Stories published in September, 2018

A day trip to the micronation of Andorra, a jewel hidden between European giants

Sandwiched between Spain and France in the Pyrenees mountains, very few have heard of the micronation that is Andorra. I too only came across this tiny European country on Google Maps while I was planning my Euro tour. With a total area of only 468 kilometre square and a population of almost 77,000 people, it attracts over 10 million tourists annually, which is where 80% of its gross domestic product (GDP) comes from. Seeing its beauty and its unusual size, it didn’t take long for me to include it in my itinerary as I planned to visit every single state in ...

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A pizza-less Naya Pakistan: Cheese, the greatest villain in Pakistan’s economic tragicomedy

In the same month that the country discriminated against one of its economists for his religious beliefs, our cheese imports appear to have come under jeopardy. Coincidence? Certainly none of us expected karma to come knocking at our kitchen door so soon. When the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) assembled a few weeks ago, cheese was not expected to be revealed as the greatest villain in this economic tragicomedy. The session was held to discuss ways on how to avoid another International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout. No, 15th time is not the charm! It was in this session that an economist – who ...

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Points Of Entry: Dissecting Pakistan’s ‘real’ history, one page at a time

Nadeem Farooq Paracha, or NFP as he is often called, has been one of the profound influences on my intellectual development. I have been an avid reader of his columns since the early 90s when he started making his mark as a music critic. As a keen reader, besides his regular columns, I have also read all of his three books. Not only that, I also reviewed his first book titled End of the Past for Huffington Post and also had the privilege of interviewing him about his second book for Express Tribune. His third book, which I have recently finished, is linked ...

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Serena Williams will always be an icon and a champion, but her outburst had nothing to do with sexism

Will you forget it? I think not. After all, the US Open 2018 is not one to forget anytime soon. The tournament was thrilling from the start, with remarkable displays of tennis, alongside upsets and firsts. However, what will remain etched in our collective memories is the women’s singles final; a certain Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, and the chair umpire. The 20-year-old Osaka – who had never won a grand slam before – was playing with her idol. Williams, on the other hand, is no ordinary idol. The 23-time grand slam champion is an enigma. Not only is she a ...

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Dear Imran Khan, I understand why Atif Mian had to go

Dear Khan sahib, I am a fan and have been for some time now. I was a fan when you played cricket, I even became a journalist defending you some 31 years ago. A letter was published where a lady named Parveen Akhtar criticised you for wearing a hat at the Ascot races. Being an idealistic teenager, I wrote back defending you, my letter got published and the rest, as they say, is history. But then again, nothing in life is happenstance. Hence, here I am writing a letter to you, not just on my behalf but also on the behalf of ...

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I would rather gouge my eyes out than watch the absurdity that is Namastey England

It was back in 2007 that cinemagoers were treated to the classic that was Namastey London, a movie that not only served as a commentary on Indian patriotism and colonialism, but did so in a hilarious and touching manner. A romantic comedy and a family drama at the same time, the movie was a huge hit at the box office and also gave rise to the notion that Katrina Kaif could act. Although we now know that to not be true, thanks to Namastey London, we temporarily believed it was possible. Akshay Kumar, however, was the life and soul ...

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Dear Comedy, when did you go from mere jokes to demeaning mockery? Yours truly, Ali Gul Pir

Dear comedy, It is time to acknowledge your stake in my sanity, your ability to keep me hopeful in tough times and your power to not let me take life too seriously. I love how you take the world’s most tragic, absurd and unjust news and turn them into awesome memes (jokes) which make millions of people laugh. When I was a child, I would repeatedly ask my mom to read out the jokes from her weekly magazine to me. I would memorise them so I could tell them later in school or to other adults. Earlier on in life, I understood ...

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Ghoul won’t scare you but it will keep you on the edge of your seat

Netflix ventured into the Indian market through its first Hindi original series, Sacred Games, which proved to be a huge hit and got universal critical acclaim. Netflix’s second Indian original is Ghoul, which also stars Radhika Apte. Ghoul is a horror miniseries comprising of just three episodes. Originally conceived to be first of three films, Ghoul was later turned into a miniseries as the creators thought the story was best suited for this particular format. Produced by Phantom Films and Blumhouse Productions, which also produced hits like Split, Whiplash and Get Out, Ghoul has been marketed as a horror show, but ...

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RIP Kulsoom Nawaz: An embodiment of ‘when they go low, we go high’

The death of Kulsoom Nawaz, three-time former first lady and wife of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is a loss deeply felt by all, but especially by those who have an inkling of her role in our political history. Kulsoom was diagnosed with throat cancer in August 2017, and she passed away in London at the age of 68 after fighting a long and strenuous battle. The entire nation prays she rests in peace. Kulsoom will undoubtedly always be remembered as the woman who stood against the military dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf, and pushed him on the back foot by not ...

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Mauka mauka: Sorry India, but the 2018 Asia Cup is coming home to Pakistan

The 14th edition of Asia Cup begins on September 15th in the UAE, making this the third time the tournament will be held there. This time, Pakistan, India and Hong Kong are together in Group A, while Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are in Group B. Despite having lost its ODI status earlier this year, Hong Kong qualified by defeating the UAE in the qualifying final. If somehow both teams manage to make it to the final, then this tournament potentially includes three Pakistan versus India matches. However, the million dollar question remains: will it be India or Pakistan ...

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