Stories published in March, 2018

As PSL comes home and the stakes run high, who will join Islamabad United in the final?

It is not easy for Pakistanis to make peace with the fact that a majority of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches are being held out of Pakistan. However, this is a bullet they need to bite with a glimmer of hope, as soon the entire event will take place on their home soil. There are no doubts about the excitement level of the feverish fans in Pakistan, presenting the picture of a nation which can put aside its differences for a game of cricket. This is why restoration of international cricket in the country is essential in the ...

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Netflix’s ‘Altered Carbon’ transports you to the 24th century, where death is no longer the ultimate truth

If you think cyberpunk is some new bohemian movement of the current digital age – something I am guilty of doing myself – then you are as far from being correct as a hippy would be from a drug-free lifestyle. Cyberpunk is actually a subgenre of science fiction, in which the setting is futuristic and often dystopian as well.  Technological advancements in such a society are at their peak, along with the disparity between the haves and the have-nots. On the other hand, morality becomes the primary victim; the one thing close to hitting rock bottom. If Blade Runner is the ...

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‘The Grinch’ is proof that Hollywood has officially run out of original ideas

Hollywood’s fondness for revisiting familiar ground to make quick money keeps leading to rehashing of old, well-known tales, which explains why we’re about to get another adaptation of Dr Seuss’ book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. The classic story of the holiday-hating curmudgeon was turned into an animated television special, with Boris Karloff voicing the titular character in 1966, and then adapted into a live-action movie starring Jim Carrey in 2000. Now, Illumination Entertainment has created a big screen animated adventure inspired by the Christmas tale. Directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier, The Grinch finds Benedict Cumberbatch voicing its anti-hero protagonist; the infamous ...

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Considering torture is illegal as per US law, how is a brutal torturer appointed as the new CIA chief?

The CIA occupies an almost mythic space in the minds of those of us who watch Hollywood movies. Time and again, we come across movies that show a direct link between the CIA and various atrocities around the globe. Movies such as the Bourne series and the Mission: Impossible series bubble up plenty of theories regarding how the CIA operates. Specifically for Pakistan and the Muslim world in general, such movies are proof for drawing room analysts that the CIA has a one-point agenda: defeat the Muslims. Movies like Zero Dark Thirty showed a heroic account of the CIA ...

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Mechanical and repetitive, ‘Tomb Raider’ is yet another failed video game adaptation

In recent years, it seems as if the question of what it takes to adapt a good movie from a video game has eluded Hollywood studio executives more than anything else. At first, it seemed as if they weren’t even trying. Films like Silent Hill, Doom and Max Payne, all releasing in the mid-2000’s, had the low-budget appeal of a direct-to-video movie, and felt more like a means to making a quick buck than faithful video game adaptations. However, when movies like Prince of Persia, Warcraft and most recently, Assassins Creed started bombing – both critically and commercially – the aforementioned question really started to emerge. After all, these were films ...

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What will it take for Karachi’s 20 million citizens to feel safe?

On the topic of Karachi’s security, Allah Dino Khawaja, the Inspector General (IG) of the Sindh Police, recently stressed on the need to design a comprehensive strategy to curb street crimes. It is a matter of general observation that all previous drives and campaigns in this context have failed miserably; the very obvious proof of this being the high rates of crime prevalent in Karachi despite the presence of additional forces, including the Rangers. The following are factors acting as an obstruction in providing relief to the people of Karachi: 1. Lack of training, equipment and facilities Effective law enforcement requires planning, training and implementation. Unlike the ...

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I am a coward

The stress and anxiety of life has made me lose my appetite. Suicide has been part of many people’s lives. Some develop these morbid thoughts at the onset of puberty, some just want to end it all when they feel completely unwanted, irrelevant and indulge in self-pity and self-loathing. They feel great dislike and disgust for themselves. My struggles with life are completely different. I am still waiting for feelings of shame and fear to be replaced by some sense of stability and sanity. It’s a distant dream. I have tried reaching out for help. I have screamed, hoping for someone to ...

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We as a people don’t deserve luxuries like Careem and Uber

Like any 20-something girl who doesn’t know how to drive, my best friends, and the most reliable services, are Careem and Uber. Both cab-hailing services have, to date, taken me everywhere I wanted to go and back, and the ride is always on my terms. The AC-filled car with the radio cranked up is truly a blessing, compared to the rickshaw ride I’d be jolting up and down in otherwise. More often than not, I’d order a Careem, only to have the riders call me back to confirm where I’d be going, always with a hint of worry. “Just here in Defence,” I’d say, irritated at ...

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Will Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un finally take their thumbs off the nuclear button?

Much of the world is still coming to grips with the news that US President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong Un. Fortune described the news as being “nothing short of a miracle”, which aptly describes how the rest of us, who do not want a nuclear holocaust, feel. That being said, it must be asked, what is behind Trump’s intention of meeting with Kim, and why now, at this particular juncture in history? It wasn’t too long ago that reports were emerging that the US was secretly considering a direct military strike on North ...

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For a nation obsessed with fair and lovely, are we really surprised at #Blackface?

If there is one thing Pakistani TV is good at, it is never failing to surprise audiences with how low it can go in its attempts to “entertain”. The most recent instance of such an effort took place on Sanam Jung’s morning show, Jaago Pakistan Jaago, where a bridal makeup competition segment required participants to turn naturally fair-skinned models into a darker complexion, and then give them a bridal makeover. As I came across pictures of the models, with their faces transformed to dramatically darkened skin tones and dressed as brides, it disturbed me to see yet another racist message being propagated ...

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