Stories published in August, 2017

Getting to know the handsome and talented Mikaal Zulfiqar

I recently interviewed model turned actor Mikaal Zulfiqar and discussed his early life, career and upcoming projects. Believe it when I say, you do not want to miss this interview. H: How did you start off as an actor? M: Initially, I began my career as a model and gradually transitioned into an actor. I started modelling for commercials and videos which were relevant to acting. Later, I received a few offers for television and eventually moved on to films. I believe acting happened to me rather than me happening to acting. So along the way, I self-educated myself on how ...

Read Full Post

Despite his striking numbers, Wayne Rooney has never truly helped England achieve anything noteworthy

The English Premier League is arguably the best football league in the world. But considering their wretched record in international tournaments, it seems that England’s national side never got the memo. Every single stakeholder from England’s football governing body ‘The Football Association’ all the way down to the kit man could potentially be blamed for this malaise. One particular person, for the best part of the last decade, has had to bear the major brunt of it. And by the looks of it, this particular individual has had enough. Wayne Mark Rooney announced his retirement last week. By doing so, he ...

Read Full Post

US-Pakistan-Afghanistan: The gloves are now off

Like millions of Americans, I watched President Donald Trump’s speech from my living room on August 21, 2017. It is the third time an American president has addressed our nation on Afghanistan, now the longest war in American history. To those of us familiar with the region, the speech was business as usual, with a few notable changes. But for those Americans with loved ones in Pakistan, the president’s speech was a plainspoken warning – fall in line Pakistan, or face the consequences. Taking the speech to its furthest extrapolation, without change, Pakistan will soon face US sanctions. Certainly for Pakistan, clouds are gathering. The Trump administration ...

Read Full Post

From water scarcity to water infused with alarming levels of arsenic – good job, corrupt government

I recently came across an alarming news story about high levels of arsenic in our groundwater supply. Unfortunately, this is turning into a serious issue in developing countries such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and other parts of the subcontinent. Recently, a nationwide study based on sampling approximately 1,200 groundwater pumps was carried out. The study was led by Dr Joel Podgorski, a Swiss geologist and computer scientist. The study illustrated that the amount of arsenic in the groundwater of various Pakistani areas dotted along the Indus River and its tributaries, including Multan, Lahore, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala and around Hyderabad, have reached alarming levels. This shocking news ...

Read Full Post

Waking up on Eid as a broken and crippled orphan

I could hear the noise saying the moon was sighted, Joy all around, the festival was tomorrow but I wasn’t excited. I stared at the moon, they all found it jubilant and bright, It was quiet, too dark and for me, it felt like any other night. Was it something I did or was it something I said? That I don’t know of happiness with you now, it all feels so gloomy and dead. I imagine celebrating with you, I picture how it could be, And someday when we meet, I’ll ask you, mother – did you ever think of me? Should I learn to live these times completely on my ...

Read Full Post

Donald Trump’s America is awfully racist and discriminatory, but is Pakistan any different?

Q: Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the biggest racist of them all? A: The human race Recently, I came across a video which showed a young Palestinian-American Muslim mother talking about the struggle of handling her young daughters. This was in reference to race and religion in the current political climate raging in the US. Her talk made me ponder about the truth of raising my kids in the US. And for a moment, it made me second guess my decision of moving to the American shores some 20 years ago.  Welcome to the American world of Donald Trump. A world where race is an issue, where ...

Read Full Post

Basila & The Street Crew: A much-needed humanised portrayal of the transgender community

Growing up, I always wondered about different genders. I was curious and after talking to different people, I learned that there are some really alarming misconceptions about transgender people. Especially in Pakistan, they have long been denied basic human rights and are usually seen as “different”, abnormal, lowly, dirty and mere objects for entertainment. I was really young when I first encountered a transgender individual yet I remember it so vividly. This incident was as normal as any other daily interaction but there is still something about that moment that I find really bizarre. We were staying at our grandmother’s place during summer holidays ...

Read Full Post

Why Pakistan’s policies regarding Afghanistan and the US need to be more Pakistan-centric

President Donald Trump’s new strategy for Afghanistan requires a rethink of Pakistan’s policies towards both the US and Afghanistan. President Trump laid out a new policy for the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan earlier this week. The strategy lacked specifics but stated that it would focus on the primary mission of getting rid of terrorists and its supporters from Afghanistan. The speech also contained harsh words for Pakistan including statements to the effect that US support would be conditional for Pakistan. The support depends on Pakistan helping the US in its primary mission and in taking out safe havens for the terrorists like the ...

Read Full Post

Atomic Blonde rethinks the action hero template from a feminist perspective but never overstates it

With John Wick’s release, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski reminded people that action movies could still rise above the current mundane Hollywood template (lazy editing and toothless action) which most blockbusters follow. Unfortunately, the two former stuntmen turned filmmakers parted ways last year. But their penchant for projecting gritty, unrelenting and superbly choreographed violence on the big screen is matched by very few people in Hollywood. This impeccable work is still visible in Stahelski’s John Wick: Chapter Two, which came out earlier his year, and is also evident in Leitch’s recent release, Atomic Blonde. Leitch’s violent and densely plotted Atomic Blonde has all the low-key intrigues ...

Read Full Post

Is Pakistan doing enough to protect its Hindu minority?

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Hindus constitute around 1.6% of Pakistan’s population. During the time of independence, there was a sizeable Hindu population in the areas that eventually became a part of Pakistan, but a majority of Hindus opted for India. However, thousands of Hindus were still living in the eastern wing of the country, but after the dismemberment of East Pakistan, Sindh became the largest province to house Hindus; it constitutes 6.51% of Sindh’s total population. But over the years, numerous Hindu families have migrated from Sindh to India which is the natural destination for Pakistani Hindus as they share ...

Read Full Post