Stories published in November, 2018

Lights, camera, action: Faisal Vawda, the ‘hero’ we did not need

The heinous attack on the Chinese consulate brought many brave women and men of the police to the forefront, all earning well-deserved national admiration. However, Mr Faisal Vawda was not one of them. There is no reason that a tragedy like this should ever be eclipsed by a satirical side-show, but that is something with which we must now cope. Amidst the chaos at the consulate, appeared a hero that nobody had asked for, and nobody quite needed. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA, Vawda, arrived at the scene with a gun and a bulletproof vest. While media reporting on the Karachi terror ...

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Be it Obama, Clinton, Trump or Kanye West, the US will never hold MbS accountable for Khashoggi’s murder

At the end of his presidency, Barack Obama had sold more weapons than any other US president since World War II. According to a Congressional Research Service report published just before Obama exited office, the Obama administration sold over $200 billion worth of weapons, mostly to the Middle East. The prime benefactor of this relentless warmongering transactional relationship was of course Saudi Arabia, whose pending delivery of equipment and specialised training for troops exceeded $115 billion. Nearly 10% of US arms exports between 2011 and 2015 were sent to Saudi Arabia and a further 9.1% went to the UAE; two countries that have exacted a whirlwind ...

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Hockey World Cup: Have we as a country collectively failed our national sport?

Like the case for most sports in the country barring cricket, the last 10 years have been a lost decade for Pakistan hockey as well. During this period, the team’s performance witnessed a severe decline not seen since Pakistan first started playing hockey in 1948. In 2014, Pakistan failed to qualify for the hockey World Cup for the first time, followed by a failure to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro. The team is currently ranked 13 in the world, which is marginally better than when it slipped to 14th last year. Once a powerhouse ...

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Tahir Dawar’s brutal murder and the possible existence of IS in Pakistan is a wake up call

Squeaking with laughter while speaking to a journalist, then concluding with a sardonic snide, Iftikhar Durrani, Imran Khan’s spokesperson, claimed with confidence that SP Tahir Dawar was “safe” in Peshawar on October 28th. Unfortunately, however, with the recent discovery of the policeman’s dead body, that arrogant snide should only linger as a haunting memory for the prime minister’s top aide. The note from the Islamic State (IS) found alongside the late SP’s body is what makes matters worse than one could potentially begin to imagine. The latter being so, specifically because the government has repeatedly claimed that neither IS nor any direct ...

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Why do we only have one advanced forensic lab in the entire country?

Mudassar Ali, a 21-year-old young man, was caught by the Kasur Police in February 2017 and was subsequently murdered by them in an ‘encounter’, as the police believed he had raped and murdered four-year-old Iman Fatima. In an interesting development, DNA tests conducted a year later on Imran Ali – the man who raped and murdered seven-year-old Zainab – evidenced he not only killed Zainab, but that Iman was also one of the many victims of his brutality.  Sadly, if the Kasur Police had made timely use of forensic science while investigating Iman’s case, not only Mudassar but other victims of ...

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Travelling the world amongst the roaring sea: Memories of a Pakistani sailor

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Aspiring for a career and finally achieving employment is a blessing for anyone. When I was young, my dream, like many other kids, was to roam around the world, to see far off places and to experience different cultures. One practical way to achieve my goal was to join the Merchant Marine. At a young age of 17, when one is full of hope and ambition, I finally had the selection letter tucked gleefully in my pocket after a gruelling selection process. It was a pleasant February afternoon in 1974 when I joined the ...

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Born in between, without honour

A loud cry echoed throughout the silent room, followed by the hustle and bustle of nurses. Sighs of relief were let out along with cries of joy as smiles crept across everyone’s faces. The long-awaited guest had finally arrived. The father swirled in ecstasy as he leapt forward to take the little bundle of joy into his arms. However, this feeling of joy was quick to fade as the nurse brought forth the baby with her head bowed down in dismay. She walked past the joyous father and placed the small human wrapped cosily in a blanket into the mother’s ...

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Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams is an explosion of colours, an art for everyone

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Coldplay is the biggest band in the world. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Coldplay is the best band in the world. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Coldplay is the band that every other band aspires to be today. And it also wouldn’t be wrong to say that Coldplay deserve every measure of their hard-earned, phenomenal success. Their recently released documentary, A Head Full of Dreams, is an accumulative proof of all my aforementioned claims. This film is the amalgamation of ideas that not only stood the test of time but were also pleasantly put ...

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Are Disney and Tim Burton about to ruin our childhoods with Dumbo 2.0?

The trailer for the upcoming Dumbo makes me rue the day Disney figured out they could make a killing simply by turning their animated classics into live-action adventures. It’s a shrewd strategy – recycling tales that have already proven to be popular, cashing in on the nostalgia they invoke, and reselling the same product all over again in new packaging. It’s also a strategy that has generally brought in a lot of dough for the House of Mouse, so obviously the studio has doubled down on the idea and decided to reimagine everything they can possibly think of (looking at ...

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Why is India worked up about the Pakistan-China bus service?

On October 31st, India formally protested the proposed launch of a bus service between China and Pakistan because the service would “operate between Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir” under the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC). The official spokesman noted that India held the China-Pakistan Boundary agreement of 1963 as “illegal and invalid” and views the service as a violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. If all this sounds tough and uncompromising, it is. But it is hardly consistent and not especially helpful. The Karakoram Highway, over which the service will be run, has been around since the late 60s and ...

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