Stories published in April, 2017

Imran Khan, the bitter pill we have to swallow to start treating a problem that plagues this country

Since Imran Khan rallied voters to his cause on Election Day on May 11, 2013, selling the promise of real meaningful change for Pakistan in the fight against the status quo, he has fallen from the pedestal in the eyes of many voters. Those who once believed in the former cricket superstar as the person to take the country past its problems have been left disillusioned by multiple problems, the majority of which have been discussed on numerous occasions, including by myself on this blog space. Whenever Imran is in the news on Facebook, a significant portion of the reactions ...

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The Mummy: Tom Cruise and Russel Crowe, what more do we need?

Well guess what? As sure as night follows day, we have got another movie where Tom Cruise is seen doing what he does best. He is literally ‘off to the races’ again in the reboot of Brendan Fraser’s action-adventure hit The Mummy. So what exactly is Tommy boy bringing to the table – other than running around like an absolute maniac – this time around? How about we delve deep into the preview material to find that out. Tom Cruise in The Mummy (2017)Photo: IMDb Set to the tune of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It Black’, the trailer ...

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Nature granted me a front seat to the northern lights and it was everything

The place was a sharp contrast to what I had experienced over the past three days, trekking through the Southern Highlands of Iceland. I had traversed through 30 kilometres of landscape made of black volcanic ash with little vegetation but fragile moss, rainbow-coloured rhyolite hills that belched sulphurous steam, dark clouds hovering low and foreboding a rainstorm at every moment, and no signs of life but the occasional audacious hiker. The daytime scenery was the most incredible I have seen in my travels through the European Alps and highlands, but it was the much famed night-time spectacle that I ...

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With no star power, Chalay Thay Saath is one bumpy ride

Pakistani directors and producers often misunderstand the movement to revive Pakistani cinema. This year has seen numerous below average movies, thus questioning the merit and authenticity of the command in filmmaking; movies like Thora Jee Le, Whistle and Raasta. Let’s see if Umer Adil’s latest venture, Chalay Thay Saath will be able to break this dry spell. The film doesn’t seem to have any star power, thus it makes one question – can a movie with no crowd-pullers make it big in the box office? Zain (Osama Tahir) and Tania (Mansha Pasha), who are on the verge of separation, plan a farewell road trip for Resham (Syra Shahroz). They ...

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13 Reasons Why: Hannah lives and dies in all of us

The bathwater, initially clear blue, gradually takes on a pinkish hue. Like rose water, or fresh henna that’s come off of tattooed hands and feet immersed in a bath tub. The water overflows onto the pristine white tiled floor, making it blush. The changing colours mesmerise me. My mind unsuccessfully tries not to focus on the source of that colour. Blood. Blood that oozes out of deep slits in both forearms of a beautiful young girl. Hannah (Katherine Langford) sobs quietly and sighs deeply but refrains from screaming despite the pain from incised sinew, nerves, arteries and veins. Hannah’s muffled groans eventually ...

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How India and Pakistan are afflicted by the same madness of religious vigilantism

The issue of cow slaughter and the consumption of beef has been an issue that many orthodox Hindus have found an affront to their religion. Blasphemous speech, in regards to orthodox Muslims and their reverence for the Prophet (pbuh) and Allah (swt), produces a similar sentiment of outrage. This sense of outrage has led to the phenomenon of religious vigilantism. Yet, it seems that this malaise, which was once a rare occurrence in the early history of both India and Pakistan, has transformed and metastasised into a cancer that is permeating the very fabric of each nations’ respective society. Justification through legislation Pakistan In 1986, Pakistan, ...

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Of Halala marriages and the sexual exploitation of Muslim women

According to a BBC undercover investigation, some Muslim women in South Asian diasporic communities in England are facing exploitation, blackmail and sexual abuse via various online accounts. These accounts provide services for divorced women to fulfil the requirement of a so-called Halala marriage, in order to remarry their former spouse after they have been divorced through the ‘triple talaq’ process. Triple talaq takes place when a man says ‘talaq’ (divorce) three times in a row to his wife, convincing many Muslims that this ends an Islamic marriage immediately. These online services let women pay to marry strangers, consummate the marriage with them and then divorce them, after which they are ...

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Is violence following accusations of blasphemy becoming a familiar phenomenon in Pakistan?

This month, the spirit of Cain appears to possess the nation. Within a span of 11 days, there have been two incidents of vigilante mobs responding to ostensible accusations of blasphemy. In the first such occurrence in Mardan, the blood lust was satisfied by murdering and disfiguring Mashal Khan, a bright and principled young man. In the second incident, a man accused of standing up in a mosque after Friday prayers and making ‘offensive’ statements was brutally beaten by a crowd. His life was saved by the mosque’s cleric intervening and facilitating his transfer to the police. The fact is that violence following accusations of blasphemy is becoming a distressingly familiar Pakistani phenomenon, ...

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Dear Pakistani selectors, why do you keep picking the same old, tried and failed players?

In sporting terms, as with perhaps all aspects of national life, Pakistan is probably amongst the few unfortunate nations that have regressed, not progressed, with time. There was a time in the 1992, when Pakistan was the World Champion in not one, but four different sports – cricket, hockey, squash and billiard. But as merit started taking a backseat, and mediocrity, incompetence and favouritism reigned supreme, today we see the former champions finding it hard to even directly qualify for the cricket World Cup. Oh what a fall! Pakistan lost the first ODI against West Indies, raising a lot of questions about our nonsensical selection policies. You ...

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Of Pakistan’s strategic position and progressing economy

Pakistan’s geostrategic location is a major attraction for developed economies to invest in for lucrative returns. The country is strategically located in the crossroads of Asia with China as its neighbour in the north, India in the east, and Iran and Afghanistan in the west.  The country lies in a region which has great political, economic and military importance. Being in the same vicinity as two major powers, China and Russia, adds to its position. Similarly, Pakistan has an access to the six Muslim central Asian states through Afghanistan. These states are landlocked and Pakistan can provide a link between the Gulf States as well as African, European and Central Asian ...

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