Stories about two

Ghulam Bilour and Mumtaz Qadri, two sides of the same coin

While the country still reels from the attack on the Imambargah in Shikarpur, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour thought it more necessary to talk about an event that happened a month ago, half a world away, and not in conciliatory terms. Bilour offered a reward for whoever kills the owner of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which recently suffered a terrorist attack that killed 10 of its employees, including its editor-in-chief. Given the amount of deaths that the magazine has already experienced, to call for more of it because of the magazine’s allegedly blasphemous cartoons seems excessive at best and an incitement to violence at worst. One ...

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Wanderlust

I want to do more with my life Than just be a Pakistani girl, a wife, a mother, I want to take two years off, And backpack through Europe!   I want to watch the sun set over Paris from the Eiffel Tower, I want to walk on the streets of Venice, I want to get lost on the tube in London, I want to swim in the waters of Greece, I want to be mesmerised by the northern lights in Iceland, I want to go cycling in Holland, I want to walk through the Black forest during autumn in Germany, I want to follow the Sound of Music in Austria, I want to ...

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Faisalabad lockdown: Stop the insanity!

It’s December 8. Faisalabad is witnessing the process of being shut down by ardent PTI supporters. This, of course, enrages PML-N who can’t sit back and watch their political foes try to halt their stronghold. Violence, casualties and deaths are an inevitable addition to this process. It’s quite surprising that so far one man has lost his life. I was expecting a higher number, since life sells cheap here. And the blame game has already begun: “Because of you (PTI), Pakistan’s economy has suffered immensely” – Parvaiz Rashid “Their Gullus were involved in all the clashes today” – Imran Khan “PML-N had planned to attack PTI supporters. The ...

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Once bitten twice shy? Not if you’re part of PCB’s selection committee!

Pakistanis live in the age of nostalgia. A 67-year-old Bambi, still struggling to get on its feet, one step forward, two steps back, sprawled spectacularly on the floor. A nation dead set on moving backwards. From our political affiliations, religious oppression, blasphemous laws, dress-codes to the selection of our cricket team, ours is a generation that shall wistfully flip through old photos unable to grasp the reality of who we were and what we could be, unable to move forward. If you skim through the list of the 30 probables sent for the 2015 World Cup team, there’s no need to ...

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What would you do “For One More Day” with a loved one?

During one of my jaunts to a local bookstore, I spotted bestselling author, Mitch Albom’s philosophical novel “For One More Day” and wondered how I had missed it before. Having read two of his previous novels “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”, I had become a fan of his mortality themed writing. This novel is written in a similar fashion as “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” except that the main focus of the book is on the protagonist’s mother. It is a griping tale of family secrets and hidden truths that are carefully veiled beneath a prudently ...

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Sizing up the Sri Lankan strife

In many ways, islands defy the socio-political belligerence of geographical proximity to other lands. Sri Lanka distinctly holds its own, even with the world’s largest democracy staring down intently at its past and present. It is either because of this, or perhaps despite it, that the seemingly small spec of land divided by a narrow sea from the southern tip of India has endured decades of a bloody civil war with such sound determination. Not long before I landed at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport, I realised this was a land of two tongues. Tamil and Singhalese are both percussive, rotund languages. The ...

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Two decades of battling breast cancer

The early 1990s at Franklin Township Public Library, New Jersey – two wonderful mothers separately take their children out for a day of fun and learning, with books. Fully engrossed in story time, one toddler looks up from the reading to meet a stranger’s eyes. It was another child his age, with short black hair and the undeniable look of a similar, intelligent mischievousness. That’s when it began. Our mothers soon became fast friends, and we spent most of early childhood in each other’s company. These were the modest beginnings of my lifelong (best) friendship with AR*. Little did we understand the depth of ...

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Pakistan versus Australia: Our middle-order conundrum

A lot has happened in Pakistan cricket over the last two decades. Teams have been shuffled around, captaincy has been tinkered with, the management has been a chaotic mess, the administration is a shambles, so on and so forth. A lot has changed; however, if there’s one thing that has remained synonymous to Pakistan cricket for years now, that is our batting woes. The predictability is so obvious that it’s almost becoming funny now. The best way to gauge public sentiment about Pakistan’s batting is to observe comments, tweets and statuses on social media when we’re chasing – be it ...

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Ban the bowlers, ban them all!

After depriving the world of the most glorious sight in international cricket – Saeed Ajmal in all his grace, splendour and beauty giving an interview to Nasser Hussain after a match – the ICC plans to throw the book at bowlers. I welcome this hard-line decision taken by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the matter; if only these regulations had come a few years earlier, Kachra would never have been able to win the match for the farmers and the British could have enjoyed imposing dugna lagaan. Had they banned Imran Khan, our politics would have been deprived of the numerous cricket analogies ...

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Civil disobedience in Hong Kong: A lesson for Imran Khan

Hong Kong has recently seen a wave of peaceful protests organised by pro-democracy activists. These protests have been countered by the pro-Beijing rally, which demonstrated how divided the city is over this issue. In order to understand how this protest came about, one needs to step back and assess Hong Kong’s history with China. One country, two systems Hong Kong was a former British colony that was handed over to China in 1997. Since then, China has governed Hong Kong under the principle of ‘one country, two systems’, where Hong Kong – defined as a Special Administrative Region of China – is given a ...

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