Stories published in November, 2018

While PML-N, PPP drown in accountability and PTI figure out how to run the country, TLP fills the vacuum

Ever since his release from jail, Nawaz Sharif has been visibly absent from the political arena. He is seemingly cautious while talking to the media, his tone is softer, the victimisation narrative is no longer brought up, while he also does not delve into his plans for the future, or that of his party. A similar change can be witnessed in his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, who has practically disappeared from the limelight. Meanwhile, Shehbaz Sharif is under the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), battling for political survival by defending himself on all the charges levelled against him ...

Read Full Post

Neither Republicans nor Democrats, the women of America won the 2018 midterm elections

I still remember the night of November 8, 2016, as I waited for the major results of the elections to come in. At the time, I had been in the US for around five years and had started to consider it my home. Owing to the fact I am a person of colour belonging to the Muslim faith, the elections held special significance for me. This was only natural, as before the elections, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump had constantly whipped up hatred against people of colour, immigrants, and of course, Muslims. I identified with all three. But I was not the ...

Read Full Post

“They hired a Pathan?! I thought it was for smart people”: Pakhtun stereotyping is not ‘just jokes’

I recently moved to the United States for my graduate studies. At the Denver International Airport, a large poster of Malala Yousafzai welcomed me. I wished this would not be the only time I felt at home, but I remained sceptical. Only recently had I read a news article about the increase in race and religion-based violence in America. I decided to reserve my judgement for later. Inadvertently though, this brought back memories of another relocation I experienced three years ago. On June 10, 2015, a week before I graduated from the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIK), I received a ...

Read Full Post

Arbaeen: “If you want to see humanity living and breathing, experience this walk”

The 40th – or Arbaeen in Arabic – holds great significance in the traditions of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Ahle Bait (AS). Arbaeen marks the completion of Ashura, the day when Imam Hussain (RA) was martyred on the planes of Karbala. Since then, his followers and lovers walk to their beloved as they feel his plight as their own. The walk particularly takes place in the memory of the return of Imam Hussain’s (RA) family from Syria, after getting freed from the shackles of Yazid. People from different parts of the world participate in this event, which remained banned ...

Read Full Post

One would expect dhabas to have substandard food, not high-end restaurants charging premium prices

In the aftermath of the tragedy in which two kids died after dining out and their mother remains hospitalised, what more can be said except that now eating out in Karachi is killing our children. The plague of substandard food has been upon us for quite some time now, from donkey meat and rat meat to dog meat being sold in markets and cooked by restaurants.  Even the sale and use of cooking oil made from the arteries of dead animals hardly comes across as a revelation now, especially since a popular crime show did multiple episodes focusing on this deplorable ...

Read Full Post

Daredevil’s season three goes back to basics and it’s as good as it gets

The month of October was a crucial one for Netflix’s mini Marvel Universe. The executives at Netflix decided to axe not one but two Marvel TV shows within a week’s gap. Marvel’s Iron Fist was the first one to get the boot and was soon followed by Marvel’s Luke Cage. Reports have suggested that these two Defenders were shown the door because of a two-third drop in their viewership. Amidst all this chaos in Netflix’s Marvel Universe, their man without fear, aka Daredevil, rose to save the day. The third season of Marvel’s Daredevil premiered on October 19th and ...

Read Full Post

Talking dirty: It’s 2018 and Pakistan still does not have proper sanitation

Access to clean and safe public toilets is one of the major factors that affects women’s mobility but it is sadly not given enough attention. There aren’t enough public toilets available in the country and those that are available are in horrible conditions. Majority of public spaces do not have toilets at all and even when they do, there isn’t a separate one for women. For example, Faizabad, Swan and PirWadhai are three major bus stops and cater to around 1,000 passengers on a daily bases. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a separate toilet for women in any of ...

Read Full Post

Too many options, not enough slots: Which great bowler will make it to the 2019 World Cup squad?

Pakistan cricket is facing a dilemma at the moment– albeit a good one. There are simply too many decent fast bowling options for the ODI format, but only limited spots remain for grabs for the upcoming 2019 World Cup in England and Wales. It can be argued that Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Abbas are much to blame for making selectors scratch their heads while formulating the pace battery for the upcoming world series. Shaheen was a future prospect that was meant to be kept under the wings for grooming, but who knew he would disobey and take off on his ...

Read Full Post

The Curse of La Llorona brings a unique ghost story that has literally haunted people for centuries

Based on Mexican folklore, The Curse of La Llorona brings to life the terrifying tale of the ‘weeping woman’. The folktale follows the story of a woman who drowned her children due to jealousy after her estranged husband’s new marriage, only to realise the gravity of her own actions and commit suicide. This has been a famous ghost story in Latin America for years, so it’s no surprise that the guys behind the Conjuring franchise, James Wan and Gary Dauberman, are bringing this tale to the big screen. Though the La Llorona folktale dates back centuries, this new film is set in the 70s and ...

Read Full Post

Why reverting to the karez system might save Balochistan’s water and drought crisis

In an arid country like Pakistan, water in the form of rivers, glaciers and groundwater is life – it is what gives us sustenance. When there is too little, we have droughts, and when there is too much, we have floods. This is how it has been for centuries in this part of the world, and it remains how it is in Balochistan, home to the 7,000-year-old Mehrgarh civilisation. Pakistan’s largest province is currently in the midst of a drought, and yet some districts have been flooded as well. I was part of a group of journalists from Islamabad who ...

Read Full Post