Stories published in December, 2018

From a great writer to a great a leader: How Manto came to terms with Jinnah’s passing

On the 142nd birth anniversary of Muhammad Ali Jinnah today, a little-known piece by the great Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto is being presented for the time in its original English translation. This piece is part of Manto’s published but uncollected writings that are only recently seeing the light of day. Though there is little or no evidence that the great writer ever met the great leader, this piece – originally published in the Daily ‘Imroz’ just three days after Jinnah’s death in September 1948 – crystallises the raw emotions of a writer in the aftermath of a national tragedy ...

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Nawaz Sharif has been imprisoned yet again – but will he stay in jail this time?

The Accountability Court has finally announced its verdict against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. For the second time in a year, Nawaz has been sentenced to prison, this time for seven years in the Al-Azizia corruption reference case. According to the court, Nawaz was not able to produce a money trail in this case, while he has been acquitted in the Flagship reference as the court deemed the evidence provided by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to be insufficient. The Flagship corruption reference was based on the allegation that through his son’s offshore companies, Nawaz received his salary in ...

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Can ‘Men in Black: International’ surpass its predecessor and survive the curse of reboots?

Many people thought the Men in Black (MIB) franchise had seen its day. The highly successful series made a boat-load of cash with its trilogy of films and it seemed the series had run its course narratively as well after the conclusion of Men in Black 3. But if the golden rule of Hollywood stands for anything, it’s the always trusted reboot formula. Rinse, repackage, repeat and you have a brand new trilogy on your hands with the potential of even greater returns. The same stands true for Men in Black International, which serves as a reboot of the previous ...

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Unconventional yet inventive, Aquaman puts a struggling DC Universe back on track

The ‘DC Extended Universe’, or the ‘World of DC’ or whatever it is being called these days, hasn’t had a good start which is quite obvious judging by the critical reception its movies have been receiving. Although DC movies have done well financially, (except a few misfires like Justice League) they were attacked by critics and fans weren’t impressed either. Wonder Woman is the only DC movie to date which ended up being both, a critical and commercial success. Post the debacle that was Justice League, DC needed a revamp and all hopes were on James Wan’s Aquaman starring Jason ...

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Amidst the cold, chilly world, their hearts were warm

The sweet smell of gingerbread cookies filled the chilly air in the crowded market on Christmas Eve. A choir of young men and women stood in lines, singing cheery Christmas carols in their melodious voices. They wore black robes over their dresses and held gold candles in the palm of their hands. Amidst the crowd, a lush evergreen conifer tree sat in the middle of the marketplace. Beautiful ornaments of all colours covered the tree and glittered under the dim light of the tiny fairy lights which twinkled in warm shades of yellow, red and green. To complete the look, a large ...

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Tis the season for some easy, exotic and lip-smacking Christmas delicacies

Finally, it’s that time of the year again. Christmas, as traditional as it sounds, is reminiscent of many childhood holidays. From stuffing the chicken and turkey to baking fragrant ornaments for the Christmas tree, hanging up stockings and decking up the living room, some of our favourite festive memories have come from this holiday.   Cooking for Christmas is the way many share the joy of this holiday with their friends and family. You cannot just serve the Christmas bakes on the table; you should wrap them, adorn them with beautiful embellishments and send them to your loved ones as ...

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Puff out your chests with pride, because these 7 Pakistanis have made us real proud

The year 2018 brought with it ‘Naya Pakistan’, or at least the promise of it, that many Pakistanis had been anxiously waiting for. Now that the year is ending, several changes have taken place; some good, some bad and some plain hilarious. By hilarious I mean things such as the chicken egg business model theory of Kaptaan himself, the ‘speed of light’ trains he was so impressed by and the buffalo auctions. As this year ends, there is still gas and energy shortage in the country, there is still rampant injustice, the political discourse has become childish and the financial ...

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Zero: Too many flaws and not enough ink

Newly released Zero, starring Shah Rukh Khan (SRK), Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma in lead roles, reminded me strongly of Shahid Kapoor’s Mausam. Similar to Mausam, Zero has a strong premise.  However, the 20 subplots it takes to explore this subject in a lengthy 165-minutes narrative makes it a tedious watch. It is a film with a good heart but the body of the film has a more acute case of cerebral palsy than the lead character of the film does. Zero has a misleading title. It should have been called six. Or seven. This is the number of stories the ...

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As bodies pile up in IoK, strong condemnations are appreciated, but they are not enough

December 15th was just another Saturday, but nobody knew then that it would be a bloody one. News came that an encounter broke out between forces and militants in the Sirnoo area of Indian-occupied Kashmir’s (IoK) Pulwama district. Then, at around noon, news emerged that one civilian had been killed by the forces. The toll only stopped at seven as the day passed. At the end of day, seven civilians had been killed and around 250 were injured with pellets and bullets. That night people slept in anger. As news of a massacre arrives from home in Kashmir, I realise it’s ...

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The Pakistan International School of Damascus: The unreported and silent success story of diplomacy

Almost all the stories coming out of Syria over the last few years have been of doom and gloom. There has been much destruction to a land rooted in deep and unparalleled history, possessing two of the world’s oldest cities along with people who can easily be called the world’s most diverse set of communities coexisting peacefully; all before regional and international actors made it a battleground for proxy warfare. Before the war, Syria had the most robust state education system in the Arab world, and even the BBC did an in-depth documentary on the diversity and progressive nature of the Syrian school system. It is these real ...

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