Stories published in September, 2017

Without Ronaldo, and with Bale and Benzema’s recent performances, will Real Madrid lose the La Liga title?

Heading into a fresh season, football fans had little doubt about the impervious Real Madrid side. Such was their dominance last season which was carried into the pre-season matches as well, including their thumping win over FC Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup. Real Madrid won the Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday after a 5-1 aggregate win over bitter rivals FC Barcelona over two legs. Photo: AFP But things have not gone according to plan for the Spanish powerhouse since then. Their performance at the beginning of the season has raised questions over whether the team can ...

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Dear NADRA, your failure to recognise Pakistan’s undervalued regional languages is not surprising

I recently came across a disheartening news article which stated that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) failed to recognise a degree attained in a regional language. This applied to all the areas and provinces of Pakistan and not just Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). Now, let us take in the severity of this statement. In effect, this means that those who have done their Bachelors or Masters in Pashto or any other regional language cannot enter their education data for their national identity cards (NIC) at NADRA. The premier regulatory authority’s online forms only contain and recognise a master’s degree or Doctorate in English, Urdu and Persian. But ...

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The Shape of Water: A quirky and twisted spin on Beauty and the Beast that screams spectacular

When it comes to bizarre, peculiar or quirky, there is one man you can truly trust – Guillermo del Toro. He is one of the great idiosyncratic talents of contemporary cinema, and he is one man with a penchant for twisted. The way he mixes fairytale imagery with the grotesque to create spellbinding cinema is something that only he can conjure. The Shape of Water is the latest in a line of surreal fables created by this master auteur (Crimson Peak, Pacific Rim). Set against the backdrop of the Cold War era, the plot of the movie revolves around the lonely Eliza (Sally Hawkins), a deaf and mute ...

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13,000 Pakistanis voted for far-right parties – should the remaining be worried?

Following the Supreme Court decision regarding Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification from his prime ministerial position, the NA-120 seat needed to be filled immediately. Fortunately for the Sharifs, the NA-120 by-election results allowed Kulsoom Nawaz to fill this vacant seat.  NA-120 has been a stronghold for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) since 1985 when Nawaz won and became the chief minister of Punjab. From then onwards, Nawaz’s party consecutively won the NA-120 seat eight times in 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 2002, 2008, 2013 and now in 2017. The NA-120 by-election results did not only highlight PML-N’s stronghold, but also highlighted the emergence of two far-right Islamist parties – Milli Muslim League (MML) ...

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India may be the world’s largest democracy, but ‘Newton’ shows the struggles prevalent within

Recently, Bollywood has been producing movies that range from romantic flicks to action-packed extravaganzas and it has been slightly redundant. Thus, Newton comes as a breath of fresh air to Indian cinema. Directed by Amit Masurkar, this movie has been chosen as India’s official entry for the Oscars. That itself, sets up a pretty high standard. The trailer itself is powerful enough to compel you to watch the movie. The movie tells the tale of Newton Kumar (Rajkummar Rao), a government clerk who recently started his career. Despite his lack of experience, he is sent on a mission to conduct fair Lok Sabha elections in a Naxalite-Maoist ...

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Will Alicia Vikander make a better Lara Croft than Angelina Jolie?

There was a point in my life when I desperately wanted to be an archaeologist. While I was young and impressionable, the primary reason for one of my earliest choices of profession was the influence of the bullwhip cracking, pop culture icon, Indiana Jones. I doubt that most millennials are aware of the impact this fedora-wearing protagonist had on our generation. If they need a reference, they need not look further than the gun-toting archaeologist-adventurer, Lara Croft. Hailing from the same occupational territory, Croft is to the millennial what Jones was to our generation. The first trailer of the Tomb Raider reboot, featuring a ...

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The hits and misses from the Pakistani drama industry in 2017

When it comes to Pakistani dramas in 2017, there has been a diverse range to choose from. There are dramas that fray towards the whimsical side, as well as those that have empowering messages about relevant social issues. A conversation about Pakistani dramas, however, is incomplete without criticism on the portrayal of the roti dhoti aurtein (miserable women) of our society. Listed below are the top and flop dramas of 2017 so far: Baaghi The drama is consistently scoring high Television Rating Points (TRP) and gaining a strong word of mouth due to its incredible script. Saba Qamar’s portrayal of Fouzia Batool aka Qandeel Baloch is one ...

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How will Pakistan fare in the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka without Misbah and Younis?

The Pakistan cricket team is set to resume international duty, as Sri Lanka’s tour of the UAE begins on September 28th (which will potentially feature a T20 in Lahore). This will be their first bilateral series since May. The summer of 2017 has been nothing short of unforgettable for Pakistan’s cricket fraternity, as the national team defied popular perception (not to mention the ranking system) by lifting the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy in England. Pakistan won their first Champions Trophy title, India v Pakistan, Final, Champions Trophy 2017, The Oval, London, June 18, 2017. Photo: PA In addition to this ...

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Will Bhoomi be Sanjay Dutt’s much needed comeback?

On the face of it, Bhoomi seems like the film to watch. It is marketed as Sanjay Dutt’s major comeback. Since his incarceration, Dutt has spent his time taking up supporting roles. And man, are we excited to see him back in action. The director, Omung Kumar, has also done well for himself after making films like Sarbjit and Mary Kom. Accompanying Dutt in the movie as the other primary character is Aditi Rao Hydari, a dependable performer. All of these factors combine to give Bhoomi an edge over the numerous other Bollywood films currently screening. Bhoomi (Hydari) lives with her father Arun (Dutt) and is all ...

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The UNGA proved that Pakistan and India can never rise above name-calling

This year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) did not bode well for the South Asian community. Maleeha Lodhi and Sushma Swaraj, two bright South Asian women who are fortunately educated and able, were unable to make a difference with their presence. Ambassador Lodhi, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative, stated that India is the “mother of terrorism” at the UNGA. Furthermore, she stated that Pakistan is open to starting a dialogue with India, and implementing all resolutions. However, she also went on to claim, “India has considerable experience in the state sponsorship of terrorism in our region.” Although Ambassador Lodhi claims that Pakistan is ready for a resolution, when ...

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