT: Shahid Afridi has announced retirements under three different US Presidents. — Abhishek (@absycric) February 20, 2017 However, what it does do is give me the opportunity to analyse the retirement process in international cricket and how different teams go about it. Let’s start with our favourite (not): India: They don’t retire. Not easily at least. Some continue to play until they break a ...

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Do Pakistan’s leaders care more about extravagant weddings than the well-being of their own citizens?

Imagine this: The lights danced on the ceiling and in her eyes. There was silk, chiffon, satin, velvet… all of it – their touch as light as water. Scores of boxes arrived from the jewellers filled with bright diamonds, gold as shiny as the sun, ocean-blue sapphires, scarlet rubies and emeralds as green as lush green leaves of an oak tree. There were glittering shoes, wafting smells of sumptuous food samples beckoning, piles of gift bags sharply wrapped up and more. Saleha hid behind her mother, staring at everything in pure awe. Her mother Jannat was an old cleaning lady who was a trusted servant of this ...

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To all my ‘berry’ special someones, these recipes are for you

I shall start off by highlighting the importance of the strawberry emoticon in my life. For me, hearts are over-rated. So if I have ever used a strawberry on someone – even once – it must mean they have some special significance in my life. I know it’s cheesy, but I’m possessive when it comes to using this particular emoticon.   Now when rairi wala (fruit cart) stands are laden with bright red fruit, you know the season for the king of berries has arrived! Strawberries are by far my favourite fruit. I could eat them all day long and there are so so so (I cannot put enough emphasis ...

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How will the Shariat court’s ruling on test tube babies help Pakistan?

On Tuesday, in a ruling that can only be lauded, Pakistan’s Federal Shariat Court (FSC) elated numerous childless couples all over the country by validating ‘test tube babies’. The method is more formally known as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), which has been in use since the 70’s in other parts of the world and is now a common technique globally. Although it would be foolish to assume that IVF procedures were not taking place in Pakistan prior to this verdict, it is still heartening to know that couples will be able to seek alternative ways to have children with clear consciences and hopefully, a less judgmental society. In its ...

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Our society needs drama’s like Sammi

The most recent episode of the on-going serial Sammi is all about how brilliantly Mawra Hocane and Sania Saeed have performed. Sammi, airing on Hum TV every Sunday, talks about the prevalent custom of vanni in Pakistan. According to Pakistan’s Penal Code, vanni is a custom that is outlawed and has a fine imposed along with imprisonment for anyone who practices it. However, the state organs are weak and vanni continues to be practised in many parts of Pakistan. Simply because the cultural practice has a stronghold in the country and the predominant jirga system has now been given constitutional cover. Through these dramas, however, one can hope that more and more ...

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I was 16 when I was forced to marry a stranger and move to Canada

When I was a kid, my only goal was to get a good education. I dreamt of attending Harvard or Stanford, and planned to become a doctor one day. I was the eldest of four daughters in a Pakistani Muslim family. We lived in Ruwais, a small town in the United Arab Emirates, where my father worked in an oil plant and my mother was a teacher. At school, I always stood out among the girls in my class—I was brash, clever, outspoken. I took pride in acing every test. When I brought home top marks, my father would ...

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Is PIA operating planes or over-crowded minibuses?

In Pakistan, we are all used to seeing overcrowded minibuses force miserable commuters to travel standing because they are carrying customers beyond capacity. And when the vehicles are crammed to the point where it is impossible to fit anyone else inside, they dangerously accommodate passengers on top. People only travel like this because they don’t have a choice and are helpless. Of all the ways Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has mistreated its customers over the years, I never thought it would force passengers to travel like they would on a minibus. Yet on January 20, 2017, PIA flight PK-743 forced ...

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“They thought I have a ‘foreign agenda’ because I teach children free of cost”

I was volunteering at a makeshift school for nomads and slum children when one day, a young student of mine, not older than 10-years-old, approached me and said, “God’s anger does not work on me.” This was the first time in my life that I had been exposed to the slum life, aside from what I saw in movies and read in books. This young soul has suffered so much and yet he still lives every day with resilience. To him and so many others like him, life is a manifestation of every day survival. Indeed, some people consider it an unchangeable fate as ...

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