Stories about banned

Ahmed Shehzad is neither performing nor behaving, yet he’s given more comeback opportunities

When Ahmed Shehzad first came under the limelight, a lot was expected of him and some even went on to tag him as the solution to Pakistan’s opening woes. However, despite a promising start, his international career has gradually been festooned with darkness – which is mostly down to his antics on and off the field. His latest involvement in the doping scandal is just another example of why the Lahore-born cricketer lacks the temperament to survive and thrive in modern-day cricket. It’s a pity that deserving players struggle to breakthrough in the side while Shehzad, despite his shenanigans, has ...

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The silence of the taboo: Why must I put my sanitary pads in a brown bag?

I was one of the most excited women in the newsroom when I heard Bollywood was making a movie tackling the taboo around menstruation called PadMan. As someone who detests censorship to the core, I thought perhaps now that the pad will be up on the silver screen, I will no longer be shamed for talking about periods openly, or for refusing to use the brown bag. But excitement didn’t last very long. Lo and behold! The Central Board of Film Censors banned PadMan in Pakistan. The details in the news were mind-blowing, a lot like how it feels when the uterus explodes and ...

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Why should Abbasi apologise for standing up for minorities?

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) latest directive – asking Aaj News to apologise for airing ‘controversial’ and ‘sectarian’ views during a Ramazan transmission reeks of nothing but double standards. Many have argued that Hamza Ali Abbasi’s bold step towards stirring, much needed, dialogue regarding the plight of Ahmadis and the demagogic blasphemy laws was bound to have serious repercussions. And they weren’t wrong. Mere hours later, Shabbir Abu Talib and Kokab Noorani openly declared Abbasi’s discussion an act of ‘treason’. On national television. Consequently, PEMRA, believing itself to be the sacrosanct upholder of morals banned both shows for indulging in provocative, non-serious and irresponsible conversations on television during the ...

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Dear PEMRA, why can’t Hamza Ali Abbasi talk about the plight of Ahmadis without being threatened or banned?

Pakistan is the land of topsy-turvy, where the righteous are punished and the wrongdoers thrive. In what is a thoroughly perplexing decision, The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) imposed a ban on Hamza Ali Abbasi’s Ramazan program. What was his crime? To open a dialog on his show on the plight of one of the most viciously persecuted minorities in Pakistan, the Ahmadis. Not a few days ago, Hamza Ali Abbasi asked why Ahmadis were treated so poorly in the country and why we were so afraid to talk about it: “The community is being suppressed but if you talk about it, ...

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Yan Lianke’s The Four Books brings Chinese history to its knees

Chinese literature, one of the most overlooked in the world, is also one of the richest. Since the beginning of this century alone, China has produced two Nobel Laureates in Literature: Gao Xingjian (2000) and Mo Yan (2012), and yet it remains mainly unknown to a larger reading population worldwide. And while many Chinese novelists are lauded internationally, their plight is such that, at home, they constantly have to grapple with state sponsored censors and almost despotic regulations. In a melancholy article for the New York Times that was published in 2012, the internationally celebrated Chinese writer, Yan Lianke, lamented ...

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Does Pakistan needlessly love to hate on its censor board?

There was a huge hoopla regarding the certification of Swaarangi in Pakistan. After initially being banned by the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC), the film went on to get a Universal (U) certificate from the respective censor boards of Sindh and Punjab. This prompted the producers to appeal to the Information Ministry to form a separate independent panel that reconsidered the ban initiated by the CBFC. The ministry formed a six-member panel, compromising of independent individuals to review the film again, and after doing so, they cleared the film for release. As a result of which, Swaarangi will be released all over Pakistan. It is interesting to note that Swaarangi had ...

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An open letter to Islamabad Commissioner

Dear Sir, I am writing this to bring your urgent attention to an illegal public gathering of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), which was declared as a banned outfit on February 15, 2013, by the Government of Pakistan. The gathering is being held on February 21, 2015, after Maghrib Prayers, at Karachi Company Market, G-9 Sector, Islamabad, which falls within your jurisdiction. In fact it is just seven minutes away from the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration Office. Photo: Jibran Nasir The gathering is being held to mark the death anniversary of the founder of Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP), Haq Nawaz ...

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Captain Shahid Afridi: Out with the new and in with the old?

On September 16, 2014, the stars once again aligned themselves for 34-year-old Shahid Afridi who was appointed as Pakistan’s T20 captain. It is believed that he will retain this position until the T20 World Cup in 2016. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in true Pakistani fashion, has decided to adopt the ‘live for the moment’ mentality with absolutely no regard for the future of T20 cricket in the nation. What is the point of employing the same individuals in the same positions time and again and expecting different results? Was it a lack of better options that forced the board to make this decision and ...

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Pakistani airports: Heading for paralysis?

A person belonging to the procurement department of a military-related setup once told me an interesting story about how the US had banned the sale of F-16 spare parts to Pakistan and had blacklisted the concerned setup. A metallic plate of some specific calibre was urgently required for the F-16s and they had run out of any other options. Out of utter necessity and desperation, one of the officers from the organisation called up a blacksmith from Gujranwala and asked him to forge the plate. The blacksmith was able to forge an exact copy of the plate and for much less money, ...

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GI Joe 2: Another instance of propaganda against Pakistan

Last night I chose to watch the movie, GI Joe 2: Retaliation, hoping to get a dose of some much needed action and science fiction. However, this was not the case. A good hour and a half that felt like days later, I was praying for my electricity to crash so that I would have an excuse to get rid of the rest of the movie. But then again, what else can we expect from Hollywood, an industry that is running out of things to sell? The movie was far from light-hearted action. In fact, it should have been titled ‘Propaganda’. This ...

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