Stories about corruption

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

Indian elections 2014: Who will win?

There couldn’t have been a worse run-up to the 2014 general elections in India. As soon as dates for the polling schedule were announced, the world’s largest democracy witnessed many street clashes and stone pelting between members of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in various cities.  Violence broke out after the police detained AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal during his campaign in Narendra Modi’s territory, Gujarat. The clashes of wooden sticks with jharoos (brooms) were symbolically evident. In New Delhi, the police had to use water cannons on the protesters. The situation went from bad to worse in no time. The Indian National Congress (INC) The ruling INC, ...

Read Full Post

Gunday: A macho masala from the 70s

Director cum writer, Ali Abbas Zafar waited a couple of years after the release of his debut ‘Mere Brother Ki Dulhan’, a comedy hit of 2011, to entice filmgoers with an action packed crime thriller. This time, Zafar has replaced the genre of a light romantic comedy with a nice mash-up of 70s’ action films to present the perfect commercial movie – Gunday. If you are a fan of Amitabh Bachchan, particularly of his angry, young man image and classics like Sholay, Don and Kala Pathar, then Gunday is a big treat for you. It’s all about action, double-dealing, revenge tangled with friendship, deceit, romance and betrayal. The film ...

Read Full Post

Aao bacho sair karain tumko Pakistan ki: Not an ordinary nursery rhyme…

There is a very famous poem, by a very famous poet, written in a more hopeful and exuberant time. It has been set to wonderful, cheerful music and is taught to children everywhere. And in the video below, a child sings something that sounds very much like it. But listen carefully. The music has the same happy lilt, but the words are horribly different. So different, in fact, that a few people I showed this video to were seriously offended at what they consider to be a serious perversion of a great piece of art. The original poem and its English translation ...

Read Full Post

“Badshaho, we saw you kissing the girl”: To make a quick buck, the police will accuse you of anything

Going out with friends was a simple routine for me. It never bothered me whether I was going out with guys or girls since I never thought it to be much of an issue. However, in just one encounter, the Pakistani police taught me all the things that can go terribly wrong while going out with male friends. It was just another day when I went out with two of my friends from university. One of them was driving while the other sat in the front passenger seat and I took the backseat. We drove to a café located on ...

Read Full Post

The Aam Admi Party: An Indian version of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf?

Politics between India and Pakistan have essentially been dominated by upper-class families, feudal lords and tribes. These politicians have a history of dividing the public on the basis of religion, ethnicity and class. Since the creation of both countries, we have witnessed the politics of hatred against people of other ideologies, religions and ethnicities. It is quite apparent that both countries are not running on the principles set by their founders, Quaid-e-Azam and Mahatma Gandhi. Both these great leaders dreamt of a state in which all citizens would be treated equally without any discrimination on the basis of colour, caste, class and religion. Even ...

Read Full Post

A conversation between Ghalib and Iqbal

Once upon a time, a Pakistani who also happened to be an Urdu literature lover, was travelling from one city to another somewhere in the northern areas of Pakistan. Throughout his journey, only two books were his companion – Deewan-e-Ghalib and Kalaam-e- Iqbal. During a long bus journey, his tired and weary yet over-imaginative mind was in a half-sleeping and half-dreaming state. In this trance, he found Ghalib and Iqbal sitting in the seats right next to him talking to each other, completely oblivious of his presence. This is the conversation that ensued between these two great Urdu poets: Iqbal “Aah! Look at those beautiful mountains and ...

Read Full Post