Stories about crime

Today the blissful innocence of the Ramazans of my youth is far gone

Growing up, my family treated the start of Ramazan like the start of a new year. From an early age we were told not to view the thirty days as deprivation from food, water, and basic human vices like gossiping. Instead we were taught to view Ramazan as a sublime and peaceful month which would heighten our spiritual growth and instil in us forgiveness, patience, resilience, and compassion for the less fortunate. I remember these early years of Ramazan as a time of simplicity, safety and fun. As our prayers increased, so did our post-iftar socialising. As we retreated inwards spiritually we ...

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Two’s company, Te3n’s a crowd-pleaser!

Staring down the barrel of a gun, with my life solely dependent on producing a visually breath-taking piece of cinematic art and the only option given is of one sub-continental city as a filming location, I would be in Kolkata with my frikking filming gear, before anyone could even count to teen. Home to parallel cinema, a film movement that originated in the 1950s, with the likes of Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sena and Ritwik Ghatak at its helm, Kolkata has an extremely proud celluloid history. It’s also not hard to see how these pioneers, along with the city, still hold sway with serious ...

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No, Mohammad Amir, your spot fixing wasn’t a ‘minor’ offence

Of the three cricketers convicted and punished in the infamous spot-fixing scandal, I felt sympathy only for Mohammad Amir, since the left-arm fasted bowler was the youngest of the trio, and quickly put himself (as probably advised by his lawyer) at the mercy of the courts. On the other hand, both senior bowler Mohammad Asif and skipper Salman Butt fought legal battles to the very end. In fact, Salman Butt shamelessly exploited the nation’s hearts on Pakistani news shows by claiming that there were conspiracies against him. Finally, after exhausting all good will and legal recourse, Butt came clean. This ...

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Will the amendments to the Diyat and Qisas laws make any difference to the Shahzeb Khans out there?

When murder is committed within Pakistan, the victim’s family is usually offered blood-money by the perpetrator’s family as a way of pardoning the punishment of the crime itself. Diyat or ‘blood-money’ differs from Qisas which is the pardoning of the crime by the victim’s family without any monetary compensation being paid. These two concepts have courted controversy recently since they have been abused in practice by the wealthy to rid themselves of any culpability, as seen in the Shahzeb Khan and Zain Rauf cases. The purpose of accepting financial compensation following murder is to espouse forgiveness and mercy in people’s hearts. But in Zain’s case, where the victim’s family ...

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Why my father devoted his life to jailbirds, and so will I

A poor person isn’t one who has no money or riches, but the one who holds no love in his heart for those who are suffering. This has been my father’s motto ever since I can remember. My father has devoted his entire life to the well-being of prisoners in Pakistan, be it Muslims or Christians. I grew up watching him attend to his duties at the prison and working amongst prisoners for their betterment, and I always used to wonder why he worked with them. Why did my father have this particular job? Why was he not a ...

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PCB should ban Amir, Asif and Salman Butt for life

The ban imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the ‘tainted trio’ of Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt, for their involvement in spot fixing was officially lifted on September 2, 2015. Although the ban on the players is lifted, I vehemently oppose the selection of these cricketers for the Pakistani team ever again. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should do what is right and impose a life ban on these players. They have caused immense embarrassment to the national team and the country. As of now, there is no consensus amongst former cricketers regarding the inclusion of these players in the national team. ...

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Beware: You may be heading into (murderous) marriage

Marriage comes with its own set of doubts and insecurities. You might have heard it on the news, you might have seen it happen with someone you know – there are many stories about failed marriages all around us. Stories about how families have been fooled in the name of this sacred bond and have lost their life’s worth of savings. The increasing statistics about marriages being broken due to infidelity, fraud by the in-laws, husbands being abusive or having prior criminal record, paint a horrible picture of marriages in our country. The divorce rate has reached an alarming level and this ...

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Here is why I can’t trust the police in Pakistan

A friend’s recent encounter with the police has left me fuming. He was waiting for his sister outside a restaurant on a busy road, when a transvestite tried to get into his car. Seconds after he told the transvestite to go away, a police mobile stopped next to his car, as if waiting to pounce on him and hurled a series of accusatory and demeaning questions at him. He had not been committing a crime nor attempting to do so, then why was he dealt with like a culprit? And would he have been treated the same way had he been in an ...

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Is there any solution to Karachi’s trigger-happy muggers?

I sat there, bewildered; you expect it, consciously, yet subconsciously you believe you’ll be immune from it, somehow, by some grand scheme of the universe. Once the calm after the storm had washed over, it was replaced with a racing pulse and bouts of anger. Inadvertently, I uttered a curse directed at that hooded figure that only moments ago had stood in the figure of a knell beside me. After four years in Karachi, I somehow believed I had become equipped in the tools of avoiding being mugged. I barely used my phone while in the car or in public transport, ...

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What Pakistani dramas can learn from Pyare Afzal

Pakistani dramas are famous for their practical take on people’s everyday life and its complexities rather than an empty glamorous portrayal. This is why they have gained massive popularity in our homeland as well as across the border. Pakistani dramas have succeeded in portraying family life in Pakistan quite aptly except recently, these dramas have been revolving around marriage and family politics. A helpless daughter-in-law, a heartless mother-in-law and an obedient son: With these three characters, a Pakistani drama can possess reasonable viewership. A number of additional characters can also be included to add more mirch masala, but these three are the main protagonists. A helpless daughter-in-law, ...

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