Stories about The Express Tribune

One year on at The Express Tribune

“It’s an alternate universe, we’re all vampires who work late into the night,” would be the first thing I’d hear from a would-be co-worker. The whimsical quip didn’t help much, so I made the plunge, not quite knowing what to expect. Clichéd as it may sound, what followed was nothing short of a life-changing experience. Not in my wildest dream had I anticipated what one year at The Express Tribune could potentially offer. A little dazed, I learnt the ropes slowly yet surely and made some wonderful friends along the way. Work is only part of the package. Perhaps what stands out the ...

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Video blog: What’s your 9/11 conspiracy?

Too few facts? A vast global conspiracy? Too many cheesy documentaries and delusions, or just a lot of anti-US sentiment? Whatever the case may be, the September 11 attacks on US soil have had a lasting and unending impact on Pakistan’s psyche. This video is a mash-up of just some of the opinions floating around a single office space, and while no means comprehensive, they do capture some of the banter surrounding 9/11 in the country. 9/11 was the day the world changed forever, and there have been just as many conspiracy theories as to who is responsible for the attacks as the number ...

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Sarmad Sehbai’s poem on 9/11

Playwright and poet, nay poet and playwright, (lest he objects to the former order of his talents as did the revered Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi to Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s reported assessment, giving third place to his poetry, after his newspaper columns and short fiction)  Sarmad Sehbai, is not a man of politics. He is a social beast though and reacts, if at all, to political events in that context only. Politicians interest him, but only as stage characters in their various masks and costumes. As an artist, the fall of the Twin Towers in New York which shook the world ...

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The future looks bright for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s historic win over Bangladesh in their first Test match in six years was a rare dose of good news for the small African nation with great sporting potential. Zimbabwe were playing their first Test after voluntarily withdrawing from the five-day format in 2005, a decision forced by the sacking of several senior players following an acrimonious dispute with the board, coupled with the country’s lengthy political and economic crisis, which left the team heavily weakened. The question being asked by those not too familiar with the goings-on is what has led to this mini-revival in the game here?  There are ...

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Islamabad vs Karachi: When I came to the ‘dead city’

“It’s a dead city.” “In fact, it’s not even a city.” If Karachiites who go to Islamabad (moving or otherwise) don’t utter these clichéd dialogues about the place, then they probably are not sane or aren’t Karachiites to the heart. The above is exactly what I said when I moved to Islamabad five years ago with my family. “It’s a blue-blooded lifeless place.” “It’s not worth living in. Why did abba have to get a job here?” would be the discussion my sister and I would have time and again. Our dislike for Islamabad was so extreme we wanted to take the first available ...

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Why saying ‘Scene On Hai’ is more important than you think

July is here and I know this because my friend N came barging into my room and aimed straight for the fan. “It’s so hot, God you can only wear shalloos.” “Shalloos?” “Shalwars, obvi.” And Kay for kameezes, obvi (That’s obviously shortened). This same friend owns a Jenny (generator), gets picked up by her perpetually late D (driver) and has a severe dislike of “meylas” because, you know, they’re such “shady boiz”. Welcome to Burger-speak. We don’t laugh, we LOL. We take English words in Urdu context, and mix and match as we please. It started out as misspellings on the internet and on ...

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The Capital Vulture: The hills have eyes

Sociology majors ought to consider doing their dissertations on behavioural patterns indigenous to Pakistanis. One of these genetic predispositions is a constant irritation to those on the receiving end. In fact, this applies to the entire Indian subcontinent really. As a collective, we suffer from an acute staring problem; it can make life awkward to the point when you start developing social disorders (me) or bloated egos (so many girls in the city). Uff, it’s because some of us are fair, hardy, har, har. I’ve grown up in Islamabad and the unabashed staring is something I’ll never get used to. I think ...

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Of surprising autobiographies

I am used to meeting Nathu, the mechanic, at the filling station where I get fuel for my car. He mends punctured tyres. One day he requested that I teach him how to write. “I am okay at reading. Writing is my only weakness,” he told me. I asked why he wanted to learn to write. “I want to write my autobiography,” he said. “An autobiography? Is that what you want to write?” I asked. “Yes sir,” he said. “I have been through a lot. When I am done writing, you’ll be amazed with the things I come out with.” It registered then how trends ...

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The best laid plans

Assumption is the mother of all mistakes (putting it mildly); a phrase that I fully understood on a Sunday morning on my way to Islamabad from Abbottabad, hoping to make the three-hour journey in the estimated time of three hours. However, the residents of Havelian, a small town near the garrison city, had other plans. Due to a power shutdown in the town a protest was under way and this led to traffic backlog that lasted for at least 20-30 km on the main highway. I would like to clarify that the fault lies with me. I just assumed, like any ...

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Just say ‘I’m sorry’

Remember the time when your school teacher made you say sorry to a class fellow you got into a fight with, and it was he who had started it anyway! And then it all ended with your teacher saying, “Come on you two, shake hands now,” and you did shake hands. You made minimal hand contact with your erring buddy before quickly snatching away your hand. Perhaps you even rubbed your palm against your uniform trousers right after, just to signal to your rival that his dirty hand had now soiled yours too. But thank God that moment of making ...

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