Stories published in April, 2017

Is it really possible to revive government-owned and managed airlines like PIA and Air India?

Both Indian and Pakistani successive governments seem to have been stuck in the same situation. Operating a government-owned airline profitably in a deregulated air transport environment is an unachievable target. Had this been possible, British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Air France or, for that matter, all airlines in Europe, North/South America, Africa, Far East, and Australia would not have been privatised, following deregulation in 1978. The simple explanation is that government-owned entities cannot compete with private ones, in terms of price and quality, in a highly competitive market. Gone are the days when national airlines used to be protected from competition, not only ...

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When they sold my pain for their gains

My scars were still fresh. One could see blood oozing out of my fresh and painful wounds. These wounds are what my age-old enemy bestowed me with. My enemy has got numerous weapons, some pierced through me, while some made numerous holes in my body. Holes may fade away, injuries may heal. But what was done to me, to my inner world, will never fade away. It will never heal. My wounds were still afresh; they smelled like agony. I was withering with pain while my family members decided to hold a grand party and enthral their guests with entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. ...

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If Beauty and the Beast was based in Pakistan, what would Belle’s fate be?

Oh Disney, you and your goo-goo eyed characters and mush-tacular storylines. Here’s the thing – you can’t fool us. We hail from the land of desis. We know what’s up. Just look at Beauty and the Beast. Unrealistic! We can believe the talking furniture and the enchanted experiments in botany, but as desis, we know exactly how it would have happened if Belle lived down the road from us. Our movie opens: The power of reading Gaston spots Belle running around with a book in her hand. This is one of the best things about a woman getting a degree and involving herself in education – ...

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Had the United Airlines incident happened in Pakistan, there would have been no justice for Dr David Dao

Had the United Airlines controversy occurred a few decades ago, it wouldn’t have even made a drop in the ocean. But in the year 2017, everyone is armed with a smart device, and any unusual incident can be instantly shared across the world by bystanders on social media through posts, pictures and even live video. The controversy involving the forceful expulsion of Dr David Dao from United Airlines quickly trended on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other platforms. Everyone was shocked to see how brutally the elderly doctor was dragged off the ‘overbooked’ flight by security personnel after he refused to ...

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Rasm-e-Duniya: Why are Pakistani dramas obsessed with weepy women and damsels in distress?

Rasm-e-Duniya, starring Armeena Rana Khan, Samina Peerzada, Sami Khan and Bilal Abbas, has faced a lot of criticism from audiences for resorting to the familiar trope – the dukhiyaari damsel.  Let’s break down the play. The protagonist is Haya (Armeena Khan) who is pressured into marrying Harib (Sami Khan) by her family. But the situation takes an ugly turn since Haya and Harib’s elder brother, Farris (Bilal Abbas), were in love with each other. Mussarat (Samina Pirzada) is Farris and Harib’s mother, and was incidentally in love with Haya’s father, Tabrez. Since Mussarat was unable to marry Tabrez, she is extremely bitter and wants everyone around her to ...

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The right to offend does not mean that you have a duty to offend, DJ Dax J

British DJ Dax J was recently sentenced to a year in prison by Tunisian authorities after generating massive backlash for playing a track that included a remixed vocal of the Azaan, the Muslim call to prayer. DJ Dax J, whose real name is Dax Heddon, had been touring Tunisia as part of the Orbit Festival and was performing at the El Guitoune nightclub in the city of Nabeul when he played the controversial song. After a video surfaced online showing people revelling to the track which caused a national outrage, the nightclub was shut down by local authorities, and both the owner and the event organiser were taken into ...

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An open letter to the man I birthed

Last year, I entered the world’s finest and most respected club – motherhood. From then till now, my life has been a real rollercoaster ride. I never imagined my life as a nappy-changing, breastfeeding mother, but doing all this just made me more complete than ever. People had warned me that raising a boy was a different job and it truly is. Giving birth to a boy in a society like ours is a victory itself. The first words you hear after your delivery are,  “Mubarak ho, beta hua hai!” (Congratulations, it’s a son!) Every face around you, from the Dadi to the Nani, glows with the reassurance that ...

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Why Pakistanis are happier than Indians

The World Happiness Report, released by the United Nations on March 20, 2017 – to coincide with International Happiness day – has ranked India at the bottom of the pyramid, in terms of happiness of its citizens. India has been ranked 122 out of 145 countries, even below Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan. These findings are based on evaluating the responses to a structured questionnaire sent to around 3,000 respondents who were asked to rate their happiness on a scale of zero to 10, where zero represents the worst possible life and 10 the best. The questionnaire covers six key variables like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), life ...

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When Mashal Khan fell victim to our criminal mind-set

Yesterday, I received the news through a WhatsApp message wherein my younger brother sent me a video clip and requested me to watch it. Although the video was brief, about 45 seconds, but it was long enough to make me sick to my stomach. What I was seeing was barbarism at its worst – a large crowd beating an already dead man. Many were silently watching and no one was even trying to stop it. That video, along with many others, has gone viral. At a time when the global opinion about Muslims and Pakistan is already worsening, this ...

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13 Reasons Why: If someone told you they were in pain, what would you do?

She is laying in a tub, fully clothed, the water filled to the brim. Her heart is beating; her hands are shaking as she scrapes the blade onto her wrists. There is blood everywhere. There’s blood on her wrists as she shakes over and over again. There’s blood in the water as it tips over the edge of the tub onto the once pristine white floor. I feel my own blood flowing as I watch, glued to my screen. I feel the lub dub of my heart, relentlessly beating. And then I feel emptiness. I feel nothing at all. Note: Before you read ...

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