Stories published in September, 2017

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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‘It’ is a twisted, terrifying and an intense piece of work

Clowns are creepy. There’s simply no getting around that. I don’t care what people say, there’s just something odd about a grown man in a kooky outfit wearing makeup, a wig and a red nose, and has that much cheer in him. It’s this creepiness that author Stephen King capitalised on in 1986 when he wrote It, a book that did for clowns what Jaws did for sharks and what Psycho did for taking showers. The title character, Pennywise, is a dancing clown who happens to actually be a macabre and malevolent force of evil that exists in underground sewers of the small town of Derry, Maine. ...

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Kashmir: The perfect combination of Vital Signs and EP, all rolled into one

Despite being an avid music lover, I’ve stopped following contemporary Pakistani music for quite a while now. It would not be incorrect to claim that things took a wrong turn ever since Rohail Hyatt left Coke Studio. However, the recently concluded Pepsi Battle of the Bands has changed that. And it really is down to one band alone – the eventual winners, Kashmir. I was mildly surprised when they won the competition even though I was rooting for them myself. Badnaam, the runner up, had been impeccable throughout the competition, managed to stay out of the danger zone every time and ...

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Is the NA-120 by-election a preview of PTI’s prospects in the upcoming 2018 elections?

The voters of NA-120 have given their verdict and have elected Kulsoom Nawaz by a healthy, though reduced, margin of around 14,000 votes. Although I have been following elections for decades now, I don’t recall any election of an individual seat in which the stakes were so high. Normally by-elections are predictable and frankly boring affairs. This by-election, however, was anything but boring or even predictable. It is said that all politics is local and one should exercise a lot of caution in extrapolating the results of one seat to predict the future general elections. Like all constituencies, NA-120 has its own local ...

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Schools in India have become less about education and more about survival

It was a senseless murder so heart-breaking that only the most hardened could have remained unmoved. It has been more than a week since seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur was murdered in the washroom of Ryan International School in Delhi’s suburb of Gurgaon, just minutes after reaching school. The police say a school bus conductor has admitted to killing the child. In a gruesome CCTV footage, the child can be seen crawling out of the washroom, clutching his bloody neck because the attacker slit his throat. Thakur was dead before he reached the hospital. Now, this story is what everyone with a child in ...

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Series 8: The Green Thumb Part 1 ‘Death changes everything, even innocence’

The house at the end of the street was possibly one of the most spacious and attractive ones in the area. With its tall French windows, red bricks, and magenta bougainvillea covering the carved front door and climbing to the roof of the second floor, it was as lovely as it was mysterious. Friends of the owners were also aware of the fruit trees in the open, spacious lawn at the back. The gardens had been lovingly cared for by the now deceased, green-thumbed Mrs Faizan. Mr Faizan did not have a green thumb and he was least bothered by the fact. His wife had enough of it ...

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He flashed his private parts at her and told her that raping her would please him – no big deal, right?

The other day, I was randomly scrolling through Facebook when I came across a long post by girl who had been harassed on her way to work by a guy on a bike who flashed his private parts at her. So common, right? Let us just keep scrolling, my brain hinted. There was a video attached to the post as well, and it automatically began playing before I could scroll past it. As I watched the video, I realised that the car looked oddly familiar, and then I realised that the girl was in fact my own sister. I ...

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For Muslims in Pakistan, providing food for guests at funerals is a cultural obligation, not an Islamic one

Recently, my friend attended the funeral of her grandfather, the former Federal Minister Khalid Kharal. During the funeral, she realised the immense pressure on the family of the deceased to provide food for the mourners and the people attending. When she came back home and discussed this with me, we both concluded that the idea of providing food for the guests at funerals is more of a growing cultural obligation for Muslims in Pakistan rather than an Islamic one. The death of a loved one in the family or close friends is already the cause of severe grief and pain. Adding another responsibility of ...

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World XI: Siyasat, junoon aur Lahore

In a few hours’ time, Pakistan’s most cosmopolitan city will brace itself for a tussle between two political heavyweights, Kulsoom Nawaz and Yasmin Rashid. This democratic NA-120 is a by-product of the decision to disqualify a democratically-elected prime minister. Furthermore, it promises monumental changes to the country’s ever-turbulent political climate. The streets are indeed decked with scores of signs and banners, hinting at the nearing of something colossal. These banners have faces and a few badly thought-out catchphrases printed on them. It all sounds familiar, but feels rather different. These faces do not evoke feelings of annoyance in the people ...

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Why droves of Pakistani women are leaving their misogynistic country

When I started my first job, a cousin told me, “All the noble reasons a woman might have for earning her own living don’t matter. Once you start spending time outside the boundary of your house, you are an outside woman.” I never understood exactly what he meant by “an outside woman”, and by the time I’d grasped what he said, the moment had passed. I believed what he meant was that I was not as respectable as a housewife or someone who does housework and nothing else. An outside woman – a woman thought of like a house cat that becomes a ...

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