Stories about New York City

Narcos season 3: Can the Cali cartel be as grotesquely violent and savage as Pablo Escobar?

Following the demise of the Medellin cartel and its kingpin, a certain Mr Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, it is now time for the Cali crew to take its claim as the new lords of blow in the latest offering of Narcos, which recently saw its first full-length trailer released last week. While season one and two dealt with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Steve Murphy’s pursuit of the notorious don Escobar, the forthcoming third season sees veteran agent Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal) taking the reins as DEA’s chief tracker, with help from American and Colombian law enforcement agencies, hunting down the ...

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It is time for Trump to say, “I won the campaign, guys, you can stop the racism now!”

Donald Trump ran an unscripted and an unpredictable presidential campaign and took American politics to an unchartered territory, one that was hideously troubling and rocked the very core of our value system. What Trump’s inflammatory message did script, however, was a very predictable future – a fiery and fierce future, one that will bring out the worst in people, wake up the sleeping demons and cause a socio-political stir of schizophrenically unprecedented proportions. It is painful to witness the plight. It’s apocalyptic just to think that we, as a nation, by electing Donald Trump as president, have decided to put ...

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The spirit of NYC taught me about the simplicity of religion

I had always dreamt of living in one of the biggest cities of the world, and walking around the streets of Manhattan was one of those dreams. I wanted to feel the adrenaline rush as I walked with the high-end elites and saw their exotic taste in fashion with my own eyes. And when I got the chance to live in New York, I realised that the people in the fashion magazines and on the cover pages really do exist. Manhattan had always been a kind of illusion – girls click-clacking in their top-shop heels, sashaying around with their Gucci bags ...

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Dancing to the tunes of the Song of Lahore is pure joy

Prepare to be mesmerised by the Song of Lahore, a lovely documentary directed by twice Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Andy Shocken. Be ready to be hypnotised, to clap along, hum along and to fall madly in love with the Sachal-Jazz ensemble and their mission to make, according to founder Izzat Majeed “global music that is rooted in Lahore.” In order to preserve Pakistan’s fading musical roots, Majeed established the Sachal recording studio in Lahore and gathered the best of Pakistan’s classically trained instrumentalists, mostly aging men from extremely humble backgrounds, to revive the music he had grown up on. ...

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Putin’s affair with Obama: Lacklustre and awkwardly painful

Touted as ‘the greatest political show on earth’, one was expecting the 70th UNGA session to achieve some success in terms of reaching an agreement on the on-going Syrian crisis. It was hoped that the integration of ideas would prompt the powers that be to move their butts and take steps to end unnecessary slaughter of human lives, values and everything that matters to our existence. I don’t even know why and for what the UN stands for anymore. I was an avid supporter of the organisation in my younger years but as I have evolved, I feel disenchanted by the impotency of the institution. ...

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He was just a kid who made a clock, America

It has been 14 years since the Twin Towers in New York City were attacked – 2977 Americans died that day and thousands were injured. Soon after, the United States of America launched a full-scale offensive against al Qaeda in Afghanistan, under the name of ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’. That operation lasted 13 years. American forces invaded Iraq as well, for around a decade.  Twenty thousand civilians and 6,000 security personnel have perished since 2003 in Pakistan. A grand total of 210,000 civilians have died, once you include the staggering numbers from Afghanistan and Iraq. Women, children, and unarmed men. What number is enough to stop calling it ‘collateral damage’? But ...

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Why did we have to rely on Brandon Stanton or Kim Driver to portray us positively?

Brandon Stanton has done a great service to Pakistan, but what have you done for your country? Of late, my Facebook newsfeed projected a new Pakistani face every morning, credit Humans of New York (HONY), and a wonderfully fascinating story to go with it. There were moments I sat crying, moments of awe, moments of elation, moments of gratitude to Stanton for projecting to the world an image of Pakistan that is so awesome in its depth, humility, reality, humanity and simplicity. His wrap-up titled ‘A final word on Pakistan’, and the parting shot of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ (seven beautiful little boys) inspired a comment on ...

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Travelling through Pakistan with my (fake) husband

I am travelling to Pakistan with a stranger I met on a layover in Hong Kong. Within minutes of meeting each other, we knew we could travel together. We hatched a plan over lukewarm Tiger Beer while sitting on smurf-sized chairs in Hanoi. Out of respect for Islamic values, and as precaution, we decided to pretend to be husband and wife from elsewhere, anywhere but America. We rendezvoused in Guangzhou and entered Pakistan from Western China down the Karakoram Highway. As I stood at the airport waiting, I thought, Do I know what he looks like? I wondered for the briefest moment if ...

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All that ‘Amreeki glitter’ may not be gold in Jackson Heights

George Bernard Shaw said: “Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.” It is true that life can be good, it can be tough and it can, most certainly, be unpredictable. It can take a person to a whole new world. Away from his or her country, away from their loved ones. The drama Jackson Heights, named after a neighbourhood in New York, beautifully depicted the life of a group of Pakistani immigrants. Aired on Urdu1, this particular drama struck a chord with me because of its storyline. Living in the US, it was refreshing to see this angle being taken – ...

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Sexual harassment at LUMS, don’t blame the university!

A video of a woman walking the streets of New York City, getting hundreds of catcalls from men went viral around the world this week. The woman is followed, called all sorts of names, and her attention is solicited, but none of the men touch her. In Pakistan, instances of men “inadvertently” touching women are all too common. Girls are taught to ignore it, to avoid creating a ‘scene’. Not only does society silence the woman, our very laws discourage women from reporting cases of violence against them. Yesterday, news broke out of the Federal Ombudsman directing the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) to ...

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