Stories published in May, 2017

A crime is a crime, even for Lionel Messi

He might currently be the best football player on the face of God’s green Earth. You can even argue that he is one of the best footballers to have played the beautiful game, but ladies and gentlemen. Lionel Messi is also a criminal. Argentina’s national team player Lionel Messi has been convicted of tax fraud but is unlikely to serve any time in jail. Photo: AFP He, in all likelihood won’t be serving a prison sentence but I have to regrettably inform you that your demigod – by the rule of law – can sadly be bracketed with the likes of ...

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Will Priyanka Chopra’s Baywatch help normalise swimsuits for Indians?

I was 13-years-old when I first watched an episode of Baywatch. All the boys at school had been talking about the show in hushed tones. They said it was very B-Y, a term they used to describe a bikini-clad woman. The B referred to the bikini top and the Y referred to the bikini bottom. I was in ninth standard, and my mother had decided we would get cable only after my 10th standard board exams. Also, parents in general did not want teenagers to watch a lot of shows on cable TV back then to curb “western” influence. I watched ...

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Budget 2017-2018: Is Pakistan really on the upward trajectory?

With much fanfare and hoopla, Ishaq Dar and company announced the annual budget for the nation this past Friday. It was budget as usual, delivered with haughty claims of turnarounds and opportunities within reach. Even before the budget had been announced, the Ministry of Finance had been subliminally pushing figures into the media to soften any surprises. While Pakistan missed its growth target of 5.7% from last year, it still achieved a growth of around 5.3%. This puts the country in the company of companies that are over $300 billion dollars in size.  The year over year (YoY) growth, while lower than the target, is still the ...

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Her smile, was it real or illusive?

Was she an empress, whose command was ultimate? That echoed through the outstretched lands? Or was she an ordinary being but not a commoner? Was she soul thirsty, bewitched, and engrossed in depths? One who could correlate to the enormity of the oceans? Nevertheless, she wasn’t incapable of being envied. Her eyes were buried with deep secrets of time Her smile, a mystery, was it real or illusive? Was her forehead overshadowed by a gloomy darkness? Whoever beheld her sight tried to unfold these truths. In light, her expressions easily changed, Thus, one could misperceive into it anything It all depended on the one who entered her soul, As though it was ...

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Hong Du Noodles: Is this what good food is supposed to look and taste like?

Here’s what might happen when you walk into Islamabad’s curious new food joint on Hilal Road, F-11. You’ll find a grand total of two tables bathed in yellow light, in a space enclosed within quirky green, neo-oriental wallpaper. Both of these tables are occupied by Chinese patrons. One of the parties may immediately vacate their seats on seeing you, and offer you their table. You realise that these are the owners and operators of this proud family business. Seated at the table, which is neither lavish nor comfortable, you may ask to see a menu. There is no menu. The Chinese owner/chef/waiter, in a faded green ...

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Why do students in American high schools resort to humiliating Muslims and people who aren’t white?

When the student body president of a Northern California high school won his campaign after posting an Islamophobic joke, I was not surprised. It is part and parcel of American high schools to reward students for racism, particularly when the school administration isn’t interested in protecting vulnerable students for the sake of ‘keeping the peace’. By overlooking racist and toxic behaviour, schools inevitably normalise racism, misogyny, and heterosexism, all of which lend to bullying and cheapen the lives of many young people at these schools. And it’s not only the oppressed or the so-called victim who is negatively affected by this situation, but the oppressor as ...

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Brace your wallets, Ramazan is coming

I first heard the story many years ago, and every year I hear it at least once.  Most Pakistanis are probably familiar with it, but it bears repeating, for those who’ve never heard it. It goes like this: In the early years of Islam, a preacher from a town sent his assistant to tell the people of a distant village in the mountains about Ramazan. He told them how they would have to get up before daybreak, eat food and drink water, then go without water and food until sunset, beginning with the appearance of the new moon and ending with the appearance of the ...

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Will American Horror Story season 7 reveal America’s worst nightmare?

Ryan Murphy was unusually forthcoming about the upcoming season of American Horror Story (AHS) during an appearance on Watch What Happens: Live in February, announcing that the theme of the new season will, in fact, be the most horrifying concept imaginable – the 2016 presidential election. Murphy said that he’s pulling inspiration from the November 8, 2016 election that saw President Donald Trump pull off a surprise victory over democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Yesterday, Murphy dropped his latest teaser on Instagram, revealing the new cast member Billie Lourd with the caption, “Winter is coming. Can’t wait for everybody to see what the incredible Lourd does this season on AHS.” Winter is coming. ...

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Imran Khan is and always will be the common man’s saviour and Pakistan’s happily ever after

As a nation, we Pakistanis are a romantic people. From our folklore to our cultural beliefs; from our personal relationships to our politics, we love a sentimental tale of love, strife and bravery. It is only fitting then, that our choice of leaders should follow suit. The love affair of the Bhuttos is example enough – from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s fiery charisma, to his daughter’s legend, we have proven an unwavering support of the lone warrior fighting for the greater good. As one light fades, another begins to flicker – Imran Khan charges into the arena, ready to slay all wrong-doers and battling for the ...

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After the embarrassing treatment meted by the Saudis, is it time for “Go Nawaz Go”?

Pakistan has suffered yet another excruciating defeat on an international platform. With the recent verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistan could not have dealt with a more severe blow than the humiliating treatment shown by the Saudis at the Arab-American-Islamic Summit. Why? Because apparently we have an incompetent, self-serving, corrupt man serving as our prime minister. Though matters have gotten worse after his first two terms, we keep making the same mistake by electing him over and over again. There was a time when the top office holders of our state received warm welcomes no matter where they went. When Ayub Khan visited Saudi Arabia ...

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