Stories published in September, 2018

PTI calling the kettle black: What they call ‘tabdeeli’ in Naya Pakistan is mere sloganeering in old Pakistan

The appointment of Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari as a special assistant to the premier has shocked many, even within the ranks of the Pakistan-e-Tehreek Insaf (PTI). His designation is in many ways equivalent to that of the minister of state, and he will subsequently be availing the perks and privileges given to a minister of such a position. On the face of it, Bukhari came close to Imran Khan when he assisted him in finding forensic companies to investigate the business dealings of Nawaz Sharif’s sons, Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz. As a result, he quickly became Imran’s blue-eyed ...

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The endless fascination of a window

Windows are fascinating. Many adventures have started with a gaze, a deep alley, a train station, or an intriguing stranger. We all share the secret hope that there is something better, across the river or over the hill. A universal wish, that we were out there somewhere, and not on this side of the window. Yes, windows are fascinating. Why else do we, as schoolchildren, stare out at the sky, yearning for the bell signalling the end of class? Cradling our chins in our pulpy hands, we looked out a pane of glass and let our imagination drift as we awaited the ...

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Pakistan need to get over the 2017 Champions Trophy high, because tomorrow won’t be easy

The proverb “cricket – the game of glorious uncertainties” is probably taken way too seriously by Pakistan. Before the start of the Asia Cup, many cricket pundits were deeming Pakistan as their favourites. But thus far, it has been a story of tremendous crests and troughs as far as the graph of Pakistan team’s performance is concerned. Apart from the game against Hong Kong, the men in green shirts have found themselves in all sorts of trouble. Against India, intent was missing altogether. Indian fielders, making their own blunders, were aiding Pakistan as they dropped five catches in the outfield. ...

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Nation uniform curriculum: Are we compromising equity for equality?

In another move towards a Naya Pakistan, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood has announced a uniform national curriculum policy to not only ensure the quality of education, but also provide a level playing field across the country and present equal opportunity to everyone. This may sound utopian to many, but can we start celebrating yet? Let’s unearth this thought by taking a glance at the omnipresent institution of ‘schools’. How old is this institution? Impromptu responses might suggest perhaps thousands of years old, or maybe dating back to Socrates. Not only would these responses reflect our ...

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The House with a Clock in its Walls promises a magical experience for the whole family

Family-friendly horror movies can be good if done right. Just look at The Nightmare Before Christmas, Monster House or Spiderwick Chronicles. However, films like The Haunted Mansion and Dark Shadows have also served as examples when this formula has failed. The film The House with a Clock in its Walls aims to get it right. Based on the 1973 book by John Bellairs, The House with a Clock in its Walls looks to offer a modern retelling of Bellair’s renowned children’s novel.  The premise follows a 10-year-old boy named Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) who goes to live with his uncle (Jack Black) in a ...

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#OneSouthAsia: 8 delicious foods of 8 foodie nations, all on one table

There are moments when an idea simply drops onto your lap when you least expect it to. I experienced one of such moments recently. Last week, I was sitting and waiting for the sun to set when my Indian friend, Riya, sent me a link. I didn’t have the brain power at that moment to open anything remotely intellectual; however, my curiosity eventually gave in. The link brought me to a page detailing a competition conducted by the World Bank called #OneSouthAsia. Participants from eight South Asian nations were invited to submit a photograph showcasing what an integrated South ...

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Sky is the limit: My journey from Sargodha to the University of Oxford

When I was 12-years-old, I remember hearing about an institution known as the University of Oxford, but it felt too far away to ever become a reality. While I knew that if I worked hard I could probably get in someday, I never imagined the path life would take me through to finally get here. A path filled with adventures around the globe, and a chase towards learning from some of the world’s brightest minds. I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford, and received my Master’s through a program that allowed me to live in ...

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How do we deal with Lionel Messi getting older

Lionel Messi’s first goal of this new season was a free kick that went under the jumping wall of Deportivo Alavés defenders and into the bottom right corner. He scored a similar goal against Girona in early February, that one went in the opposite corner. He also did the same for Argentina a few years ago. Free kicks that go under the wall are fun for their mischievousness. In those instances, Messi is punishing the wall for doing what it has been instructed to do, for taking the sensible action of jumping to block the free kick. Messi wasn’t the first ...

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Pakistan is ‘Asia’s best kept secret’ – what will it take to reveal it globally?

“The thing about tourism is that the reality of a place is quite different from the mythology of it” – Martin Parr. Pakistan, unfortunately, is a country that has been at the receiving end of such mythology and perception for a good while now, even as things on ground have changed quite drastically over the last few years. According to the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), terror-related incidents have declined 58%, from 2,060 incidents in 2010 to 681 in 2017. These figures are testament to the success of our Army during the massive military operations conducted in the northern areas of ...

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Can PTI’s mini-budget get the economy out of the ICU and into the ‘recovery room’?

Pakistanis love to bash politics and politicians whenever they face any problem. Slogan after slogan, martyrdom, militarism and affluent status quo is what three generations of Pakistanis have seen. So when Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) claimed to make policies focusing on “uplifting the lower middle class”, even the PTI voters were somewhat sceptical. Alas, critics can be shushed, the mini-budget is out and looks like PTI may have delivered what it promised. Before the official mini-budget announcement, many people were criticising the government for its decision to raise gas prices and income taxes, however, they did not see ...

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