Year-end special: A look back at 2015

Published: December 29, 2015
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As 2015 comes to a close, we review the highs and lows, hits and misses in the world of politics, sports, business and entertainment.

Ties between Pakistan and India have been thorny for decades over a number of contentious issues between the two neighbouring countries. The year 2015 was no exception.

A number of events, which occurred on either sides of the border, stirred controversies besides inducing a small, but significant, ray of hope for an improvement in the otherwise icy relations between the arch rivals.

Read the full story here.

Pakistan has no shortage of bad press. But amid all the notoriety, Pakistan also witnessed moments to celebrate.

Read the full story here

 

Pakistan has been facing the monster of terrorism head-on for more than a decade. A number of terrorist attacks targeted Pakistani citizens, armed forces personnel and damaged national assets and public property.

The armed forces, however, stood rock-solid against the scourge of terrorism and in June 2014 initiated a full-fledged operation, Zarb-e-Azb, to completely wipe out the menace once and for all. Within a year’s time, the army achieved successes and gains in this war. The year 2015 can certainly be called a year of success in Pakistan’s history.

Read the full story here.

There has never been a dull moment in Pakistan. Who would have thought that after harbouring hostilities for much of the year Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would make a surprise stop in Lahore or that there could ever be strains in ties with brotherly Muslim countries in the Gulf?

But such has been the ride for Pakistan on the foreign policy front in 2015.

Read the full story here.

As 2015 began, the traditionally uneasy relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan was on a positive track. But even though this upward trend persisted during the first half of the year, ties between the two neighbours suffered a dramatic downslide in the latter part of 2015, until Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani made his icebreaking visit to Islamabad early last month.

Read the full story here.

2015 has been a year of mourning for Pakistan. The year opened with the nation still reeling from the December 16, 2014, attack on an army-run school in Peshawar, in which 147 people, most of them students, were massacred by the Taliban.

The grieving continued as more lives were taken; as a major earthquake struck around the 10-year anniversary of the 2005 quake; as a fatal helicopter crash killed two ambassadors, and as relations between India and Pakistan and border clashes reached its lowest point in years.

We take a look at Pakistan in 2015 through a series of images here.

The 21st Constitutional Amendment, under which military courts were set up for the speedy trial of ‘jet black terrorists’, may have been a bitter pill for many in the opposition but it is perhaps the only historic step parliament took when it comes to legislation in 2015.

Read the full story here.

‘Substandard food: Crackdown reaches Islamabad’, ‘Punjab Food Authority seals Fat burger outlet in Lahore’ and ‘Government bans export of donkey meat’; daunting headlines such as these dominated news this year, accompanied by the drastic closure of hundreds of eateries in the country for serving sub-standard and unhygienic food.

2015 has undoubtedly been an eventful year in food; a reminder to restaurateurs of the citizens’ right to expect the highest in food quality when eating out.

Read the full story here

When Indian prime minister told his Pakistani counterpart: “ab to yahan aana jaana laga rahega” (now I will frequently visit you) Nawaz Sharif replied in complete sub-continental hospitality “aap ka ghar hai” (this is your house). That the two prime ministers had forgone formalities to use clichéd Bollywood lines marked a tectonic shift in India-Pakistan relations.

Beyond a jibe from hardline Hindu leader Pravin Togadia – who hoped that Narendra Modi would turn his attention to Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed once he was done hugging Nawaz – India has reacted positively to the rapprochement expecting it would set the tone for New Delhi’s foreign policy in 2016.

Read the full story here.

The past year was another demonstration of restraint by the superior judiciary, departing from the effervescent days of judicial activism under Justice (retd) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, but the year was by no means uneventful with a number of landmark rulings and three chief justices who left their indelible mark on the country.

Read the full story here.

This is the time of the year for New Year’s resolutions. We usually talk about going on a diet, starting gym routines and new career aspirations at the start of the year. While this is a good thing, this is also the time when we should think about how we want to bring joy to those around us and live with a renewed purpose in 2016.

Read M Bilal Lakhani’s ‘A new beginning in 2016‘.

The year 2015 was a mixed bag in terms of security and crime for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Although the number of terrorist attacks saw a decline, durable peace remained a distant dream for the province.

Here is K-P’s crime and terror story in numbers.

The start of 2015 was a time for reflection for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). The ruling party assessing the financial and political losses caused by the 126-day-long sit-in by the Pakistan Thereek-e-Insaf (PTI) in front of the parliament. The PTI ended its sit-in after the December 16 massacre in Peshawar. It then appeared that the PML-N was struggling to keep things under control.

By the end of the year, the PML-N appears more comfortable with the political situation.

Read the full story here.

And so it is for us as we bid adieu to this year and ready ourselves to welcome 2016. The best of times and the worst of times seem to be embedded within our fabric as we struggle to battle the demons within. Dickens wrote about the French Revolution — an epochal event triggered by the collision between the forces of change and the forces of continuity — and such is the epic conflict that defines us today.

Read Fahd Hussain’s ‘Who’s afraid of 2016?

The year 2015 was a mixed bag for Pakistan. Of same olds and brand news, of strange events and usual happenings, of great highs and shocking lows. And as the year comes to a close, let’s take a look at the images that defined 2015 for the country.

Read the full story here.

