Stories published in January, 2019

First Empress Market and Burnes Road, now wedding halls – Karachi is falling brick by brick

The courts have given their verdict. Encroachments will have to be removed and Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) has already started issuing notices to property owners throughout the city. The current drive is against two different types of irregularities: a) individuals or businesses that encroached upon government land; b) usage of residential property for commercial purposes. If we look into the socio-economic dynamics of this issue, Karachi has been home to job seekers and entrepreneurs from the entire country. The influx of migrants from other cities and provinces is still going on with the same volume and pace. People are heading ...

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Dear PCB, are Pakistani artists not good enough for PSL?

As a nation, it is unfortunate how easily we tend to get swayed by anything foreign or international. From music to movies, from sports to popular culture, a white person or foreigner is all it takes for us to get excited and worked up to buy whatever product or message is being sold.  Perhaps this is a manifestation of our colonial hangover that just doesn’t seem to end, or perhaps this represents a deep-rooted inferiority complex within us. Regardless, this sort of a mindset has become deeply ingrained into our nation’s psychology, and is now reflecting in our preferences as well. Lately, the ...

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Why Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man remains far superior to Tom Holland’s

I recently watched the trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home and it reminded me of the time I watched its predecessor, Spider-Man: Homecoming. Homecoming was a decent and entertaining movie. The acting was pretty solid from nearly every lead, especially Tom Holland. The writing was entertaining and the pacing was perfect. The movie never dragged but wasn’t too fast-paced either, while also having the best villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) portrayed by none other than Michael Keaton, the actor who played Batman in the 90s. So why did it feel as if something was missing? What is it that ...

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Is Venezuela the new Afghanistan?

Three days ago, the first United Nations (UN) rapporteur to visit Venezuela in 21 years told British media outlet The Independent that US sanctions on Venezuela are illegal and bordering on “crimes against humanity” under international law. No one in the international media will say it, but sanctions are always the precursor to war. Never mind Washington’s barbaric sanctions on pre-2003 Iraq, which are estimated to have killed 1.7 million Iraqi civilians, including 500,000 children. Not many people acknowledge this fact, but before the Pearl Harbour attack during World War II, the US had targeted Japan’s rapidly developing economy heavily with economic sanctions, forcing Japan to respond ...

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Zac Efron’s new Ted Bundy movie is anything but average

In the upcoming film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, Zac Efron plays Ted Bundy, a man whose uncanny charm and charisma was only outmatched by the heinous and horrific crimes he committed. Bundy was an American serial killer who murdered over 30 women between 1974 and 1978 and was consequently put on trial. Yet when he was charged, many failed to believe that such a handsome and charming man could in fact be a murderous psychopath. Photo: Screenshot What followed was a media circus and a highly publicised trial that turned Bundy into a literal celebrity with a ...

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As India enters election year, The Accidental Prime Minister is more relevant than you think

Movies can be a vehicle for entertainment, escapism and fantasy. However, they are increasingly delivering a dose of realism, reflecting the world we live in while being packed with drama, intrigue, and emotion. When it comes to drama, can there be a spectacle grander and more gripping than the power games played in high-level politics? That’s the space occupied by the recent Bollywood release, The Accidental Prime Minister. The movie is based on the memoirs of Sanjay Baru, an Indian policy analyst, and explores the 10-year tenure of Dr Manmohan Singh as India’s prime minister. Even before its release, the movie ...

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“I was going home after 71 years”: The emotional ‘homecoming’ of an Indian in Pakistan

“I am going home… after 71 years.” I mumbled something along those lines to passengers sitting beside me, while taking a flight from Karachi to Islamabad on Christmas morning. Late in October, a friend of mine who is like an elder brother and a bitter critic of Indian state policies, asked me for my passport. I quickly took some pictures and sent it over to him. A week later, he sent me an affidavit with an invitation to his daughter’s wedding in Karachi that was to be held in late December. And that is how my journey of going home began. It is ...

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Australian Open 2019: Can anyone match Novak Djokovic’s conviction?

Mental toughness is a massive factor behind success in sports; something which has separated the best from the rest, time and again. The game of tennis is no different in this regard. Every champion is different in their own right – it may come about from the class and finesse of someone like Roger Federer, the pure athleticism of Novak Djokovic, or the physicality of Rafael Nadal – but they all have one thing in common: conviction, a trait that stems from mental toughness. Conviction fuels the firmness of purpose and gives a person the energy to knock down the hurdles ...

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Why India may not be a big fan of Pakistan’s new visa policy

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘Naya Pakistan’ just passed legislation loosening the country’s previously difficult visa procedure. This legislation allows most of the world’s nationalities to either receive a visa on arrival or electronically, which will not only boost tourism and facilitate business dealings, but also show the international community that Azad Kashmir is truly free and not ‘Pakistan-occupied’ as India falsely alleges. This is all part of Imran’s ‘Naya Pakistan’ vision of revolutionising his country’s domestic and foreign affairs. This legislation is expected to immensely boost Pakistan’s tourism industry and facilitate the clinching of international business deals along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The ...

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Even Karan Johar, who calls himself a ‘feminist’, doesn’t understand that ‘no means no’

Karan Johar is the king of love triangles; perhaps even ‘love squares’ at times. After all, most of the movies he has directed, including Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Student of the Year, have the same elements at play and this formula seems to work for Johar. However, it seems too much to expect his movies to also make sense, as very rarely do they possess an actual plot that doesn’t include a Rahul falling in love with an Anjali. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, his most recent directorial success, became known for many things but unfortunately, its story wasn’t one ...

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