Stories about China

Chai please, it’s not coffee

It all started with the Nestle Nescafe advertisement. The obvious commercial interest was to drive the conversion from tea to coffee. That too, to an instant coffee mix. To me it looked more like a quick brazen attempt to drive convenience. Tea requires ritual and hard work to get the right cuppa. Instead go for an instant coffee mix, which will give you a quick strong fix. Notice no comparison of taste or tradition. This is the modern quintessential person, who has no time or interest in the softness of palette. He or she is in a hurry to fix it with a strong ...

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Why do Pakistan and India always have their daggers drawn?

Pakistan and India are locked in the conviction that each one wants the other’s destruction. Repeating the incantation is patriotic, questioning it, borderline seditious. Each country believes that its violence is only a defensive response to the other’s malevolent initiative. Both nations have separate historical markers to support their points of view and risk engaging in what each believes would be a just war. This smouldering fire is kept alight by the capability theory of judging intent by capability assessment. US General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the 1990 First Iraq War coalition, believes that, “… You … judge your enemy based upon capabilities, not intent, you have to look at ...

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What is Afghanistan’s problem?

On Monday, the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, once again blamed Pakistan for the terrorist attacks in his country. The blame stemmed from a presidential statement following the Kabul terrorist attacks when Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, called President Ghani. Despite the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff’s offer to share intelligence and cooperation with Afghanistan, in order to curb terrorism in the region, the president blamed Pakistan for the terrorism in his country claiming that the terrorists were trained in Pakistan. Afghanistan has been going through a period of transition since the United States’ (US) invasion post 9/11, when the US and its allies ousted the ...

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Is the Pak-Cheen dosti really that zindabad?

‘Pak-Cheen Dosti Zindabad!’ is a household anthem, isn’t it? A sea-pack, sorry, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) appears to be Pakistan’s Achilles heel. Under this partnership, Pakistan is to receive a $51 billion investment over the course of three to eight years in the form of power projects, roads and railway upgrades, transmission lines, infrastructure, hospitals, technology and much more. Undoubtedly, such an investment is a welcome sign for Pakistan but the deal is strategically far more important to China than it is to Pakistan. We were on the brink of dragging the over-burdening economy with no imminent increase in exports, tax revenues, ...

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An open letter of gratitude to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Dear most reverend archbishop, Justin Welby, I am not sure how I am supposed to address you; may I call you the reverend father? This seems more appropriate considering the impression you’ve left behind after your visit to Pakistan. Reverend father, you are the head of a worldwide Anglican community which includes Pakistan. You landed in our country last Friday night and, despite the protocol, you did not attend many meetings with the high and the mighty. One official courtesy call to the Foreign Office Minister, Mr Sartaj Aziz was necessary. The purpose behind your visit to Pakistan becomes evident when ...

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Is China only supporting Pakistan to get back at India?

India and Pakistan have had a tumultuous mutual history. Violent separation followed by continued disputes and clashes have created a climate of suspicion and conflict. This is a tragedy of epic proportions given the shared history and heritage of the inhabitants of this land, stretching over thousands of years.  While the circumstances of their separation were unfortunate and sowed the seeds of this distrust, a lot has happened over the years to keep those embers burning. There is considerable anger in India over Pakistan’s support for separatism and terrorism in India. Indians also feel that Pakistan has not done enough to curb or punish anti-India activities. The sight ...

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There is no genuinely liberal political party in Pakistan today

At times, the electoral landscape – which by the way is still dominated by apparently moderate parties – is cited as an example of Pakistan’s resilience against growing fundamentalism. It is often claimed that Pakistan has never voted for religious parties and this is trumped as some kind of evidence of moderation or even quasi “liberalism”. Without sounding over pessimistic or critical in a self-fledgling kind of a way, I beg to refute this perception. I think the electoral landscape is misleading. Yes, while it is true that Pakistan has not become Iran, it is by no stretch of the imagination still a ...

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Lewis ‘The Joker’ Hamilton – All set for the last laugh

Anyone who knows me knows my love for ‘The Joker’. So whether you are Heath Ledger or Jared Leto or even Jack Nicholson for that matter, my admiration for your eccentric-self increased the moment you signed up to play the Clown Prince of Crime. Such is my fascination with the character that it transcends the confines of cineverse, so whether you are cosplaying for a comic-con or simply dressing up as Gotham’s favourite Jester for Halloween, I like you, period! Lewis Hamilton walked in to Heidi Klum’s annual Halloween bash of dressed up as Heath Ledger’s version of The Joker.Photo: ESPN So when ...

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Can Pakistan really afford Imran Khan’s antics right now?

As someone who voted for Imran Khan directly in the infamous NA 122 in the 2013 General Elections, I am forced to ask: what game is Imran Khan playing? Boycotting the joint session at a time when the country faces an external threat is not good politics. By harping on about Panama leaks, which is a dead horse, instead of focusing on the clear and present danger that the country faces, Imran Khan is only isolating those who had mistakenly thought he was the country’s great white hope. On its own, the demand that the Prime Minister of Pakistan should resign because some of his close family ...

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An open letter to Indians

Dear Indians, As someone whose recent family history is very much a consequence of partition, I am no stranger to the divisiveness of Pak-India politics. Despite a shared history and culture, we stand today as two nuclear armed nations that have fought three wars against each other. Hatred for the other is fostered in both countries – neither India nor Pakistan is innocent as far as propagating hyper-nationalist aggression is concerned, but this time around, it feels slightly different. This time around, your government, sections of your media, and sections of your civil society (in concert with the government) are behaving in an exceptionally immature and dangerous manner. They ...

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