Stories about journalists

A visiting Indian delegation opened my mind and heart

When all eyes were on Kartarpur Corridor’s landmark inauguration scheduled for November 9, a day before the main event (on November 8), a group of Indian journalists crossed into Pakistan via the Wagah Border. They were in Lahore to attend the opening ceremony of the corridor ahead of the 550th birthday of Baba Guru Nanak on November 12. Baba Guru Nanak is also respected among the Muslims of Pakistan because of his teachings on humanism and unity, and against separatism and barbarism.I was the part of a team tasked with hosting the Indian journalist delegation and it was a riveting experience ...

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In trying to humanise the police, Delhi Crime loses focus of Jyoti Singh’s harrowing story

If Rotten Tomatoes’ ratings and the opinion of my favourite funny woman, Twinkle Khanna, are anything to go by, I might be the only person on this planet who didn’t love India’s latest Netflix offering, Delhi Crime. I went into it really wanting to love the show because it’s based on actual police files from the Jyoti Singh case investigation, a case I followed closely since December 16, 2012; the day the world found out about the absolutely abhorrent way Singh, a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, was brutally gang-raped by six men on a bus. Photo: Screenshot Since Singh’s story ...

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From APS to Sahiwal: Does Pakistani media have an empathy problem?

Humans are not naturally empathetic creatures – a primary reason behind cataclysmic wars, the rise in extra-judicial killings, as well as the growing hostility towards people escaping calamities. As the world spirals into chaos, the ability to consciously acknowledge the condition of individuals undergoing distress and mentally processing their misery has nearly vanished. But then again, did such an ability exist to begin with?  There is a silent conflict between those struck by a persisting crisis and those privileged enough to smoothly slither their way out of it unscathed. Humans are prone to living completely autonomous lives, but it seems ...

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Imran Khan as Prime Minister: Under pressure and enjoying it, while his opponents pray for a breakdown

I recently met Prime Minister Imran Khan at his house in Bani Gala with a group of colleagues. So much has changed. The prime minister is fond of such meetings with groups of journalists at his private residence. But it’s different now. Elaborate official arrangements, professional security detail, a great team of time managers from the Prime Minister House, and a stern bodyguard standing behind him at all times, including when he was sitting in the close-door huddle with us. But he has not changed. Nothing noticeable. No aura of officialdom and power (except maybe for the poker-faced guy standing alert behind him). Imran ...

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Shujaat Bukhari: The saner voice in a place where insanity prevails

On Thursday evening, barely a day before Eidul Fitr, senior and most respected journalist Shujaat Bukhari was killed just outside his office in Press Enclave, Srinagar. Bukhari was the editor-in-chief of English daily Rising Kashmir published from Srinagar I was not far away from where the incident occurred. I was in the newsroom, where I along with rest of the staff was working on Friday’s edition of our newspaper when we heard gunshots. Panic gripped us, but one of my colleagues mentioned that it couldn’t have been gunshots, Eid was nearing, and maybe kids were out playing with firecrackers. Thinking ...

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Can the 2018 General Elections be rigged?

Let’s get it out of the way: the caretaker or interim government setup for the General Elections 2018 will not be in a position to influence the results the way it did back in May 2013. After all, the chief secretaries appointed in this tenure will be scrutinised by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) very strictly, while the political parties, especially the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), are very determined to develop consensus when it comes to the names being included in the interim government. The provinces failed to develop consensus for the selection of caretaker chief ministers (CM) within the given ...

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The untold story of what made ‘Among the Believers’ an Emmy-worthy documentary

In the summer of 2014, I was living in New York when I met Hemal Trivedi. She told me she was making a film about Pakistan and wanted me to join her and the other director, Mohammed Ali Naqvi, to help them craft the narrative authentically. I had seen dozens of films about Pakistan that were made by foreign filmmakers and honestly, most of them were horribly inaccurate. I felt it was a story worth telling which is why I decided to take the job. The first step of editing any documentary is to familiarise oneself with the raw footage by ...

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The media is relentless in its pursuit of exclusives, and Kashmir is always a good harvest

(Disclaimer: Graphic images below) Me: “So why don’t you start studying again?” Baba: “No, I can’t…” Me: “But why?” Baba: “It’s of no use; I have eight FIRs against me madam. The first one was registered when I was on my way to school. They picked me up, slapped me, let me off after three days. The second FIR was for illegal possession of weapons and the third…” Baba went on explaining the list of police cases against him as the car criss-crossed Srinagar with blaring music. Me: “Even then, you should at least complete your studies? Things will change…” Baba: “Even if I am able to resume my second year in ...

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If you think Qatar’s ostracism is an awful misunderstanding, you are dead wrong

Queen was never my first choice of music when I was an avid music lover during my youth. I guess Freddie Mercury’s antics were not really to my taste. I stopped listening to music over the years because I wanted to choose mental clarity over residual ideals that music brings with it. However, there have been several events throughout world politics that have reminded me of Queen and their seminal classic ‘Another one bites the dust’ – Qatar’s expulsion from the fold of ‘peace-loving’ Arab nations being the most recent example. To everyone who thinks that Qatar’s ostracism by its once chummy Arab buddies namely Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United ...

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How far is the state willing to go to police the internet in Pakistan?

It is unfortunate that every time activists engage the government in a discussion regarding the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB), with the aim of protecting civil liberties in cyberspace, the government in turn makes the law more complex and open to multiple interpretations. In recent days, an extensive round of deliberation was carried out with the senate’s standing committee and sub-committee on information technology. This time, digital rights organisations somehow managed to push legislators through, with the help of a few sane voices, in the senate for removing and/or improving the sections contravening the essence of democracy vis-à-vis civil liberties. Pakistan has ...

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