Stories published in April, 2017

Qasim Rashid’s response is not an attack on Christianity or an alibi for the IS

Post 9/11, fuelled by misinformation and simplistic analysis, Islamophobia has spread like wildfire in the western world. Especially now, with Donald Trump leading the most powerful country in the world, racists and xenophobes of all stripes have become bolder in the wake of an unmistaken rise in hate crimes against minorities. In times of crises, caricatures of minorities serve as a useful tool for the general unthinking populace as it provides a convenient scapegoat to slaughter by projecting all of a nation’s problems to these untamed immigrant savages. This phenomenon is not unique to a particular country against a particular community. Nay, we need to look no further than ...

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White on Green: A reflective recollection of Pakistan’s cricket journey

‘White on Green’ is not a book about the history of cricket in Pakistan and yet it takes up the story through individuals who profoundly influenced the game. It is not a sequel and yet it is, in a way, a prologue to the ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne (2014). One of these fascinating cricketing characters was Prince Aslam, a scion of Juna Garh ruling family, a handy all-rounder who nearly made it to the Test team. A colourful character with partiality for finer spirits, he passed away in his early 40s on account of alcohol addiction. An impression ...

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It’s about time Pakistan gives India a taste of their own medicine

The Pak-India tussle is always considered as one of the fiercest and most competitive rivalries when it comes to sports of any kind, whether it is hockey, football, kabbadi or cricket. The mounting pressure across both borders is nothing new but rather a normality to say the very least. Ever since the Partition, India and Pakistan have always been on the forefront of controversy and politics. However, almost every time, cricket has been used as a diplomatic tool to bridge the ever increasing gap between the two countries which eventually results in nail-biting matches for cricket crazy fans. [caption id="" align="alignnone" ...

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Khuda Mera Bhi Hai: A game changer for Pakistan’s dramasphere

Pakistani dramas are always under fire for portraying the ‘weepy woman’ and the ‘naik perveens’ that seem to have no spine or are always victimised. People tell me that I must have nerves of steel to watch dramas that are full of tears and misery.  Well, I do. But that’s not the end of it. There is a gradual change that’s happening in the Pakistani dramasphere. Women are taking on risky roles and writers are writing scripts where women don’t have to spend at least 20 out of 24 episodes crying about their husbands and their mother-in-laws. One recent game changer that has aired on ...

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Is Afghanistan side-lining the US for its alliance with Russia, Pakistan and China?

It has become increasingly apparent that there is a strategic realignment of alliances within the Indian subcontinent. Pakistan has come to replace the United States with China, and hopes to include Russia, as it continues to be alienated within Washington through its policies. The possible tripartite alliance may also be extended to Iran, which is also interested in joining the group. If the Donald Trump administration’s “America First” policy continues to play a stronger role in American foreign policy, it may further invite additional players into the already dense region. The increasing ties between the United States and India have also led to several rumours of a souring of relations between ...

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Brexit: Britain’s chance to flex its economic muscles

All the pundits and economists predicted Brexit wouldn’t happen and yet here we are, nine months on with Theresa May signing a letter initiating a two year negotiation process to culminate in Britain’s divorce from the European Union (EU).The 44-year-old tumultuous marriage which has seen Britain enjoy tariff free trading and travel within the EU, will now be ripped apart and the minutiae of the separation will be attempted to be agreed upon. Brexit itself was a huge surprise but May’s calm, structured and organised approach to the whole matter has surpassed critics.  Going forward, crucial questions on Britain’s access to ...

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I was afraid of them

It was during one of my unplanned trips to Kanyakumari that I met Uma Maheshwar. I had boarded the almost empty train at Thiruvananthapuram. I was alone in one of the compartments, dozing. A few women passed through the alleyway wearing thick makeup and pungent perfume, which disturbed my nap. Another woman followed. She stopped and turned towards me. I looked up confused. To my surprise, it was neither she nor he. She begged, clapping, “Give something saar”. The clap they have patented. We consider them incomplete without that clap. I will be honest here. I abhorred them. “Saar, something”. She repeated in Tamil mixed with Malayalam. “Go ...

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Facebook: It’s high time you control hate speech in languages other than English!

The increased role of social media recently has been fundamental in guiding social debates and forming narratives of people at large. It has posed many challenges in different parts of the world. On one hand, there are autocratic governments trying to ban Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp while on the other, there is a scuffle between law enforcement authorities and the social media giants over the demand to hand over a user’s data. The revolutionary rise of social media owing to its widespread popularity has also brought a range of issues to our already polarised society, one of them being the evolution of hard-core Islamists. The Urdu content on social media ...

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Life: Another movie about space that wastes space

The possibility of life on Mars has been a source of endless fascination for us Earthlings. The existence of extra-terrestrial beings along with its worst case implications form the basis of the thriller Life. The movie is a sci-fi horror vehicle that pairs a talented cast with a routine plot to yield mediocre results. The action takes place on board the International Space Station, where a six member crew – portrayed by actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya – captures a capsule returning from Mars. Upon studying the Red Planet’s soil samples, the astronauts ...

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Bhutto was neither a total villain nor a complete Messiah

I remember going through Stanley Wolpert’s book called ‘Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan: His Life & Times’ on this enigmatic politician. The first sentence more or less defines Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s legacy. Wolpert, while researching his book on Muhammad Ali Jinnah wrote that, during his stay in Pakistan, he found out that people either hated or loved Bhutto. He also wondered about the amazing contradictions in the personality of this remarkable politician. Today, as we stand in 2017 and look back into the strange chequered history of this country, no discussion on politics, culture, economic and social ideology, military and ...

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