Stories about dharna

#TherapistDiaries: Old age and the game of betrayal

The mere sight of my dad’s shivering hand gives me heartbreak. He has crossed 60, and hence the strength of his body keeps drifting away every once in a while. My mom, in her 50s, struggles with circadian rhythms due to her increasing age. Her screen time – YouTube and Facebook mainly – has increased in the past five years. She bonds with us and her friends over puppy videos and babies-gone-funny posts. There is an innate air of sadness about old age. We are powerless creatures in a number of ways. It is both, our infancy period and old age ...

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From a politician to a statesman: In an era of dirty politics, Imran Khan’s speech was a breath of fresh air

I started following Imran Khan when he used to be that kid who had a penny in his pocket but wanted to buy everything at the grocery store. He had one seat in the parliament, but he roared his opinions like one was more than enough. From one seat in the parliament for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to winning five seats as ‘Imran Khan’ alone, he has come a long way. All eyes were glued to the television screens when he first addressed the nation as the prime minister in waiting. Challenges awaiting Imran and his party are piled up like ...

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Why Imran Khan’s HARDtalk interview would make every Pakistani cringe

Leaders and polished politicians are frequently called masters of the art of spin. They use this ‘spin doctrine’ in debates and interviews to satisfy the viewers, all the while deflecting from the real questions being asked. Similarly, even second-tier politicians know that defensive body language like hand-wringing, arms folded across the chest, clenched fists or narrowed eyes should be avoided during interviews, so as to seem collected in their responses. But perhaps Imran Khan is not a seasoned politician yet, or he simply is not good at being asked critical questions. His recent interview to Zeinab Badawi, the host of the famous ...

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For a nation surviving on dharnas, Pakistan does not know how, when or what to protest

On January 17th, with the attendance and acceptance of Imran Khan and Asif Ali Zardari, two of the most powerful men in Pakistani politics, Tahirul Qadri boldly declared the collective opposition push towards ‘an end of the Sharif Sultanate’. Before the protest demonstration of thousands amassed in Lahore, the Pakistani news cycle had been dominated by the abduction, rape and murder of Zainab, a seven-year-old girl from Kasur. Zainab did come up in the speeches at the protest. It is perhaps retrospectively a good thing that she often only came up as a side-note, for when she was discussed, she was weaponised by the leaders to call ...

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Who controls the Islamic Republic of Pakistan?

If I were to rank the worst weeks in the recent history of Pakistan, this one would most definitely be a strong contender for the top. The week, which also witnessed the release of Hafiz Saeed, much to the dismay of the outside world, reached its crescendo when yesterday, Pakistan saw its elected government, with supposedly a heavy majority, capitulate in front of a few thousand zealots. The hopes that had been raised when the government initiated a crackdown on Saturday were quickly dashed when the crackdown was suspended, and subsequently transformed into horror when the government proceeded to yield to the unreasonable demands of the ...

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Panamagate: Why are offshore companies such a big deal?

So it has finally come to this; a new five-judge larger bench, daily hearings and two adversaries baying for each other’s blood. Back in December, after a flurry of preliminary hearings of Panama Papers, the larger bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan had hinted that the formation of an inquiry commission was now a real prospect. The new larger bench announced that the proceedings would be held on a daily basis, after the court’s annual winter vacations have come to an end. With the ex-Chief Justice gone, having reached superannuation in December, there has been a new bench, with ...

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Presenting, Pakistan’s Social Media Awards for 2016!

Nobody does crazy like Pakistan. In 2016, the world lost their collective cool and Pakistan was put on the crazy back burner. But that does not mean we didn’t have our moments. It is time to acknowledge those moments. The strangest out of all the weird stories, the most real-fake news, as well as the funniest – let’s honour the best. Presenting, the Social Media Awards for 2016! From sacrificing goats before flying planes to kabootar agents, from stationary dharnas to mankind’s angels, from chai walas to Momina; these are my favourite stories from last year. The time for politics is over; we are in the age of the celebrity – Donald Trump is president. The victor of the 2018 ...

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Should Imran Khan abandon his quest to expose alleged corruption?

Right then. Imran Khan and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), Tahirul Qadri and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and possibly the Lal Masjid folk as well, are scheduled to ‘lockdown’ the capital on November 2, 2016. Pakistan may be many things, but man oh man, politically boring is definitely not one of them.  So here’s the deal: some of the Prime Minister’s (PM’s) kids had offshore companies in their name linked to properties held abroad – leaked by the hacks into Mossack-Fonseca. Imran Khan (the opposition) demanded the PM step down on moral grounds, and the PM didn’t. An investigation was supposed ...

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Siachen: Taking theatre to the peaks of greatness

I read somewhere if you continuously compete with others you become bitter, but if you compete with yourself you become better. Anwar Maqsood definitely believes in this because he has outshone his previous plays Pawnay 14 August, Sawa 14 August and Dharna with his latest Siachen. Siachen has outdone every brilliant quip and taken this theatre performance to the peaks of greatness! The director Dawar Mehmood doesn’t reveal anything beyond the vague prelude ‘about 20,000 feet away from God Himself’ on the play’s Facebook page. It is the story of a group of soldiers stationed above the clouds, showcasing their struggle in sub-zero conditions, ...

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Dear Hamza Ali Abbasi, Mahira Khan, Reham Bhabi and Ayyan Ali – Hi!

Open letters are the new ‘in’ thing. Everyone, while not busy taking selfies or engaging in internet wars, is writing them. Unlike personal letters that are addressed to and only read by the person intended, these have a universal appeal. Hence, I decided to write a few of my own, a series of them in fact. Here is the first one: To Hamza Ali Abbasi from an Online Jihadi. Hazrat Hamza Ali Abbasi Sahib, My heart sank when I saw the trailer of your upcoming movie, Jawani Phir Nahin Ani. And it sank even further to the bottom of the very pool you were seen ...

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