Stories published in August, 2018

Without Ronaldo and Zidane, can Real Madrid hold the fort this season?

With the start of the new season, Real Madrid find themselves in an unusual position due to the departure of the two most important individuals, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane. What transpired over the transfer window was not unfathomable but it still leaves the club in a precarious situation with question marks over the team’s progress in the next season and beyond. To say that Real Madrid will not miss the absence of Ronaldo and Zidane within their ranks in the upcoming season would be like narrating a Banbury story of a cock and bull. Ronaldo’s unprecedented excellence coupled ...

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Zia thought he was going to China to sell his liver, but he didn’t know what was waiting for him

Being a journalist in Pakistan, I frequently come across crimes committed, sentences pronounced, culprits getting caught, and in many cases, culprits getting away. Thought I may not be physically present every time, I rely on certain ‘sources’ within the respective setup to bring forth the facts, if not the whole truth. On July 30th, I was contacted by one of my sources within the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) who informed me about a poor soul and a ring of criminals caught at the airport. I asked for adequate information on the issue, and in response, I was not only ...

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Bored of the same ol’ bbq? Spice up your Eidul Azha with these mouth-watering yet easy recipes

Eidul Azha, more commonly known as Bakra Eid in Pakistan, is that time of the year when Muslims sacrifice cattle in the remembrance of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS). But alas, the majority of the population here is either immersed in a statement marathon or avails this festival as a money-making opportunity. A growing trend has emerged nowadays, where people prefer to buy their animals a couple of days before Eid to avoid the costs and efforts required for maintenance of the animals. That doesn’t feel like it is in the Eid spirit. However, there is still a glimmer of hope. A few months ...

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee: The last dignified fighter in India’s political arena

The demise of former Prime Minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee has brought an end to the era of ‘statesmanship’ in the country. Vajpayee brought an entirely new dimension to the Indian political scene; the only point ahead of his leadership was perhaps his poetry, filled with a literary richness that would easily put Prasoon Joshi to shame. Perhaps most importantly, however, Vajpayee was the last dignified fighter in India’s political arena. The man paved the way for nationalistic politics as the founding member of Jan Sangh in 1951, and later established the BJP in ...

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No country for Kiki challenge: Forget corruption, ‘goras’ dancing with our flag is the bigger problem

The entire world is familiar with the rather infamous ‘Kiki challenge’ by now. It is yet another one of those social media influenced fads, readily embraced by the younger generation, along with celebrities of course, and involves dancing on the song In My Feelings by Drake. However, one particular challenge landed both a vlogger and the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in trouble, and left Pakistanis wondering – why? Eva zu Beck is a Polish tourist and vlogger currently on a world tour, who recently filmed herself doing the Kiki challenge in collaboration with PIA; the latter being eager to promote ...

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Young and wise: When Bilawal Bhutto Zardari outshined Imran Khan and Shehbaz Sharif

The long-awaited wish of Imran Khan to become the prime minister of Pakistan has finally come true, and I pray that he delivers what he has promised. Change is indeed needed and perhaps at a much faster rate than the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) anticipates. Given the state of Pakistan’s crippling economy, the new government may not even have time to enjoy the “honeymoon period” and would have to start their work from the very first day. All of us know that Imran has many problems which he will have to sort out in his own time, however in my opinion, ...

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The curse of the green passport: 4 places to visit this Eid break without any visa woes

English novelist Aldous Huxley once said, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” He could not have been more accurate, as only the bearer of a green passport can truly understand this. However, though it is obviously very difficult to get a visa on a green passport, it is not entirely impossible. If you move away from the Americas and the European destinations to allow for an easier visa, there are several countries that wholeheartedly welcome you despite the colour of your passport. Given the (not so) long Eid holidays coming up, I shall highlight a ...

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Christopher Robin is a warm and emotional trip down memory lane

“Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood, Where Christopher Robin plays, You’ll find the enchanted neighbourhood, Of Christopher’s childhood days.” But Christopher’s childhood days are bound to come to an end. So what happens then? That’s the story of Christopher Robin, a charming fantasy comedy based on the beloved characters that were created by author AA Milne and illustrator EH Shepard almost a decade ago (inspired by the former’s own son and his toys). In Director Marc Forster’s new film, Christopher Robin (portrayed as a kid by Orton O’Brien) leaves his childhood friends behind as he grows up, trading the imaginative lands of the Hundred Acre Wood ...

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Happy 84th Birthday to Gulzar: 5 short poems for the 21st century revoluntionary

Gulzar remains one of the most influential, intellectual and cultural figures in the Indian subcontinent. His towering contributions as a poet, short-story writer, filmmaker, scriptwriter, lyricist and a story-writer for children are well-known. What is less well-known is the fact that he was born in the city of Dina, near Jhelum in Punjab, 13 years before the Partition. Today marks his 84th birthday, and thus the month of August is synonymous with the Partition of India as well as the birthday of Gulzar. Equally well-known is Gulzar’s love for both the Urdu language and Pakistan. As a birthday tribute, I have ...

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Pakistan did not need to pick a side in the Canada-Saudi Arabia conflict

I had the pleasure of visiting the Pakistani consulate in Toronto the other day to renew my passport. Every time I enter the consulate, it’s like I am transported back in time to a bureaucratic government office in Islamabad in the 90s. Passport renewal process in Pakistan has been improved and streamlined yet our consulates and embassies still operate as if this is Nawaz Sharif’s first term in office. But I digress. I was seated next to a bearded gentleman who was also there to renew his passport. We struck up a conversation and I found out that this man ...

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