Stories about Peshawar

It’s about time we talk about suicide

A few months ago, I received a frantic phone call from a friend. He told me his 11-year-old son tried to hang himself. This was not the first time; he had made similar attempts in the past, and also had a history of harming himself. Luckily, the parents had intervened just in time and saved him before it was too late. The father consulted me over the phone – he was broken, and was desperately in search of an answer. He wanted to devise a plan of action that could save his child from further attempts. After many possible interventions, we drafted ...

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Underappreciated, undermined: Five performers that went unnoticed in the Pakistan Cup

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in an attempt to renovate and reorganise the much criticised domestic set-up, held a player draft for the upcoming Haier Pakistan Cup scheduled to begin on April 19, 2016, in Faisalabad. The tournament will consist of five regional teams: Federal, Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan. During the draft system, captains of all five teams were given complete autonomy to build a team from scratch consisting of 15 players to be chosen from a list of over 170 domestic performers. Similar to the draft conducted previously, before the beginning of Pakistan Super League (PSL), this draft caused ...

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The B-side: Junaid Jamshed and untold stories behind the controversies

After leaving a lucrative career as a pop singer, Junaid Jamshed (JJ) has evolved into a preacher and poster boy for the austere deobandi group, the Tableeghi Jamaat. He once jokingly remarked, “When I was a singer people use to throw rose petals at me, since I came into Islam they throw stones at me.” This simple statement does more to highlight Pakistan’s state of affairs than explain how someone, who has been referred to by his musician friends, and in his Islamic circles, as “the nicest person one can meet”, can be party to one controversy after another? Some say, he is ...

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Congratulations, Pakistan!

There are certain positive developments in Pakistan that I wished to extend my solidarity with as a liberal from across the Indo-Pak border. But as I set out to write this piece, we had the news of the arrest of an Indian on espionage charges in Balochistan, fanning hatred in both Pakistan and India. Apart from this, we had some sad news coming in at the global level from Brussels,  Ivory Coast, and the blasts in Lahore on Easter. However, negativity has to be fought with positivity. We, the liberals, have to move forward with our actions to defeat the agenda of those coming in our way rather ...

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My patient refuses to undergo treatment for cancer

Patient’s Name: Pakistan Chief Complaint: Pains, high fevers, insecurity, depression and weight loss. History:  Pakistan is a 68-year-old patient, well known to our oncology service, here to see me in clinic again for an acute flare of the above-mentioned symptoms. Briefly, the patient has been plagued with cancer for the last many years. It has lost over 50,000 of its cells to tumour growths all over its outside body, mostly concentrated in the head and neck area. Over a year ago, the patient visited one of my colleagues with a huge tumour that had revealed itself in its Peshawar territory. The tumour engulfed 144 healthy, vibrant cells. And now, the ...

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Why did the doctors of Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital refuse to treat a transgender patient?

Recently, in Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, a victim of a gunshot wound was left unattended for three hours. The patient was critically injured and the doctors refused to administer treatment. Moreover, the hospital staff was callous and impertinent. The victim’s name was Adnan. The whole incident sounds unreasonable, doesn’t it? Why would the doctors refuse to touch a patient? Why would the hospital staff point and laugh at a dying person? Well, Adnan is a transgender person. The entire transgender community in Pakistan has had to endure repeated verbal, physical and sexual abuse. I felt particularly sorry when I learned my medical peers were involved in an act ...

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When the media gets off the wrong side of the bed

The media takes a lot of flak across the world when it gets something wrong. In the fast paced world, with the events and happenings toppling over each other due to speed, mistakes do happen. These mistakes sometimes evoke guffaws and get stacked into the category of bloopers, but at other times, they evoke horror and outrage that is difficult to live down. When the media was restricted to print, it was easy to cover tracks by printing a corrigendum. Sometimes it was self-generated, at others due to protests lodged by the offended party or the mistake being pointed out ...

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Pakistan’s soldiers, Pakistan’s army fathers, you carry my name

The delicious bread – Peshawari naan – was longer than I was tall. Seven-years-old, in a sundress and an oversized sunhat, I was a very British child in Peshawar. Hairpin roads, every pothole palpable in our Ford Transit, we lurched into 1975 Pakistan through the Khyber Pass. Descending the Hindu Kush, we finally entered the dusty, garrison town. At the end of the 7,000 miles drive from England, my Pakistani parents, younger then than I am as I write this now, navigated toward our final destination. From my window, I struggled to pronounce the English signposts – for a long time “Pesh-ware” was ...

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I still wonder what my brother Shayan last prayed for on the day of the APS attack

Shahab, my sister, tells me that I look like him. Whenever our father sees my face, he sees Shayan. I avoid him a little at home, because I know how much it pains him to see Shayan’s smile on my face, his gait in my walk and his sparkle in my eyes. On December 16, 2014, the lives of my family members changed forever. We were a happy family of four brothers and two sisters. And now, we are a family with an empty chair at the dining table, an empty bed with an extra pillow and a dry toothbrush that ...

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She stopped the Taliban from shutting down her school by offering them tea

Suppose the Taliban barge into your house or place of work, and threaten you. You would be acutely aware of the fact that your life is in danger. They could put a bullet in you before you would be able to scream. You would know what the odds of your survival are, and you’d be completely cognisant of the fact that there is no way to escape the situation. You would be tempted to do one of two things: 1. Cower under the table or lock yourself in the bathroom and pray to God you don’t die today. 2. Or, stand your ...

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