Stories published in August, 2017

Not even after 70 years of independence can democracy in India be taken for granted

A couple of weeks back, India celebrated the 70th anniversary of its independence from the British colonial rule. For seven decades, India has remained the world’s most populous democracy. It is almost the only country in the developing world that has steadfastly adhered to peaceful transition of power through electoral means. In the past two decades, India has also been seen as a democratic alternative to communist China in the emerging global power configuration. However, after 40 months of Narendra Modi being the prime minister of India, there are now serious doubts over the regular continuation of the democratic arrangement in India. Indian democracy had ...

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With the likes of Faf Du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Darren Sammy in the World XI squad, does Pakistan stand a chance?

On August 21, 2017, Najam Sethi may have uttered one of the most important sentences for Pakistani cricket fans: “I will announce the names of confirmed players in 72 hours.”  For avid cricket followers in Pakistan, the timer had been set right away. With each hour ticking away, the curiosity to find out the list of players was growing exponentially. It seemed as if Sethi had a finger on the pulse of the nation and hence kept us waiting till the last moment. After a long anxious wait, Sethi lived up to his promise and finally announced the World XI squad. Out of complete ecstasy and ...

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Despite criticism, Kangana Ranaut is back with Simran to prove that she’s the real queen of Bollywood

If someone can be trusted to pull off a stellar performance in a female-centric movie, it is definitely Kangana Ranaut. Ranaut has been one of those resilient actresses who can very well manage to carry a film solely on her shoulders. Despite controversies, criticism and poor performances by the rest of the cast, she has never failed to amaze us. Her movie Queen, for example, has been the best performance of her career, setting a precedent for contemporary actresses to follow. Her performance in Tanu Weds Manu Returns was also exemplary and overshadowed all the other actors in the film. Now in and as Simran, we ...

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By dressing as a man to make a statement, Ayesha Gulalai has only belittled countless dynamic women of Pakistan

No one said it was easy being a Pakistani woman. We fight misogyny, chauvinism and harassment on a daily basis in our schools, workplaces and for some, even homes. We are daughters, sisters and mothers but those relationships are not unto themselves. We populate the corporate world, lead movements, teach impressionable minds and raise little people. There is very little women cannot achieve and that forms our identities. It is a small mind then, in my opinion, which tries to fight misogyny by fitting into a box shaped like a man. A mind that has no business representing the multi-faceted and peerless entities that ...

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With friends like Ali Abrar’s, who needs enemies?

Recently, a video has gone viral across Pakistani social media. It shows what appears to be a good-natured young man standing on the edge of a few rocks while staring naively at a stream. Here, his ‘friends’ egg him on to take a plunge and swim across the river to the other side. The problem with the challenge can be clearly seen in the boy’s eyes – the current is moving quite rapidly, with hidden dangers lying under the water, and unless he’s Superman, he’ll be in trouble. But peer pressure is a funny thing. It can initiate anyone into an ill-advised decision in ...

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The best and worst of season 10: Has Coke Studio lost its essence and attuned to mediocrity?

Coke Studio is back and unlike the previous seasons, it has failed to impress us so far. From the beginning, as we saw in their rendition of the national anthem, there were no goose bumps in sight. Now with the season moving forward, I wonder if Coke Studio has lost its essence and has adjusted to mediocrity. Having said that, let’s take a look at all the tracks that have been released so far, starting from best to worst based on my preference. Episode two: Faasle When it comes to vocals, ‘Faasle’ by Kaavish and Quratulain Balouch is my pick of the season so far. Jaffer Zaidi has done a remarkable job, ...

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Even with not one but three acting legends, ‘Going in Style’ is bland, unexceptional and unmemorable

Some films try to bring out the best in their cast by giving their actors a solid script and a compelling story to work with. Other movies just want to coast on the charisma of their stars without bothering to make an effort in any other department. Going in Style falls firmly in the latter category. The heist comedy – which is a loose remake of the 1979 Martin Brest film of the same name – has managed to assemble a cast that includes three of the best actors to have ever graced the big screen. However, the movie has ...

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Electing a party president who thinks “the poor are born to serve the rich” only reveals PML-N’s bourgeoisie mind-set

Last week, Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar, a senator from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), made a controversial comment at a Senate committee meeting. He said: “The poor are born to serve the rich. This is a system created by God, and He has made some people rich and others poor, and we should not interfere in this system.” What’s worse is the very same man was recently elected as the president of PML-N. Moreover, on one hand, we have the ousted PM Nawaz Sharif demanding justice at rallies, while on the other hand, they are electing a party president who is making absurd statements ...

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Banning triple talaq is one small step for India but one giant leap for Muslim women

When five men from different faiths – Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism, Islam and Zoroastrianism – convened yesterday morning, an entire nation waited to hear their much-awaited verdict on the triple talaq issue in India. Out of the five judges, three of them were clear in what they wanted. They announced the following, “What is sinful under religion cannot be valid under law.” Thus, triple talaq (divorce via saying it thrice) was rendered illegal in India and rightfully so. The landmark judgment stated, “Triple talaq may be a permissible practice but it is retrograde and unworthy. Since triple talaq is instant, it is irrevocable and the marital tie gets broken, it violates the right to ...

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How could Salman Ahmed let his masterpiece die a sad death at the hands of singers who were not meant for it?

Being a 90s child, it won’t be wrong to say that we’re the last generation, that among many other endeavours, still like playing the real, traditional Ludo (not Ludo Star). We grew up having a total of two television channels to watch and ran down the hills to find who reached the ground first. We spent all our nights playing board games with our cousins during long summer nights, saved money for a Walkman and eventually witnessed the glorious pop music era in Pakistan. I might sound like an old grandfather glorifying everything from his past while shunning everything today. But I am very certain that ...

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