Stories published in July, 2017

Love at first Careem? Uh, no thanks, but perhaps Careem should focus on improving their existing services

There are two things Pakistani’s are unabashedly and unapologetically obsessed with – discounts and shaadi (marriage). By combining these two, I have to admit that Careem’s new rishta aunty service is quite genius. Or is it? No, I did not want to be woken up on a Wednesday morning (Wednesday being the most annoying day of the week) to Careem telling me my “rishta has arrived”. I honestly thought maybe I accidentally ordered a cab and the driver’s name is Rishta, Rishta Khan or something? My brain did not have the energy to solve this mystery, especially not on a Wednesday. When I got to work, ...

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No, Nawaz Sharif must not be allowed to complete his term, if democracy is to prevail

(This article is intended as a rebuttal to the blog titled “Nawaz Sharif must be allowed to complete his term as his dismissal will do no good.”) I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when this article caught my eye. With the wave of antagonism and criticism of Nawaz Sharif that has swept social media following the release of the infamous so-called joint inverstigation report (JIT), it is always interesting to see pockets of support for the embattled prime minister pop up every now and then. However, to my surprise, the article advocated allowing Nawaz to remain in office. Not out of political allegiance, but based on the ...

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Other than selfies, what was Ahmed Shehzad’s contribution in the Champions Trophy to deserve the cash prize?

Pakistan just pulled off an incredible victory against politically imposed nemesis India in the Champions Trophy final last month. The victory tasted so sweet that the government and media houses (don’t forget the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) too, they’re here somewhere) took it upon themselves to virtually term this win as the epitome and peak of Pakistan’s performance. Really? Wait, we’re still ranked sixth in the world? Hold on to your horses, people; it’s a great win but Pakistan cricket has a long way to go. The victorious Pakistan team lift the Champions Trophy, India v Pakistan, Final, Champions Trophy 2017, The Oval, London, June 18, 2017. Photo: ...

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War for the Planet of the Apes isn’t nearly as intelligent, interesting or exciting as its prequels

War for the Planet of the Apes serves as the third and final instalment in the rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy, which like most rebooted blockbusters of the present has looked to offer a bleaker and more serious version of its old, campy predecessor. Set a few years after the events of the last film, War for the Planet of the Apes follows the ape leader Caesar (motion-captured by Andy Serkis) and his primate community hidden in a dense forest, wanting only to be left alone in peace. However, a group of humans led by a ruthless colonel (Woody Harrelson) are still raging against the repercussions of ...

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#TheNorthRemembers: Game of Thrones season 7 starts with a bang, and the best premier episode so far

The season six finale of Game of Thrones (GoT) had left all of us on the edge of our seats. Diehard fans were aching to watch the season seven premiere. Everyone wanted to know what would happen and how things would go down. A few months after the season finale, it was reported that shooting had been delayed. All us poor fans could do was wait, and wait we did. We waited for one entire year for the next season. If you think the year flew by, you clearly aren’t a GoT fan. But all this is in the past now. The season seven premier ...

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Game of zones: Why India must resolve its issues with both its nuclear neighbours, Pakistan and China

While framing this piece in my mind, I was stuck in a conundrum. Why am I writing a blog at a time when everyone is probably watching Game of Thrones (GoT)? Simply enough, an answer came to mind. Apart from the very few people who do not watch the series, everyone is interested in real life power struggles as well. Hence, the name game of zones, conflict zones to be exact. I read an article recently, which quoted a Chinese analyst saying that the Indian government should avoid opening two fronts. This was of course an apparent reference to its neighbours, Pakistan and China. Pakistan has ...

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Can Baaghi aptly and fairly portray the layered, complicated and uncovered truths of Qandeel Baloch’s life and death?

The year 1994 saw the release of the biographical film, Bandit Queen, based on the life and times of India’s famous dacoit who went by the name of Phoolan Devi. The director and producer of the film proudly claimed it to be a ‘true story’. However, it was only a matter of time before critical acclaim and raving reviews started pouring in from all quarters. It was then that the Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy picked bones with the movie. She said that making such a movie was trespassing of the vilest degree. Devi was alive when the film was released and yet she was ...

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No, Maryam Nawaz can never emulate Benazir Bhutto or her political legacy

Amidst the uproar of the joint investigation team (JIT) findings over the Panama Leaks case, some people began comparing Maryam Nawaz Sharif to Benazir Bhutto. Personally, I was taken aback by such a comparison because Maryam may be the rising star of Pakistani politics but it is too early to compare her to a political icon like Benazir. Efforts made by Fatima Jinnah and Benazir for establishing democracy in Pakistan are unmatched in the annals of Pakistani politics. Fatima, due to her deteriorating health, was unable to fight the vultures that conspired against democracy. However, Benazir was able to fight the dictators of her time and was able to restore democracy in Pakistan, which is an admirable ...

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Religion? Kinship? Personal affinity? Money? – A conceptual understanding of how Pakistanis choose their leaders

Pakistan’s democratic fabric has been majorly impaired due to four military generals who systemised their totalitarian rule for over 40 years. This resulted in the corrosion of citizens’ civil and political liberties and rights and more so, to the deterioration of public institutions. Since Pakistan’s independence in 1947, state institutions have been meddling in governing processes and this involvement has raised serious questions about electoral competition, rule of law, the judiciary’s independence and accountability mechanisms. Military interventions and a lack of political organisations have majorly influenced the elections and citizens’ voting behaviour in the past as well. However, according to the limited election related scholarly work, there are a sundry of other social, cultural and political determinants that ...

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A Bolly-musical combo doesn’t sound quite appealing, but Jagga Jasoos proves otherwise

After three long years in production, Anurag Basu’s directorial Jagga Jasoos finally saw the light of day. First things first, this film is different from other Bollywood movies because it is a musical. Bollywood and musicals doesn’t sound quite right, but Jagga Jasoos proves otherwise. With Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif as the main cast, it created quite a buzz even before the promotions began. This was partly because of the delay and also due to Kapoor and Kaif’s publicised break up. The film, which has opened to mixed reviews, earned over Rs8.57 crore on its first day. Jagga Jasoos features Kapoor as Jagga, a young boy on a quest to find his ...

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