Stories published in December, 2018

While Balochistan’s natural gas keeps the rest of Pakistan warm, its own residents are freezing in silence

On a cool and sunny November afternoon, Ahmad Habib sat behind his shop, located in Quetta’s main Liaquat Bazar, accompanied by a handful of other local shop owners. They sat together, enjoying the traditional kahwa with gur (jaggery), a drink designed to keep their bodies warm for long. Unlike the past four years, this year’s winter is warm and appealing, mainly due to an abundance of sunny days. More often than not, mid-November is a time when the strength of the heat gradually weakens and cool, dry wind arrives for an extended stay. These cool winds slowly whisper and signal the ...

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Cinque Terre: The heavenly villages of Italy

I suppose I should begin with a disclaimer: I have never been a ‘sea person’. My husband on the other hand, being a ‘child of the coast’, mocked me for my aversion towards oceans and beaches. Sometimes, however, destiny has a different plan for us than the one we expect. So one fine morning, we decided to drive, and drive we did! The Ligurian sea Starting all the way from Brussels to breathtaking Interlaken in Switzerland, then Como in Italy and finally heading towards the five enchanting villages of the Italian Riviera, known collectively as Cinque Terre ...

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Aleema Khanum walks away with a fine while Maryam Nawaz was sent to jail – double standards of justice?

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khanum has been fined for not disclosing her property in the UAE, with the Supreme Court (SC) ordering her to submit Rs29.4 million as a fine. However, she was not asked to disclose her source of income and neither was a joint investigation team (JIT) ordered to probe her source of income or for the authenticity of the money trail she presented in court. No reference of assets beyond known means was filed against her in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) either. On the other hand, on the same day, the SC ordered a JIT against ...

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Darker and drearier, ‘Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle’ lacks its bare necessities

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, the latest live-action cinematic take on Rudyard Kipling’s story of a boy raised by wolves is a peculiar beast. It’s the old familiar tale but with a dark, gory spin. Mowgli (Rohan Chand), an orphaned infant, grows up in an Indian jungle after being rescued by the panther Bagheera (Christian Bale) and adopted by a family of wolves. The pack offers him protection from Sher Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch), a fierce tiger who killed the child’s parents and now wants to devour the man cub as well. The young boy is mentored by the bear Baloo (Andy ...

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“Nothing changes here! Pakistan was, is, and will always be the same”

In 2015, I left to pursue my Fulbright scholarship aspiring to conquer the world and change the landscape of research in Pakistan. I have always found the general pessimism that prevails in our country to be severely problematic. For instance, how we as a country lack unity amongst ourselves and can never rise above gender differences, religious discrimination amongst the people and the innate negativity against the government. Two years of Fulbright gave me a whole new perspective on life. I discovered a world where things such as age, race, colour, gender and other such superficial constructs were irrelevant and ...

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Pakistan’s economy: Rising through the storms

In Pakistan, the financial year ends on June 30th. However, since the conventional year is about to end, we look back at how the new government fared at handling the economy and also make some policy prescriptions along the way. The incumbent government is being judged rather harshly on its performance in the first few months. Let’s just make this clear: there is no silver bullet that could end Pakistan’s economic woes within 100 days. Given that the government has inherited a ‘broken’ economy, I’d say that they have performed quite well. A common way to find out how well a country ...

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To Bushra and Dua Aamir: As a man, I apologise for how our society continues to treat you

Aamir Liaquat is neither new to misogyny nor to propagating hatred for minorities by calling for them to be murdered, as well as all other ugly things under the sky. After all, he shot to fame by mostly self-creating the controversies he is known for. From trying to give away babies on live TV and inciting hatred against groups by giving judgment calls against them, to using foul language for his opponents, he has never had any qualms when it comes to getting his hands dirty. We also witnessed how his filthy mind believes in sexualising fellow female colleagues, when he used ...

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India has spoken: The beginning of Modi’s end

On Tuesday, India made a new tryst with democracy by defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the three heartland states. The margin of the Congress party’s victory might be narrow but the magnitude of the BJP defeat goes beyond regional elections. We accept the people’s mandate with humility. I thank the people of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for giving us the opportunity to serve these states. The BJP Governments in these states worked tirelessly for the welfare of the people. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 11, 2018 Never before has an electoral result given such relief to the masses who have been living ...

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The comeback after the setback: The ‘silent’ return of Maryam Nawaz

There is an ongoing debate in certain inner circles regarding the possibility of Maryam Nawaz being ‘re-launched’ into politics sometime soon. Some of these people are of the view that she is currently inactive, which is actually not true – Maryam is still very active in the decision-making of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). However, she has not made any public appearances or used her famous Twitter account as of late.  The PML-N has planned a convention on December 30th to commemorate the foundation of the All India Muslim League on the same date in 1906. Both Nawaz Sharif and Maryam are expected to attend and ...

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Despite its talented cast and progressive story, Pinky Memsaab could not shatter the glass ceiling

Whether it’s Hollywood, Bollywood or Lollywood, film industries around the globe are investing in women-centric stories. The progressive voices are much louder than ever and are effectively paving the path for change. Women filmmakers are now more often seen in the limelight and movies with multi-dimensional women protagonists are encouraged. One of the main and common concepts behind such audacious characters is self-discovery by killing stereotypes. For instance movies like Wild (2014), Zubeidaa (2001), English Vinglish (2012), The Devil Wears Prada (20016), Queen (2014) and Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016) highlighted a sense of self-worth and depicted female power. Dubai-based indie ...

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