Stories about 2011

Fudging the population: The missing 90 million Indian Muslims

There is one thing about Indian Muslims that just can’t be denied – most of them are poor. They don’t earn enough to be able to go on vacations to other countries. Most of them wish to go for Hajj to Saudi Arabia, and this they are able to do only when they are very old; having struggled to save over many years for the journey. Of course, there are rich and literate Indian Muslims whom one occasionally meets (mostly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia), and when you talk to them, they are adamant that the population of Indian Muslims is ...

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Asia Cup 2014: 12 years of Pakistan and India mêlée, who will win tomorrow?

They don’t come bigger than this. No. When you talk of sporting rivalries what comes to mind? Australia Wallabies and New Zealand All Blacks in rugby? Ashes? Brazil and Argentina in football? None of them compare to this one. The India-Pakistan cricket rivalry puts them all in the shade with its background of four wars, numerous skirmishes, disputed borders and nuclear weapons. From 1951 when the first India-Pakistan Test match took place to their last match in the ICC Champions trophy, every series, every tournament, every moment of every match has been a saga of raw emotion and unbridled passion. The India-Pakistan match on Sunday, ...

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How many bodies will I count this year?

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is whether we will see a resurgence of violence in 2012 like the one we saw in Karachi during 2011. This is because of the nature of my work, which is mostly about keeping count of the dead. Although it sounds morbid, it really is not as bad as what my other colleague does, an obituary writer who earns his living by going to graveyards almost every day. Cynical journalists among our group often joke that while “one kills, the other buries (aik marta hay, dosra dafnata hay).” I’m neither a clairvoyant nor a ...

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Flashback 2011: Pakistan in all its glory

Team Pakistan entered 2011 under the dark clouds of the spot-fixing scandal. With the backbone of their squad ripped apart as a result of the suspensions of Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif, and Salman Butt, few expected them to achieve anything significant in the next 12 months. However, as they often end up doing, Team Pakistan fought back magnificently and achieved a number of milestones. Here’s a look at some of the memorable events of the past year: 1. Series win in New Zealand Pakistan started the year with a closely fought series against New Zealand. Under alien conditions, Pakistan’s new squad showed tremendous determination to seal ...

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Star struck 2011

As the year 2011 comes to a close, it’s only natural to look back and remind ourselves of all that has transpired in the last 12 months. Other than several political and economic crises, not many things come to mind. However, upon a closer look one realises that there have been several scientific breakthroughs that this year will be remembered for. The discovery that fascinated me the most was made in August, when astronomers spotted an exotic planet that was reported to be made of diamond. Orbiting 4,000 light-years away from the earth, the new planet is far denser than ...

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Sarmad Sehbai’s poem on 9/11

Playwright and poet, nay poet and playwright, (lest he objects to the former order of his talents as did the revered Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi to Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s reported assessment, giving third place to his poetry, after his newspaper columns and short fiction)  Sarmad Sehbai, is not a man of politics. He is a social beast though and reacts, if at all, to political events in that context only. Politicians interest him, but only as stage characters in their various masks and costumes. As an artist, the fall of the Twin Towers in New York which shook the world ...

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The future looks bright for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s historic win over Bangladesh in their first Test match in six years was a rare dose of good news for the small African nation with great sporting potential. Zimbabwe were playing their first Test after voluntarily withdrawing from the five-day format in 2005, a decision forced by the sacking of several senior players following an acrimonious dispute with the board, coupled with the country’s lengthy political and economic crisis, which left the team heavily weakened. The question being asked by those not too familiar with the goings-on is what has led to this mini-revival in the game here?  There are ...

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Pakistan’s underrated luxury brands

Pre-historic or post-modern, in peace or in trauma, human beings have always been inclined towards the creation of beauty and self-expression as means of their personal survival and identity. Modern Pakistanis, too, are heavily invested in the creation of tools of aesthetic indulgence; it’s a sound business enterprise as the need for pleasing surroundings and luxurious products is one that does not diminish; it hasn’t faltered since the Neanderthals wore pigment-stained seashell necklaces around their necks. It’s what we draw solace from in a world that has been consistently unpredictable. Brands are identity- national identity There are imported products and there are ...

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Tableeghi Jamaat: Playing politics

The Sharifs, who portray themselves as the torch-bearers of principled politics, have by their actions shown themselves quite otherwise. In other words, they have shown that when it comes to garnering votes, they have no problem courting the conservative and right-wing elements of society. A war of words keeps erupting between Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif over issues of religious extremism, banned outfits and existence of the Taliban in southern Punjab. The former makes the allegations and the latter denies all of them, saying that no such thing is happening in his province. In the ...

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Of surprising autobiographies

I am used to meeting Nathu, the mechanic, at the filling station where I get fuel for my car. He mends punctured tyres. One day he requested that I teach him how to write. “I am okay at reading. Writing is my only weakness,” he told me. I asked why he wanted to learn to write. “I want to write my autobiography,” he said. “An autobiography? Is that what you want to write?” I asked. “Yes sir,” he said. “I have been through a lot. When I am done writing, you’ll be amazed with the things I come out with.” It registered then how trends ...

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