What no one told you about Pakistan
Poetry World Cup Final: Singapore-Pakistan
It’s time to decide who wins our first (and, quite possibly, last) Poetry World Cup. Over the last month, with the help of nearly 4000 reader votes, we’ve whittled the original 32 poems down to a final two. Both semi-finals followed a broadly similar pattern, with the two poems close to parity until a surge of support in the final hours of voting put the result beyond doubt. Singapore (represented by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé) and Pakistan (represented by Mehvash Amin) were the two countries that made it through, and they’ll go head-to-head over the next 24 hours. You can vote in the poll or via the comments (both at the foot of this page), and the poem with the most votes will win the Poetry World Cup. Ready? Let’s go! (more)
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Poetry World Cup Final: Singapore-Pakistan

It’s time to decide who wins our first (and, quite possibly, last) Poetry World Cup. Over the last month, with the help of nearly 4000 reader votes, we’ve whittled the original 32 poems down to a final two. Both semi-finals followed a broadly similar pattern, with the two poems close to parity until a surge of support in the final hours of voting put the result beyond doubt. Singapore (represented by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé) and Pakistan (represented by Mehvash Amin) were the two countries that made it through, and they’ll go head-to-head over the next 24 hours. You can vote in the poll or via the comments (both at the foot of this page), and the poem with the most votes will win the Poetry World Cup. Ready? Let’s go! (more)

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Taking flight: Surfing the air above Chitral’s mountains
It is the simplest form of human flight—paragliding. All you really need is a wing, which is small enough to fit into a backpack. The only other thing you need is height and Chitral has plenty of that to offer.
It is here, amid the silent mountain air that you can look down on lush green fields and sweep past icy slopes. Chitral’s topography is so well suited to paragliding that international visitors have long been attracted to it, and in fact, they are the ones who made it popular with the locals around 2005 onwards.
One of the frequent foreign visitors is American Brad Sander, an expert pilot in the Hindukush region who has broken several records. On his second trip to Pakistan, for example, he set the distance record for paragliding on the Asian continent, flying 224km from Booni to Karimabad, as cited by Sports Illustrated.“It wasn’t until I came to Pakistan in May of 2007,” he wrote on his blog,“that I felt the overwhelming urge to combine my love of travel and flying in a commercial way so that I could share this adventure with others.” He urged people to come paragliding at Shandur 2014 where it has become a regular feature at the polo festival. (complete news)
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Taking flight: Surfing the air above Chitral’s mountains

It is the simplest form of human flight—paragliding. All you really need is a wing, which is small enough to fit into a backpack. The only other thing you need is height and Chitral has plenty of that to offer.

It is here, amid the silent mountain air that you can look down on lush green fields and sweep past icy slopes. Chitral’s topography is so well suited to paragliding that international visitors have long been attracted to it, and in fact, they are the ones who made it popular with the locals around 2005 onwards.

One of the frequent foreign visitors is American Brad Sander, an expert pilot in the Hindukush region who has broken several records. On his second trip to Pakistan, for example, he set the distance record for paragliding on the Asian continent, flying 224km from Booni to Karimabad, as cited by Sports Illustrated.“It wasn’t until I came to Pakistan in May of 2007,” he wrote on his blog,“that I felt the overwhelming urge to combine my love of travel and flying in a commercial way so that I could share this adventure with others.” He urged people to come paragliding at Shandur 2014 where it has become a regular feature at the polo festival. (complete news)

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Pakistan Day (Youm-e-Pakistan) or Pakistan Resolution Day also Republic Day is a national holiday in Pakistan to commemorate the Lahore Resolution of 1940 and the adoption of the first constitution of Pakistan during the transition of the Dominion of Pakistan to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 23 March 1956 making Pakistan the world’s first Islamic republic. Republic Day parade by the armed forces is a common celebration for the event. (via sincerely-reebs)

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Multan trip: I don’t know why, but Multan has always been this very magical city for me (at least inside my head) and with all the extensive travelling I like to believe I have done - I had never been there before! Finally on this 8-9th February some work took me there and these are some of the things I saw. 

