Stories about youth

Why didn’t we cover the Punjab Youth Festival?

I have learnt a lesson in the last few days, thanks to the Punjab Youth Festival. I had somehow started believing that our media actually cared about our success stories. But the festival proved to be a wakeup call for me. I learnt that we can cover, non-stop, politicians’ fight in assemblies, terrorist attacks, bomb blasts, road blockages by doctors and day-long rallies condemning the US or India. TV channels focus on each aspect of such incidents. Newspapers come up with dozens of side-stories for their readers’ interest. All this, however, only happens in the case of covering bad news. While almost ...

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What about our future generations?

Malala Yousufzai is an embodiment of the kind of hope and resilience that we have invested in our youth. News of the attempt on her life caught up with us in a sickening wave of realisation that our leniency towards lurking extremist elements has allowed them to poison the essence of who we are as a nation and what we once stood for. The 14-year-old child took two bullets in broad daylight for taking a stance against the Taliban — a militia that has, over the years, strived to curb female education. While, according to sources, her condition has been stable ...

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Is there a ray of hope for Pakistan?

There are two ways of interpreting a glass half-filled with water. You can either call it half-full or half-empty. Even though referring to it as half-full may give you hope, I do not intend to excite the readers by projecting fake optimism while so much is going terribly wrong in Pakistan. I still believe that despite all the unpleasant happenings, not all is lost yet. Terrorism, failed state of affairs, discredited army, incompetent leadership, hopelessness; there is enough going on in Pakistan that is a cause of despair and is indicative of a bleak future, but there exist some promising prospects in our country as well. I have come ...

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A Pakistan I wish I knew

Days like August 14 and September 6 invoke positive emotion for Pakistan and yet, I’ve grown up listening to things absent from the motherland. The oft-repeated expression “Oh what a country it was” makes me wonder and imagine, and then I sit down to hear the fairy tale. According to my father, Pakistani society was beautifully knit, so much so that people from different religions — what to talk of various sects of the same religion — lived in perfect harmony. They would celebrate each other’s festival and jointly participate in all types of communal activities. Eid, Christmas, Rabiul Awal and ...

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Wings of hope: We’ve forgotten how to fly

I reminisce the good times, When we used to try, Could barely walk straight, But wanted to fly, In capes and funky masks, Jumping with all our might, Dressed as superheroes, Without a care in sight, Not worrying about money, Or having fancy cars, Always aiming for the sky, Always reaching for the stars, We were young and fun, Essentially free souls, But time took it’s toll, And, well, we grew old, Now day in, day out, We just worry about cash, Where to get it from, And where to put the stash, Which car to buy next, What new horse to breed, It’s all about jewels, We’re blinded by greed, What used to matter most, Now just makes no sense, We run through our ...

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Connecting our cities not just with flyovers but with people

What do you want Islamabad to look like in 2042? If there’s anything the geography component of O’ Level Pakistan Studies taught me, it was to appreciate my city. One of the chapters was “Population in Pakistan”  full of sketches of villagers moving to new cities. A friend underlined one reason given in the textbook for rural-urban migration: Bright lights. “Of all things, that’s why people migrate?” she asked with a bemused laugh. But that is true to some extent as Karachi is a city of bright lights. Take a ride at night and the billboards will prove this. Is your ...

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TEDx Margalla: Pakistan’s got talent

I recently went to TEDx Margalla, where the bright minds from Islamabad and Rawalpindi sat together to discuss ideas that could help change Pakistan. The event was the brainchild of two young heroes – Ahsan Mukhtar (winner of top blogger award of Pakistan in the infotainment category) and Saad Hamid – two ordinary guys with extraordinary ideas. It was a truly fascinating experience. TED is a non-profit organisation where people from different backgrounds come together and share unique ideas for the benefit of communities. TEDx is an independently organised TED event where local communities come together to discuss problems and carve out plans to ...

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Problems and progress: Reasons to celebrate Pakistan Day

Is Pakistan the most exciting place to live in the 21st century? On the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the Pakistan Resolution, the evidence appears to be stacked overwhelmingly in Pakistan’s favour. Consider this: the Pakistani people are frontline warriors in the greatest ideological battles of the 21st century. Whether it’s the war against religious extremism or the definitive showdown between democracy and entrenched dictatorship, the Pakistani people are playing an outsize role in shaping not just their own future, but also a new, post 9/11 world order. If you want front row seats to witness 21st century history in the making, Pakistan ...

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Emo kids get shot in Iraq

So I was going through the news a couple of days ago, and came across a rather odd piece of news – ‘Iraq emo killings raise alarm’. The first thought in my head was “whoa, did they run out of bombs?”. And the second was: – I have short hair – I wear black – I have a pierced lip. If I was in Iraq would they put my name on a hit list just because of the way I was dress? According to a news piece published in Huffington Post on March 11, 2012, these so-called ‘emo kids’ are being killed because as a ...

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Can laptops save PML-N from Imran Khan?

Wary of the rising political capital of Imran Khan in the plains of Punjab, the provincial government led by the erstwhile Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has unleashed the most valuable weapon in its arsenal to target the urban youth who are, by far, the vanguard of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf. Carrying a price tag of three billion rupees, the laptop distribution scheme is supposed to benefit the brightest across campuses across province. The money earmarked to launch this laptop onslaught is meant for the development of the whole province, slicing it off from the Annual Development Programme (ADP) of the province. The chief ...

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