Stories published in March, 2017

When patients get poorer and sicker but doctors get richer

Pakistan’s leaking public sector – led by politicians and a non-innovative bureaucracy –seem to be skimming the national kitty through dismal governance and service delivery. The private health sector too appears to be focused on skinning poor patients, with no fear of accountability. This sector thrives off the inefficiency of and collusion with the state health institutions, which are best equipped but non-functional. Recently, my 80-year-old father-in-law visited a neurologist for advice. He is currently in very good shape; no hypertension, no diabetes, gets up at five in the morning for his morning walk and sleeps soundly. He also scored 80% in his ...

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Why politicians like Javed Latif use women to humiliate opponents

“Mein nahi kehna chata ke log jo batein is ke mutaliq karte hain. Woh kehte hain ke us ki do choti behenein hain unka Imran Khan ke saath kia taluq hai aur kyun ana jana hai, mein nahi kehna chata.” (I don’t want to repeat what people say about this matter. They say that he has two younger sisters and ask what relation they have with Imran Khan and why they visit him so often, I don’t want to say.) This statement was made by none other than Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Javed Latif. The utterly filthy content almost made ...

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PSL 2016 vs PSL 2017: It’s about time PCB brings something new to the stadium

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) has been a great addition to Pakistan’s domestic calendar. For almost a decade, foreign teams refused to tour Pakistan and PSL managed to end that drought for us. Furthermore, young local cricketers were able to play alongside international players. Spending time with maestros like Vivian Richards, Dean Jones, Wasim Akram, Kevin Pietersen, Darren Sammy is important for young players, as it can help boost their confidence. Moreover, domestic matches typically do not see stadiums filled with people to the brim but PSL changed that and brought with it huge crowds, teaching cricketers how to play under immense pressure. Darren Sammy ...

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Stranger Things Season 2: The kids are back on their bicycles, and boy are we psyched!

If you were a child in the 1980s, you would surely know how nothing could even come close to beating the sheer thrill of racing bikes with friends through the streets of your neighbourhood, unless you have experienced Stranger Things. The kids are back on their bicycles, and boy are we psyched!  Last year’s sleeper hit, along with being a damn good TV series, was a nostalgic trip down memory lane for all of us who had spent their childhood during the 1980s. Season one left us with some huge questions, so the second season, which later got confirmed, was always a possibility. ...

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Madiha’s only crime was that she was unable to bring a motorbike in her dowry

Madiha was a 22-year-old girl in Gujranwala who had just gotten married. You know how it is for newly-wed girls; the apprehension, the stress of adjusting to a new home, the worries about making everyone like you and leaving your family behind. For Madiha, these worries became small compared to the horror she ended up facing. Her husband, Amir, would beat her regularly. Madiha’s crime? She was unable to bring a motorbike for Amir in her dowry. Two months or so after the wedding, Amir and his family doused Madiha with petrol and set her on fire. She died within ...

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Are Pakistani dramas losing the plot?

I am a closet drama viewer. There I said it. I am even part of a WhatsApp group that discusses and disses with equal panache anything on either side of the border and beyond. I don’t exactly recollect when this love fest started, perhaps it was as a child in my hometown Jalandhar in Punjab where we would excitedly catch an erratic signal from across the border telecasting the black and white drama Sona Chandi or maybe the reception was so blurry that we couldn’t really tell any colours! Then came ‘Tanhaiyan’ followed soon after by the iconic ‘Dhoop Kinare’, which we ...

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Crooked fingers and final chords

Crooked fingers steadily vibrating on the guitar, Heavy eyelids blur out the crowd, The body trembles as the last chord is recited, The floodlights blind out the distance, until all he can see is just an echo of himself.  His lip buds expose his subtle prophecy, His eyes deeper than the sea that has absorbed all pain, His nose glitters with the little line of cocaine still up that unholy hole, The ocean, at the end of the road, vivid in all its majesty. The eyelids much heavier now, impossible to fight Make it all the more painful to keep playing, even when his body compels him to, The ...

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Barcelona vs PSG and the miracle that will go down in history

“If Paris Saint-Germain scored four, we can score six.” These were the words of FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique in the pre match press conference before the match against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and astonishingly this is precisely what happened. In a historic night at the Camp Nou, the unthinkable happened as Barca, who was seemingly out of this year’s Champions League after their 4-0 loss in the first leg, staged a miraculous comeback which will go down, perhaps, as the greatest turnaround in the history of this magnificent game. The home side got off to the best possible start with Luis Suarez nodding home a goal from close range ...

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Karan Johar, Kangana Ranaut and male privilege

There is no doubt about Karan Johar’s immense talent. He sees Bollywood from a unique eye that captures its essence as well as its soul – what he creates on the big screen is nothing short of magical. In a gargantuan $4.5 billion industry like Bollywood, Johar and Dharma alone stand at $200 million. Johar combines the idyllic with the marketable. He is truly a dream merchant – whether it is when Shah Rukh Khan runs towards Kajol in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor dance at a wedding –Johar has a unique eye and an ...

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Do the right thing, Nawaz Sharif, expel Javed Latif from your party

I watched in shock and horror the comments made by Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Javed Latif about the moral character of the sisters of MNA Murad Saeed in a press conference. Earlier, he had called Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan a ‘traitor’, which had provoked PTI MNA Saeed into punching him.

It was, of course, unlawful for Saeed to react so violently, as it has become perfectly acceptable for our politicians to label those who oppose them as traitors. In fact, I have lost count of the number of politicians who have been called ‘ghaddar’ ...

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