Stories published in October, 2018

Black Day: Without international mediation, there can be no lasting peaceful resolution in Kashmir

The impasse that is the land of Kashmir – which Allama Iqbal described as “heaven on earth” – has shown little signs of abating, with only escalations in sight. On October 21st, thousands of demonstrators marched on a village in Kulgam, where Indian forces were battling an unaccounted number of suspected Kashmiri fighters. This led to a shootout in which Indian troops killed at least 14 youths and injured at least 30 others in the Laroo area of the Kulgam district, in an attack that included pillaging and destruction of the neighbourhood, according to local police and military officials in the ...

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As technology advances, so does healthcare in Pakistan – convenient and free, all in the palm of your hand

What do you do when your toddler slips and hits their head? Or when someone chokes at the dinner table? Or when you have a severe headache?  Even when we hope that we don’t have to deal with such situations, the reality remains they are quite plausible. Hence it’s important to know what to do if such a situation arises. Be it an emergency or a seemingly small health concern, it’s always good to consult a physician. Sadly, consulting a doctor isn’t a simple task in a state like Pakistan. With limited medical resources and the rising cost of healthcare, many ...

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Without Messi and Ronaldo, El Clasico is now anyone’s game

Looking for a match that won’t bore the living daylights out of you? Fancy some enterprising and expansive football? Is an obstinately boisterous crowd support your cup of tea? Then El Clasico is for you. Fair to say that whenever arch rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona share the same pitch, the stakes are incredibly high and losing is just not an option. Real Madrid are in a rut By the time the referee blew the final whistle at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Real Madrid’s last home fixture against Levante, the home side’s poor run of form in La Liga alone had stretched ...

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According to this “scholar”, ‘sins such as murder and rape will be ignored as long as you pray’

The dilemma of the contemporary age is the excess of unsorted information masquerading as knowledge and the most abundantly distorted type of ‘knowledge’ these days is ‘religious’ in nature. A certain breed of such so-called scholars exists among us, disseminating a message that is far from truth. Their half-baked ideas about religious norms, practices and forms of punishment aren’t based on logic or humanity. Such religious quacks probably existed before our time too but the ubiquity of social media brings them to our phone screens whether we want them to or not. Recently, I came across one such ‘religious cleric’ ...

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Is America really better than this?

Words matter and have consequences, especially when they come from the mouths of those at the helm of affairs, who rule our destinies. What the president of the United States says therefore matters, and if it were to take a more civil tone, it would indeed make a difference. To many, Donald Trump has no shame. While people’s lives are being threatened because of his ridiculously divisive rhetoric, he instead remarks that most of the anger prevalent in society is caused by press reports that he feels are “false and inaccurate”. A very big part of the Anger we see today ...

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Fictitious yet familiar, ‘Typically Tanya’ narrates life in Karachi and all its dramas

I enjoyed reading the book Typically Tanya by Taha Kehar, one of Pakistan’s most exciting new writers, not just because it’s a book about journalists but because it is a book about life in Karachi, along with all its dramas. Whether it’s the frustrations of finding a Careem to the disappointments that come with power blackouts, it’s all there. Typically Tanya is the story about a young journalist named Tanya Shaukat who is trying to make sense of her work and at the same time coming to terms with her unpredictable life and friends. When the marriage of one friend fails ...

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To squat or not to squat?

I was one-year-old when my family moved from Pakistan to Botswana. Located in Southern Africa, Botswana is about the size of France, with an astonishingly low population of two-and-a-half-million people. We spent most of our time abroad but would often visit home, and at least once a year we visited Karachi, where I was born. Although it had been a few years since my last visit to Karachi, this is a city that always pulls on my heartstrings, and after spending only a week in the city of dreams, I found myself used to the cultural oddities, such as ...

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The “desperate” begging bowl is no longer metaphorical

The saying ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ is quite clichéd, and yet it teaches a lesson from an individual level to that of societies and nations. To states, it is a reminder that while there may not be a choice when it comes to taking foreign aid, it inevitably compromises their sovereignty. Pakistan has remained trapped in the vicious cycle of taking short-term loans from international bodies for decades. Throughout his electoral campaign and even after assuming power, Imran Khan constantly maintained that the biggest hindrance towards Pakistan’s development is debt servicing and taking external loans. In his first speech ...

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Is Mohammad Abbas the next Mohammad Asif? The next Vernon Philander? The next Glenn McGrath?

It is happening again. Pakistan has once again unearthed a world-class talent, and yet again, the expectations are sky high. Is Mohammad Abbas the next Mohammad Asif? The next Vernon Philander? The next Glenn McGrath? No. He is the first Abbas and it is time for him to make his own name in the game. If you ever need proof that hard work will eventually be paid off, you should refer to the story of Abbas. At 25 years of age (just three years ago), he averaged over 30 with the ball in first-class cricket, lacked the ability to bat, ...

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Can winking and staring be considered criminal offences under Section 509 of the PPC?

Although the #MeToo movement has not taken off across class barriers or transgressed the rural-urban divide in Pakistan – the way it has in India – it’s already the cause of much alarm. Many are perturbed about the consequences of anarchic media trials. Men worry that one can put up an allegation on Facebook or Twitter and open a trial without any of the procedural protections a court trial would offer both parties – the accuser and the accused. These include lawyers, time to prepare, rebuttals and neutral adjudicators. However, the #MeToo movement contests this position. Legal remedy is not the ...

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