Stories published in July, 2017

Coke Studio 10: A season of tributes that is too star-studded to be true?

You cannot make everyone happy. And nowhere does this apply more fittingly than to every offering of Pakistan’s musical opus: Coke Studio. The show, a success story like no other, has put Pakistan on the global culture map, but continues to divide opinions roaringly, more so of late. If the show plays it safe with covers, it’s unoriginal; if it delves into too much innovation, it becomes another Nescafe Basement. Navigating through the public complaints doesn’t always seem smooth for this show that has single-handedly rejuvenated Pakistan’s musical scene. With the line-up for the latest season having just been released, the furore is already upon us. For ...

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Same Shaan and same Waar-like plot, so what’s new, Yalghaar?

The much awaited Yalghaar is based on the true story of Pakistan Army’s Swat Operation in the Piochar region, and is, in a way, dedicated to the bravery and sacrifices of Pakistani soldiers. Hassan Rana, the director, explores what happens in the lives of those involved in the operation.  The Lolly production has quite a star-studded cast, such as Shaan Shahid, Humayun Saeed, Bilal Ashraf, Ayesha Omar and Armeena Rana Khan. The list does not end there, as Adnan Siddiqui, Gohar Rasheed, Umair Jaswal, Sikander Rizvi, Ayub Khoso and Sana Bucha also make appearances. It seems as if the director did not want to leave anyone out while ...

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Why is public lynching becoming an acceptable form of vigilante justice in India and Pakistan?

It is unfortunate that unruly mobs are now hijacking civic spaces in India. With the confidence of being able to dissolve the unidentified in the crowd, the barbaric act of public lynching seems to have become the new norm. While Indian citizens geared up to kick off the nationwide #NotInMyName campaign against the on-going vigilante violence and mob lynching, a cold-blooded crowd stooped to demonic levels in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district by lynching a mentally challenged 42-year-old woman, Otera Bibi, on suspicions of child kidnapping and trafficking. (Viewer discretion advised: The following video contains graphic images) After beating her mercilessly for three hours by tying her to a tractor, the ...

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Why should Pakistan observe neutrality when it can dominate the political discourse in the Middle East?

The Gulf States have an existential reason to not make their armies strong because if they do, it would mean that the heads – quite literally – of the various kings, princes and other royals would be on the line. Enter the United States (US) armed forces and the 600,000 strong land, sea and air forces of their strongest Muslim ally, Pakistan. While the presence of the US armed forces is known by all and sundry, a lesser known piece of information is how crucial Pakistan is to the precarious balance of power and peace in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia sees the Pakistani Army as the defender of the ...

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Bahawalpur inferno victims receive Rs2m whereas cricket players get Rs10m – ever heard of the word priorities, Nawaz Sharif

Pakistan won the recently held Champions Trophy despite all odds stacked against them. Victory tasted sweeter since it was achieved by crushing our arch rivals India in the final of tournament. Pakistan with the Champions Trophy. Photo: Getty Pakistan’s victory was received extremely well by all sections of society. They didn’t just heap praise on the team for their commendable performance, but also presented expensive prizes to team members on their return to Pakistan. The government of Pakistan, led by Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif, also announced hefty cash prizes for the national team and the total prize money gifted to the players and management of the ...

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Society is no longer women’s worst enemy – other women are

I know that there is a plethora of worthy issues in Pakistan right now to write about, but this particular one has a special place in my heart. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that loved and nurtured me, and was able to give me everything I’ve ever asked for and more. At a fundamental level, I have nothing to complain about, and neither do most of my friends. We live in our own bubble of top of the list universities, expensive restaurants and excessive social media posts. We consider ourselves to be progressive, modern and ‘with the times’. Which is why it ...

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When the pot met the kettle: How Modi made India a lackey to the US

Finally, the pot and the kettle met, shook hands and hugged each other. Analysts world over are still debating possible gains and losses of a meeting between two unique characters of world politics today – Donald Trump and Narendra Modi. They represent two very vibrant democracies of the world but they are not recognised as the real faces of their multi-cultural nations. They are treated more as aberrations of history, a mistake of time rather than a true face of the era and people they got their mandate from. They both defy the norms of Greek and Shakespearean tragedy. Their past sins and acts are not holding them back from achieving ...

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Mehrunisa V Lub U is nothing but a fool’s paradise

Yasir Nawaz is back with another rom-com called Mehrunisa V Lub U. This is his next big movie after Wrong No. and coincidentally, it has almost the same cast. Since the film was released on Eidul Fitr, it could have fared well since ardent moviegoers run to the cinemas during Eid holidays. With Danish Taimoor, Sana Javed, Javed Sheikh, Nayyar Ejaz, Saqib Sumeer and Qavi Khan as its principle cast, will Mehrunisa V Lub U prove to be a hit or a miss? Read on to find out. Synopsis Upon returning home after three years of pursuing his education in China, Ali (Taimoor), like every other fresh graduate, is bombarded with questions about plans of him settling down and getting married. Hence, Ali suggests ...

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Through the eyes of an American: The beauty that Pakistan and its people have to offer

“Bhabi ke liye hee hans do!” (Smile for the sake of our sister-in-law) The Empress Market shopkeepers teased the stoic sabzi wala (vegetable vendor), encouraging him to smile for my camera. This was my first visit to Pakistan and all I wanted was to capture that one perfect shot. The sabzi wala raised his head and grinned. I snapped the image.  Street photography, for most of these Karachiite shopkeepers wasn’t a novelty. However, I visited numerous places on my trip where street photography was seen with awe, and curiosity. Even in Karachi, I drew attention walking around the city with a Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) camera and lens. I noticed people staring at me ...

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Pakistan issues its first gender-neutral passport – what’s that, America? You still haven’t?

In an unprecedented move, the government of Pakistan issued a gender-neutral passport to a transgender activist, Farzana Jan. In an interview after receiving the passport that marks the gender as “X”, Jan said, “I am so happy to be recognised by the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports that I am a human and have a gender other than male and female.” Jan is an activist for the rights of gender minorities and a co-founder and president of an advocacy group, Trans Action Pakistan. The group works for the rights of gender non-conformists, such as eunuchs, transgenders and transvestites. Hate crimes against ...

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