Stories published in September, 2017

When did I become your favourite punching bag?

Have you ever hoped for silence? Have you waited for minutes, hours and even days for the absence of words, conversation and noise? I find myself here more often than I should. Sitting at my bedside questioning my life and sanity, wondering what path I took that brought me here. A path I question but very well know; the curves and bumps on each and every step. This isn’t a new occurrence, it happens often and every time I tell myself I will soon escape this moment of craving pure silence. I feel like a caged bird, clipped off of her wings and fragile ...

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#KarachivsLahore: Three reasons why Karachi is not ready to host international cricket

To an ordinary person, September 12, 2017, may seem like yet another date, but for us Pakistanis, it was reliving the past, contemplating the present and gearing up for the future all in one. Pakistani cricketers pose for a photograph with trophy after winning the third and final Twenty20 International match against World XI. Photo AFP History will remember this date because 15 of the most skillful and courageous men stepped onto the ‘barren land’ with the aim of not only ousting the Pakistan cricket team, but also to eradicate the looming threat of terrorism from the land ...

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Who can possibly hurt me if I have already conquered the pain by hurting myself?

Droplets of blood appeared on his arm. Trembling, he deepened the cut, elongating it along the markings he had drawn earlier. This time, more blood trickled out. Clamping his teeth firmly around the washcloth, he spread the cut along the length of his bony arm. “How about that now, father? It is blood gushing out, isn’t it? Your weak skinny boy has some blood in him after all!” He mumbled furiously to himself, picturing his father’s bewildered face. He would love to wipe that smug smile off his face. He had conquered the only fear he had, the biggest fear anyone ...

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Why is Autism considered taboo or a byproduct of supernatural forces in Pakistan?

I finally understood the truth behind the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child” when I started raising my own son. Raising a child of any age can be a whirlwind and this struggle intensifies when one is raising a child with a disability. This year, during my trip to Pakistan, I was fortunate enough to meet a wonderful middle-class Pakistani family. On the outside, they looked like your typical Pakistani family – working father, stay-at-home mother and three beautiful school-going children. However, the inner workings of their family were far from average. Mr and Mrs Ahmed’s* youngest son, Ali*, was ...

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‘Simran’ is to Kangana Ranaut what ‘Dabangg’ is to Salman Khan – clichéd, boring and weak

There are only handful of filmmakers in Bollywood who truly focus on storytelling, character build-up and distinctive perceptions of societal pressure. Hansal Mehta is one such director cum writer, who always picks subjects which aren’t common yet have something interesting to offer. With movies such as Chhal, Shahid, Citylights, and Aligarh, he has proved his mettle and made his place in a certain kind of cinema that is majorly termed as thought-provoking. Mehta’s latest venture, Simran, features the most controversial and most talented actress of Bollywood, Kangana Ranaut. With a team comprising of individuals such as Mehta and Ranaut, expectations naturally tend to escalate. The storyline of Simran revolves around Praful (Ranaut), a divorcee who works ...

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‘Gerald’s Game’ has the potential to be a genre classic, but can it do justice to the king of horror’s work?

It looks like Stephen King is on a cinematic roll these days. The American author of horror just had two of his adaptations, The Dark Tower and It, hit the big screen. On the TV front, Mr Mercedes and The Mist are keeping the audience engaged. Therefore, with everyone jumping on the King bandwagon, it was time for the online streaming giant, Netflix, to get in on the act with Gerald’s Game. The third King film in two months dropped an official trailer for all those who have not had their fill of the king of horror. The first time I came across the title Gerald’s Game was during my early teens. I ...

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Lucknow Central: Jailhouse rock or jailhouse schlock?

I really have to hand it to Farhan Akhtar. I am sure that the son of the renowned lyricist and screenwriter, Javed Akhtar, must have faced a huge dilemma when casting for Lucknow Central. As an actor, if you sign up for a lot of average B-Town masala flicks, you will watch your promising career fade into oblivion. Choose your projects and characters wisely and patiently, and you might just be able to carve a niche out for yourself. Farhan Akhtar opted for the latter and the rest, as they say, is history. Since his first acting debut film in Bollywood, Akhtar has ...

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The freedom to make or amend constitutional laws is Pakistan’s fundamental flaw

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi recently remarked that Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution may be scrapped with the consultation of all parties. In case readers have forgotten, this particular article had provided the grounds of Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification. Constitutionally, Abbasi is correct, as Article 239 titled ‘Constitutional Amendment Bill’ states the following in clause (5): “No amendment of the Constitution shall be called in question in any court on any ground whatsoever.” Furthermore, clause (6) states, “For the removal of doubt, it is hereby declared that there is no limitation whatsoever on the power of the Parliament to amend any of the provisions of the Constitution.” Therefore, if Article 62 is ...

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Ahmed Shehzad needs to learn to play for the Pakistan cricket team, not for himself

Recently, Ahmed Shehzad bagged the Man of the Match award in the last T20 match against the World XI along with a fancy bike to feature in his latest selfies. Good for him! However, his performance during the whole series raised more doubts than confidence in him. Shehzad managed to make a score of 89 off 55 balls in the final T20 match, therefore it may seem criminal to criticise him at this stage. However, I strongly believe that he was scoring runs in the series for himself, rather than the Pakistan cricket team. Pakistani batsman Ahmed ...

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Why an independent Kashmir is not good news for both Pakistan and India

In a previous blog that discussed the implications of President Donald Trump’s new Afghanistan strategy, I suggested that Pakistan requires a re-think of its policies towards the US and Afghanistan. It further stated that Pakistan should try to normalise relations with India, since the key to peace on the western border may lie on the eastern border. For this to happen, it is necessary for Pakistan to carry out an analysis of the continued validity of its Kashmir policy. This is not required as a concession that needs to be given to India to achieve peace, but it is necessary due ...

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