Stories published in April, 2019

Pakistan is in a climate crisis but its minister incharge is a bigger cause for concern

As a journalist who regularly covers climate change related issues, I was taught early on by my former editor at BBC, Alex Kirby, that: “Your job is to communicate the science, not to do it, and if you do not know much about it, you will probably be better able to understand your readers’ ignorance and confusion about the subject. But never overestimate their knowledge, and never underestimate their intelligence.” I have always tried to communicate climate change in the easiest possible language, but the primary intention has always been to remain cognisant of the scientific facts. You cannot dumb-down climate ...

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Nusrat Rafi is to Bangladesh what Jyoti Singh was to India – a rude awakening

Nineteen-year-old Nusrat Jahan Rafi should be doing what any other average teenager does in their day: sitting their exams, stressing about their results, surrounding themselves with piles of books, and spending time with their friends. Instead, 19-year-old Nusrat is being mourned by her distraught family after she was doused in kerosene and set on fire. Her crime? She filed a police complaint against the headmaster of her madrassa who sexually harassed her. In Bangladesh, like many other conservative countries, sexual harassment is a taboo subject and women are reluctant to speak out against those who harass them, for fear of ...

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Behind the cosmic curtain: Black Hole 101 and why it’s a groundbreaking achievement

A black hole cannot be seen. And yet, a clever species on a planet in an obscure corner of a spiral galaxy have figured out a way to capture the shadow of a black hole. Black holes are one of the most mysterious and exciting objects in the universe, unless of course you happen to fall into one of them. Their existence was derived theoretically from Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, first published in 1915. In fact, Einstein himself was quite sceptical about the existence of such objects. In the following decades, however, it became clear that at ...

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The abyss where humanity comes to die

Lately I have found myself wondering whether the plethora of problems compounding Pakistan are a recent phenomenon or whether these ever present issues have just now been pushed into the spotlight due to social media. Courtesy of these online platforms, one almost feels that we are now living in a dystopian future. Global warming is on the rise, the economy is in shambles and worst of all, the collective conscience of the country seems to be in peril. Sexual harassment, rape and torture of women and children has now become so commonplace that it hardly even gets a mention on ...

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#CWC2019: 4 shockers from an uncertain World Cup squad

April has been the month of squad announcements, as the 2019 Cricket World Cup is now merely a month away. Almost all the participating teams have shown their trump cards. Our very own Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq recently revealed the 15-member squad alongside the two reserve players who will be touring England next month and representing the best of Pakistan cricket. Speculations regarding the final 15 had been ongoing for quite a while, and while it all came to end recently, it did not go entirely as everyone expected. BREAKING: Pakistan have announced their #CWC19 squad. 🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/NBlvAc2vbo — Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) ...

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Imran Khan’s 8-month conundrum: Taking the right decision or the popular one?

Ever since Imran Khan has been sworn in as the prime minister of Pakistan, somehow his administration has never failed to supply flabbergasting news every now and then. His right-hand man on the economy and star finance minister, Asad Umar, has stepped down, followed by a major reshuffle in the cabinet in which various cabinet members saw their portfolios changed. For instance, Fawad Chaudhry is now the Minister for Science and Technology, despite brushing off such rumours just a few days ago. This may smell of chaos inside the administration, but I seriously doubt it. I actually welcome the move because ...

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With Asad Umar gone, who will Imran Khan blame for his government’s failure?

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has, after much criticism, finally shuffled its cabinet. Many federal ministers, such as Ghulam Sarwar, Fawad Chaudhry and Shehryar Afridi, have been given different portfolios, while Finance Minister Asad Umar refused to accept a cabinet position and has thus stepped down from office. Though Umar’s removal did not come as a surprise – his performance was heavily criticised and his departure was expected – it is the timing that is questionable. Pakistan’s economy is in shambles, relying heavily on the bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which Umar had been negotiating for the ...

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Rawalpindi: A chaotic labyrinth, caught between heritage and heresy

In the post-modern world, the topography of the city has undergone a drastic shift. Rapid urbanisation and growing job opportunities have resulted in many cities in the developing world being swamped by an increasing number of people coming in from the villages and suburbs. In order to accommodate this burgeoning populace, the intrinsic structure of the modern metropolis has had to evolve. Countries such as India and Pakistan have had to grapple with the dual ambitions of wanting to urbanise their cities while also wanting to hold onto their rich architectural heritage. The complex history of a multi-ethnic country ...

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As long as we keep producing films like Junoon-e-Ishq, Pakistani cinema will never get anywhere

It may seem hard to believe, but the trailer is actually one of the most important parts of a film. After all, it is through the trailer that the audience gauges the film and makes up its mind about whether or not to spend money watching it in the theatre. Thus, the power of a good trailer cannot be denied. Meanwhile, Junoon-e-Ishq is yet another Pakistani film that kept the audience away just through its trailer. Pakistani audiences had serious doubts over the quality of content, the performances as well as every single aspect of the filmmaking, and the ...

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Why schools in Punjab should not bid goodbye to Mr Chips

One of my most cherished memories from my school years is reading the James Hilton novella, Goodbye, Mr Chips. The book tells the heartening story of a seasoned school teacher whom the students lovingly refer to as Mr Chips, a man who is an institution unto himself. Over the course of the story, Mr Chips reflects on the life he has led and hopes that his decades of service as a teacher have enriched the lives of his students.   The enduring popularity of the novel has ensured that it has remained a staple feature in English Language classrooms across ...

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