Stories published in November, 2017

Justice League is a work of two different directors and it shows

I get a lot of grief from fan boys for being super critical when it comes to comic book adaptations. But truth be told, I judge these movies on their cinematic merit rather than having a blinkered view by being a devotee of any particular character. Although I  understand how any movie from the superhero genre could develop a cult-following, but those are just fans who are so happy to have their favourite superhero recreated in flesh and blood on screen that they are willing to overlook all the flaws associated with the craft of filmmaking. So for all you ...

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Who controls the Islamic Republic of Pakistan?

If I were to rank the worst weeks in the recent history of Pakistan, this one would most definitely be a strong contender for the top. The week, which also witnessed the release of Hafiz Saeed, much to the dismay of the outside world, reached its crescendo when yesterday, Pakistan saw its elected government, with supposedly a heavy majority, capitulate in front of a few thousand zealots. The hopes that had been raised when the government initiated a crackdown on Saturday were quickly dashed when the crackdown was suspended, and subsequently transformed into horror when the government proceeded to yield to the unreasonable demands of the ...

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With its Basant-like aura, the #CokeFest transported me to the old Lahore of the 90s

Despite living outside of Pakistan for almost three years now, I am still a hard-core desi at heart. The ‘desiness’ gets stronger if you are not just from Pakistan, but also from Lahore, and happen to be married to another Lahori, who is homesick more often than not. The Lahori inside my husband is so headstrong that a daig (large pot) at Data Sahib‘s shrine is the key to all our woes and worries. Despite studying in the UK and spending most of his professional life outside Lahore, he still compares the falooda he eats anywhere with the one he used ...

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The scent of a sinner

The fresh roses turn pinker, dwelling outside the garden of the lilies, The wrinkled skirts smelling of cheap perfume, stinking of midnight sillies, The footsteps in the empty corridors, the heel to their Achilles, The birthmark on the neck, the missing toothbrush in the can, The dust under the shoes, the unannounced dinner plans, The misplaced phone calls, the green pills on the nightstand, The children in the fields, playing until its dark, Watching them live in singularity, searching for answers like the lark, Faking a smile, the burnt cigarette leaving its mark, Wandering in the withered winds, writing a memoir, Tearing the sinned papers, watching the two from ...

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With its fresh talent and catchy music, Maan Jao Naa seems like a complete entertainment package

In the last decade or so, we have seen Pakistani cinema seemingly thriving, with TV actors shifting to the larger screen, and directors and producers experimenting with new and innovative ideas as well. Moviegoers are buzzing about at the moment as Aabis Raza’s upcoming Maan Jao Na, which, based on its recently released trailer at least, looks dynamic and diverse in terms of its talent, cinematography and music.   What caught my attention was that a lot of new faces were seen in the movie, with some of the cast being known for their comic roles in our TV dramas. ...

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These 10 cricketers from the National T20 Cup are the reason why the future of Pakistan cricket excites me

It is that time of year again, the National T20 Cup. Every year, the tournament generally produces a few potential future international cricketers. Past names include Mukhtar Ahmed, Nauman Anwar, Raza Hasan and Haris Sohail. And I’m relatively sure that this tournament will discover a few too. As the national T20 commences, I look at the top 10 players to watch out for during the tournament: 1. Sahibzada Farhan Born in Charsadda, Sahibzada’s breakout tournament was in early 2016 where he was called in as a late replacement for Azhar Ali. Throughout the tournament, he put up consistent scores, however, it ...

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A life sentence for Ratko Mladic, the ‘Butcher of Bosnia’, is no cause for celebration

The Bosnian war is one of my earliest childhood memories. I remember watching the coverage on our small TV screen in our living room. It was the 90s – I must have been seven or eight-years-old – and I distinctly remember it was the first time I saw my dad cry. It was around this time that I also remember some newcomers to our class at school. I had overheard one of my teachers saying, “Exciting day today, the Bosnian refugees are joining!” He seemed genuinely jubilant, in a kind and anxious sort of way. I will never forget the bright blue parka coat ...

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As a man, I was oblivious to the reality of women getting harassed in public spaces, until that one night at Data Darbar changed everything

Two weeks ago, on Friday night, a friend and I decided to go to Old Lahore for dinner. It was the last night of Data Sahib’s Urs, and all the major roads in Lahore, from Mall Road to Azadi Chowk, were blocked. Hence, we parked at Anarkali and took a rickshaw to Lohari. From there onwards, we decided to walk, through the Data Darbar precinct and towards the old city. Most of the streets in the area were barricaded. We passed a small check-post near Mori Gate, and saw an even bigger one just outside the Darbar precinct, where I asked a police officer ...

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Have you heard about the “Chinese” dish called Chicken Manchurian? Because people in China haven’t!

Pakistan is known for its desi-flavour infused Chinese dishes. Chicken Manchurian is a popular dish in Pakistan but funnily enough, people living in China have never heard of it, let alone consume it. This came as a surprise to me when I was visiting Beijing, China for a documentary shoot. My hosts from China Central Television took great care of my needs, including my meals and accommodation. At the end of the first day, when we were sitting in a halal restaurant in Beijing, my hosts asked me if I had a specific dish I wanted to have for my dinner. Since ...

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If Pakistan can take action after the APS attack, what is stopping the US from stricter gun control laws after another school shooting?

On November 14th, the US faced another mass shooting at an elementary school in California. The shooter, identified as Kevin Jason Neal, killed his wife, shot his neighbours, attacked the school and drove by the area while shooting at motorists. He was responsible for five deaths and injuring 10, which included children. Eventually, he was killed by the police. This tragedy is one of the countless mass shooting incidents in the US that have escalated to a point where the country now leads the world in such mindless tragedies. Surprisingly as it is, the statistics surpass even that of countries like Pakistan that are rife with ...

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