Stories published in July, 2018

Sacred Games is more like 24, not Narcos

“All religions preach predestination,” states Luke Kenny’s scary interpretation of a cool and cold Malcom Murad. “When I was born in Luxor, Egypt and you were born in… Mumbai? It had been written that you and I will meet here.” When the US streaming service Netflix undertook its maiden production House of Cards, everything had been falling into place so that Sacred Games could become its first Indian original series. *This post contains spoilers* Based on a 2006 book by Vikram Chandra of the same name, the premise of Sacred Games is straightforward: an elusive gangster, Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), tips a law-abiding ...

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Hero versus Pakistan’s villains

“The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality”― Arthur Schopenhauer. This is the story of Hero, a donkey that remains in critical condition after violent abuse. Every time I think our morality and apathy has hit rock bottom, I am proven wrong by another heinous incident that brutally violates norms of human decency and shreds any form of animal welfare. The more animal welfare is highlighted and the more awareness we all raise, ...

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Despite everything, I will still vote for PML-N

When I moved back to Pakistan after completing my undergraduate studies in the US, I was not a supporter of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). In fact, my newsfeed was flowing so much with remonstrations about the ‘Jangla Bus’ (Green Line Metro Bus) that it was hard to even contemplate that possibility. One day, I decided to test out this infamous bus service, from Model Town to Lahore Fort, expecting to witness how utterly senseless the project truly was. Handed a yellow plastic token, I entered through the turnstile and awaited my ride. It pulled in and the doors parted with a ...

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Imaginative, exhilarating and unexpected, Wimbledon 2018 was tennis at its best

A fortnight of exhilarating tennis at the game’s showpiece event – Wimbledon – culminated in triumphs for Novak Djokovic and Angelique Kerber in their respective domains. Unexpected winners? Yes. Disappointing tournament? Not at all! While Djokovic and Kerber’s performance at SW19 alone is enough to gauge the magnitude of their achievement, their tango sequence after the conclusion of the event unintentionally encapsulated their entire careers. The peaks and troughs of their tennis careers were subtlety portrayed as they tangoed on the dance floor during the Champions Dinner at Guildhall in London, with notable rhythms and sudden pauses. Djokovic rejoins the cult of ...

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To vote or not to vote: 6 questions that need to be answered before Election Day

As General Elections are approaching, people are increasingly interested in discussing various aspects of elections. In a country that has seen martial laws most of its existence, it is indeed a good omen that slowly elections are becoming a predictable event of democratic development (touch wood) in Pakistan. The world has started excelling in the use of social media for meaningful purposes including electioneering; it’s not a bad start for Pakistan as well. There is, however, a huge class of “concerned citizens” (read: chattering class) who have started raising some questions on elections, ranging from why is there an election ...

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Remembering Saghar Siddiqui: The maverick who poetically bared corruption and opportunism

Today marks the 44th death anniversary of maverick Pakistani poet Saghar Siddiqui, who died from an overdose of morphine on the streets of Lahore, the city where he found a home after migrating from India to Pakistan in 1947. He was only six years short of turning 50, joining the ranks of legends such as Asrarul Haq Majaz, Saadat Hasan Manto, Miraji and Mustafa Zaidi, who were equally consumed by the callousness and opportunism of a predatory system. Had Saghar lived longer, I have no doubt he would have been as popular among the youth of Pakistan as Jaun Elia ...

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“If I score, I’m French; If I don’t, I’m Arab”: Why France needs to recognise its “others”

As a Muslim French woman, my feelings regarding France’s victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup are quite divided. They are not divided about the game per se – the players undoubtedly demonstrated their brilliance on the field, and I do not see how I could be unhappy about winning the title again after 20 long years. Rather, I am sceptical about what changes this win will bring to individuals belonging to certain ethnic groups in this country, and to the Muslim faith in particular. Nothing major, I fear. Dear France, Congratulations on winning the #WorldCup. 80% of your team ...

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No one knows what is really happening in Balochistan

Last Friday’s suicide attack in Mastung was the one of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan’s history.  The death toll from the attack now stands at 149 with more than 200 people wounded. Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, candidate of the newly emerged Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and a favourite of the state, was among the dead. The slain Raisani’s son was also killed in a bombing on July 29, 2011 in Mastung football stadium. Let’s take a look at recent terror attacks in Mastung, a district located about 50 miles southwest of Quetta. In early June of this year, two suicide bombers attempted ...

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The dam charity: Sorry, I can’t do more

As Pakistanis, we generally make headlines for all the wrong reasons these days, but there is one thing we can still be proud of. Despite having a shattered economy and prevalent poverty, we are one of the most charitable nations in the world. No one could have expected that this fact would one day work against the nation as well. Recently, the age-old issue of the construction of dams took the limelight once again, as Pakistan ranked third among countries facing water shortage. This alarming situation put every state institution on high alert, including the Supreme Court. Fed up with the ...

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Mulk unmasks terrorist attacks and Muslims in India, but can it do justice?

From the 1969 Gujarat riots to the 2014 Assam violence, Muslims in India have frequently become victims of violence at the hands of its Hindus. Many a times, Muslims who were born in India and are actually Indians have been questioned about their patriotism and loyalty to their country due to their religion. The film Mulk, whose trailer was released recently, revolves around a similar issue and stars Rishi Kapoor, Prateik Babar, Taapsee Pannu, Ashutosh Rana and Rajat Kapoor. The trailer shows a Muslim family whose son is a suspect in a terrorist attack, which leads to the entire ...

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