Stories about UK

Travelling the world amongst the roaring sea: Memories of a Pakistani sailor

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Aspiring for a career and finally achieving employment is a blessing for anyone. When I was young, my dream, like many other kids, was to roam around the world, to see far off places and to experience different cultures. One practical way to achieve my goal was to join the Merchant Marine. At a young age of 17, when one is full of hope and ambition, I finally had the selection letter tucked gleefully in my pocket after a gruelling selection process. It was a pleasant February afternoon in 1974 when I joined the ...

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Birthright citizenship is a constitutional right and cannot be taken away by mere election rhetoric

Donald Trump sure knows how to keep things exciting. Even as president, he keeps making statements to rile up his base and aggravate his opponents, making people outside the US wonder how a country’s leader can openly make such claims. Whether he truly believes in his own spiel or not, one thing is for certain – he is a marketing genius. He knows exactly what to say and who to say it to. Before the midterm elections, Trump revealed that his team is working on a legislation that will end birthright citizenship for babies born on US soil. Trump’s logic was that ...

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Stand at attention, hand on heart, bow your head – what are you supposed to do during the national anthem?

It is not often that people listening to the national anthem get airtime on multiple occasions over a three-month period. In this era of hyper nationalism and unnecessarily overt displays of patriotism, perhaps this is not entirely a bad thing. However, with the recent oath-taking ceremonies, Independence Day, Defence Day and the Asia Cup coming in quick succession, we’ve been blessed with (or subjected to, depending on your perspective) something approaching an overload of this. One remembers, of course, the brouhaha across the border on people not standing up for the national anthem which, apparently, is played before every movie in the ...

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Munch on these easy, lip-smacking snacks instead of your nails while rooting for your World Cup team!

The stage has been set. Stadium lights are ablaze. Billions around the world are worshipping the black and white ball. Even those who don’t really follow football are simply tailgating and gathering in groups to cheer on their favourite teams. The FIFA World Cup is already shaping up to be more exciting than many had hoped. Hosts Russia kicked off the 2018 World Cup against Saudi Arabia in Moscow. There have already been some shocks: Russia, the lowest-ranked team in the competition, was the first to qualify for the Round-of-16; defending champions Germany have been knocked out of the ...

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Dear Imran Khan, please use your mind before you use your tongue. Sincerely, feminism

“I disagree with the feminist movement that has degraded the role of a mother,” said Imran Khan. Wait… what?! That was my initial reaction when Imran’s words flashed on the news website. I blinked in confusion and re-read the words, thinking I may have misread them due to tiredness or lack of sleep. But no. There it was, as clear as rain – feminism apparently “degraded” motherhood. The feminism movement in the West has 'degraded' the role of a mother Imran Khan? Really?! #PTI pic.twitter.com/UwIpEeADil — Bilal Farooqi (@bilalfqi) June 17, 2018 Like most people who took to social media to protest how shocked ...

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Are forced marriages a form of modern-day slavery?

In one of the old dictionaries I’ve been using since my school days, the definition for ‘forced marriage’ is: “A marriage in which one or both of the parties is married without his or her consent or against his or her will.” Growing up in Britain and in an Asian community, I’ve heard countless stories of young girls – at the young age of 16, even before they’ve received their exam results – being taken abroad for a ‘family holiday’, only to discover one evening that the very next day was their wedding. It even happened to one girl I ...

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I run a private school in Islamabad, and here’s the truth behind summer school fees

Those who are all daggers against private schools and are celebrating the Islamabad High Court’s decision to stop private schools from charging a summer fee, can stop reading because a private school owner is writing this blog. But then again, it might be worthwhile for you to hear the other side’s perspective too. I find myself to be a very small player in the private school industry. A newbie, who perhaps four years ago might have been bashing private schools from the other side too. Today, I am here not to make a case for myself but for the Citys, Roots, ...

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Nightmare come true: Is Trump preparing Syria to be the battlefield of WWIII?

The Trump administration is more confrontational toward Russia than Barack Obama was, Glenn Greenwald and Zaid Jilani wrote in The Intercept recently. There is certainly some truth to the statement, despite the fact Donald Trump has been regularly portrayed as an agent of Vladimir Putin, even before he was elected at the end of 2016. Never mind, for example, that Trump’s nominee to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, recently confirmed that, “A couple hundred Russians were killed by US forces in Syria earlier this year.” Pompeo wasn’t merely stating the blunt truth about an incident in February, in which US ...

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No, you may not call me a ‘Paki’

There was a strange time when I was growing up, where I didn’t fully understand the dual identity I had as a Pakistani-Canadian. I thought I was just like everyone else, until I was nine-years-old. At school, a notice was given to students with information about how to keep hair clean to avoid lice. A young white boy scoffed at the notice, and announced that the only people who needed this reminder were the “Paki” kids. This was my first taste of prejudice, but it became all too familiar as I continued to grow up in a diverse, yet inharmonious society. Fast ...

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Is Trump’s secret relationship with Putin the only thing preventing another Cold War?

The world order these days feels more like a throwback to the Cold War era, as the UK and its allies take diplomatic action against Russia for its alleged role in the nerve toxin poisoning of a Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia. The UK’s western allies – especially the European Union (EU), the US, and members of NATO – have shown solidarity with London, expelling dozens of Russian diplomats. Skripal, a former Russian spy, was accused of selling Russian secrets to Britain, and was hence jailed. It was in 2010 that he, along with his daughter, went to ...

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