Stories published in July, 2019

A Tale of Two Teams: Pakistan’s World Cup campaign through Charles Dickens

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness….we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.” The famous opening of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities speaks of an era of contrasts and contradictions. In the year 1775, England and France paradoxically embodied the mirror images of good and bad that define our everyday lives and everything within ...

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Fed up of your high electricity bills and constant load-shedding? Go solar!

Last week in Lahore, when temperatures were touching 45 degrees Celsius, everywhere I went the conversation revolved around not load-shedding but high electricity bills – rich and poor were reeling from their June electricity bills. The recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has resulted in subsidies being removed from electricity and gas, and citizens are now left to cope with huge bills. “The only option is to go solar – we have our elderly mother in the house who needs her air conditioner (AC) running 24/7 all summer long, plus our room and my brother’s room and guestroom. We ...

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From the jungle to the cage: Pakistan’s culture of keeping exotic animals as pets

I have been fighting against the mistreatment of animals in Pakistan for years now. Alongside other animal activists, however small in number, I have been trying to promote kindness and empathy towards all animals, domestic and working. However, what we activists did not anticipate was the sheer extent to which the sinister culture of keeping wild animals as pets in homes has become rooted in Pakistan. Lions, tigers, cheetahs, deers, bears, wolves, and more recently, giraffes can be found in various neighbourhoods in cities like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, among others. While this has been a cause for concern for decades, it appears ...

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Spider-Man: Far From Home is amazing but it needs to get over its Avengers hangover

Spider-Man: Homecoming was a breath of fresh air and the biggest reason for this was a conscious attempt by Marvel to avoid repeating everything we have already seen in Spider-Man movies of past as well as everything that has gone wrong and/or led to the downfall in popularity of previous franchises. Therefore, instead of a packed narrative that would have included everything from an origin story to an over-sized, over-stuffed cast of villains, Homecoming played it remarkably low-key, positioning the film as much of a John Hughes-esque high school movie as it was a Spider-Man adventure. In Michael Keaton’s The Vulture, the ...

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The return of Fayyaz Chohan: Is tolerance no longer the ‘first and foremost pillar’ of Pakistan?

When Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came to power, Fayyaz Chohan was given charge of the Punjab Information Ministry. During his stint as Punjab’s information minister, Chohan not only used derogatory language against his political opponents, but he also passed disrespectful, misogynistic remarks about a stage actress, accusing her of spreading vulgarity in society. His statements soon became an embarrassment for the PTI government and it seemed that every time Chohan spoke, PTI had to clean up the mess after him. However, when Chohan spoke against the Hindu community in an offensive and bigoted manner, it seemed that he had finally crossed the line. ...

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#TherapistDiaries: Physical, emotional or cyber, cheating is cheating

Have you ever been cheated on in an intimate relationship? Have you ever seen a couple where one partner cheats on the other on multiple instances yet they are trusted and forgiven each time? Does it ever frustrate you that your friend, acquaintance or a relative cheat on their partner but shudder at the thought of separating or divorcing their spouse? Cheating is one of the most commonly occurring themes in a relationship, and so far, a lot of research has been done on it. There are two categories and three types of cheating. Cheating can either be a one-time incident in a ...

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To my Karachi, the city of sin and believing

To Karachi, The one that I see, As I walk across the kachi mitti, Right next to the bustling streets. Walking amongst people, Each so different from each other and from me, But united by a common identity, a common home, Karachi. To the Karachi with pain, Hot, humid and sticky with lack of rain. Where the sidewalk is filled, With people who mill about – purposelessly. Wasting through their day, Hoping someone will have the money to pay, For a meal or two for their family, Maybe new clothes, maybe something sanitary. To the Karachi of the poor, of the hooker, of the whore. The one that’s unforgiving and harsh, Where with finding another job and ...

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Imran Khan is holding everyone accountable, but who will hold him and PTI accountable?

As part of the ongoing ‘Benami’ drive, jump-started by Imran Khan and zealously being carried on by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), assets belonging to several influential bigwigs have been exposed. Be it Nawaz Sharif’s possessions, Asif Ali Zardari’s Omni Group or the illegal properties owned by other leaders, the authorities are probing into the slightest indication of ill-gotten wealth as ordered by PM Imran. In addition to this, bank accounts holding exorbitant amounts are under investigation too. Meanwhile, the salaried class is bearing the brunt in the form of numerous taxes and levies, placed on their property, vehicles ...

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CWC19: Pakistan couldn’t score 500, but proved they are worthy of the semi-finals

Before the Pakistan-Bangladesh encounter, Sarfaraz Ahmed said, “we will aim for 500 runs”. While it seemed highly unlikely, Pakistan fans at least expected their team to attempt the impossible. That’s what sport is about, right? Always trying to push the boundaries and make the impossible possible. After all, records are meant to be broken and Pakistan should have done everything they could to try to qualify for the semi-finals. Of course, this was only possible if Pakistan got off to a fast start. Sarfaraz Ahmed "we will try to score 500" #PAKvBAN #CWC19 pic.twitter.com/JPN3sQ5DR8 — Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) July 4, 2019 While the ...

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The UN can only watch in silence, while the Uighur can only suffer in silence

At the edge of the desert in Xinjiang, China, hundreds of ethnic Uighurs are trapped inside an indoctrination program designed by the Chinese state to rip away their Muslim identity. Here, under the eyes of the Chinese surveillance state, they are trapped in a void brought upon by the world’s silence to their plight. For more than a thousand years, the Xinjiang area of China was the home of the Uighurs. A few decades ago, this area was populated almost exclusively by its members. Today, more than 50% of its population is Han Chinese. Now, this didn’t happen because the ...

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