Stories published in April, 2019

I was 6 when I was sexually abused, repeatedly, in my ‘safe space’

I am a person who is currently in his early 40’s. When I was around six-years-old, I was sexually abused, repeatedly. This is my story. At the outset, I would like to acknowledge that the inspiration to write this blog came from Nadia Jamil, the famous television actress who last year revealed the harrowing abuse she had suffered as a youngster. I, however, do not have the courage to disclose my identity or to publicly share my ordeal as she did. So by no stretch of the imagination am I trying to emulate her. She is much braver and a far ...

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Divided by borders, united by Bushra Ansari: Why Humsaye Maa Jaye should be an Indo-Pak anthem

Amidst skirmishes along the Line of Control (LoC) and a threat of further military escalation between Pakistan and India that could lead to the menace of nuclear conflict in South Asia, a flicker of hope appears in the form of a satirical rap song by the dynamic sister duo, Bushra Ansari and Asma Abbas. Illustrating the harsh realities and craving for amity, the song Humsaye Maa Jaye has gone viral on various social media platforms and is immensely appreciated by Pakistanis and Indians alike. The Punjabi song is written by Ansari and Abbas’ elder sister and poetess, Neelum Ahmed Bashir. It ...

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As far as Stephen King adaptations go, Pet Sematary is certainly one of the better ones

Stephen King’s legacy as one of the best, as well as one of the most popular horror novelists is perhaps best attributed to the fact that no novelist in history has had more of his books adapted into movies. King’s greatest strength is perhaps his uncomplicated style of storytelling. While there are often underlying layers to his work, the narrative directness of his stories makes them tailor-made for the big screen. Pet Sematary however, which serves as the 35th time one of King’s books has made it to the big screen, has a special place even in King’s vast oeuvre. Worried by ...

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It’s 2019 and PMDC is still struggling with emails, while ‘valuable assets’ lose opportunities

Every year, between 1,000 and 1,500 Pakistani physicians leave the country to pursue their advanced medical training. As a result, there are currently thousands of Pakistani physicians working in the US, UK, Australia and the Middle East.   According to the 2016 Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) census, there are more than 12,000 active-licensed Pakistani physicians working in the US alone, while similar estimates for the UK, ranging around 2,300. To continue their academic pursuits, these physicians are required to attain temporary, and eventually permanent, registration with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). One would expect the process of obtaining ...

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Renaming BISP: PTI’s art of turning non-issues into controversies, because any publicity is good publicity

The art of turning a non-issue into a controversy seems to be a favourite habit of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. From the moment it came to power, PTI has only been good at changing the names of projects initiated by former governments and trying to re-launch them under its own name. The inauguration of the Lahore to Multan Motorway and the opening of the Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim in Karachi are examples in this regard, for the latter was already inaugurated while the former was a project almost completed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. As the prime minister is a media-savvy person, ...

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For creative spirits like Fayaz, Pakistan is where innovation crashes before it takes off

“Has it ever been done before?” “What do you think of yourself? Some genius that planet Earth has never seen? You’re too self-obsessed, dude!” “Had it been so simple, somebody would have done it already!” If you list the most destructive lines to kill innovation and out-of-the-box thinking, I am quite confident the aforementioned sentences would make it to the top 10. Regardless of time and place, people who come up with ideas that challenge the status quo in any field are initially ridiculed, and then face collective disapproval and extreme discouragement. It boils down to the stage when the one who ...

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When khudkushi became her only freedom

The sky was a pool of black ink, dusted with stars at midnight. Arsh looked out from the window — she saw many little streets sprawled out below. She had only known these streets from inside the walls of her room. She had never walked on them. She had never been under the open sky. She looked at these streets longingly. To her, these streets and everything else of the outside world was a distant dream. Arsh was thinking about him. He came again tonight. Her caramel skin flushed bright pink as he folded her into his arms. Her heart ...

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Erdogan embraced Trump’s politics to stay in power – has it finally failed him?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s embrace of Donald Trump-era populist politics not only appears to be nearing its inevitable end, but apparently has done Erdogan no favours in the long run. In mid-July 2016, an attempted coup in Turkey carried out by a faction of Turkey’s armed forces led to what can only be described as a brutal crackdown, as Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) crushed any potential resistance with an iron fist that made even some of history’s former despots pale in comparison. Barely two weeks after the coup, Turkey dismissed close to 1,700 military personnel ...

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India’s ‘Operation Isolation’ and the soft power of sports

“Our message is stronger than ever. Please stop the fighting. Please stop the killing. Please drop your guns.” Juan Antonio Samaranch, President International Olympic Committee speaking at the Winter Olympics, 1994. The sports arena has often been used in modern-day diplomacy to advocate for peace, but it has also been used to aggravate existing conflict. George Orwell wrote in The Sporting Spirit (1945) that sports is “war, minus the shooting” and has the potential to bring out the worst characteristics of nationalism. How that is controlled, or even amplified, is in the hands of those who hold the political controls.  In the days following ...

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Shazam! has as much muscle as our titular superhero

It was Superman who made his debut in Action Comics #1 in 1938 and made the superhero genre a sensation, but after Shazam (or Captain Marvel at that time) debuted in 1940, it was outselling the Man of Steel in comic book sales. This was probably the reason why Shazam was also the very first comic book superhero to be adapted into a film. Tom Tyler portrayed Shazam in the 1941 movie, The Adventures of Captain Marvel. But after DC Comics bought the rights to the character and reintroduced him as Shazam in 1972, the character went silent, mostly because people ...

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