Stories published in August, 2017

Bhutto to Bhutto, Sharif to Sharif: This is Pakistan and blood (nepotism) is thicker than water (meritocracy)

“Tum kitnay Bhutto maro ge? Har ghar say Bhutto niklay ga.” (How many Bhuttos will you kill? A Bhutto will come out of every house). Truer words may have never been spoken. After Benazir Bhutto’s untimely demise in 2007, political analysts feared the Bhutto legacy and lineage may be severed for good. But lo and behold, we saw Bilawal Bhutto Zardari emerge from the shadows and pushed to the forefront of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Party stalwarts may never have imagined the English-speaking, Oxford graduate to take up a position which may very well have been better suited for someone more ...

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The runaway bride

A thousand stars glittered in the charcoal black sky. They were magnificent, almost magical. Rani loved the stars, the sky and the night. Every night she would wondrously gaze up at the sky and try to count the stars as they endlessly spread into the deep velvet of the night. But tonight was even better, mostly, different. It wasn’t usual for girls to sit outside a train station in their bridal gowns and stare into the endlessly starry sky. But Rani’s life had always been different and she made a bride the same way too – a different bride, a ‘runaway’ ...

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I chose to study psychology over engineering and for that I was labelled a “psycho”

On the verge of their college graduation, everyone is confronted with a wide range of career choices. They have to consider which career draws them in as it depends upon a number of factors pertaining to the individual and the market scope. Nevertheless, millions of choices are made and people commit to different disciplines every year. Some go for ‘passion’ while some opt for ‘prudence’, and let me tell you, this is leading us straight into that scope versus interest argument that has been going on for decades. But without delving into this never-settling issue, let’s stick to our central debate. They say choosing from a ...

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Did Neymar leave FC Barcelona because he was always playing second fiddle to Messi?

On Friday morning, Neymar completed his transfer from FC Barcelona to Paris St Germain (PSG) for a whopping €222 million. It has by far shattered previous records for being the most expensive transfer in history – more than twice the fee Manchester United paid Juventus last summer to lure Paul Pogba to Old Trafford. The question that comes to mind after this fiasco is done and dusted with is: Was it worth it? The level of scrutiny that will be aimed at Neymar over the course of his first year in Paris is bound to be incessant. On the field, every touch that he makes will ...

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Will Naa Maloom Afraad 2 be as good as its predecessor?

Na Maloom Afraad 2 is the sequel we’ve been waiting for. The original Pakistani comedy thriller, Na Maloom Afraad, was released in 2014 and saying that it took cinemas by a storm would be an understatement. Fahad Mustafa (Farhan), Javed Sheikh (Shakeel), Mohsin Abbas Haider (Moon) and Urwa Hocane (Naina) reprise their respective roles in this sequel directed by Nabeel Qureshi. The film is produced by Fizza Ali Meerza and Mehdi Ali and is written by Qureshi and Meerza. Na Maloom Afraad broke records to become the longest running Pakistani movie in cinemas when it was shown for 165 consecutive days following its release in October 2014. ...

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The rich and elite of Karachi can afford reverse osmosis plants and tankers every week, but we, the majority, cannot

It seems as if Karachi’s water woes won’t be improving anytime soon. Be it the supply and distribution or filtration, the entire system is in a mess and concerned authorities have turned a blind eye to this crucial issue. An effected citizen of Karachi filed a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court (SC) against several government offices in the hopes of gaining judicial attention over the provision of clean water, sanitation and a hygienic atmosphere for Karachites. The formation of commissions and task forces ensued, samples were collected and the honourable courts expressed their displeasure. But nobody was held accountable and no one was ...

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Dear Ayesha Gulalai, instead of honouring our roots and culture, you have disgraced every single Pakhtun woman of Pakistan

Dear Ayesha Gulalai, I am neither a political worker nor do I support any political party. What’s even more interesting is that I am not a fan of Imran Khan either. I am a young Pakhtun woman who has been following the Pakhtun tradition and culture since I was a little girl. My parents have always guided me to stand up for my rights and speak up against any kind of harassment in the male-dominated society we live in. Brought up in a conservative traditional family, I have always been reminded to uphold the respect of my family and most importantly, ...

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Did Iran make a historical mistake by signing a nuclear deal with the US?

It was reported in the Washington Post that the US Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson, said the following words, “I would like to assure the North Koreans that the USA is not their enemy; does not want any harm to come to them; they have nothing to be afraid of; the US does not seek regime change or the forced unification of the Korean peninsula, and the North Koreans need have no fear of any military invasion from the USA.” He then went on to say that the North Korean ballistic missile program is a serious threat to the US. Therefore, it is exerting peaceful pressure ...

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Pakistani documentary makers are getting nominated for Emmys, but their own country does not give them any recognition

In Pakistan, documentary films are to cinema what hockey is to sports. We don’t see a lot of hockey on TV, just like we don’t get to see any documentaries screened across the country. Even if our documentaries or hockey make it big, they don’t get as much recognition as popular genres of entertainment or sports do. To me, this phenomenon seems like the proverbial case of the child who cries the most and gets the most toys. If the Oscars are anything to go by, Pakistan has a couple of them, and that too in documentary filmmaking and by the same filmmaker. Deep ...

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Lipstick Under My Burkha does not empower women; it only pits woman against woman – one of patriarchy’s best defences

A movie that was initially banned in India because it was too ‘women-oriented’ and led to a discussion on feminism and looking at women with their imperfections and sexual longings, was bound to be good. After all, it was set to create a revolution. But Lipstick Under My Burkha is anything but that. In actuality, it only hopes to inspire a sentiment of female empowerment, only to take you back to the chains towed by patriarchy, just like it eventually does to its protagonists. As the movie opens, we are introduced to the four protagonists – Bua ji (Ratna Pathak), Leela (Aahana Kumra), Shireen ...

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