Stories published in April, 2019

Homecoming will make you marvel at Beyonce’s talent and leave you exhausted by her resilience

Beyoncé made Coachella history last year when she became the first female African American artist to headline the popular music festival. Now the singer has marked the anniversary of her performance by looking back at her triumphant show in Homecoming, a concert film that captures the spectacle onstage as well as sheds light on how it shaped offstage. Released on Netflix last week – right when Coachella was rolling in for its annual visit – the film basically shows just how Beyoncé transformed Coachella into Beychella. The piece features her nearly two-hour long set, seamlessly splicing together her performances from the first ...

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(Not) ‘All Pakistanis suffer equally’

In the wake of the recent heart-rending tragedy that befell the Hazaras of Hazarganji, a number of prominent media personalities such as Asad Rahim Khan, Pervez Hoodbhoy, and the relentless political activist Jibran Nasir, came out in vocal support of the highly persecuted minority ethnic group. They openly spoke about the real motivation behind why the community continues to be preferentially targeted by a now annual onslaught of militant attacks, and why its predicament is still met with a rabid form of popular indifference that is nauseating to even consider, let alone make sense of. Tomorrow morning a few friends and I will be ...

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The deliberate collapse of education in Sindh, courtesy of PPP

The Sindh government budget for the fiscal year 2018-19 witnessed an increase in spending on education, with the Rs208.23 billion allocated for the education sector showing an increase in spending of 14.67% from the outgoing fiscal year. Since the incumbent ruling party in Sindh took the reins of power years ago, budgetary allocations kept increasing every year compared to previous years, while education standards remained stagnant, or rather, deteriorated. For instance, an estimated 52% of children in Sindh are still out of school. Despite billions of rupees being ‘spent’ every year on education by the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) provincial government, ...

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From one revolutionary to another: Vladimir Lenin as remembered by Habib Jalib

The figure of Vladimir Lenin exercises a talismanic hold on revolutionaries everywhere, across time and space. The year 2017 was celebrated as the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution, leading to the establishment of the first socialist state presided over by Lenin and marking an important moment in history. Likewise, Urdu literature is also rich in writings about the Bolshevik Revolution. However, writings on Lenin, especially poems, are few and far between. Perhaps the most celebrated poem on the founder of the Russian revolutionary state was Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s Lenin, Khuda ke Huzoor Mein (Lenin in God’s presence) written soon after the revolution ...

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Why is Man City a juggernaut in Premier League but fails repeatedly in the Champions League?

For the third straight year, Manchester City have failed to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League. The best Manchester City ever fared in the competition in recent memory was when they progressed to the semi-finals in 2016, in what would prove to be Manuel Pellegrini’s farewell season. Now City will have to wait for another year to try and better that record. City’s ouster at the hands of Tottenham Hotspurs was reminiscent of their defeat in 2016, when AS Monaco progressed through to the quarter-finals on away goals after having drawn with City on aggregate. Video assistant referee ...

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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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