Selective Sympathy


The debate over media’s glaring insensitivity to Beirut attacks that took place two days before the Paris attacks and ongoing airstrikes in Syria that continue to leave millions homeless and vulnerable has been hot on social media this entire week.

More rage surged in when Facebook introduced a one click Paris flag filter for profile pictures to show solidarity with the victims. Many protested that it was unfair to sympathise with one country when too many countries are suffering from the curse of terrorism with no one taking the time out to talk about their plight. While there is nothing wrong with the above claims, a lot is wrong with the way some of us show (or don’t show) ‘compassion’ to those who suffer.

Some (not all) Pakistanis have also taken to tell the world that since they aren’t going to show solidarity with the Parisians because they have to show solidarity with the victims of their own country. Shouldn’t that be more of a reason to sympathise with them, since they are victims of the same curse as we are?  We understand the horror those people must have gone through better than anyone because of what happened in APS last year. Instead, the majority that did extend its support and compassion was criticised by the few bitter souls for doing so.

I can’t fathom the reason of this resentment towards other countries. Why do we have to hate others to prove that we love our homeland? If your patriotism demands you to shun humanity, then maybe you should stop being patriotic.

Yes, the media should have provided coverage to Beirut and all other countries that are suffering from terrorism and war. It didn’t and it’s sad but it shouldn’t matter. What should matter is that we KNOW what happened in Beirut and we know what happened in Paris. We have that knowledge so why don’t we just prize the fact that we are informed and extend compassion to all victims?

Selective sympathy only shows that we are still unable to understand that terrorism is a global issue and it affects everyone. It keeps us divided and divisions are what this world needs to overcome right now.

P.S. Just as I finished writing this, I came across this news article about APS victims’ reaction to Paris attacks and it’s heartbreaking to say the least.

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Jawani Phir Nahi Aani – review


This was one of those movies that I expected to suck. That’s why, when my cousin asked me if I’d go with her to watch it, I told her only if she paid for my ticket. When we came out of the cinema, I had to shove my ticket’s money in her hand because it was definitely worth it.


The story line is pretty simple: three friends, Saif (Hamza Ali Abbasi), Sheikh (Vasay Chaudhry), and Pervez (Ahmed Butt), a salesman at a call centre, are living their monotonous lives till their bachelor friend, Sherry (Humayun Saeed), shows up and takes them away from their subjugating wives to relive the good, old, ‘ayaash’ times in Bangkok. Predictably, the ‘bachelor trip’ ends up in a disaster that puts their marriages in mortal peril. A twist comes along when Sherry decides to get married to a bureaucrat’s daughter and is caught up in serious misunderstandings.

Like all comedy films showcasing friends, JPNA’s plot is not so different. So why is it attracting praise? The answer is as simple as the plot: quality production, good direction and acting, and amazing dialogues. When it comes to hilarious one-liners, Vasay Chaudhry does not fail. Frequent references to Pakistani dramas and movies, (especially that scene they borrowed from…OK no spoilers), politics, ‘innocent’ innuendos and poking fun at the actors themselves made the movie highly entertaining. There was hardly a moment of silence in the hall, every scene triggered fits of laughter.


The characters were interesting as well. Saif is a successful director and a playboy who is extremely afraid of his wife Kubra (Ayesha Khan) but that doesn’t keep him from cheating on her every now and then. A pretty ironic character for Hamza Ali Abbasi who, judging by his Facebook statuses, probably shuts his eyes when a woman walks by. And the irony was highlighted in the movie too, when introducing Saif, Sheikh says, ‘ye Facebook pe status update karte hain’.

ahmed butt

Sheikh is a police officer whose Pathan wife Palwasha (Sarwat Gillani) is not afraid to use a rifle and threatening to unleash her brother on him who finds him a ‘tait piece’ (hint: Bol). Pervez works at a call centre, whose marriage has lost its spark. His wife Lubna (Uzma Khan) doesn’t feel the need to spend time with her husband after years of marriage.


