Stories about money

10 things nosy ‘Pak’ers love to ask

Do you ever get riled up by busybodies asking annoying questions to ‘place’ people in their social world? Well, here are some conveniently snappy answers we wish we could respond with (you might even get away with some of them if you did; sarcasm is often lost on the unwitting). 1. Have you found anyone eligible yet? Yes (enter Mashallah), I have won the marriage lottery! She/he is, Mashallah, loaded and divorced only thrice. 2. Who is your father?  He is Mian/Chaudhry (enter name) and owns (enter name of mill/bank). 3. What does your husband do? See answer number 2 please. 4. What village are you from? It doesn’t matter if you have never seen ...

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10 things I hate about Hindi soaps

I have always been impressed by how Bollywood has emerged as an internationally renowned entertainment industry. People from all backgrounds, even in Pakistan, keep a close watch on the happenings in Bollywood, despite the silly India-Pakistan strife. I love India and Indian people, and let me make clear before I begin that I do not intend to attack or offend anyone through this post. I am merely highlighting some aspects of Indian soaps which I find amusing. So without further ado, let me begin my list of the ten things I hate about Indian soaps: 1. They are endless: To put it simply, ...

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No more loans, please

It’s common to hear people quote the dollar amount the United States spends annually on its wars and homeland security — and put next to it the money needed to end world poverty, Aids, cancer or malaria. One such comparison is that the US has spent $980 billion in Iraq since 2003, which is enough to wipe out world poverty for 10 years. According to another estimate, the United States can control malaria deaths in Africa by diverting 3.7 per cent of its $81 billion annual budget for national intelligence. I’m not pro-war. Neither do I approve of heavy military spending ...

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Help! I’m a shopaholic

Dear Miss Informed, I am a shopaholic. I can’t stop myself from buying things regardless of whether I need them or not.  Even if it is a good day, and I am not blue, I just have to get out of my house and buy something, be it shampoo or a handbag. My condition is so severe that my arms ache when I’m not holding shopping bags. If the malls are closed, I press my nose to shop windows and try to smell the clothes I would have bought if I could get in. My fingers itch, and I feel the irrepressible urge to ...

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The cleverest trick

How often it is that we end up taking things for granted; from having a blessed existence to having a lovely home; being loved by our loved ones and the overwhelming feeling of belonging while reconnecting with family and friends on Eid. But rarely do we pause to think of the unfortunate souls who are devoid of our blessings – those who live on the streets of this megalopolis. A few days before Eid, I was walking down Gulfway Shopping Mall in Clifton, when I saw a boy, no more than 10 years of age, begging from a woman. Brushing ...

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Banks don’t need to prove 2.5% of my faith

“Get your money out of your account before the first of the Ramzan or they’ll deduct zakat,” warned a text message I received from an anonymous well wisher. I have a phobia of banks (along with hospitals and airports) and dread the very thought of finding my checkbook for a trip to bank. Getting smaller chunks of cash from the ATM machine equally abhors me. So when I saw the text I did some mental math to calculate the bucks the bank would cut in the name of zakat, from my hard earned savings. The calculated sum didn’t seem like ...

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Who cares? Not me

I am a Pakistani. Don’t confuse me for an illiterate, poverty-stricken person. Or a displaced one in that case. Not at all! I can assure you, I live quite comfortably. I did my schooling from one of the best institutes in the country. I speak English very well, and I only wear branded clothes. I buy them from the US or Europe during my annual visits abroad. It’s annoying how people assume I’m needy just because I’m from Pakistan. Oh no! I’m a first-grade citizen, albeit of a third world country. Apparently the fact that our power generation is less ...

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Islamabad Diary: Spinning around in numbers

Like most journalists I took up the profession because I was useless at math. It is ironic – and quite painful – then that I was surrounded by numbers for the first month after I moved to Islamabad. Even worse I, an English and History graduate, was expected to make sense of numbers that often ran into seven or eight digits. It was budget season in Islamabad, a time when people pretend to know what encumbrance control and interfund agreements mean and then proceed to thoughtfully ponder their significance to Pakistan’s financial future. Since mathematical nous isn’t native to most journalists, ...

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The inadequacies of ‘Financial Fair Play’

There’s an ongoing debate over the financial muscle of ‘big clubs’ and the amount of money they throw on player transfers – extraordinary amounts of money are seen being splashed out in the transfer window even with the existence of what we’ve come to know as an ‘economic recession’. While clubs like Real Madrid and Manchester City have bored followers by their excessive transfer spending, the recent excursion into the window by Chelsea has raised quite a few eyebrows among the general public and UEFA officials. UEFA’s answer to all these problems is the controversial ‘Financial Fair Play’ legislation. ...

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Partying with pistols

It was an ominous day for the attendees of a dance party taking place on Khayaban-e-Rahat in Karachi.  I can imagine the scene: alcohol was ample, the DJ was working the crowd and amongst this unsupervised and posh array of people, a shoot out took place. Firing outside the gates of prominent parties is a common occurrence in Pakistan and not a lot of people take it seriously. In fact, in my experience, if there was a shoot out at a party, it was usually preceded by an exchange of threats and followed by a phadda or an altercation. The ...

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