Stories about debate

Why was Bilalwal Bhutto Zardari, a politician, sharing his limited views on “fake news” and journalism when he knows nothing about it?

By now, the news of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s short, yet significant trip to Davos has reached the ears of every Pakistani. However, not many are aware of the discussions or sessions that he has both co-hosted and participated in as a panellist. The only people who applauded his views which he shared at the World Economic Forum (WEF) were his party loyalists, who seem to revere everything that revolves around the young Bhutto, whether it is his flawed Urdu or raw opinions on his opponents, which are marvelously sugarcoated by his flamboyance and soft English accent. This charisma is ...

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Pakistan and India: Friends abroad always, enemies at home always always

As someone who had been raised in the United States by Pakistani immigrants, I have always found it difficult to fathom the animosity between Pakistanis and Indians living in South Asia. All the aspects of life that bring the two groups together – from music and food, to values and mannerisms – get clouded out by the venomous politics between the countries’ governments. During this time of celebration for the 69th year of independence of Pakistan and India, I strongly believe that the only way forward is for the citizens of both these countries to recognise their shared experiences ...

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Aao Parhao – A teacher can use all the help they can get

A school is so much more than just a series of classrooms. A school is so much more than just a number of lessons. And an educated person is so much more than a literate person. Education entails all the different facets that are crucial to the mental and physical development of a person as a responsible citizen of society. At the fountainhead of western civilization in ancient Athens, education included the arts and physical education as part of the curriculum rather than extra-curricular activities. Far too often, schools in Pakistan are focused on grades and memorisation of lessons over a ...

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The line between ‘expression’ and ‘hate’

Undeniably, it’s everywhere; you’ll find some Charlie Hebdos at your dinner table – some who never want to be Charlie, and then some who, like me, are stuck in the sticky web of internal debate. Since Charlie Hebdo and its counterparts made headlines, my mind has been whizzing with questions of determining where I stand on the issue. It’s clear that I appreciate the limitless power of the pen but I’m certain I also respect the sentiments of those who read my words. The question I have stopped dead at is plain: is the freedom to write whatever I want my right or a ...

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Yes, Senator Rehman Malik, you deserved to be booted off that plane!

There are times when something you dream of actually happens, like Senator Rehman Malik getting booted off that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight. Had anyone else been booted off this way it might not have had the same impact, but with Rehman Malik… it’s like being presented with a large, a very large, box of chocolates, a complete set of Harry Potter books (which are amazingly yet to be read), and a tonne of ice cream all at one go! Oh joy! My salams to the gentleman who took that stand. May you live long in a genuinely better Pakistan, with my prayers for ...

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And so it is

This piece is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. “Hi love! Care to meet me today?” Rayaan, on the other end of the line, teasingly asked his long time sweetheart. “Ray, you do realise this is the tenth time you have called me. How can I work if you keep distracting me like this?” Ariana responded, loving the attention he was showering upon her. “You know my day is not complete until I see your lovely face. How about I pick you at 7pm?” “Sounds great! But where are we going today?” Rayaan smiled and said, “It’s a surprise. I will ...

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Why #BanBossy won’t work for women in Pakistan

Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook is on a mission. A couple of weeks ago, she, in collaboration with a star line-up of women in other leadership roles launched the ‘Ban Bossy’ (#BanBossy) campaign. They argue on their website that, “When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leader’. Yet, when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy’. Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys – a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage ...

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Is there a need for peace talks?

The Government of Pakistan has been notified by the Mohmand Agency group of the Taliban that they have killed 23 Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers who were kidnapped four years ago from Shongari checkpost in Mohmand Agency. It is ironic that this incident took place during ‘peace talks’, with both sides hinting at the prospect of a positive outcome within a few days. Ironic? Unexpected? While flipping through TV channels a few days ago, I realised that all I could see was that certain militant outfits had somehow managed to win the media war against the State of Pakistan. The only thing I seemed to have come across continuously were ...

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Kankar: Was Kiran right or wrong in divorcing her husband?

The first slap is the worst – red, hot searing pain across the face. But what sears through is more than a slap. Something breaks inside. A feeling of helplessness, vulnerability and a shattered sense of self-worth takes over which is why, a woman’s first reflex reaction is always disbelief; shock. It is an instant realisation of the painful reality that she will never forget that moment. That she will never be able to unlearn this blow. Sanam Baloch depicted a battered woman’s experience beautifully in the recent Hum TV serial Kankar which ended on December 6, 2013. The serial, with its protagonist ‘Kiran’ ...

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Gandhi or Modi: Choosing the lesser evil in elections 2014

Is communalism responsible for the rise in terrorism? This is the topic of debate in India today. The attention on the issue became all the more pronounced after the serial blasts that took place in the Hindu right wing leader, Narendra Modi’s rally in Patna. Until recently, this debate had been confined to academic discourse, but after the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s statement, where he said that the Pakistan’s intelligence agency is recruiting disgruntled elements from Muzaffarnagar, the debate has come into the political arena. Those who have been closely monitoring the political speeches would understand that the younger Gandhi’s target was not ...

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