Stories published in October, 2018

The unholy alliance between WWE and Saudi Arabia

The year 2018 has brought with it a promise of progress. While Pakistan’s the new leadership has been taking steps towards economic growth, Saudi Arabia is apparently adapting to the 21st century modus operandi and opening its doors to the world. In one of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s (MbS) progressive reforms, the Kingdom opened new cinemas for the first time in decades. They followed it up by lifting the driving ban on women, which was a much-applauded move. Adding to the propaganda of change is World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the American sports entertainment conglomerate, which signed a 10-year, $450 million ...

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NAB’s ‘selective accountability’ is only adding fuel to PML-N’s ‘victimised’ fire

Shehbaz Sharif’s arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) right before the by-elections raised legitimate concerns in the opposition regarding the impartiality of the accountability institution. Currently, the leader of the opposition and president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Shehbaz has been charged with misusing his former authority as chief minister of Punjab and for his alleged involvement in the Ashiyana housing scam. While he is currently under investigation by NAB, a perception has been created in the country that the PML-N is seemingly being targeted and punished for crimes other parties and politicians are exempted from. The spin wizards ...

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It all started with a so-called wrong number

I come from an open-minded household; however, my beliefs about relationships and marriage are very traditional. I disapproved of love before wedlock and looked down upon affairs and relationships. I got married young to a man much older; he became my friend, lover and confidant. Even after having children, we are inseparable. It was only when I found out about my husband’s affair that I broke down and my whole life seemed like a lie to me. I still chose to forgive and forget considering my values did not allow for a divorce and I chose to stay with him. ...

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When “holy men” become sinful predators

Growing up in South Asia, we are taught about our religion from a very young age. Be it Islam, Hinduism or Christianity, we are all instructed to do right by our religion by abstaining from evil and taking the path of righteousness, as intended for us by God. Children are made to understand the significance of religion, for it is through religion that parents teach kids about the difference between right and wrong, and good and evil. Of course, children are naïve. They genuinely believe that because their religion is pure, then surely the ones teaching it to them must be ...

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Even Ayushmann Khurrana’s brilliant acting could not save Andhadhun from its many blind spots

Not many Bollywood directors have tried their luck making films about blind protagonists, one can only recall a handful of movies such as Qatl (featuring Sanjeev Kumar), Aankhen (featuring Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Arjun Rampal), Black and Sparsh. After a long hiatus, Sriram Raghavan has come out with another film taking up this not-so-easy task. Raghavan is the very same director who previously made films like Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddar, Agent Vinod and Badlapur. His filmmaking style has always been unique and distinct. In all of his films, characters are complicated, confused and exhibit a certain spontaneity. His latest venture is Andhadhun, which features ...

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A lesson for Kashmiris from Manan Wani: “We cannot let the occupation manoeuvre us any longer”

As I pursue my PhD, more often than not I find myself going through and posting on social media on matters ranging from political and social issues to, of course, poetry. However, when Manan Bashir Wani, a PhD scholar at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), joined the Hizbul Mujahideen earlier this year to fight the Indian occupation of Kashmir, I found I had nothing to say. The reason for my silence was primarily the knowledge that from the day one becomes a freedom fighter in present day Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), they don’t get to live for more than six months. Added to this was ...

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Remembering Sir Syed Ahmad Khan on his 201st birth anniversary: “I did not understand the value of time”

In the aftermath of the War of Independence of 1857, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898) emerged as a key leader of the Indian Muslim community, being a thoroughly modern Muslim in a thoroughly pre-modern age. He is credited for originating the Two Nation Theory, founding the Aligarh Movement and being a founding father of Pakistan. Less celebrated are his achievements in providing a modern, scientific and rational interpretation of Islam and the Holy Quran, as well as his debates on culture that – in the face of stern opposition from fundamentalists and detractors – sowed the seeds of enlightenment ...

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Is Saudi Arabia “taking over” Pakistan?

Earlier this year, when the election campaign in Pakistan was running at fever pitch, I found myself listening to an old classic by The Who. The song was Won’t Get Fooled Again and the line that got me pondering was “meet the old boss, same as the new boss”. I shuddered when I heard this line while watching parties push their candidates. It was literal horse-trading as politicians scrambled to capture the number of seats required to secure the government for themselves. We are barely a few months into the new government and people are already questioning and debating the current government’s decisions. For example, take the ...

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A faithful Stephen King adaptation, Pet Sematary is bringing scary back!

Stephen King adaptations never go out of style. However, the widespread success of 2017’s It has brought them even more into the limelight, with It: Chapter Two and Doctor Sleep already slated to release in late 2019 and early 2020 respectively. However, before both these films comes the adaptation of arguably one of the King’s scariest novels to date: Pet Sematary. The film follows the story of Dr Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children as they relocate to rural Maine. Upon arriving, Louis discovers a mysterious cemetery located deep in the woods near his family’s new home. However, when ...

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The new high: You’re depressed not because “your life sucks” but because of Facebook and Instagram

“He is only 19 and so accomplished, what am I doing with my life?” “My hair never looks like that model on Instagram.” “Man! He is having the time of his life and I am just stuck in this miserable job!” “Why am I just sitting here in my pyjamas at home while this guy is vacationing in Bali?” Do you recognise the pattern in these statements? Have similar thoughts gone through your mind recently? If they have, you were probably thinking like this while surfing through your social media, being too depressed to do anything. Unfortunately, we do not realise just how ...

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