Stories published in September, 2018

The good guns of Balochistan: Why fighters like Nawab Din Bugti dropped their pens and picked up guns

“No one likes to pick up a gun instead of a pen, until one is forced to save his family and honour,” Nawab Din Bugti, a guerrilla commander in the Bugti Aman Force (BAF) turned member of the Balochistan Levies, replied to a question about why he did not complete his education and picked up a gun instead. Nawab in the BAF A muscular man with a thick, black and curly moustache, though not very tall, Nawab talks with a smile on his face until he starts talking about his enemies, whom he recognises as the goons of ...

Read Full Post

Like father, like son: The abusive and helpless sons of battered mothers

She was in her 90s and her sons had brought her in to get treatment for her depression. As her life unfolded with each therapy session, I got accustomed to her life of long-term abuse at the hands of her husband and in-laws. This was all she could talk about. As we further progressed in therapy, she narrated how her sons were terrified of watching her suffer abuse at the hands of their father. One of her sons was scarred for life with severe anger management issues, while the other had a deep sense of inferiority complex despite accomplishing so much ...

Read Full Post

The scars of her henna

Zarah Hussain, a 17-year-old girl from Lahore Grammar School International, won an essay competition organised by the British Royal Commonwealth Society. This is a proud moment for Pakistan and highlights how much talent we have in this country. We hope she continues her love for words and wish her all the best for the future. The following is the short story that won her the accolade: Red. Gold. Adorned in jewels, henna lacing her fingers with intricate, never ending flowers. And hidden in the henna somewhere would be written the name of her most beloved. A dream she’d dreamt since she’d seen the ring ...

Read Full Post

(Un)clean and (dis)honest: When karma paid a little visit to Jahangir Tareen and Imran Khan

The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan has finally dismissed Jahangir Khan Tareen’s review petition, filed by him after being disqualified for life alongside former premier Nawaz Sharif. Tareen was found to be dishonest under article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution, read with Section 99(1)(f) of ROPA, due to him concealing SVL, an offshore company also known as ‘Hyde House’, which he failed to declare in his nomination papers. By submitting an untrue statement – that he had no beneficial interest in SVL – he proved his dishonesty in the eyes of the law. Tareen always maintained that the verdict against ...

Read Full Post

Brett Kavanugh vs Christine Blasey Ford: Don’t send an assaulter to the Supreme Court bench!

Christine Blasey Ford recently accused an attorney and a sitting judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexually assaulting her in the early 80s, when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh was nominated for a position in the Supreme Court by Donald Trump and after finding out that her perpetrator may go on to be a part of the top court, her civic duty compelled her to bring her past into the spotlight.  The Senate held a hearing for this purpose, to decide whether or not Ford’s allegations hold some truth. Kavanaugh testified ...

Read Full Post

Captain Marvel may be the superhero to end all superheroes, but Shazam is the clear winner

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been on a record-breaking streak for 10 years now, and this marvellous (pun intended) train seems unstoppable. However, if you look at how many female superheroes this universe has introduced over the past decade, you’re in for a shock. Apart from Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson), the MCU does not have any other bona fide female superhero, which is quite strange. No, Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) does not count in this comparison, and neither does Gamora (Zoe Saldana). Technically, Black Widow doesn’t count either, as she has never starred in her own movie and ...

Read Full Post

Mary Poppins Returns may not surpass the classic, but it certainly stays true to its spirit

Several years ago, in the movie Saving Mr Banks, Walt Disney Pictures told us in considerable detail how much writer PL Travers disapproved of her work being turned into films. Then, a few years later, Disney decided to go ahead and do just that anyway. Because why let a well-respected author rest in peace, when you can have her rolling in her grave instead? Everyone other than the spirit of Ms Travers, however, is likely to be enthusiastic about the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns, a bright and sunny sequel to the beloved 1964 classic. Well, beloved by everyone except for the lady ...

Read Full Post

Banned Books Week: Rahi Masoom Raza’s fight to never stop swearing

This week (September 23rd-29th) is being celebrated as the Banned Books Week around the world, especially in the United States, where this tradition took inception during the Ronald Reagan era back in 1982. Concerned about violation of freedom of speech, rights activists raised the issue of banning books and their censorship, as well as the persecution of writers. Hence, it was decided that every year, the last week of September would be celebrated as the Banned Books Week. Perhaps it is no coincidence that International Translation Day falls immediately after Banned Books Week, on September 30th. At least for this humble scribe, ...

Read Full Post

Because smoking damages a man’s lungs and ruins a woman’s honour

While universities around the world are trying to promote freedom of expression and invest in the development of their students, in the case of Pakistan, higher education institutions are stifling debate, cracking down on any independent thought and churning out automatons by the hundreds. For instance, they are more focused on wasting paper with unoriginal research papers, as former students of University of Engineering and Technology (UET) were recently caught plagiarising a whole paper verbatim and almost got away with having it published. International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) has stopped its students from celebrating Pakhtun culture day, while Punjab University arrested ...

Read Full Post

AsiaCup’18: Dear Pakistan, you can’t be a champion if you only play against the weakest

Now that Pakistan has been put out of its misery and the dust is finally starting to settle, let’s get back to the drawing board. There is a lot that went wrong but it wasn’t entirely unpredictable. Give me an opportunity to walk you through the events that transpired when the nation was still high on the Champions Trophy victory. Immediately after becoming champions, Pakistan hosted a weak Sri Lankan team in the UAE. They cruised their way to an ODI clean sweep. Confidence went skyrocketing and a bubble of illusion was formed. Pakistan’s cricketers celebrate the dismissal ...

Read Full Post