There is a famous Persian saying: چهار چيز است تحفه در مولتان…..گرد وگرما گدا و گورستان (Chahar Cheez Ast Tohfa e Mooltan; Gard, Garmi, Gadda, Gooristan) which roughly translate as "Four things are Gifts of Multan: Dust, Summer, Beggars & Graveyards". Let’s just say that is cent percent true! 

Personally I am not a “shrine and saints” kind of a guy, but there is this certain tranquil aura in the old part of the city that with all the chaotic traffic (it is worse than Lahore by manyfold!) and hassling of beggars you feel so much calm.

It was truly wonderful to be in such an interesting city, will be posting another set of photos tomorrow. (via umalik)

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The inside man: ‘In the police department, truth is stranger than fiction’
“I would say most of it actually happened,” remarked Omar Shahid Hamid serenely, speaking about the contents of his book, The Prisoner, during a reading session at The Second Floor (T2F) cafe on Wednesday.
In his 12 years of service for the Karachi Police, Hamid has seen and done it all — he has been injured in the line of duty, been the target of several attacks and was even bombed by the Taliban in 2010. Though the book’s genre is based on fiction, a dialogue between the author and the audience revealed that it is actually so much more. “There is an element of truth to it,” one of Hamid’s colleagues told The Express Tribune. (complete)
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The inside man: ‘In the police department, truth is stranger than fiction’

“I would say most of it actually happened,” remarked Omar Shahid Hamid serenely, speaking about the contents of his book, The Prisoner, during a reading session at The Second Floor (T2F) cafe on Wednesday.

In his 12 years of service for the Karachi Police, Hamid has seen and done it all — he has been injured in the line of duty, been the target of several attacks and was even bombed by the Taliban in 2010. Though the book’s genre is based on fiction, a dialogue between the author and the audience revealed that it is actually so much more. “There is an element of truth to it,” one of Hamid’s colleagues told The Express Tribune. (complete)

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How the fate of an artist is shaped by art collectors
The business of buying and selling artwork is a fascinating one. The dynamics of the art world have been dictated by the market, and this market constitutes a number of significant art collectors. Just like an accessory sported by an established celebrity becomes popular, items collected by art-loving heavyweights add to their value.
It all depends on where a piece of art finds its home. Throughout the course of time, collectors have lent impetus to the art market and played a major role in the success of many artists.
Nour Aslam, head of South Asian and Contemporary Art at privately-owned British auction house, Bonhams, talks to The Express Tribune about how Pakistani art is trending in the international market. (complete)
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How the fate of an artist is shaped by art collectors

The business of buying and selling artwork is a fascinating one. The dynamics of the art world have been dictated by the market, and this market constitutes a number of significant art collectors. Just like an accessory sported by an established celebrity becomes popular, items collected by art-loving heavyweights add to their value.

It all depends on where a piece of art finds its home. Throughout the course of time, collectors have lent impetus to the art market and played a major role in the success of many artists.

Nour Aslam, head of South Asian and Contemporary Art at privately-owned British auction house, Bonhams, talks to The Express Tribune about how Pakistani art is trending in the international market. (complete)

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Russian marine animals Memo (sea lion), Boris(dolphin), Stephen(Beluga), are performing at Maritime Museum in Karachi. (slideshow)
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Russian marine animals Memo (sea lion), Boris(dolphin), Stephen(Beluga), are performing at Maritime Museum in Karachi. (slideshow)

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East meets West, the classical way
The phrase ‘music has no boundaries’ may sound like an overused cliché but it is one of those rare hackneyed statements that will never lose its meaningfulness. The seven notes that musicians employ to exhibit their art and to woo music lovers fundamentally remain the same no matter which part of the world they’re played in. What Italian classical pianist Marco Giliberti and tenor Mariano Sanfilippo managed to do with sitar player Ustad Nafees Ahmed and his team through their distinct performances at a concert titled ‘Music Without Borders’ at the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) on Tuesday evening endorsed the observation that even in its most experimentally ‘fused’ form music can be an experience like no other.
The show started off with Ustad Nafees Ahmed’s rendition of raga kalavati. He was accompanied on stage by Ustad Bashir Khan (tabla). Nafees Ahmed, a Napa’s faculty member, did not take long to get into the groove of the pentatonic scale, playing the softer notes with the kind of feeling that’s required for the raga, nicely supported by Bashir Khan who kept things unfussy and simple. Their synchronization in terms of ending set-pieces was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. (complete)
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East meets West, the classical way

