Stories about human

Get out of the way, you pedestrians!

Although driving anywhere in the world is an amalgamation of knowledge and respect of traffic rules and a good command over ones reflexes. In Pakistan it is a different ball game altogether. Not only do you have to possess nerves of steel but also reflexes that can be pushed beyond normal human abilities.  Since there is complete disregard for traffic regulations as well as no sanctity for human life and property. Our attitude on the roads, and almost everywhere else, is utterly deplorable. Every time I get behind the wheel I face 4×4’s with tinted glasses, guards sporting handlebar moustaches and toting guns (with muzzles pointing at ...

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He killed her son, she spared his life

It was recently reported in The Guardian that during a public execution in Iran, 20-year-old Balal, who was convicted of killing his 18-year-old friend Abdollah Hosseinzadeh, had the noose around his neck when Abdollah’s mother stormed up to him, slapped him and then forgave him for murdering her son, halting the execution and saving his life. Photo: AFP Photo: Reuters As quoted by The Guardian, Balal’s mother hugged the grieving mother of the man her son had killed. The two women sobbed in each other’s arms – one because she had lost her son, the other because hers had ...

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The day the Taliban attacked my father

Death is very different from finishing a novel; both symbolise the end of something, the emotional attachment to both is poles apart. One similarity, however, between the death of a good person and the end of a good novel is that both leave a mark on your life. It’s hard to realise the importance of some people, until one day you wake up to find out that those people are no more in your life. I understood this reality on June 26, 2013. It was a very strange, sad day for me and my family. The day started like any other. My father, a ...

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Was he a human or a donkey?

For the past few days now, every night on my way home from work, I’ve been seeing an injured donkey lying in the corner of a dirty street near my house. One of its front legs is broken and I am sure it cannot move. Every night I plan to do something to help it but in the morning, it completely slips my mind. I feel the helplessness of the donkey – if, God forbid, one of my own legs were injured or broken, I wouldn’t be able to survive keeping in mind the ample amount of work I have to do. My heart ...

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Jinn: Bringing a bit of Pakistan to American cinema

According to Islamic mythology, the Arabic word jinn refers to a class of spirits, lower than angels who are capable of appearing in human and animal forms, and influencing humankind towards good and evil. Stories about the existence of angels in the human world seem to have captured our imagination, washing away evidence of a third race, created by fire which we call jinn. But as much as we fantasise about the existence of these ‘other worldly’ creations, do we really believe in them? Jinn also happens to be the name of the new supernatural thriller by the Pakistani American movie director, Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad, set to release ...

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Give Shakeel Afridi a fair trial!

Sometimes I think Pakistan and Pakistanis suffer from a collective national identity crisis. A few days ago, I happened to meet a rock-ribbed writer, known for his patriotic approach. I asked him who he considered to be the biggest enemy of Pakistan. Immediately, he replied, “USA.” I changed the subject and diverted the conversation to different topics, from agricultural science to astronomy and finally I asked, “Do you remember which year we stepped on the moon?” With a smile on his face, he replied,  “Some time in 1969.” “We stepped on the moon?” I exclaimed. Everyone and I mean everyone knows that Apollo 11 was a US ...

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Don’t just fret about a channel you dislike, report it to PEMRA!

Following the uproar caused by the controversial episode of Abb Tak’s show, Khufia, where the host, Uzma Tahir, forced entry into the home of a transvestite couple and tried to film their life, many viewers decided to display their outrage over various platforms: some expressed their anger over social media with the help of Facebook and Twitter; others wrote blogs that were published online on The Express Tribune’s blog page. However, there were some that took a different route: many viewers decided to directly appeal to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). If one visits the official website of Pemra, there is a ...

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Hallelujah Band: Spreading a message of hope in Pakistan

“A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together” – Margaret Atwood Given the unending discrimination which the Christians of Pakistan live with, certainly no words or actions can pacify or comfort them completely. The community lives under constant threat of  persecution, attacks or the blasphemy law, fearing that any day something might happen that will shatter their lives forever. Despite all this, the Christian community remains steadfast in its faith. Soon after the twin suicide attacks inside the All Saints Church of Peshawar, I relentlessly began looking for ...

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Is your online life more ‘real’ than your reality?

Your online identity has seen you do a bunch of crazy things from naming yourself after your favourite Star Wars character to putting up highly fantasised pictures of your human self on Bitstrips.  Bitstrips has become a craze among the young and old, with people creating pictures of their human selves online. Photo: Bitstrips (Facebook Page) However, what started as fun and games has long since existed to be only that. You are now as much of an amalgamation of your online experiences as your real-life ones and who is to say which one is what? With phone alerts punctuating ...

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Can’t a Pakistani and Indian live in harmony? We used to…

Like most Pakistani’s, I too experienced an overload of nationalistic fervour when I left Pakistan and that too for India. India evoked a psychological barrier and conjured the dreaded feeling of being ‘the other’ even though I had spent my formative years away from the jingoistic identity formation of the Zia years and had been brought up with the tolerant outlook of my parents (although my Kashmiri father did have staunch nationalist ideals). In hindsight, it was a sad, instinctive conditioning. I remember our Indian neighbours in the UK, where I spent most of my childhood, and despite the exchange of formal pleasantries ...

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