Stories published in March, 2017

Why didn’t the FBI disclose the Trump-Putin investigation pre-election?

While my heart goes out to the latest victims of the continuing global mass carnage, here in Washington, the cat is officially out of the bag! With an emphatic ‘yes’ (to Russian hacking) and a firm ‘no’ (to Barack Obama ordering Donald Trump’s wiretapping), FBI Director James Comey sealed the deal of what could turn out to be the most controversial presidency in US history. This is not a left-wing conspiracy against Trump. This is not even the fulsome fake news. This is all really real. On March 20th, the FBI director testified in the Congress that Trump has been under investigation for a possible collusion with the Russians who might have helped ...

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Rabi Pirzada’s creepy version of ‘Mere Rashke Qamar’ is torture to the ears and eyes

There is nothing more annoying than listening to one of the great classics being slayed by its rendition. One particular example is Rabi Pirzada’s adaptation of Mere Rashke Qamar, originally sung by the king of qawwali, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.  Indisputably, Khan’s most popular composition, Mere Rashke Qamar has drawn the attention of many artists throughout the years but none of the renditions have been as bad as this one. The original had the perfect blend of a soothing melody, emotional lyrics and a commanding voice that made it an unforgettable classic. Pirzada’s creepy version, however, has none of these components. It’s an awful attempt ...

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How is Roger Federer managing to pull off such Houdini acts?

Basking in the glory of lifting the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for the fifth time in his career, Roger Federer had his crescendo moment in Melbourne when he finally got the monkey of not winning a major tournament in more than four years off his back. By getting one over his nemesis Rafael Nadal, Federer had vanquished the demons of falling at the final hurdle of major tournaments (losing in the Wimbledon finals of 2014 and 2015 and the US Open in 2015 to Novak Djokovic). Furthermore, he had possibly laid to rest the meandering debate amongst countless tennis aficionados of who, between Federer and Nadal, ...

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Why Turkey’s referendum is important

Turkey is one of the most beautiful countries of the world. Besides physical beauty of its architectural heritage and breath-taking landscapes, Turkey also captures the imagination because it is a crossroad of Asia and Europe, and consequently a lovely mix between tradition and modernisation. But what makes Turkey truly fascinating for me is that since the 1920s, it has been a secular as well as a moderate Muslim majority country. Whenever someone wants to prove that a Muslim country can be secular and moderate, they use Turkey as their example.  Turkey was cited by Reza Aslan as an example to counter ...

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Why is there a religion column in advertisements for sweepers anyway?

Whenever a local body like a municipal or town committee advertises for jobs involving ‘dirty work’ (like sweeping floors or cleaning bathrooms), the religion of those applying for the job is also specified. And the advertisement usually mentions that the applicants should be Christians or Hindus (Dalits). Though why sweepers and cleaners have to be non-Muslims is not clear. Who does the dirty work in countries where there are few, or no, Christians or Hindus (like Saudi Arabia for instance)? One such advertisement went viral recently. But this time the advertisement stated that applicants for the job should be “Shia, Hindu/Balmikis or ...

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When pizza meets French toast, love transpires

During my time at LUMS, if there was one thing I looked forward to before going to those early morning classes, it was the Pepsi Dining Center (PDC) French toast with a cup of steaming illaichi chai. Another thing I remember from university was the all-nighter sessions, where pizza was our staple, our means for survival… let’s just say pizza saw us through many a tough one. We owe pizza a lot. I have already done a piece on pizza bread and one on French toast so today, I am going to be very creative and combine the two to turn ...

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Wedding bells

“My dress is going to be whiter than that cloud,” she said to me while we walked down the path in the park. The sky was clear except for a few cotton-sized clouds congregating above us. She pointed at them as she spoke, “It’s going to have this braid that flows down my gown and a net on my back. You’ll like that won’t you?” The sun was playing a mischievous game of hide and seek with the clouds as I tried to envision the gown in my head. “You really want that braid?” I asked. “Yes!” she exclaimed and let go ...

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Why is Sana Safinaz plagiarising and giving copy-right notices at the same time?

Ever look at those expensive designer dresses in the display windows and felt sad? Ever felt left out because you couldn’t possibly afford to buy a Dior or a Balenciaga dress? Fret not, for Pakistani designers have a genius way of saving you of this misery.  No, no, I’m not talking about cheap knockoffs. Oh no. This is a strangely real deal. You’ll still be wearing designer clothes, probably might even cost an organ, but you’ll be halfway there on the social ladder. One of Pakistan’s leading fashion houses, Sana Safinaz is under the spot light once again and for the same ...

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In Pakistan self-preservation takes precedence over loyalty to the nation

Many today will be looking back at the two fateful days in our history that share a common date – March 23rd. The first of these was in 1940 on which the Lahore Resolution was adopted, calling for the formation of a separate state for Muslims in the Subcontinent. The second was in 1956 when the Dominion of Pakistan became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with the passage of our first Constitution. The past is all well and good. And much will be made of it today. But the questions that we really need to be asking, as the years ...

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Why is Sindh’s population data being manipulated in the census?

The census teams told our guards to get the forms filled in two days, after which they will come to collect them. The on-going census exercise in Karachi seems to be all over the place, raising questions on the validity and reliability of the entire exercise. The above-mentioned scenario was reported from District East in Karachi, while many others were reported from different parts of Karachi. The significance of census can be gauged from the fact that as per the Constitution, it provides basis for political representation in the national and provincial assemblies, delimitation of constituencies for national and provincial assemblies and distribution of funds ...

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