The phrase ‘music has no boundaries’ may sound like an overused cliché but it is one of those rare hackneyed statements that will never lose its meaningfulness. The seven notes that musicians employ to exhibit their art and to woo music lovers fundamentally remain the same no matter which part of the world they’re played in. What Italian classical pianist Marco Giliberti and tenor Mariano Sanfilippo managed to do with sitar player Ustad Nafees Ahmed and his team through their distinct performances at a concert titled ‘Music Without Borders’ at the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) on Tuesday evening endorsed the observation that even in its most experimentally ‘fused’ form music can be an experience like no other.

The show started off with Ustad Nafees Ahmed’s rendition of raga kalavati. He was accompanied on stage by Ustad Bashir Khan (tabla). Nafees Ahmed, a Napa’s faculty member, did not take long to get into the groove of the pentatonic scale, playing the softer notes with the kind of feeling that’s required for the raga, nicely supported by Bashir Khan who kept things unfussy and simple. Their synchronization in terms of ending set-pieces was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. (complete)

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Pakistan hold nerve to seal historic series win over South Africa
PORT ELIZABETH: Pakistan held on for a thrilling one-run win in the second one-day international on Wednesday to beat South Africa in an ODI series for the first time, making its short-notice tour an historic one.
Pakistan defended its 262 in a rain-shortened 45-over game by the smallest of margins as South Africa fell just short of the nine runs it needed off the last over at St. George’s Park to take the three-game series to a decider.
Pakistan has the chance to be the first team ever to whitewash South Africa at home in an ODI contest in the final game. (complete)
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Pakistan hold nerve to seal historic series win over South Africa

PORT ELIZABETH: Pakistan held on for a thrilling one-run win in the second one-day international on Wednesday to beat South Africa in an ODI series for the first time, making its short-notice tour an historic one.

Pakistan defended its 262 in a rain-shortened 45-over game by the smallest of margins as South Africa fell just short of the nine runs it needed off the last over at St. George’s Park to take the three-game series to a decider.

Pakistan has the chance to be the first team ever to whitewash South Africa at home in an ODI contest in the final game. (complete)

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Foreign palette: Lost in transition
What is the definition of home and belonging for a generation that is growing up global? How do we associate the term ‘homeland’ with migration, exile, diaspora and multi-cultural existence? How valid are notions of loyalty to state, nationality, language, culture and tradition for citizens who are at home in the entire world?
These are the questions that have been raised in the current VM Gallery exhibition in Karachi, ‘Homelands — A 20th Century Story of Home, Away and All the Places in Between’. The show is curated by Latika Gupta, who explores this evolving phenomenon through art productions selected from the British Council Contemporary Art Collection. All the participating artists are British but their focus is not confined just to Britain because as Andrea Rose, director visual arts points out, “The ‘Britishness’ itself is now an increasingly fluid concept, with the capital city, London, home to 300 different nationalities.” (more)
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Foreign palette: Lost in transition

What is the definition of home and belonging for a generation that is growing up global? How do we associate the term ‘homeland’ with migration, exile, diaspora and multi-cultural existence? How valid are notions of loyalty to state, nationality, language, culture and tradition for citizens who are at home in the entire world?

These are the questions that have been raised in the current VM Gallery exhibition in Karachi, ‘Homelands — A 20th Century Story of Home, Away and All the Places in Between’. The show is curated by Latika Gupta, who explores this evolving phenomenon through art productions selected from the British Council Contemporary Art Collection. All the participating artists are British but their focus is not confined just to Britain because as Andrea Rose, director visual arts points out, “The ‘Britishness’ itself is now an increasingly fluid concept, with the capital city, London, home to 300 different nationalities.” (more)

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