Stories about problem

I wasn’t dumb or slow, I was dyslexic

I gave my first speech in front of more than 500 people when I was just nine-years-old. When I was 15-years-old, I represented Pakistan in Regional UNESCO Youth forum for scouts of Asia Pacific Region. In the same year, I was awarded President’s Gold Medal award by the President of Pakistan. However, I was never the best student academically, neither was I the worst. Teachers and fellow students considered me one of top 10 students in my class due to my active participation, but my result never reflected it. As a child, I had a lot of trouble with spellings and numbers. Some people around me thought I was too lazy to ...

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I stutter, but I am not ashamed

I just defended my master thesis successfully. But the process of preparing the presentation for me was not so simple. It took one day for me to prepare the presentation and more than one week for selecting the words and sentences carefully, so that I could conceal my stuttering in front of the jury. After selecting the words, I practiced the whole presentation for about ten times and tried to reduce my speaking rate by stretching the vowels and consonants. But I was still worried; this led me to video recording my presentation to assess my voice and hand gestures. The ...

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Maybe you are too linked in with LinkedIn

Are you receiving too many promotional messages lately? Is your email inbox being bombarded by all types of advertising emails? Are you concerned about how every other company has your contact details? How are you getting ads which are related to your age, gender or interests? How do advertising companies know so much about you when you never register or subscribe for any newsletter etc.? Are these questions bothering you? If yes, I have one more question for you: Are you searching for a job on LinkedIn? The advent of LinkedIn was welcomed with open arms by job seekers as well as employers. It provides a ...

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When did not rising for a national anthem become a crime?

You know you’re insecure about your nationality when you have to raise a ruckus about people not standing up for your national anthem. It’s safe to flag this one as a serious problem. In late August, 25-year-old Salman was charged with sedition in Kerala for refusing to rise during the national anthem as it played in a movie theatre. Additionally, he was charged for posting derogatory remarks about the Indian national flag on Facebook. He was denied bail, and faces life imprisonment. No, I am not kidding. More recently, Preity Zinta boasted on Twitter about throwing a man out of the theatre for the same peccadillo. Why did Ms. ...

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Has Harry Potter made us all extremists?

JK Rowling took the world by storm when she wrote the Harry Potter saga that spanned over seven books and was published in hundreds of countries in countless languages. Pakistan was not alienated from this magic and when Potter arrived here, the series began to fascinate the populous with the fictional world Rowling had created. I can still vividly recall getting swept in the Potter-fever as I read and re-read all the Potter books, hoping to one day own a wand, a flying car and other magical objects. As I grew up, Potter stayed with me and I consider it to be one of the defining factors in my life. ...

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6 Pakistanis who think Israel is their problem

I feel bad and a little guilty saying it, but I’m not interested in the Palestinian crisis. There, I said it. * Exhale * I don’t understand this outpouring of emotions for Palestine on Facebook. How come there weren’t any well designed posters shared on Facebook when 10 people were shot by police forces in Model Town, Lahore? Why wasn’t Facebook overwhelmed with emotional anti-Taliban visuals when they attacked Karachi airport? Were we sleeping earlier or are we just tuned to only hate Israel? Do things going kaboom in our backyard not make us flinch? Or are we afraid of criticising the Taliban because they might be ...

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Peace talks or muscle power, that is the question

Pakistan may finally be getting more serious about tackling its militancy problem. But don’t get your hopes up. For years, the US government has pushed Pakistan to crack down harder on militancy and for years, Islamabad has largely refused. Instead, it has dithered as extremist violence has spread across the country. Last week, investigative journalist Umar Cheema revealed that Pakistan’s previous government used a secret counter-terror fund to purchase jewels, rugs and even sacrificial goats. Yet the tides may be turning. Last week, Pakistan was rocked by a rapid succession of bomb blasts, including attacks on consecutive days that killed Pakistani soldiers in the northwest and ...

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Mr PTI Chairman, we have a problem

Dear Mr Chairman (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf), Your meteoric rise as a powerful alternative political force in Pakistan was a reflection of the belief of the educated middle class in your slogan of ‘change’. For the first time, in recent history, our people saw a ray of hope against corruption, nepotism, plutocracy, injustice and entrenched hereditary politics. You mobilised the sceptic and the idealist, the old and the young, the religious and the liberal, the elite and the poor, by your strident call, ‘Tabdeeli aa nahi rahi, tabdeeli aa gayi hai’ (Change is not yet to come, change is already here). Men and women flocked to your jalsas in millions to ...

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Dear Indian patriots, my criticism of Pakistan isn’t for your benefit!

A signature feature of a liberal is his scathing, almost treacherous, criticism of his own country’s culture and political policies.  On the other hand, the mark of a nationalist is indiscriminately defending all that occurs on his side of the border, while flinging mud on those beyond. Hence, it isn’t difficult to understand why a Pakistani liberal and an Indian nationalist would naturally bond over a cup of coffee. Ever since I decided to ‘betray’ my homeland by consorting with the liberal folk, as some conservatives would put it, my list of Indian friends has been snowballing. I am not in any way insinuating ...

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Building ‘Traffic Pakistan’ and the problem with start-ups

Around three years ago M. Ali, a close friend of mine, built a very neat road traffic reporting system. This was a low tech version (dealing with real time traffic and incident reporting) over text messages and tweets. This was before we knew that something like Waze (later developed via Google) existed. Since Pakistan was gradually becoming a country with a majority of its population having access to cell phones and the internet, this idea made sense. Being pragmatists, we decided to name the scheme ‘Traffic Pakistan’. The idea was quite simple. Pakistani roads are horrible and often get congested. ...

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