Stories published in July, 2017

Did Senator John McCain visit Pakistan to do some necessary damage control post the Modi-Trump meeting?

The American Republican Senator, John McCain, visited Pakistan with a bi-partisan delegation this week. It was conducted against the backdrop of a much talked about meeting between the American President, Donald Trump, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Senator McCain met the top civilian and military brass and parted on a note of positivity – Pakistan was an important ally, how Pakistan was imperative for stabilisation in the region, how the US was neutral as far as the Kashmir policy was concerned and so on and so forth. The trip itself was lumped together with a July 4th visit to the American troops stationed in Afghanistan. As useless and futile ...

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Fighting mud with mud will only make you dirty, Imran Khan

The past two weeks have been a virtual dreamscape for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan. With the exception of concerns over foreign donations to his party that have raised some questions about disqualification, controversy has mostly evaded Imran. But on the other hand, controversy has plagued his political opponent Nawaz Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Most of the scandal, in some way, originates from the Panama case. In May, prominent PML-N leader Nehal Hashmi threatened the joint investigation team (JIT) mandated by the Supreme Court to investigate Nawaz’s financial holdings, culminating in his (short lived) resignation. Significant criticism has also been directed at the inconsistent answers given at hearings and in ...

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That long summer night when Burhan Wani died

I can hear gun barrel thuds. Everyone around me is in shock. Ours is the house packed with mourners. My grandmother passed away two days ago. Twilight is nearing. We are supposed to serve evening meals to our relatives before they head home. But these fireworks and anti-India slogans in my neighbourhood are making their outward movement uncertain, very uncertain. A disturbing word doing rounds is about the fallen Titan. Commander Burhan Muzzafar Wani has met a tragic end in Kokernag. I can hear a growing street commotion. Its defiant intensity is growing. Perhaps, a signature stone-smoke confrontation is about to start. “How ...

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Transformers: The Last Knight: Given its convoluted plot, I was actually rooting for our planet to cease existing

There are movies that are lame, silly, or even downright horrible, and then there is Transformers or ‘Trashformers’ as I like to call them. Take the worst movie experience you’ve ever had, multiply it by a thousand and you’ll still be nowhere near the abomination that is the film franchise based on Hasbro’s popular toys. You might wonder why so much hatred for these metallic humanoids, when there are hundreds of lousy flicks being made left, right and centre? My simple and immediate retort is that these obnoxiously loud sci-fi action films based on mecha-robotic beings are nothing like any of your typically bad cinematic fares. ...

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#IStandWithEdhi: Making a video defaming the Edhi Centre is easy, but can you be as selfless as Edhi?

I recently came across a distressing video on Facebook where a woman with perfect makeup and a dupatta pinned to her head was going on about something she felt strongly about. I wasn’t bothered by her appearance as such; I was actually concerned about what she was saying and who she was saying it about. The woman was standing outside the Edhi Centre and talking about the filth and cruelty she had witnessed there. She said it was better to kill people rather than keep them in such conditions. After giving an emotional speech for around three minutes, she showed a room with inadequate bedding and some children sitting inside. ...

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The Oval: Pakistan’s home away from home

Hollywood, Bollywood, the West End and Broadway – everybody knows that nothing sells better than a true underdog story. And when it comes to the tag of ‘underdog’, only a few have worn it so frequently and with such relish as the Pakistan cricket team. Pakistan with the Champions Trophy. Photo: Getty Images Before the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy final, few could have predicted what would unfold. In a tournament packed with surprises, viewers could be forgiven for wondering whether Pakistan had reached their peak. But doubt Pakistan at your peril. As Sarfraz Ahmed tore across the outfield, arms outstretched in joy, Pakistan wrapped up their ...

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The shared experience of being tampered with as a child

Jack* did not have much of a childhood to write home about. That obviously did not hinder his meteoric rise, because as a young professional, he was already on top of his game. He was quite successful, with a six digit salary, vacations pre-planned for a year in advance, and stocks and bonds neatly sorted out. While he could hold onto investments with alacrity, what he couldn’t hold on to, for dear life, were relationships. Friends, men or women, would come and go from his life, with surprising frequency. To him, even his biological family, the little he had, felt like it was on borrowed time. I think the lack ...

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After 70 years, India and Israel’s longing bromance is finally out of the closet

It took a long time coming, 70 years to be precise, but perhaps it was inevitable. In the nearly seven decades, since the state of Israel came into existence, no Indian prime minister set foot in the country.  But true to the unorthodox style that is revitalising Indian diplomacy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally corrected this longstanding anomaly with his trip to Israel this week. The extraordinarily warm welcome Modi received illustrates how much his hosts wanted this visit to happen and how much it matters to them. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was effusive in his welcome address, using a few Hindi words and liberally sprinkling catchy ...

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O’ Father, your prophecy lives on no more

O’ Father, your prophecy lives on no more. The men with daggers for hearts walk the blood-soaked streets free and alive, With eyes colder than the Kashmir winds and veins warmer than Thar, they thrive, And all your children can do is close their eyes as the blood seeps into the roots, and from society, they drive. The women afraid of walking into the vegetable store, of all ages, Succumbing to the prying eyes, the filth that lay within the savages, They yell and scream, yell and scream, into the newspaper pages, And all your children can do is turn it over as a mere casualty in the inevitable collateral damages, O’ ...

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“Corruption is our right”: Have you not looted Sindh enough already, PPP?

Ask any schoolboy in Pakistan which political party is the most corrupt and he will reply at once, “Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).” Even before a Swiss court convicted the former president and his wife Benazir Bhutto of money laundering, the leaders of this party have been known to be highly corrupt. It was not for nothing that former President Asif Ali Zardari was known as Mr 10%. So it was highly ironical to see PPP stalwarts such as Aitzaz Ahsan in Parliament demanding accountability of Nawaz Sharif. Either he forgot the rampant corruption in his own party or deliberately chose to ignore it. Mr Ahsan, how can we ever forget ...

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