Stories about bad

Six (of many other) ‘wrong numbers’ that Pakistan keeps dialling

Many in Pakistan have taken Aamir Khan’s PK as a lampoon only for Hindus and brushed it aside as just that blissfully ignoring the very blatant message the movie tried to give to followers of all religions. In my opinion, this movie was most relatable to our side of the border than any other place. The only real difference between what the film portrayed and what happens here is that when we bring up such questions we are killed. Simple. But if you give the message in the movie a little more thought, you will realise that most of what happens in ...

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Remembering Joan Rivers, the good, the bad and the ugly

“I ain’t afraid of death. I am in show business, I died a million times.” That is Joan Rivers for you, a woman so full of life that even the idea of biding ado to this world couldn’t dim her light. A dynamo, fashionista and a firm believer in happy endings, Joan passed away at the age of 81, after a throat complication and being taken off life support. Starting her glamorous career in 1959, she had the good fortune to experience it all. After getting her big break through The Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson, there was no looking back for her; ...

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Eid away from home isn’t that bad at all

I received a beautiful gift from a complete stranger. I don’t even know her name. It was the last Friday of Ramazan, so I decided to attend the Dua and khatam-e-Quran at my local mosque. Growing up in Lahore, I had never seen the inside of a mosque in my entire life. So, even after more than a decade of living in America, I have rarely gone to my local mosque as I, perhaps, feel that the mosque is a place where men gather. But that Friday, on my birthday no less, I went. As I prayed jammat with women of all colour and creed, ...

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‘Metronomics’ in Lahore: We may be heading for an ‘F’

What brings economic progress to a country? Social scientists have argued for good institutions, trade-suited geographical placement, favourable climatic conditions, cultural homogeneity among a country’s peoples, and – lo and behold – even their superior genetic makeup. Yet, no sociologist has suggested relegating the laws of economics to history’s waste bin. Endowments of nature (such as those listed above) are important indeed, but their apt utilisation (good economics) is much more important. Fiscally speaking, any new project a public official decides to pursue needs a thorough pre-evaluation by experts. Economists have tools to compare a given project’s usefulness to other potential ones. ...

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Will Pakistan-India relations survive if Modi comes to power?

“The scenes will return, like deranged ghosts, to haunt those of us who were at the graveside to witness the burial of a secular dream. The screams of exultation with each blow of a pickaxe, each thrust of a rod, each dome that came crashing down. If there were no implements, the frenzied hordes would have used their bare hands to the same effect, so powerful was the poison that coursed through their veins in those few hours of madness” (Dilip Awasthi Ayodhya) It is now clear, from various reports, that in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections, 2002, Bharatiya Janata Party ...

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The Baloch tribal system isn’t all that bad

Bijjar is a Balochi word which means cooperation or help. We have all heard our esteemed intellectuals on national television talk about how the tribal system has multiple drawbacks. The primary reason these intellectuals like to rail against the tribal system is because they themselves have minimal knowledge about this structure. Their knowledge about the tribal system is restricted merely to its problems, which encompass things like the Sardari system, a hierarchy where the head is a sardar (chief), the exploitation by feudal lords, the culture of ammunition and strict ideologies against women education. Unquestionably, some aspects of the tribal system do more harm than good to a ...

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Of biased history: Wait, wasn’t Nehru the bad guy?

“Oh Jinnah sahib? Suna hai ke woh Nehru ki takkar ke thay.” (Oh, Mr Jinnah? I have heard that he was quite the equivalent of Nehru.) Stunned by the honest answer to my question by my Indian friend, I tried to process what he had said. It was the third day of the Boy Scouts Messengers of Peace Camp and we were in Delhi riding together on a bus to visit a monument – the Qutub Minar, I believe. Over the last few days that I had been in India, I had noticed that only a select few of my Indian counterparts knew ...

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Working women do not make better moms

“Working women do not make better moms,” I told an audience comprising of my teachers and fellow students in my primary school where my own mother was working as a teacher. I had the audacity to look her in the eye as I completed my argument in the speech competition. She looked back with a smile and I looked away. I had a good reason for the argument. Ever since my mother started working I saw a change in my family life. She often brought work home and then struggled with house chores. I got lesser treats at home. There were no more homemade doughnuts ...

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48 Laws of Power: A con man’s guide to the big bad world

When I first read Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, I found it difficult to decide whether the writer was being pragmatic or just plain evil. Take these two ‘Laws of Power’, discover each man’s thumbscrew (Law 33) and pose as a friend, work as a spy (Law 14). The wickedness of what Greene is suggesting will shock some, while others will appreciate the practicality of the book. Greene himself has said that he does not consider himself a genius, just a realist. In an interview with Dorian Lynskey of The Guardian for an article, he said, “I believe I described a reality that no other book tried to ...

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Have you forgotten all that Musharraf did for you, Pakistan?

It was just another day, on October 12, 1999, in New York City where I was an undergraduate student. Little did I realise then that it was the day that would go down as one of the most controversial days in Pakistan’s history. It was the day when the Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) flight PK 805, was denied landing rights in Pakistan on its return from Sri Lanka. A detour out of Pakistani territory would have meant an imminent crash of the commercial airliner, due to low fuel, with its 198 passengers on board. Amongst the passengers was none other than General ...

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