Stories about corruption

Not every Hindu or Muslim is an extremist, Mr Nayyar

This piece has been written with reference to senior Indian journalist Mr Kuldip Nayar’s article ‘Communal Politics and India’s election’ in this newspaper. As a humanist, I genuinely wish Pakistan the very best in the context of development and I have cited some pieces by liberal Pakistani intellectuals and made some statements about Pakistan in this article only in the spirit of constructive criticism. While I deeply respect Mr Nayar and share his commitment to India’s pluralistic ethos, and I have written a book aimed at addressing and dispelling anti-Muslim prejudices in the Indian context, and have written articles critical of Narendra Modi and the BJP, I ...

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What makes Pakistan a great country

Flip through our TV channels, skim through our newspapers and scan through a dozen latest international reports on indicators of some sort and they will all give you only a few reasons to be happy about our country. In fact, if you do this long enough, you’ll probably start noticing initial symptoms of prolonged depression. Are there any problems of the world that this nation has been spared off? Floods, drought, earthquakes, terrorism, corruption, infant mortality, diseases, illiteracy, sectarian conflicts, ethnic disputes, border disputes, domestic violence, water scarcity, electricity shortages, gang wars and what not. It’s tragic and scary. But there is a flip ...

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Would Batman be able to survive in Pakistan?

Batman is a muscular and charismatic character, created by DC Comics, who has a large fan base and millions of followers. His mysterious moves and unique costumes have become a symbol of power. His persona demands reverence. In other words, he is probably one of the best action heroes ever created. Now imagine, what would happen if our government decides to hire Batman for his ‘services’? The increasing crime rates in Pakistan warrant a superhero, no doubt about that. However, would Batman be able to use his extraordinary powers to stop con artists and terrorists from creating more mayhem? Do you think Batman ...

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May 11, 2013 changed Pakistan for the better, will May 11, 2014 do the same?

On the eve of  May 10 and 11, 2013 I saw a very different Lahore. Lahore was completely crowded with families and teenagers supporting their respective political parties, majorly PTI and PML-N. A poster in central Lahore asking citizens of Pakistan to vote. ‘Say yes to vote’ Photo: AFP From Liberty roundabout to Hussain Chowk and from Hussain Chowk to either side of Firdous and Mini Market roundabout, roads were jam packed with cars and motorbikes. It seemed like nothing else was more important to anyone that day, they came out to celebrate and their democratic festivity showed! To represent the spirit of ...

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The car I bought

It was approximately 2am and the temperature was about three degree Celsius accompanied by a pitch-dark chilly night. A black coloured two-seater pickup took a sharp turn and then drove slowly into a quiet, murky, dimly lit street. The pick-up drove past the electric pole and pulled up near a house, where two men checked their guns and got out of the vehicle. One of them unloaded the pick-up’s boot while the other proceeded to climb up a 12 feet high electric pole which stood by the boundary wall of one of the houses. Upon reaching the top, the man took in the view of ...

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Welcome to Hypocristan

“Feudalism is the root of all evil in our country, baita,” Ms Naheed, who runs a renowned non-government organisation (NGO), explains to Saleem, a friend of her son. “The worsening moral, social, economic and political crisis Pakistan is going through is due to the elitist mentality of the powerful feudal lords. They deny children the right to education and treat them like slaves.” Saleem jots down the key points of the discussion. He has to submit an article on ‘Feudalism in Pakistan’ for the campus magazine next week. As soon as she finishes her sentence, they hear the sound of breaking glass. Ms Naheed gets ...

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Oh great government of Pakistan, take notice of the female aid workers in Balochistan, don’t alienate them!

On my recent trip to Balochistan, I came across examples of how women folk fare in tribal set-ups. While we, in the urban centres, believe that women are usually ignored and not allowed to contribute to society in tribal arrangements, the Baloch tradition has a very unique way of putting their women to good use. Tribal feuds and enmities usually span over generations. So when all else fails, the hidden asset – the women – is consumed. The women of the tribe seeking to reconcile are sent to the other tribe. These women then beg for forgiveness for the men folk of ...

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The Prado effect

Adam’s story I backed out of the driveway, closely monitoring the environment around me. This was the first time I was driving such a large vehicle and it was safe to assume that there was a very steep learning curve with regards to keeping the jeep on the road. “I need to pick up something for Natasha.” Amir squeaked from the backseat. There were around five people sitting atop each other. I nodded, glancing towards the road ahead before putting the jeep in gear. A slight tap on the accelerator and the monstrous engine roared to life, launching the vehicle onto the road. Sitting behind ...

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Give our cricketers opportunities before we lose them to other countries!

I remember how Raziq Khan was the best cricketer in our village 10 years ago. Whenever he came to the pitch, everyone in the crowd would stand up in excitement and wait for him to play his mind-blowing shots. His fans would chant “One more six, One more six”, egging Raziq on to play with all his might and surely, whenever the time came for him to perform, he never disappointed his fans. He was famous for his phenomenal batting and would hammer the bowlers by hitting balls to all corners of the ground mercilessly. There was a famous story ...

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U-19 World Cup: Is inconsistency part of Pakistani culture?

There are times when certain characteristics become symbolic of a particular country. That is, these characteristics are exhibited by the general masses as well as their leaders and institutions; hence it makes them part of a particular culture. For Pakistanis, I believe, that one characteristic is their utter lack of consistency. Albeit our politics, our economy, our policy-making or our sports, consistency has largely been absent for a greater period of time. In sports, our teams are widely known for being painfully inconsistent and this has become our reputation in the global arena. In the recently concluded Under-19 (U-19) World Cup, our young ...

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