Stories published in November, 2017

BCCI snubbing Pakistan from its opponents list only confirms their insecurities and fears

Cricket ties between arch-rivals, Pakistan and India, are currently the most discussed issue since news of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) planning to snub Pakistan from its opponents’ list for the ICC Test Championship has been making rounds. Cricket insiders also revealed that BCCI has designed its own Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the upcoming World Test Championship which will only include six opponents for India to play against – Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. This means that Pakistan will not be part of any Test series against India for over two ...

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Like Ayub Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif can’t see the writing on the wall

I have never considered Nawaz Sharif as an intelligent man. Considering the events that have taken place this year alone, he should have learnt the lesson that he cannot continue looting the nation anymore. In fact, he should just spend the rest of his days in the holy land (Saudi Arabia) or he could go to London and guide his party members from there, like Altaf Hussain. Furthermore, with the humiliation he has suffered after being disqualified as the prime minister of Pakistan and from contesting future elections, he should have at least had the grace and dignity to admit his defeat. But like General ...

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For Pakistan’s women, the false promise of safety in return for compliance is a double-edged sword

When it comes to living in this part of the world, Pakistani women have long been presented with a causational dictum. Comply and you will survive. Sacrifice in patience and the reward will come to you. Our parents worry when we step out of our homes, pursue higher education, or when we want careers, as the first reaction always is, “Beta, it’s dangerous.” It is dangerous to be out after dark, to be opinionated, or independent – because independent “awara” women are the ones who are assaulted and harassed. Yet, the statistics speak otherwise: – In November, a seven-year-old girl was raped and murdered by two brothers. – In November, a ...

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Dubai – a city of countless distractions and all the pleasures money can buy, yet no sense of congruity

As I stood in the line behind the passport control counter, a security personnel menacingly shouted at a person ahead of me, who had the unmistakeable look of a working class labourer, “Gulf resident?” Before the poor guy had the chance to get his bearings right, the security personnel added perhaps the only two Urdu words that he knew, “Chalo niklo!” (Get out!) The person quickly gathered himself and hurried in the direction pointed by the security personnel, like a flock of sheep guided with the urgency and indifference of a shepherd. The line we were standing in was for visit visa holders. ...

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‘Victoria and Abdul’ wittily and poignantly portrays the bond between an authoritative British queen and her Indian-Muslim munshi

Victoria and Abdul, the latest offering by director Stephen Frears, is a cautiously patterned yet realistic biographical drama about the deep friendship between the Queen of England and her Indian-Muslim servant. The story of this rather unbelievable bond is all about reminiscence and loss, making it immensely pleasing to watch a historical narrative presented with such convincing solemnity. Based on eminent author Shrabani Basu’s book of the same name, Victoria and Abdul is set in 1887 against the backdrop of the queen’s golden jubilee – the 50th year of her ascension to the throne of England. Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), ...

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India’s ongoing Padmavati controversy is engrained with ulterior motives

A 21st century movie based on the mythology of the 16thcentury about a 14th century queen has ruffled political feathers in India. The members of Karni Sena, a politico-cultural group of Rajputs, man-handled Padmavati’s director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, vandalised cinema halls, and openly threatened high intensity violence if the movie is released. The protesters allege that the movie distorts the Rajput history, glorifies a barbaric invader as a lover and a brave warrior. Rumours are galore that the movie shows a love affair between the Queen Padmavati and the invader Alauddin Khilji. However, the truth is far more complex than what appears on the surface. Eminent journalists like Dr Ved Pratap Vedic and Rajat ...

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How Saudi women will soon be the driving force of Saudi Arabia’s economy

After decades of inactivity, obscurity and an identity crisis, Saudi women are suddenly caught in a frenzy of excitement and events that promise something for them to look forward to. When a royal decree was passed, lifting the ban on women driving in the country, it was followed not only by jubilation, but seemed to have opened a wide range of opportunities for the female population in Saudi Arabia. From receiving offers to be female cab drivers, to job vacancies in women-only outlets, to grabbing key posts in the bureaucracy, Saudi women are now starting to make their presence felt in a ...

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5 moments of pure magic that prove the Pakistan cricket team is a force to be reckoned with

I mean, let’s be real. The Pakistan cricket team has never been the team that played normally, so just limiting Pakistan’s miraculous wins to five times is a bit difficult. These impossible wins are nothing less than a magic trick, where the magician’s assistant is in the box and cut in half but still manages to escape alive. Defeating England at the Oval? The magician’s assistant in the box. That Sharjah Six? We just cut the box in half. The World Cup of 1992? Quarters now! That T20 World Cup of 2009? Seriously, please stop! That Whitewash of Australia? Assistant is still alive!! But these are moments everyone remembers, the ...

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‘12 Strong’ is a cliché post 9/11 war movie glorifying the US military we’ve been seeing for the past 16 years

Remind me again, what year is this? 2017? Well, 16 years on, and Hollywood is still stuck at 9/11. Don’t get me wrong – I believe that the 9/11 attacks are one of the most significant events in modern history. However, I am sick and tired of how Tinseltown has painted the tragedy and its aftermath ever since. While the overtly nauseating patriotism displayed in these movies, and the lack of facts, might do well with the American public, for the rest of us, it’s just another way of how Uncle Sam – in cahoots with the influential Hollywood – wants ...

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Did Ahsan Iqbal and Imran Khan not get the memo about not using Twitter? Or was the ban only for the general public?

A bunch of religious hardliners taking over a country may seem like something a government may be able to control, but this being Pakistan, of course this wasn’t the case. After weeks of inaction, when the government finally decided to do something about the Faizabad protesters, it was to deploy the police, and unless one slept through Saturday, everyone is by now aware of the chaos that ensued following the government’s failed attempt at an operation. What undoubtedly added to the panic on Saturday was the fact that both social and electronic media were shut down by the Pakistan Electronic ...

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