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Showing posts from November, 2013

OP-ED: Grim Reapers & the Peace 'Corpse'

Published in Daily Times / 10 Nov 2013 Sunday Ed

The death of an important Taliban figure is a cause célèbre at drone central. Here, not so much. Here, we prefer to sit around the fireside and wallow. That in turn pushes drone morality, sovereignty violation, the untimely demise of the peace talk genie, and terrorism US ‘shtyle’ to the top of the agenda while the smiling face of a dead Mehsud looks on.

The US-made spanner, which upset the Waziristan bound applecart, was unexpected. Or was it? An incident took place in Afghanistan prior to the appearance of that Predator. Killing Hakeemullah Mehsud — a man with a double bounty over his head (in dollars and Pak rupees) — comes on the heels of Latif Mehsud’s capture in Afghanistan in early October 2013. The Tehreek-e-Taliban’s (TTP’s) right hand man, allegedly caught canoodling with KHAD/NDS and picked up by our mutual friends, may hold the key.

Rumour has it that Mehsud was being cultivated as an Afghan asset to get even with Pakistani …

OP-ED: Second Coming of Pakistani Cinema

Published in Economic Affairs / Nov 2013

One day an actress, a filmmaker, a director and a distributor gathered to talk shop over tea. Even though a regional film had won at the NY City International film festival, and another cleaned up the local box-office a few years ago, the obituary for the Pakistani cinema was delivered a while ago. It was to remain uncontested for a long time.

Film buffs were left wondering why not a single award winning film (Seedlings) or documentary (Saving Face) had been screened in the gleaming new cinemas; or where that little advertised indie horror flick disappeared to, moments after its debut. And do local movies even stand a chance against the distributor’s bottom line, or space unfairly reserved for the Indian blockbuster for that matter. Mandviwalla opened the gateway to neighbouring cinema and fielded objections of an uneven playing field with a shrug - good Pakistani movies need not fear any Indian invasion in his view.

A few months pass. The dis…