Stories published in July, 2019

Imran Khan wins America

It was a Sunday night and Washington’s large Capital One Arena was packed. But it wasn’t packed for basketball or a music concert; it was 20,000 people who came to listen to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. It was at this moment when on a cultural level, decades of mistrust and bad blood between Pakistan and the United States (US) evaporated. Prior to the formation of Imran’s government, Pakistan’s prime ministers were the kind of people who could only fill large public squares at home by mobilising a network of bribery and patronage. Such politicians could not attract any great ...

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The Lion King: Nostalgic but distracting

The success of 2016’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book opened a new dimension for Disney; a dimension in which they could dust off their animated properties from the past and cash-in on the nostalgia through new live-action remakes. It’s not as if they hadn’t done this before with live-action reiterations of Alice in Wonderland and Sleeping Beauty (Maleficent). However, the success of Jungle Book consolidated this as a long-term corporate strategy. Since then, live-action remakes of Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo and Aladdin have all hit the big-screen, with remakes of Mulan, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid and even Lilo and Stitch already in the ...

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A teacher’s response

No, beta, the trees can’t talk and sing, Nature doesn’t invite you in, And the wind certainly doesn’t give you wings! No, no, colours don’t melt, Transcendental emotions you pen aren’t felt, Word in your poems, Are sounds, lines, and curves, Not pillows, crutches and memory reserves. And please, people are people, Can’t see a rose in a person and person in a rose, A void exists only in space, Not in her eyes! Her hair, how can it be like a fall? Her smile like a fresh stream, And laughter like a heart’s somersault? Sorry, beta, but the dead are dead. Their love and laughter, you can’t store, And their memories, time will ...

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Iftikhar Lund as a human rights advisor is like a wolf drafting a charter on the rights of sheep

From the ashes of World War II rose the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This international instrument granted a special place to the concept of human dignity. Article 1 of the UDHR states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Today, more than a hundred constitutions across the world make some reference to human dignity, either as a right or as a value that the state is to aspire towards. Although there is a wide disagreement about the ...

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Ready Steady No: A clichéd plot with a fresh script

Pakistani filmmakers seem to find romantic comedies coupled with boy and girl running away from their families, quite lucrative at the box office. That’s the plot we saw in films like Chhalawa, Wrong No 2, Balu Mahi, and probably will witness in upcoming films like Heer Maan Ja. And guess what, that’s exactly what we got in the recent Ready Steady No as well, which is written, produced and directed by Hisham Bin Munawar. The film features Faisal Saif and Amna Ilyas as main leads, with senior television actors such as Salman Shahid, Ismail Tara and Nargis Rasheed being a part of the cast also. The Pakistani film industry desperately ...

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It’s not Jadhav who is in prison; the subcontinent is the prisoner of paranoia

If anyone thought that India and Pakistan’s reaction would have been different had the verdict in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case been different than what it is, then they are being delusional about the postmodern history of the Indian subcontinent. We are now conditioned to react without thinking. Both of us derive pleasure in humiliating each other – be it on the sports field or in the arena of politics. Newspapers on both sides of the border painted their pages with the titles that suited their national interests. Indian media celebrated the verdict in the same way they did when Prime Minister Narendra Modi ...

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England won the Cricket World Cup without winning the final

Breathtaking, gripping, electrifying, thrilling and miraculous. I copied these terms right from the dictionary but no matter how I jumble them together, none of these words can do justice to the greatest World Cup final ever. All I can tell you is that England and New Zealand battled to the point that a law which had been sitting rotting in old cricketing books had to be pulled out to declare a winner and force a loser. The irony is that the final had everything one could ask for, yet it ended in a manner which disregarded everything. After a thrilling ...

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The repercussions of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s arrest

One could argue that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s arrest has always been on the cards. He has been very vocal against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) regime, has said he was not afraid of being arrested, and he also never filed a petition for protective bail against his arrest. But before discussing Abbasi’s current predicament, it is important to understand the charges levied against him. The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) Karachi office, while investigating the case against Abbasi in 2017, observed that there were irregularities in the awarding of the LNG contracts. It was said that the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited ...

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Economic road map: Imran Khan should eat, sleep, breathe (and dream) exports

The government has plethora of tasks at hands, and naturally so since it paraded a picture-perfect dream in its election manifesto. The scorecard, however, had been deteriorating, even before the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was at the helm of affairs. Twenty months and counting, the Rupee has lost almost 50% of its value and interest rates (borrowing costs) have increased to 13.25%. Have hopes of a quick improvement in the livelihood of the middle-class that voted for this government faded away only to resurface for a better long-term hope? There are no quick fixes for Insafians and Pakistanis. That said, in the ...

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The King’s Man: Grounded and grittier while preserving the original essence

Hollywood has got a knack for milking every franchise as much as possible and the same is happening with its Kingsman franchise. The latest entry is not a sequel but a prequel, titled The King’s Man, with its trailer released just recently. I had come across Kingsman: The Secret Service accidentally a couple of months after its release and had ended up watching the movie with my eyes glued to the screen the entire time. The stylised action sequences, the over-the-top plot along with the brilliant performances of Colin Firth and Taron Edgerton, were definitely the highlights of the movie. The movie was ...

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