Dear India, congratulations on your space mission. Sincerely, a Pakistani

On September 7, 2019, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) failed to maintain contact with the Vikram Lander when it was only 2.1 kilometres away from touching down on the moon. Mission Chandrayaan 2 was over for now. This was India’s second attempt to land on the moon after Chandrayaan 1 in 2008. The aim of this space mission was to become the first spacecraft to land on the moon’s South Pole. Nevertheless, the loss of contact meant India’s bid to become the fourth country to land on the lunar surface after Russia, America and China will have to wait. Space ...

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Is our solidarity with Kashmir conditional?

As I drove around Islamabad to reach my office on Defence Day, I saw a myriad of posters around the capital. They all communicated the same message: Pakistan is the bastion of Kashmiri interest; hence, Kashmir belongs to Pakistan. The hashtag ‘KashmirBanegaPakistan’ and retweets from Kashmiris who supported this message flooded my Twitter feed. Some of my friends even posted about their interactions with a few Kashmiris, after which they had concluded that all 14 million Kashmiris wanted to be a part of Pakistan. While the logic did not quite make sense, I could not help but wonder about this ...

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Living in online filter bubbles

On December 4, 2009, Google’s corporate blog released a post that did not receive much fanfare or attention but made sweeping changes in the landscape of the internet bringing about a paradigm shift in its nature. The post’s headline said ‘Personalized Search for Everyone’. This meant that since the very next day, Google would use 57 signals to guess our identity and produce search results on that basis. A race to know as much as possible about you has commenced amongst not just Google but all internet giants. Behind the sites we visit, there is a huge new market of ...

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Trying to understand Hamza Ali Abbasi’s ‘halal platonic’ relationship

A couple of days ago, the news about actor Hamza Ali Abbasi marrying fellow actress Naimal Khawar Khan broke out. I was extremely excited upon hearing the news because, in my opinion, they make one of the most photogenic and beautiful couples. With his Robert Pattinson-like looks and prodigious acting talent, Abbasi is one of the most famous television stars and perhaps the only male actor to truly rival Fawad Khan in terms of popularity. Khan is also a gorgeous woman and her performance in serial Anaa shows a lot of promise for the future. However, then my attention was drawn towards ...

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A nightmare for the LGBTQ community, there is a lot going wrong with ‘Adam’

Every now and then, efforts are made by filmmakers to produce a movie representing the LGBTQ community as accurately and unbiasedly as possible. However, very few of these movies fulfill their aim while also being politically correct. Adam, based on its namesake novel, is a prime example of this case. Released recently on August 14th, the film has already managed to garner quite a lot of criticism, a trending hashtag against it and a petition to boycott it. Marketed as ‘one of the most exciting LGBTQ films of the year’, Adam is, in fact, a classic exemplar of what exactly a ...

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Priyanka Chopra, a UN celebrity gone rogue

Earlier this week, Ayesha Malik called out Priyanka Chopra at Beautycon over the latter’s hypocrisy in styling herself as a champion of humanitarian causes while simultaneously sending out a tweet which many perceived as supporting nuclear warfare. In response, Chopra shut up Malik in the most humiliating, paternalistic, and holier-than-thou manner. Hi, I’m the girl that “yelled” at Priyanka Chopra. It was hard listening to her say, “we should be neighbors and love each other” — swing that advice over to your PM. Both India and Pakistan were in danger. And instead she tweeted out in favor for nuclear war. — Ayesha Malik ...

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Five reasons why Surkh Chandni is a milestone of our drama industry

Directed by Shahid Shafaat, the on-going drama serial Surkh Chandni highlights the highly sensitive issue of acid attacks on the women of our country. Starring the versatile Sohai Ali Abro, heartthrob Osman Khalid Butt, and powerhouse performer Asad Abbas, the serial points at patriarchy as the deep-rooted cause behind such heinous crimes. It tells the story of a girl belonging to a lower-middle class household and subjected to the tragic attack because of her mere rejection to a marriage proposal from a loafer living in her neighbourhood. View this post on Instagram Presenting a powerful poetry piece by Ali Imran written ...

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Cyber bullying: Misogyny under the garb of animal welfare

Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation (ACF) is an animal rescue service in Karachi that provides free treatment and shelter to stray animals along with managing other projects. A few weeks back, on their Facebook page, ACF posted a video of a ‘pet owner’ who was attempting to leave eight severely infected Persian kittens at the shelter without informing the staff or following their protocol. The man continued to resist and injured one of the girls working at ACF. Although the video clearly showed the man being disruptive, struggling to get inside his car, and drive off leaving the sick kittens behind but inevitably ...

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Indians can’t wait to ‘marry Kashmiri girls’, ‘buy land in Kashmir’ – and therein lies the problem

A few years ago, I wrote a blog in which I cherished an overarching identity which connected me, a Pakistani, to the inhabitants of neighbouring India. The said article was not a negation of the Two-Nation Theory but rather what I thought was the right way forward. I had written, “Yes, modern Pakistan and India are a reality, but then so is our great common heritage. Yes, it is important for us to be loyal to our political states, but at the same time not overlook the joint heritage. There is an overarching identity which unites us despite our political ...

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The Great Hack: The ‘great data robbery’ of our time

About a year ago, I wrote a piece about how data had been manipulated via Facebook to affect the US elections. I wrote about how our digital data was in our control and we can’t blame Facebook for targeted ads. Towards the end of it, I also predicted that Facebook would get away with a slap on the wrist while nothing would happen to Cambridge Analytica, because technically, they hadn’t done anything illegal and there was no evidence of any wrongdoing. Last month, Facebook got fined $5 billion for their role in misusing customer data. Last year, Facebook revenues were ...

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