Stories published in April, 2019

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

How many Ahsans, Amals, Aqsas, Intezars, Nimras, Sajjads will we lose to police encounters?

Conducting encounters to catch criminals, only to end up killing innocent people, has become a favourite pastime for our law enforcement agencies (LEAs). Just a few months ago, we saw the brutal massacre of four people, including a woman and her teenage daughter, in Sahiwal. In yet another case of the innocent paying the price for police negligence, a toddler has lost his life after being fatally shot during an encounter between the police and dacoits in Karachi. Two-year-old Mohammad Ahsan Shaikh was travelling in a rickshaw with his parents when a bullet hit him, and when his father got ...

Read Full Post

Grandiose but tragic, will Kalank make history with its pre-Partition interfaith romance?

The much awaited multi-starrer Kalank releases today, to the joy of cinemagoers. The film seemingly narrates the story of a deep and devastated love, with the pre-Partition era serving as the backdrop. The magnum opus has been directed and produced by Abhishek Varman and Karan Johar, and stars an ensemble cast of Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit, Aditya Roy Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha. The trailer mirrors the intertwined but tangled relationships between our cast as Roop (Bhatt) is married off to Dev Chaudhry (Kapoor). Dev, however, already has a wife, Satya (Sinha), whom he loves immensely. He even tells Roop ...

Read Full Post

The beginning of the end: 6 jaw-dropping moments from the latest Game of Thrones

As if on cue, Karachi has been battered by billowing winds, and for Game of Thrones fans that means only one thing, “Winter is Here!” The first episode of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones premiered on April 14th and it rightly reminds us of why we never seem to get enough of this fantasy saga. As soon as the opening credits began to roll, I found myself humming the theme song like most fans do. There were some big expectations from the first episode of the much hyped final season and fans expected the premiere to ...

Read Full Post

Is Imran Khan not the PM of Balochistan? Is the Quetta attack not as tragic as the Christchurch attack?

As I begin to put these words on digital paper, I am appalled at the memories of every time I have written about this same tragedy. Despite the periodic occurrence of these catastrophes, it is evident nobody gives a damn. Thus, I ask, ‘Jacinda, Jacinda. Where art thou, Jacinda?’ It was only a few weeks ago that Christchurch suffered a devastating hate crime against Muslims at the hands of a self-righteous terrorist. The whole of New Zealand, spearheaded by their Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, rallied to protect and support its Muslim community. Her government went on to ban the category ...

Read Full Post

World Cup fever: Who will make the cut?

Pakistan’s squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup will be announced this week, April 18th. Some of the players that will manage to make a place for themselves in the team are fairly obvious. Sarfraz Ahmed will of course lead the side as captain while also fulfilling his duties behind the stumps. In the bowling department, pacers Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali will help lead the charge while Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim will spearhead the spin attack. The batting line-up will undoubtedly include regulars Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeeez.   However, which players will be able to ...

Read Full Post