Stories about reputation

Munir and Ali needed a goat like Raju

“Mama! Mujhay subha uthana please aath bajay. Baba kay sath mandi jaunga,” Ali pleaded with his mother. (Mom! Please wake me up at eight in the morning. I have to go with dad to the cattle market) She nodded as she tucked him in lovingly. Ali had been looking forward to the Bari Eid since Ramazan. He had been extremely disappointed to find out that the Eid after Ramazan will not involve getting a bakra (goat) and bringing it home. He had insisted though. “Hum le aatay hain na! Hum bakra isi wali Eid pe le aatay!” (We should get it! We should get ...

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My life with the fire-tipped devil

At what point does one call oneself a non-smoker? I myself have been guilty of premature declaration. I was told that I must publicise my attempts to quit smoking, thereby putting my reputation at stake. My ego would then kick in and do the needful. So I was told. That’s why, the last 14 times I tried to quit, I told the world about it – initially via email. And then, as social media took over our lives, I posted and tweeted my way into shame and ignominy. However, this time feels different; because it is different. Today, I reach my thousandth un-smoked ...

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Umar Akmal: A great player but a bitter citizen?

Umar Akmal became the subject of much debate because of his recent run-in with the police. He violated traffic rules by going through a red light and when stopped by the police, he tried to bully the traffic warden by flaunting his stature of being an international sportsman. Yes, he is a talented player but in this one incident, he proved himself to be a careless and nasty citizen. As a result of his actions, Akmal has been booked under Sections 186, 279 and 353 of the Pakistan Penal Code. According to police reports, the 23-year-old Akmal did not stop at a traffic signal in ...

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Hijab4Men: Let’s turn the tables and show men how it feels

You’re showing too much hair. You’re wearing a lot of makeup and your tight jeans? Well, you’re ruining the reputation of the hijab. These are just a few examples of the criticism many hijabis face.  Recently there were even adverts all over the Middle East comparing Muslim women to wrapped sweets – a lollipop with a wrapper symbolises perfection, that is, the angelic Muslim maintaining her pardah, while an ‘unwrapped lolly’ attracts flies to the haram enticement of an exposed ‘sweet’. The men behind such adverts will deny that comparing Muslim women to sweets is objectifying us. They will contest that they are merely using the analogy ...

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What happened to PIA’s glory days?

A rapid drop in altitude, deafening noise, sheer chaos, emergency alarms going off, doors and walls shuddering violently and people crying out loud! This is not an account of a plane crash. Rather, it’s about a whole airline company coming crashing down; an organisation which has completely lost direction. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), once soaring high in the skies of the aviation industry, has fallen into an abyss of financial and image crisis. So this is an account of our national flag carrier that used to be the nation’s pride; it is about Pakistan International Airlines. I still remember the time when PIA ...

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Shaming Maya: Two wrongs don’t make a right

The Book of Love is full of charts, and facts and figures, and instructions for dancing, at least according to The Magnetic Fields, later confirmed by Peter Gabriel. Both the indie band and the legendary former Genesis lead singer also agree that they love it when someone reads to them from it. Unfortunately, it seems that nobody ever read to Maya Khan from it. That can be the only reason she takes so much offence to young love. Now, I’m probably wrong on both counts, given the amount of pictures and video of her indulging in extra-mehram-al relations with men, ...

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Restoring the ISI’s tarnished reputation

An intelligence agency is at the frontlines of every war, especially against terrorism. Terror and terror networks can only be contained, dismantled or destroyed with effective intelligence gathering. But if the reputation of the intelligence agency is tarnished and its every action is questioned, no war can be effectively won and no strategy can be properly executed. It is unfortunate that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) is caught up with—and in some cases, rightly accused—for many domestic and international incidents involving terrorism and other transnational crimes. At the same time, it has also become a scapegoat for those who have ...

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Do journalists have the licence to transgress?

A press card can come in really handy. It doesn’t matter how dumb your picture is on that piece of plastic, you can wear it around your neck and ease your way into concerts or talk your way out of traffic predicaments. You can use it to flaunt your power at the policeman who has parked his metal contraption in a narrow lane, blocking a series of helpless  vehicles that are forced to reverse and go all the way around. It would have been fuel for another series of ‘our police is so  corrupt’ conversations were it not for the ...

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Scandalous Islamabad: Facebook’s gossip vultures

On an idle Sunday afternoon spent eating pizza and chatting with my sisters-in-law, I was introduced to ‘Scandalous Islamabad’. In case you don’t know what it is, ‘Scandalous Islamabad’ is a Facebook group inspired by American TV show Gossip Girl (remember the mysterious “And who am I? That’s one secret I’ll never tell. You know you love me xoxo Gossip Girl?”) Currently, this Facebook group has a following of almost 5,000 people. The grapevine is active The group that was created in January this year keeps disappearing and reappearing. Apparently, this is because they got hacked. There is a post on their ...

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Gluttonous reporters: As far as food is concerned

Journalists or ‘media walay’ – as they are locally labelled – are a branded bunch. There are enough clichés about people from the news industry to fill a (rather wordy) book. But my favourite cliché is that if you want to see a lot of reporters at an event, make sure that there’s lots of food and that they know about it! So the story goes: I was sitting at the office of a rather suave business executive, busy jotting down his responses to my inquisitions, when he mentioned that his company was about to organise a very elaborate award ...

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