Stories published in June, 2018

In Pakistan, restaurants only care if you fast, but not if you pray

“Fast, pray, feast!” This attractive marketing tagline, alongside tempting pictures of food, is being circulated by a well-known eatery this Ramazan, as is the case every year. Not only is the food tempting, but also the deals. And why not? When one opens their fast at sunset in this most special month for Muslims, delicious food is but a must. But there is one issue. While they openly marketed the “pray” bit, there is no place for praying if you go to said eatery for an iftar deal. A young girl I spoke with who went there with her friend ...

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‘Lost in Space’ will make you want to fly into outer space to reconnect with your family

I am sure we all have some favourite books from our childhood that have profoundly influenced our collective lives in one way or another. The Swiss Family Robinson happens to be one of mine. Johann David Wyss’ classic novel tells the story of a Swiss family that gets shipwrecked and finds refuge on a deserted tropical island somewhere in the East Indies, when they were on their way to Australia. According to the author, he wrote the novel in order to teach his four sons about family values, good husbandry, the uses of the natural world and self-reliance. I don’t ...

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Miscarriage of justice: For Khadija Siddiqui, justice was delayed and denied

Shah Hussain’s May 25th ‘acquittal’ in the Khadija Siddiqui case has led to public outrage. People’s faith in the criminal justice system seems to be shattered yet again. In 2016, Khadija was attacked by a helmet adorned assailant multiple times, 23 times to be precise, with a knife. On July 29, 2017, a magistrates’ court convicted Shah, her classmate at law school, of attempted murder and criminal hurt (Sections 324 and 337 of the Pakistan Penal Code) and sentenced him to seven years in prison. In March, 2018, a session’s court reduced the sentence to five years, and last week, the Lahore ...

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Re-wear that jeans and stay away from those burgers – Saving Pakistan’s water is on you now!

The last few days have been odd! As someone who has always been shown the “who cares, loser?” face when I tell them about my work as a water economist, I have lately been asked a lot about the water situation in Pakistan, as well as the possible solutions for it. “Kya asal may pani khatam horaha hai?” (Are we really running out of water?) “Hum dam kyun nahi bana letay buhat saray?” (Why don’t we build a lot of dams?) “India humara pani kyun kha raha hai?” (Why is India taking our water?) The water crisis in Pakistan is indeed real, and the debate is much larger ...

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“Failing state”? Even Indians think Swara Bhaskar should stop confusing Pakistan with her career!

Given the current milieu of tense relations between India and Pakistan, an Indian contemplating the comments made by a relatively unknown Bollywood actress regarding Pakistan being a “failing state” may not be the most reasonable exercise. However, her statements bring forth something very typical about an average Indian’s perception of Pakistan. Over in Pakistan, actress Urwa Hocane’s posts calling Swara Bhaskar out for her contradictory statements on Pakistan have already gone viral on social media. Pakistan is the country that you @ReallySwara referred to,in 2015, as the “Best country you have ever visited” and it has only gotten better in the last few ...

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FIFA World Cup 2018: These 4 formidable teams do not need Ronaldo or Messi to go the distance

FIFA World Cup is football’s showpiece event which breathes life into the sport every four years. The mega event has a distinctive swagger attached to it, promoting national unity and radiating positivity.  You will find passionate Barcelona and Real Madrid fans coexisting in harmony, derby rivals sharing a drink at a pub in Manchester, and a multicultural French team with the backing of the entire nation, for the sole reason of winning the elusive trophy. Let’s take a dip in the dynamics of international football, and ascertain the teams which have a realistic chance of going the distance in the World Cup ...

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Can the 2018 General Elections be rigged?

Let’s get it out of the way: the caretaker or interim government setup for the General Elections 2018 will not be in a position to influence the results the way it did back in May 2013. After all, the chief secretaries appointed in this tenure will be scrutinised by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) very strictly, while the political parties, especially the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), are very determined to develop consensus when it comes to the names being included in the interim government. The provinces failed to develop consensus for the selection of caretaker chief ministers (CM) within the given ...

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If Pakistan follows Saudi Arabia’s footsteps, why not take a leaf from its sexual harassment law also?

One would think that the loose cannon that is the rising monarch of Saudi Arabia, long since the world’s Muslim hegemony, would not have thought all its radical initiatives through. And with good reason too. But recent endeavours are making us think otherwise. From where we stood, the lifting of the decades-long driving ban for women, only weeks from being set into motion, was nothing if not far flung. But it’s now being tailed by an impressive pre-emptive measure. Put short, Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) Vision 2030 might just be a concrete plan, and not just a ludicrous ...

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The Breadwinner: A story unafraid of uncomfortable truths

The women and children of Afghanistan have perhaps paid the price of war most heavily. The ongoing conflict leaves nearly half of the children in Afghanistan out of school, while 87% of women in Afghanistan experience physical, sexual or psychological violence during their lifetime. It is against this backdrop of war and devastation that we find the heartfelt film, The Breadwinner. Based on the book of the same name by Deborah Ellis and produced by Angelina Jolie, the film follows the story of 11-year-old Parvana (Saara Chaudry), who navigates her life disguised as a boy, and attempts to survive ...

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“Apna ghar khud sambhalo” – When parents throw their married daughters under the bus

Recently, a discussion was going on at a relative’s house amongst some aunties and uncles regarding parents’ support to their daughters after marriage, and its consequences. Unsurprisingly, most of them were of the view that a girl can never become a successful homemaker if her parents keep backing her after her marriage. They were of the view that parents should never assist their daughter after getting her hitched. No matter what the circumstances she goes through, they should push her to compromise as if she has no other option left. Some of the ladies were proudly narrating such instances from ...

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