Stories published in February, 2017

In Pakistan, tolerant Islamic voices are being silenced

Last week, only three days after a suicide bomb went off in Lahore, an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) supporter struck a crowd of Sufi dancers celebrating in the great Pakistani shrine of Sehwan Sharif. The attack, which killed almost 90, showed the ability of radical Islamists to silence moderate and tolerant voices in the Islamic world. The attack also alarmingly demonstrated the ever-wider reach of the ISIS and the ease with which it can now strike within Pakistan. ISIS now appears to equal the Taliban as a serious threat to this nuclear-armed country. The suicide bombing of the ...

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PSL Final: What was more important, the game or where it is held?

When Najam Sethi initially announced the Pakistan Cricket Board’s intentions to host the final of the second Pakistan Super League (PSL), it received critical acclaim. Everybody, fans and the administration, realised the need to eventually bring the league back home, but nothing has ever come easily to Pakistan and, similarly, the idea, though appealing seems difficult to execute. Many things have changed since the intentions were first disclosed including an alarming shift in Pakistan’s security situation resulting from series of unpleasant acts of terrorism. Most recently, it was confirmed that the final would still be held in Lahore, with or without foreign players. ...

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I support the Compulsory Education of Arabic Bill 2015

Recently, a friend asked me if I had seen the movie ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. Being averse to things I have no real interest in, I told him I see it every day. Surprised, he asked me what I meant, to which I replied,  “In Pakistan, we are all to some level masochistic. Either that or we are just plain servile. How can we be bombed, killed, raped and beaten into submission every day and just go on with our lives as if nothing is happening?” Pakistan has a history of insurgency and violence, which reached its peak during the ‘War ...

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ATMs in India are running dry, so why is the government still touting successful demonitisation?

Three months down the line, and India is still sifting through the mess created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden announcement that he was pulling currency from the Indian economy. While the government promised that stability would return in 50 days and asked the people to support the authorities, things still seem shaky. The government has been touting the success of demonetisation as ATM’s run dry and weak economic indicators are being reported. According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), money is still being counted and the picture is still a bit hazy as to how much of the returned money ...

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Epitaph

Memories are sprung up again, like something thick emerging through the air, All the times our bicycles with broken rings crackled on through the friscalating sunset, in infinite happiness, All the times our worn out, unpolished shoes kept us out of the classroom talking for hours, All the times the eraser at the end of the scale lobbed into the free wind, showing who was more powerful,  All the times our collars were held in a grasping fist by our very own, All the times report cards were burnt to a crisp, in rebellion again all the mental oppression, All the times we came to ...

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The Lego Batman Movie: Not as inventive as its prequel, but just as enjoyable

After the triumphant cinematic debut of the Lego franchise with 2014’s joyous The Lego Movie, we return to the interlocking­-bricks realm in The Lego Batman Movie, an amusing spin-off that may not be as inventive as the first instalment, but certainly proves to be just as enjoyable as its Oscar-snubbed predecessor. Will Arnett, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Adam Devine in The LEGO Batman Movie (2017).Photo: IMDb. Zach Galifianakis in The LEGO Batman Movie (2017).Photo: IMDb. The focus of the animated adventure is on the Lego version of DC Comics’ Batman the Caped Crusader Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) who ...

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Why is the jirga system being given constitutional cover in Pakistan?

As if we didn’t have enough problems of our own, the National Assembly has recently given constitutional cover to the jirga system which threatens to destroy the justice system in the country. I thought a system so biased against women would surely not find any support among the masses. I did some research and spoke to various people and discovered, to my surprise, that the jirga system is indeed very popular in those parts of the country where it is practiced. “Last year, a man killed my brother,” said one of my workers. “Going to the courts would have taken a long time and a lot of ...

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A letter to Muniba Mazari, my inspiration

Dear Muniba Mazari, You don’t know me like you don’t know the other hundreds of people who you inspire every day. I am Amna Raheel, a 25-year-old, differently-abled girl living in Karachi. I’ve always wondered how many fan messages you get every day and if you respond to them personally. I don’t know if you’ll reply to my letter and to what I have to say because you probably have heard it a million times already. But I’m going to say it anyway. There are people in your life who guide you and instil certain beliefs that you carry through life, even though you’ve never met them. For me, you’re ...

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Monsieur Trudeau and Trump played their cards well

Monsieur Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada and Mr Donald Trump, president of the United States of America, met face-to-face in Washington on February 13, 2017. This meeting affirmed that their nations’ bilateral relationship would be unaffected by different policy positions. President Trump said: “America is deeply fortunate to have a neighbour like Canada.” Prime Minister Trudeau confidently stated: “No neighbours in the entire world are as fundamentally linked as we are.” Monsieur Trudeau publicly declared the steadiness of the Anglosphere applecart club which comprises of the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Club rules recognise complete domestic sovereignty with “fundamentally” interlinked, interdependent foreign policies led, though not dictated, by the United States. Common ...

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Power Rangers: Taking you back to the 90s

In the age of gritty, big budget reboots it was only a matter of time before Hollywood cashed in on the nostalgia factor and finally brought one of the most beloved children’s live-action series from the 90’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to the big screen.  Now, the series was known for its campy nature, so it’ll be interesting to see how the South African director Dean Israelite and the producers bring it to the big screen in a manner that is able to maintain that feel of a modern day blockbuster, without being too self serious. And judging by the trailer, it ...

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