Stories published in June, 2017

Dear Paresh Rawal, “you can change friends, but not neighbours”. Love, Pakistan

Dear Paresh Rawal, Writing this letter to you was difficult since I did not know where to begin, and I feel that the rapidly changing dynamics of India-Pakistan relations and this letter are quite similar in this regard. However, let us focus on the reason why I have written this letter before we get on to the seesaw that our countries have been riding over the last seven decades. Hera Pheri was your first movie I watched in my childhood, and believe me when I say it still triggers fits of laughter every single time I watch it. Babu bhaiya has thousands of fans in your ...

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‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’: A beautiful kind of chaos

The publication of her first novel, ‘The God of Small Things’, its subsequent Man Booker win, multi-million sales, and the international celebrity status she has since enjoyed are the only impediments in the way of the success of Arundhati Roy’s second novel, ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’. It is a novel as remarkable and dazzling as her first, but it is this unwieldy comparison that dulls its colours and sours its taste. It is a book so different and so far removed from ‘The God of Small Things’ that it feels it’s written by a different writer altogether. Given the 20-year hiatus between the publication of the ...

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PML-N is cultivating a sexist and misogynist culture, but PTI is no better either

A few weeks ago, I had written an article lamenting the misogyny in our politics, which is actually a more accentuated reflection of the level of misogyny in our entire society. The Javed Latif incident had shamed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and made them defensive. I had hoped that due to the negative publicity, the ruling party would adopt a more careful approach in the future and avoid ridiculing rival women politicians. However, it seems that PML-N, which is already in a lot of legal and self-created problems (the Nehal Hashmi outburst is an example), does not plan on learning from their mistakes. After the Latif incident, ...

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While a new day yields a new molester, our girls are still told it’s their fault

“It was my first day at work. I covered my head like a good Muslim, didn’t speak to the opposite gender unnecessarily, still somehow by the time I returned home, I had a few extremely vulgar text messages from unidentified numbers on my mobile. It shocked me because only a few family members had my new mobile number and I was 100% certain that it wasn’t a coincidence to receive such messages on my first day at work. I was frightened at the thought of someone at this new workplace having such a perception of me. That someone must have assumed I am ...

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If no major non-Arab nation has supported the Saudi bloc, so why pressure Pakistan, Saudi Arabia?

As is often the case in regional conflicts, outside players may feel compelled to toe the line of one of the parties. Thus, in the latest conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt (also known as the Saudi bloc), Pakistan finds itself walking a diplomatic and economic tightrope. That is, until the last few days, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told King Salman of Saudi Arabia that Pakistan will not be taking sides in the conflict. As this commentary will illustrate, I believe that this is the commendable choice as it is in Pakistan’s interest to remain neutral, if not lean, towards Qatar based ...

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Why Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is a slap on the faces of Palestinian girls in Gaza

This past week, viewers from all across the globe flocked to their nearby cinemas to catch the first female superhero movie, Wonder Woman. People leaving the cinema published accounts of inspiration and motivation. Some even spoke of a rekindled sense of purpose and drive in their individual feminism.  Yet in the same news cycle, you could also find a piece or two decrying some ban on this blockbuster placed by Lebanon and then followed by a suspension in Tunisia and Algeria. Naturally, as every ban does, it piqued the reader’s interest. After all, what would the Lebanese, Algerians or the Tunisians have against women empowerment? It made little sense until you opened the closet and ...

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#PakvsEng: The beauty of Pakistan cricket lies amidst its glorious uncertainties

“Pakistan will play the final of ICC Champions Trophy 2017!” A little over a month ago, the aforementioned statement would have made you laugh till you cry, but tables have turned now. Who would have thought that a team which was down for the count after a demoralising defeat in the opening match of the Champions Trophy against India, would end up in the final a couple of weeks later? Virat Kohli gives Ahmed Shehzad a send-off after Bhuvneshwar Kumar gets him lbw , India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, Group B, Birmingham, June 4, 2017. Photo: Getty Images But unquestionably, the ...

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Black Panther seems to be diversely epic and will fare better than Captain America

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)  doesn’t seem like it’s slowing down anytime soon, despite the fact that many were disappointed by their recent streak of films after Captain America: Civil War. But I suppose that’s understandable when you set such a high standard. Regardless, their upcoming line up of films starting with Spider-Man: Homecoming looks quite promising. But one particular film you should get excited about is Black Panther. Directed by Ryan Coogler and featuring a talented cast led by Chandwick Boseman as the titular character, the film follows Boseman’s  T’Challa character. He is forced to return home to the fictional and technologically advanced African ...

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Will Pakistan and India’s induction in the SCO help improve their bilateral relations?

Pakistan had been eyeing a spot on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) bench ever since its inception. The SCO has always been touted as the Eurasian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) minus the allied army, intercontinental missile shields and funding. Still, a seat on the SCO council would mean getting into an agenda pushing position with two regional powers, China and Russia. After remaining an official observer for the past many years, Pakistan was recently officially inducted into the SCO as a full member. China made a major push for the inclusion of Pakistan despite some reservations of Pakistan’s alleged ties to terrorism. The kicker has been that ...

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These cheesy chicken fajita stuffed buns and chicken Alfredo spaghetti rolls are the answer to your iftar prayers

As the entire Muslim community welcomes Ramazan this summer, the temperatures have risen in the kitchens. From the preparations for elaborate iftar tables to late nights in a frenzy of sehri arrangements, we all are on the lookout for new and exciting dishes to adorn our tables.  We thereby bring you two such delectable recipes that are easy to make yet irresistibly delicious. What can be more satisfying than fresh home-baked buns stuffed with a tantalising chicken fajita filling? This recipe for stuffed buns is so simple that you cannot go wrong with it. Shape them as per your liking and bake and serve with your favourite dips ...

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