Stories published in December, 2018

12 times Pakistani sense of humour stole the show on Twitter

The end of the year is upon us, and yearly roundups are spreading like wildfire. After all, for Pakistan alone, this was the year of the elections, of some intense accountability and of some horrendous behaviour by politicians and celebrities alike. International news didn’t fare any better. In a year that is certain to be remembered as a dumpster fire, the only thing that kept us going was a platform where all the dark souls on this planet gather to laugh at their misery – Twitter. They say things get worse before they get better. Pakistanis can attest to that, ...

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Master of the bat: AB de Villiers may have retired, but he will never be forgotten

A few months ago, it was confirmed that AB de Villiers would be a part of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and will play for the Lahore Qalandars. Although I wanted Islamabad United (my favourite team) to draft him, given that they picked their players last, it was obvious that Lahore would pick him instead, as they had the first pick. After all, we’re talking about de Villiers, and he has to be your first pick. That’s just how great he is. This is also probably a good time to reminisce how my love for him began in the first place. It was ...

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A dealer in hope: Why Imran Khan’s leadership has become invaluable for Pakistan

According to Napoleon, a leader is a dealer in hope, which is something Pakistan dearly needs in these testing times. And for us, Imran Khan is the leader who can instil that sense of hope and pride back into our people. For a nation that turned numb to pervasive misgovernance and rampant corruption, and had resigned itself towards inefficiency and incompetency as the hallmark of the political system, this vision of a new Pakistan presented by Imran is nothing short of revolutionary. The style of governance we have become accustomed to over the years in our nascent democracy has failed ...

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What a ‘great’ start to the New Year

Amongst the silence, a flash of light rose into the air, exploding into a colourful flower of glitter. It was followed by several other explosions that lit up the midnight sky. The crowd roared, screaming, “Happy New Year!” Music blasted in the background as people danced and cheered. They shared their New Year’s resolutions, as it was a beginning of a new chapter of their lives, where they had to decide if they wanted to be a new version of themselves and live life to its fullest, or just continue with their same old routines. Large LED hologram animals danced in the ...

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The year of Zainab: Pakistan was jolted awake by the abuse of its children, but is that enough?

She stood by the footpath, her shoulders slouched because of the heavy bag she was carrying. I was waiting at the traffic signal in my car and something about her caught my attention. She was a fine kid, probably 10 or 11-years-old, and was coming from the school adjacent to where my car was stopped. She had two pigtails tied with blue ribbons, and yet her face was very tense. It had an unpleasant, don’t-mess-with-me expression, while her body language could best be described as stiff. Every woman reading this knows the expression, because it never goes away. We are taught to ...

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When 2018 brought the death of Burnes Road and marred the spirit of Karachi

Karachi’s recent anti-encroachment drive has caused uproar all across the city over the past few weeks. While some argue that for the sake of ‘development’, it is perfectly justified to remove the illegal establishments that have existed in the city for decades now, others strongly believe that legality should not take pre-eminence over the need to sustain the livelihoods of the poor. Regardless of which side you take in this debate, the repercussions on certain neighbourhoods of Karachi have been unavoidable. One such neighbourhood is Saddar, where most of the illegal occupations have now been cleared, including some of ...

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In Simmba, a half-baked message is buried deep under Rohit Shetty’s typical potboiler

Loosely based on the Telugu film Temper, the cop action saga Simmba is directed by Rohit Shetty, produced by Dharma Productions and Rohit Shetty Picturez, and stars an ensemble cast of Ranveer Singh, Sonu Sood and Sara Ali Khan. The film is about Sangram ‘Simmba’ Bhalerao, a poor orphan who aspires to become an unscrupulous police inspector. As an officer of the law, he unapologetically indulges in corrupt practices to have his pockets lined, as he believes that corruption and dishonesty are indispensable to live a perfect life. The film starts on a comic note and is mostly about fun, tricks and games, ...

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No water, no electricity, no education – When living in rural Sindh is worse than a death sentence

Martin Luther King once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”. This is the thought the residents of Tharparkar comfort themselves with every day. They console each other by hoping that after all their hardship will come some ease. Out of a small number of nine countries, Pakistan has succeeded in becoming a nuclear power. Who would have thought in a country with so much power, there would be so little for the common people? It is appalling to even think that the residents of rural Sindh still transport water with the help of donkeys. I often find ...

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Bidding goodbye to a year of political turmoil, endless warfare and myopic leadership

In the blink of an eye, another year has passed. Like the previous year, 2018 has been intriguing, exciting and alarming. We have witnessed several positive, and unfortunately, an equal number or even more negative events during the year. These include SpaceX conducting a successful maiden flight of Falcon Heavy, Vladimir Putin getting elected for a fourth term as the Russian president, the United States withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and of course, France experiencing its worst civil unrest since the protests of 1968, to name a few. Would I say the world is becoming scarier with each passing ...

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If Pakistan has not run out of gas, why are we in the midst of a severe gas crisis?

The country is in the grip of a gas crisis. A shortage of natural gas has meant that millions of people do not have gas to cook or hot water to bathe with. There are mile-long queues at compressed natural gas (CNG) stations. Half of Karachi’s buses, which run on CNG, are off the roads, creating chaos in the city’s public transport system. There was even a report that a rickshaw driver set fire to his vehicle in protest, as he’d not been able to feed his family for a week because he could not get CNG to run his ...

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