Sherry, the eligible bachelor, is a divorce lawyer who wants his divorce cases count to hit a century. He is devoid of conscience, doesn’t think twice about lying to anyone and everyone and is remorseless even after he puts his friends’ marriages in jeopardy. He is trapped by a criminal’s daughter, Marina (Mehwish Hayat), who forces him to ‘fall in love with her’ on gunpoint. After escaping from her claws, he runs to Lahore to get married to Zoya (Sohai Ali Abro). All hell breaks loose when Marina gate crashes the wedding with her father to reclaim Sherry.


Zoya’s character is one of the most entertaining characters in the movie. Playing a high society girl, who is a paindu at heart, Sohai Ali Abro did justice to her character. The fake accent, selfie mania and constant use of social media jargon were completely on point MA, MA, OMG!

All the main actors, except Mehwish Hayat, were thoroughly entertaining. The four leads, Humayun Saeed, Vasay Chaudhry, Ahmed Butt and Hamza Ali Abbasi worked really well with each other. Sarwat Gillani stood out with her perfect Pushtoon accent, spot on expressions and perfect timing. She and Vasay Chaudhry totally stole the show. Bushra Ansari, Javed Sheikh and Ismail Tara were good additions and their acting made up for the flaws in the movie.

The songs were okay, none of them left a mark and the dances were far from good. Sohai Ali Abro was the only good dancer but it didn’t really matter because the choreography was really bad. Humayun Saeed and Hamza Ali Abbasi couldn’t perform on the dance floor at all and I name them particularly because their characters demanded good dance skills.

As for Mehwish Hayat, she was an eyesore. The fake accent ruined the little bit of acting she can do and since the choreography was so bad, even her dance skills couldn’t save her. Another onscreen failure was Uzma Khan, who seemed incapable of betraying any emotion.

While the movie has its drawbacks, it’s pretty entertaining and definitely worth a watch.

I’ll rate it 4/5.

Writer: Vasay Chaudhry

Director: Nadeem Baig

Production: Six Sigma

Cast: Humayun Saeed, Vasay Chaudhry, Ahmed Butt, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Sarwat Gillani, Uzma Khan, Ayesha Khan, Mehwish Hayat, Sohai Ali Abro, Javed Sheikh, Bushra Ansari, Ismail Tara, Bilal Lashari, Gohar Rasheed and others

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When you need a break from your hobby

Career-vs-HobbyWhen it came to choosing my profession and later a subject for my masters, I chose a field I’d enjoy working in, where I’d feel at ease and be able to work the way I liked. Work, I thought, wouldn’t feel like work anymore.

Four years of bachelors went by. I started working by the end of my 3rd year, like most people in my department. Though it was tough, managing studies and work together, it was never boring. My subject was not theoretical so I didn’t have to shut myself in a room to study. I enjoyed the busy schedule.

Then I got done with my degree and started working full time. By full time I mean that work was my only priority then because I had no university to care about. I worked for more than a year and enjoyed all the extra shifts, extra workload, and every shitty thing that comes along when you start a career. I got a chance to write a lot and that only made things better. In the mean time, I started my masters and this time I chose a subject that would allow me to go back to a forgotten hobby: reading.

When I realised my job isn’t really allowing me to give a lot of time to my studies, I quit. I thought that by giving time to literature (my subject) alone, I would be able to give time to myself. After all, what can be better than spending as much time with books as possible?

But after all this time, I have come to understand that maybe, by opting to study what I’d like to do in my free time I’ve ruined its charm. Often, I have to put off reading books I want to read because there is so much that I have to read for my subjects. As a result, the catharsis that came with reading is kind of ebbing away. And that is when I think that maybe I should have gone for some other subject or field so that I would have been able to retain my hobby instead of turning it in an academic experience.

Let’s face it, no matter how interesting your subject or career is, you have to put in extra effort. You need a diversion to restore your energy. And in order to relax you like to turn to something that would truly give you a break from all the tension of marks and work. If your career or subject is what you’d like to do in your free time, well, you aren’t really getting a break then. Even though I enjoy studying, because it really doesn’t feel like studying and I know I’ll enjoy work too when I get back in the job market, I can barely relax. I have nothing to take my mind off of the frustration that comes naturally with work and studies.

So here is a piece of advice: your hobby should never be your career or subject. I know this sounds crazy but I speak from experience.

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