Stories published in January, 2018

MQM-P vs PSP, PML-N vs PPP – Who will secure more ‘biryani’ votes in the 2018 general election?

The great comedian Umer Sharif once said that Karachi only has two seasons – summer, and hotter summer. Given the U-turn Karachi’s weather has taken over the past few weeks, from extreme cold winds to sweaty afternoons, he was right. Similarly, Pakistan also has two kinds of political seasons – elections and political turmoil. Another element similar between the two is that the first season transitions into the other only for a short while, and then swiftly returns back to its default setting. Since the 2013 General Election, Pakistan has been in a state of political and administrative commotion. The government ...

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Trump’s incoherent tweet will only push Pakistan to “do more” for China and Russia

American President Donald Trump welcomed 2018 with the same practice that he has employed almost for the entirely of his presidency – sending out an incoherent tweet. Unfortunately, this time, his tweet sent into frenzy much of Pakistan’s arm-chair analysts as well as talking heads from the myriad of shows on television. This was primarily because Trump chose Pakistan as the subject of his ire in his very first tweet of 2018. The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies ...

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#PakvsNZ is an entirely different and difficult test for the men in green – Is Pakistan prepared for the challenge that awaits?

Let’s face it, most of us, including me, don’t like getting up early in the morning, but one thing that made me sacrifice my sleep and get out of my warm, cosy bed in winter in the wee hours of the night was cricket, when Pakistan was away on tour to the Trans-Tasman region. Waking up in the middle of the night can be a tad bit difficult but watching Pakistan win is surely worth it. More accustomed to playing on the dead pitches in the subcontinent, Pakistani cricket team’s trip to New Zealand poses an entirely different test altogether. ...

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The only difference between Parchi and Arth 2/Chupan Chupai is the craftiness of its writer and director

The year 2018 has just begun and Pakistani cinema is all geared up with new releases for the new year. It is indescribable how good it feels to see our filmmakers trying their best in the capacity that they can, to keep producing films in a timely manner. Parchi is one film that created a lot of hype from the start, be it for Hareem Farooq’s fierce character, the catchy music, or the fact that this will be the first Lollywood film to be released in Saudi Arabia and France. The director, Azfar Jafri, started his career with Siyaah and ...

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When Pakistan’s messiah Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came to our house in Larkana

I was a student of 10th grade at the Municipal High School Larkana in 1967, when a major event in Pakistan’s political history left a mark on the country – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) formed the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). By then, Bhutto had already emerged as a key player in Pakistani politics. Fifty years of PPP has evoked my memories of him. It was 1962, I was 10-years-old and delivering a speech at a school function where Bhutto was invited as the chief guest. Elated at my oratory, Bhutto rose from his seat, approached the rostrum, patted my back and congratulated me. ...

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A billion dollars and the demise of Manchester United

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times… It was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”- Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities, 1859) Nothing describes the mood better in Manchester than Dickens’s most famous quote. The followers of Manchester United enter the New Year burying any hope of a title challenge, while their neighbour seems destined to clinch another Premier League title, in a style reminiscent of Arsenal’s Invincibles – unbeaten. United have been replaced by their city rival, Manchester City, ...

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Pervez Musharraf claims he gave women their rights, but then mocks Bilawal Bhutto Zardari by calling him a “woman”

“Bilawal jo nahre laga raha ke auraton ke tarah. Sub se pehley tu yeh keh aadmi ban ker dikhai aur phir  nahre lagwai.” (Bilawal is raising slogans like a woman. First he should become a man and then raise such slogans.) These lines from the latest video from General (retired) Pervez Musharraf really hit me hard. As of late, I am becoming used to Musharraf sprouting nonsense, but this was very uncouth and ill-considered and below his usually extremely low standards. After all, Mr Musharraf, the former dictator and Pakistani “educated” urban middle class’s favorite political leader after Imran Khan, has lately been ...

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Islamophobia is an undeniable fact in the West, but Muslim Americans can’t jump the gun and label every act as hate crime

It is true that Islamophobia is a real phenomenon; Muslims have been and continue to be targeted because of their faith, principles and values. There are segments of societies in the western world that stereotype Muslims as gangsters, thugs and terrorists, want them barred from ever entering their countries, and it is highly unlikely that this hostile attitude towards Muslims will simmer down anytime soon. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, is a racist bigot who hates Muslims (but not his rich Arab friends) and will continue to incite violence against law-abiding Muslims wherever and whenever he can. Having said that, and in the light of recent developments ...

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Up close and personal with Parchi’s Ahmed Ali Akbar: “You cannot pull people down if they are more talented than you; you have to push them up”

It was an absolute pleasure to join Ahmed Ali Akbar, from the cast of Parchi, in Islamabad. Akbar is known for his roles in films such as Karachi Se Lahore and Siyaah, and his experimentation with diverse genres is a testament to his versatility as an actor. A one-on-one conversation with Akbar, however, is enough to determine that not only is he a good actor, but an amazing human being inside out as well! I sat down with Akbar to talk about his upcoming film Parchi, his latest projects and more in an exclusive conversation that will definitely keep you thoroughly entertained! How did you start off as ...

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We tried to hate ‘Mamma Mia!’ but ended up singing and dancing to its tune – Can the same be expected from ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’?

Meryl Streep – widely regarded as one of the best actresses in the world – has starred in some terrific films. And, presumably to balance things out, she has also starred in Mamma Mia!, a shoddy jukebox musical that was basically little more than an attempt to cash in on the nostalgic draw of the popular 70s Swedish band ABBA. Based on the stage musical of the same name, the 2008 movie had a flimsy storyline, uneven direction, and a cast that couldn’t even carry a tune, and yet it brought us so much campy, nonsensical joy that despite its many ...

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