Stories published in August, 2017

Why the only face-saving way out for the US is a complete military withdrawal from Afghanistan

To quote the Chinese proverb, “He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves – one for his enemy and one for himself.” Afghanistan is in a state of utter chaos. Unless there is a drastic change in the current Afghan strategy, this proverbial ‘graveyard of empires’ seems set to add the United States in the list of countries that failed to control this area. Donald Trump’s aggressive policies on North Korea and Syria have shown that he is not a man of dialogue or negotiation. Thus far, he has followed the militarist route for resolving international issues, with little to no success to show for it. After Trump’s election, the US ...

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Instead of invoking patriotism and jazba, #CSNationalAnthem portrayed disrespect and injustice

It’s become common practice for brands to associate themselves with humanitarian work and patriotism in order to gain extra mileage in the public eye. Recently, Coke Studio launched its own version of the national anthem. Considering that it had the likes of Shafqat Amanat Ali, Ali Zafar, Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Ali Noor, it should have been a beautiful rendition, but it was anything but that. I have quite a few issues with this version of the national anthem. Firstly, I find it ridiculous that they thought it was okay to call it the #CSNationalAnthem and not the Pakistani ...

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Remembering Hanif Mohammad: When cricket lost one of its most ardent sons

One of Pakistan’s most prominent Test cricketers, Hanif Mohammad, left this world last year. With his demise, Pakistan lost one of its most ardent sons. Due to Mohammad’s brilliant cricketing skills, Pakistan achieved numerous Test victories. Mohammad had the honour of scoring the first half century for Pakistan in 1952. He achieved this feat at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla ground against India. This was Pakistan’s inaugural Test as well as Mohammad’s debut Test match. Photo: PA Photos During the first three Test matches of his career, Mohammad was assigned the wicket-keeping position and he holds the honour of making the first ever dismissal ...

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Can Nawaz Sharif salvage his legacy by normalising relations with India and the economic alleviation stemming from it?

The battle lines have been drawn. Nawaz is out flaunting his muscles on the street, and his choice seems clear – defiance over acquiescence. But to what end? One possibility is that the power play is simply intended to gain political leverage and bargain relief from those the former prime minster (PM) feels have vindictively disarmed him. But two factors refute this theory – Khawaja Asif and Mushahidullah Khan. We all know the perversity with which Asif is viewed within the General Headquarters (GHQ), and the comments that led Khan to be scapegoated and removed from his ministry. The appointment of the two ...

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Akbar the Great who? – Did BJP just eliminate the Mughals from their textbooks to promote its Hindutva ideology?

The Express Tribune and Indian media reported earlier this week on the extensive changes made to history textbooks for grade seven and 11 by the state government in Maharashtra. As has been the case since it first came to power in 1998, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) remains committed to a saffron revisioning of history. One of the first things the BJP did on assuming power 19 years ago was to form a National Curriculum Framework which started to revise school syllabi in 2000. The primary changes made in school curricula were those emphasising the Hindutva ideology. A concerted attempt was made to exclude freedom fighters and ...

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Bid adieu to boring lectures and keep your students engaged and motivated through gamification

Have you ever wondered why children get so bored in school, yet are interested in playing with silly things? A few things that children love to do are climbing trees, playing tic-tac-toe in class or running wild. Climbing trees teaches children to trust their own judgement, so it works as a fun activity as well as a learning experience. If we pause for a moment and ask ourselves why kids like to do these things, we’d understand that they simply do them because they feel challenged. They test themselves, use their minds and get involved in activities which catch their interest. The same ...

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The “homecoming” rally serves no purpose to anyone except to stroke Nawaz Sharif’s ego

Pakistan continues to be the playground for politicians. Fit or fat, fair or dark, politicians of all caste and creed continue to make a mockery of Pakistan and its people. What is this democracy they tout when the only choice they give to the people is themselves? As was evident from Imran Khan’s dharna and now Nawaz Sharif’s rally, our leaders seem to care more about touting their own horns and publicising their victimhood instead of helping the masses. Nawaz started towards Lahore on Wednesday afternoon, as if he were a king receiving an amicable send off from a grateful nation ...

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Don’t waste your time, effort or money on The Emoji Movie – the filmmakers didn’t either

Every once in a while, you come across a film that is so devoid of merit that it feels like it exists just so you can recommend it to someone you hate. That’s what The Emoji Movie is like. Try as hard as you can to think about something positive to say about this cinematic mess and you’ll still draw a blank. The story is downright nonsensical. An emoji named Gene (voiced by TJ Miller), who lives in a smartphone that belongs to a teenager (Jake T Austin), has one purpose in life – to make the ‘meh’ face whenever he ...

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The untold story of what made ‘Among the Believers’ an Emmy-worthy documentary

In the summer of 2014, I was living in New York when I met Hemal Trivedi. She told me she was making a film about Pakistan and wanted me to join her and the other director, Mohammed Ali Naqvi, to help them craft the narrative authentically. I had seen dozens of films about Pakistan that were made by foreign filmmakers and honestly, most of them were horribly inaccurate. I felt it was a story worth telling which is why I decided to take the job. The first step of editing any documentary is to familiarise oneself with the raw footage by ...

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Dear Amir Khan, publicising your divorce on social media only shows your indecency

During my recent trip to Pakistan, I often found myself flicking through TV channels. Even though I am still uncertain about what exactly I was searching for, I do remember seeing a menagerie of prominent faces flash on the TV screen from time to time. Some celebrities like Mahira Khan, Fawad Khan and Shahid Afridi appeared regularly. This was wholly expected given that the scale of their stardom has transcended Pakistan’s borders. But I also recall seeing Amir Khan, a British-born boxer, with similar frequency. He was promoting an energy drink in a commercial that showed him running through the streets of Lahore while ...

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