I read so you don't have to: Afridi week

The Afridi affair continues, while attacks on Shireen Mazari and videos of Army atrocities mark the week's low...

Nadir Hassan June 17, 2011
Pakistan’s love affair with Shahid Afridi is a curious thing. He is a charismatic underperformer but we choose to concentrate on the former and ignore the latter.

In a week otherwise dominated, as all weeks are, by bombings, the Taliban, the CIA and the ISI, there was no greater spat than the one between Afridi and PCB chairman Ijaz Butt. It reminded us once again that we love Afridi because he makes us smile and he makes us laugh, a feature common to all the best pieces of the week.

The worst pieces of the week make it to the list not just for their wrong-headedness but because they are wrong in all the same ways that such pieces always are.

(June 10, 2011 – June 16, 2011)

Best of the week

1. Productive Punjabis

Stereotype-based humour can be difficult to pull off but Productive Punjabis does it with great panache. And let’s be honest: who hasn’t enjoyed a good ethnic joke every now and then?

2. Michael Schur and Nate DiMeo – So, Cricket? Maybe? (Grantland)

Two American sitcom writers live blog the first cricket they have ever seen: the Pakistan-India World Cup semi final. Except they are watching it four months later on a tiny laptop screen. All 12,000 words of this piece are hilarious but the most important lesson learned is that no matter what your nationality or familiarity with cricket you will fall in love with Shahid Afridi.

3. Mohammed Hanif – Murshid, Marwa na Daina (Newsline)

Hanif is at his usual brilliant self in this piece on the army, tying together its present dilemmas to its less-than-admirable history. But the greatest service he has done the world is in quoting Zia-ul-Haq’s remark to Lt General Faiz Ali Chisti on the night ZAB was toppled. Move over “Garmi main kharab”, “Murshid, marwa na daina” is the quote of the summer.

4. Umair Javed- Civil-Military Relations and the PML-N (Recycled Thoughts)

It’s very easy to dismiss Nawaz Sharif as stooges of the military/establishment/religious extremists/insert your own demon here but this piece actually attempts to contextualize the rise of the PML-N, how it confronted the army through much of its existence and why it will still appeal to voters today.

Worst of the week

1. Gulpari Nazish Mehsud – F### you lady! (PakNationalists)

One really shouldn’t expect any better from the website of noted conspiracy-monger Ahmed Quraishi but talk about blowing things out of proportion. A foreigner banged his chair against that of Shireen Mazari and didn’t apologize. She banged him right back. Heated words were exchanged. Somehow this is supposed to prove that Blackwater is overrunning Pakistan and targeting Mazari rather than demonstrate that Islamabad is filled with people who never learned any manners.

2. Jane Perlez – Pakistan’s Chief of Army Fights to Keep His Job (New York Times)

Everything that’s wrong with this news report can be seen in the title. Army chief’s don’t fight to keep their job; they just launch coups if they feel threatened. So yes, Kayani may be feeling some heat from senior generals but he isn’t about to be ousted. Of course, even Perlez knows that to be the case, which is why she calls it unlikely. Shame hundreds of words had to be written after that explaining why a story has been done on something that is unlikely.

3. Conspiracy revealed against Pakistan armed forces (YouTube)

What is more disgusting about this video: that the person could see Rangers shoot dead an unarmed man and see  a conspiracy to defame the Rangers behind it or that he felt the need to sex up this disgusting video with a soundtrack?


4. Pakistan Army clinch kabaddi tournament (The Express Tribune)

Is there anything the army doesn’t win at? Or was this just a figment of the ISPR’s imagination since the International Beach Kabaddi tournament was apparently held in Islamabad, which does not possess a beach of any kind?
Nadir Hassan An Islamabad based journalist who tweets at @Nadir_Hassan.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.