Stories published in April, 2019

Because what do overseas Pakistanis know about promoting tourism in Pakistan, right?

Recently, I found myself posing for a big fat family photograph at a wedding in Lahore, during which I was duly handed one of those decorative desi prop-style labels to pose with. Instead of the usual titles like ‘Larki walay’ (bride’s family and friends) and ‘Larkay walay’ (groom’s family and friends), can you guess which label I was handed? ‘Bahar walay’ (outsiders). As a child of the Pakistani diaspora residing in the United Kingdom, my life has been divided neatly between Birmingham and Lahore, but neither of these two worlds accept me. However connected I may be, there has always been a sense of ...

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#IBelieveHer, and so should you

Throughout her advocacy for sexual assault survivors, Tarana Burke, the founder of the Me Too movement, has mentioned how action being taken in any particular case does not bring her personal joy. She repeatedly reminds us how this is not what the movement is about – it is about healing for the survivors. Burke is not delusional with the idea that sexual harassment will disappear from the world over the next decade, but she believes a shift in narratives – how we talk about it – is possible by then. If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as ...

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A presidential system will only ‘save’ Imran Khan, not Pakistan

A presidential system does not mean one person can wield unlimited power. Sorry to break this to those who have recently grasped on to the idea that a presidential system will somehow save Pakistan. If you want that kind of government structure, you’re looking for a dictatorship. Most advocates of a presidential system in Pakistan are hoping for an unchecked executive being granted limitless powers. A person above the petty politics of Parliament, and who – through their iron resolve – will steer Pakistan out of the choppy waters it has found itself in and on towards the shores of ...

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Our Planet is more traumatic than it is engaging, and therein lies its greatest fault

Filled with majestic views, dazzling imagery and mesmerising natural spectacles, Our Planet is undoubtedly visually stunning, but it is also traumatising. The nature documentary that arrived on Netflix earlier this month aims to take a look at the impact of climate change on the various life forms which populate the Earth, but takes a few questionable turns along the way. Evidently, years of work have gone into the creation of this visual masterpiece. Over the course of eight episodes, the series takes the viewer from frozen worlds to lush jungles to stunning water bodies, showing how animals live in these ...

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Right on cue, Indian media blames Pakistan for the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks

It was bound to happen sooner than later, but the Indian media finally decided to play the ‘Pakistan card’ by attempting to connect their neighbour’s intelligence agency to the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks, a desperate narrative move that says a lot more about the Indian incumbent’s political vulnerability during the ongoing month-long electoral process than anything about Pakistan’s purported culpability in this tragedy. The cheap shot that the whole world saw coming. It was only a matter of time before the Indian media predictably blamed Pakistan for the Sri Lanka terror attacks. In his piece, Indian journalist Vicky Nanjappa wasted no ...

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A tale of two speeches: Why Bilawal has proved to be a better leader than Imran

This blog is about two speeches that are invariably linked. The first, delivered in a firebrand style by a young leader, provoked a response from an older leader. Both are leaders of major political parties, belonging to different generations and espousing different political ideologies. But as the crux of their speeches show, they belong to different calibres as well. The first speech was given in a National Assembly session by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. It was partly in response to Asad Umar’s infamous speech attacking Bilawal, and partly to raise some important questions about the recent ...

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The ultimate clash: Can City beat United at Old Trafford and regain their top spot?

Old Trafford will welcome Manchester City tonight in what promises to be a mouth-watering clash between the two Manchester rivals. For football fanatics, the importance of this match cannot be overstated. This game might prove to be the biggest turning point of the season since City are eyeing their second successive English Premier League (EPL) crown, whereas the Red Devils are fighting desperately to qualify for the Champions League next year. A defeat to City means Liverpool’s grip on the title will tighten. Can Manchester City triumph at Old Trafford and regain their top spot? It all hinges on this match. 🔴 ...

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Can Baaji help Meera revive her career?

Rightly considered one of the most anticipated Pakistani movies of 2019, Baaji’s trailer was unveiled yesterday to largely positive reviews. Saqib Malik’s directorial debut, the first few seconds of the trailer show the film to be a cross between genres as we see drama, action, comedy, revenge and even murder. The cast includes the ever-glamorous Meera, who shares the screen with model-turned-actor Amna Ilyas. Other primary actors include Osman Khalid Butt, Mohsin Abbas Haider, Ali Kazmi, Nayyar Ejaz, and Nisho Begum. Baaji is about an aging former movie star trying her best to keep pace with younger, emerging talent that ...

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The consequences of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s words

Prime Minister Imran Khan finally paid a visit to Iran upon the invitation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and the two-day visit was very important considering the strategic importance of both countries combined with the extreme tension between them on their over 900-kilometre long border. During his visit, apart from meeting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Imran addressed a joint press conference with Rouhani in which both countries stressed upon the importance of improving relations through bilateral dialogue, especially to combat the threats of drug smuggling and terrorism. This was a rather strange joint presser, as both Pakistan and Iran have ...

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Pakistan’s space programme: Achievable goal or impossible dream?

Last year, newly anointed Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry boldly announced that Pakistan would launch its first manned space mission in 2022, and as expected, many people took to social media to voice their amusement. The statement cracked many smiles and it became the subject of much ridicule and cynicism. For the first time in a long time, a Pakistani minister had publicly shown interest in and hinted at developing a space programme. Although space travel may not seem like a necessary concern for a developing nation like Pakistan, the feat would require incomparable resources and in the process ...

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