Stories about america

The B-side: Junaid Jamshed and untold stories behind the controversies

After leaving a lucrative career as a pop singer, Junaid Jamshed (JJ) has evolved into a preacher and poster boy for the austere deobandi group, the Tableeghi Jamaat. He once jokingly remarked, “When I was a singer people use to throw rose petals at me, since I came into Islam they throw stones at me.” This simple statement does more to highlight Pakistan’s state of affairs than explain how someone, who has been referred to by his musician friends, and in his Islamic circles, as “the nicest person one can meet”, can be party to one controversy after another? Some say, he is ...

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America must decide between its people and guns

US politics has taken a nose dive. In the run up to the November 2016 presidential election, public opinion is going crazy. At a time when Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and are hell bent on safeguarding the dreadfully outdated Second Amendment to the US Constitution, we, as a society, are seemingly settled and resigned to our fate. Beyond the 400 or so mass-shootings and over 2000 deaths and injuries just in 2015, the guns are still blazing and there’s no stopping the lunacy. Proponents of the dastardly arms trade say that guns only kill innocent people when ...

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The tale of our globetrotting PM: Are we getting our money’s worth?

Since coming into power in 2013, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has spent 185 days of his 940 days in office outside of the country. In other words, between June 2013 and February 2016, the PM has made 65 trips abroad. This is in laughably stark contrast to the number of times PM Sharif has visited the country’s sovereign legislative body, the National Assembly: a miserly 35 times. While a cash-strapped Pakistan continues on the path of bailouts and loans from international lenders, the PM’s foreign gallivanting has cost the national exchequer upwards of an eye-popping 63.82 crore rupees. One could argue that ...

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President Barack Obama is probably the best president America has ever had

After listening to the debate of prospective presidential candidates, from the Democratic and Republican parties, one can’t fail to notice the stark difference in their leadership styles with the present incumbent. President Obama presents a dignified image, a vision backed with impeccable integrity coupled with great communication skills. Perhaps, these qualities are enough to set him apart from the aspiring candidates. Although, it would be too early to assess his performance as the president, since he will be demitting from his position in January 2017. Regardless, one can’t resist the temptation of revealing a scorecard of his achievements and failures during his two terms tenure. Obama’s inclusive ...

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The loving humanitarian efforts of an American in Pakistan

Due to frequent media images of violent anti-American protests as well as repeated travel-safety warnings from the State Department, most Americans avoid visiting Pakistan. However, Todd Shea, the founder of Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS), has adopted Pakistan as his home and is running several welfare projects there. I learnt about Todd Shea on Facebook several months ago when I was browsing through a list of ‘People you may know’. Pleasantly surprised to learn about the humanitarian work he was doing in Pakistan, I began to closely follow CDRS activities on social media. The 2005 earthquake and the great need to help its victims brought Shea to ...

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New girl in Lahore

When you are a college dropout, tired of making coffee for a living with a half-finished manuscript lurking in your head, it’s only natural for you to pack your bags and fly to the East; land of your father and his father, in pursuit of a hippie lifestyle. Okay, let’s just say Whole Foods organic market was out of budget. What was I thinking though when I boarded that plane from good ole Amreeka? What was dad thinking when he labelled pasteurised, hormone-free milk fake? Was that out of his loyalty towards the Australian cows milked here in Lahore? Or the nehr water that makes its ...

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What if gun control isn’t solely to blame for mass shootings in America?

With alarming regularity, shootings in America make the news across the planet, sometimes every other week. Horrific visuals of mayhem, tragedy, and pain fill our TV screens as we try to understand how the most powerful nation in the world helplessly suffers like this month after month, year after year. We look at the statistics where only the United States amongst its peers sees mass murders take place with any regularity, and wonder what the hell is going on. On the left, American politicians would have their citizens believe the problem simply stems from a lack of gun control, and the ...

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If they thought Ahmed brought a ‘bomb’, why didn’t they evacuate the school?

When they say they thought 14-year-old MacArthur High School student, Ahmed Mohamed, brought a bomb to school, they are lying. They are lying through their teeth. Let’s examine the facts. This young student of Sudanese origin, who loves engineering gadgets in his spare time, brought a home-made clock to school to show to his engineering teacher. His teacher after examining the device, recognised it as a clock, but realised it could be misinterpreted as something dangerous, and warned Ahmed not to show it anyone else. According to Dallas Morning News, Ahmed said, “He was like, ‘That’s really nice. I would advise you not to show ...

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Dear Ahmed, like you, I was also viewed as the ‘enemy’

You may have heard the story of Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Dallas student who was arrested after bringing a home-made clock in to show his teacher. They believed it was a bomb, likely because Ahmed Mohamed is a Muslim. Since I don’t know how to reach this young man directly, I thought I’d post a letter to him here. Dear Ahmed, I’ve never met you, and it’s quite possible you’ve never heard of me, but my name is George Takei. I am many decades older than you, but your story and your experience – when you were arrested at your school simply because you brought ...

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“Dry it out and destroy it”: Why Pakistan should be wary of Donald Trump

You have heard of him. The old guy in a crisp suit, flashy tie, wisps of blonde hair, who had multiple Miss Universe contestants by his side. The guy you would see on TV pointing fingers and saying “You’re fired” with a smug look on his face. Well, that smug face is looking at you now. Today, Donald Trump will mount the podium at the Republican Primary Debate hosted by CNN at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. He has traded in his television show for a shot at the Oval Office. The republican front-runner and presidential candidate was interviewed by Sarah Palin a few weeks ago on ...

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