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Showing posts from January, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: THE PRISONER

Author: Omar Shahid Hamid
Reviewed by: Afrah Jamal

Thanks to Liberty Books for the review copy & Jamaluddin for the launch invite.

Published in Daily Times / Sunday 26 Jan 2013

When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes back”

The plaque reads Deputy Director Counter Intelligence Terrorism - Police Intelligence Bureau (IB), Senior Superintendent (SSP) CT & Anti Extremism cell (CID) (2011). The resume is equally moving. It belongs to a man who has been in the cross hairs of extremists, banned outfits of different denominations and local mafia men who may or may not have political backing. Since he knows where the ‘boris’ are buried, the impact of Omar Shahid Hamid’s revelations will be explosive. But cops don’t read so as a rule so he thinks he’ll be ok.

Though ‘The Prisoner’ resides unobtrusively in the fiction section, its outlines are expertly crafted from those off camera moments and unacknowledged victories. A kidnapped American journalist comes into play early in the…

OP-ED: 2014 - As Seen on TV

Published in Daily Times (Pakistan) / 5 Jan 2014




Sakina Samo is quoting from T S Eliot, Shanaz Ramzi checks off milestones, there is some talk about a new channel and disagreements over love. Pakistan’s premier entertainment channel (Hum TV) recently unveiled a fresh lineup of dramas and called journalists over for a preview of coming attractions. However, the press conference quickly devolved into an amusing standoff of sorts. Here, those who craved change kept a scoreboard of love stories while glowering at the ones cradling tired premises. Writers, producers, and actors-turned-directors were on hand to justify the recurring motifs of la amour, derivative plotlines, cases of realism deficiency and pacify the resistance.

While the new quarter offers a visual feast featuring extravagant set pieces and on-location shoots, it has to avoid being classified as a cluster of clich├ęs that lacks imagination. Sakina Samo, who prefers directing — “acting is emotionally draining” — may be headed…

VIEW: War of the Words

First Published in Economic Affairs (Pakistan) / Jan 2014 issue




Burj Khalifa turns blue, high end resorts flourish a 2020 AED package, fireworks light up the sky and free ice cream was reportedly being handed out to rejoicing subjects. Dubai just made history by winning the rights to host 2020. It is the first Middle Eastern nation to do so.

A few days later congratulatory messages pop up on street corners praising the visionary leadership alongside motivational images of said leadership looking skywards. UAE just turned 42. It finds inventive ways to weave flag colors into everyday life, and the “Spirit of the Union” into its national tapestry.

Emirates is riding on a high these days. Their Expo bid, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, with its fetching new theme in tow has set them on a shiny new trajectory. The controversy generated in the wake has upset its oldest, most trusty ally - Pakistan.

Local papers in Pakistan, hint that it helped UAE win. Dubai based daily (Gulf N…