Stories published in April, 2019

Two years in Pakistan made me reconsider my values on parenting

A few years ago, a friend of mine sent me Khalil Gibran’s poem, On Children. Upon reading it, I remember my first thought being, ‘this guy probably didn’t have children of his own’. I was appalled at the things he suggested in his poem. Gibran wrote: “Your children are not your children, They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself, They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.” I got married at the age of 23, and exactly nine months later, I became the mother of a daughter who is ...

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9 times PM Imran Khan made us cringe and laugh our way through ‘Naya Pakistan’

There has hardly been a moment of peace over the past eight months since Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power, given the sheer number of controversies he has caused on a regular basis. Imran is famous for speaking extemporaneously and saying whatever comes to his mind; facts and reason be damned. It doesn’t help that his army of cult followers do not have the ability to think past his persona and move beyond the Kaptaan fan club. But Imran often moves beyond saying controversial things to making statements that are absolutely ridiculous, resulting not only in national embarrassment but also ...

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Why was Game of Thrones’ “greatest battle” so unexpectedly underwhelming?

The Battle of Winterfell – the battle we’ve been waiting for since season one episode one, when we first came across a White Walker. The battle Game of Thrones has been teasing for eight-and-a-half seasons. The battle that meant enduring a season of watching a pouty Jon Snow do incredibly stupid things (like the wight hunt) to prove that “the dead are coming”. And the Battle of Winterfell was… underwhelming? (*Spoilers ahead*) Don’t get me wrong, it was a pretty decent battle. The beginning, where a horde of Dothraki fighters run into the darkness shouting, only to be silenced in seconds, was ...

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22 loans in 61 years: Pakistan’s unwavering habit of going to the IMF

If we take a look at Pakistan’s history of borrowing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), some interesting facts come to light. Pakistan’s history of knocking upon the IMF’s door started back in 1958, when General Ayub Khan first took the country to the IMF route and signed an agreement to secure special drawing rights (SDR) 25 million under a Standby Agreement. The money was never withdrawn.  Not too long after, Ayub’s finance team pursued two back-to-back IMF programs in 1965 and 1968 respectively. This time, however, they ended up withdrawing around SDR 112 million, the entire agreed upon amount. ...

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Gemini Man: The ultimate face-off of Smith vs Smith

After back-to-back critical failures like Suicide Squad, Collateral Beauty and Bright, Will Smith’s success has been on the decline for the first time in a long time. However, the trailer for his upcoming film, Gemini Man, serves as a reminder that you can never keep a good man down. Directed by Ang Lee, the sci-fi thriller which sees 50-year-old Smith face off against a 23-year-old clone version of himself (something made possible thanks to the magic of digital de-ageing). The internationally renowned director has previously directed films such as Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi, both of which won him an Oscar ...

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Abbottabad: The city that once stood against intolerance now welcomes it

Abbottabad, the capital of the Abbottabad District in the Hazara region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), is probably the second most important city of the province after Peshawar. It is a city of many famous tourist spots, as well as one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country. Most importantly, it is a city that prides itself on education, with some of the most prominent universities in Pakistan being found here, including the Ayub Teaching Hospital and the Pakistan Military Academy. Thus, it is not surprising to expect Abbottabad to be a city of tolerance, open-mindedness and acceptance. Unfortunately, this ...

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The desi hypocrisy surrounding autism

“Aap ka bacha abnormal hai kya?”  (Is your child abnormal?) The first time I heard the word ‘abnormal,’ I was five. For me, it was an alien word. So when I reached home, I asked my mum what it meant and if my cousin was ‘abnormal’. She just brushed off the question while tending to my newborn sister, not knowing the impact it would have on me later. In light of the fact that World Autism Awareness Day was marked earlier this month, I want to talk about children like my cousin and address the insensitive way in which our desi ...

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Will Chhalawa be more than a Pakistani spin on Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge?

Upcoming Pakistani film Chhalawa’s trailer has generated a lot of buzz, mainly due to it featuring an ensemble cast and presenting a fun and interesting premise. The film is produced, directed and written by Wajahat Rauf, while the music is by Shiraz Uppal. Chhalawa is Rauf’s third venture, and stars Mehwish Hayat, Azfar Rehman, Zara Noor Abbas, Asad Siddiqui, Mohsin Ejaz and Aashir Wajahat. The film appears to be a light-hearted romantic-comedy showcasing the love story between Zoya (Hayat) and Sameer (Rehman). Zoya is a young woman belonging to a rural area in Punjab who is being forced into marriage against her ...

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(Spoiler-free) A fitting end to an era, Endgame will emotionally destroy you while leaving you satisfied

As I try to hold a flood of emotions inside while reminiscing over the glorious moments from all 22 movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), I still find it hard to comprehend that it is actually over. The end of the Infinity Saga. The end of an era. Twenty-one movies, 11 franchises, 11 years and a life-ending snap later, it has all come down to this. Avengers: Endgame finally hit theatres worldwide yesterday, and as a dedicated Marvel fanboy, I watched it on the first day and will probably watch again later this weekend. To say that there were ...

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How Imran Khan and Donald Trump ruined Iran-India relations for good

Iran-India relations might be about to enter their worst-ever period in modern history, as a result of two very important and uncoordinated moves undertaken at almost the exact same time by the American and Pakistani leaders. Prime Minister Imran Khan just paid his first visit to Iran, where he and his hosts announced that they will enter into a new era of anti-terrorist cooperation. Geopolitical analyst Adam Garrie comprehensively analysed this in his recent piece on this breaking news event. The ball was indeed in Iran’s court to stop India’s anti-Pakistani Baloch terrorism, like I wrote the other day. To Tehran’s credit, its ...

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