Several people, incidents, tragedies and breakthroughs made headlines this year on whose brink we stand today. However, 2015 also saw happenings reported by The Express Tribune that might have been buried in the storm of information. But each one of them was historic in its own right, rejuvenating a necessity for living on.

Read the full story here.

 

Predicting the future is a fashionable currency these days. With curtains drawn on the year that was, we fetch our grand old crystal ball from the attic and look at seven things that could happen in the months to come.

Read the full story here.

Things were on the cusp of change this year with a series of occurrences turning the tide in music, film and fashion. Here are a few significant indicators that things will continue to look up for the local entertainment scene.

Read the full story here.

 

There is no shortage of good looking blokes in our entertainment industry, but looking back at the year 2015, there were a few standouts who forced us to take a double take.

From good looks to achievements, we bring to you our list of 10 most eligible celebrity bachelors of 2015.

The year 2015 was quite an eventful year for Pakistani music. Several albums were released; celebrated acts like Noori, Call and Mizmar made comebacks while Coke Studio completed another season. Upcoming acts like Khumariyaan, Malang Party also gained a foothold and most importantly, the dream of artists making a living out of their recorded music saw the light of the day with the emergence of online streaming platforms like Patari and Taazi. These 12 months were perhaps the busiest for the industry in hindsight.

Here is a list of the top 10 tracks that made it big this year, with Khumariyaan’s Tamasha topping The Express Tribune’s list.

The past 12 months saw the Pakistani film industry flourish immensely, and the coming year looks just as promising. With box office clashes and back-to-back releases of over a dozen films, one can rightfully say that 2015 was a launch pad for Pakistani films that will see a major boom in forthcoming years.

Here is a list of the top 5 films that made it big this year, with Jami’sMoor topping The Express Tribune’s list.

 

There is no single measure of a news story’s success, but if we were to gauge how much our readers on Twitter liked certain stories, we’d have to settle on one metric – the number of retweets.

Here are 9 of the most retweeted stories in 2015.

The year 2015 was all about brawls, accusations, hilarity, disappointments and internet memes. The Express Tribune counts down some of the ideal ‘facepalm’ moments from the past 12 months.

 

She. She has worked for one of the world’s leading Formula 1 team. She is a fighter pilot. She is UN’s goodwill ambassador to advance gender equality. She’s changing the contours of this country. And she is not a man.

In recent years, Pakistan has seen a lot of “firsts” owing to women.

Read the full story here.

3 Bahadur, Karachi Say Lahore, Wrong Number, Manto, Bin Roye and JPNA performed brilliantly at the box office. For the first time, it makes sense to invest in this new-age paradox of Pakistani films.

Read Vasay Chaudhary’s ‘The year that saw Pakistani cinema surge ahead.

With countless posts going viral by the day on social media, it’s hard to keep up with what is authentic and what isn’t. Sometimes, even the biggest publishers, including us, get outsmarted.

New Year resolution: Next time a post becomes viral, let’s just remember to view it with a pinch of salt.

Here are the top 12 internet hoaxes that fooled the world this year.

2015 has been a roller coaster ride, packed with some of the juiciest gossip and entertainment news. And while incidents such as the Miss Universe gaffe have turned heads across the world, nothing has been much more fun than to watch the hilarious memes that surfaced in the aftermath of these events.

Here are our top 10 celeb-inspired memes that took the internet by storm this year.

As another year comes to a close, they continue to spend their days and nights on the streets; scavenging, stalking, chasing cars and passersby in hope of some form of charity; at times, their only means of a livelihood. Days, months, years go by, but their circumstances remain untouched. They are the street children of Karachi.

Read the full story here.

The world shifted massive paradigms in 2015 and every real-life event had an equally strong online counterpart. From pouring your heart out on social media to celebrate or using hashtags to mobilise support or express solidarity in catastrophic times was the new normal this year.

Here is a list of the top trends that sparked the biggest conversations on social media in 2015.

2015 has been an exemplary year for women. Not only have several women’s issues come to the forefront during the year but women have also proved their mettle and risen to fight for equal rights. So, before you bid farewell to these last few, power-packed months, let us take a trip down memory lane and rejoice in the many developments they offered.

Read the full story here.

List of Pakistan cricket’s most important stories of the year.

List of all cricket records broken in 2015

The 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or poses a classic dilemma for its voters. In Cristiano Ronaldo, they have a candidate who has scored more goals (61) than anyone else but won absolutely nothing in the past 12 months. On the other hand, what Lionel Messi loses in goals (58), he more than makes up for with a quintet of silverware.

Read the full story here.

Club football in 2016 will end at the San Siro in Milan, Italy on May 28 when the Champions League trophy is awarded to the best side in Europe. However, instead of turning focus to other things, football fans around the world will keep themselves parked on the sofa or even make the trip to France, which will be hosting the much-anticipated 15thedition of the UEFA Euro.

Read the full story here.

The ‘beautiful game’ stayed truly beautiful in 2015, complete with mind-blowing goals, new records and controversies. Here’s a timeline of everything you need to know, just in case you missed it:

 

The genteel game of snooker is hardly an unknown entity in Pakistan, but a world-level tournament taking place in the country is no less than a novelty, especially considering how sports teams from other countries have generally avoided visiting here due to security concerns in recent years.

That is exactly why the 2015 IBSF World 6-Red and Team Championships are worth a mention as the year winds down.

Read the full story here.

After failing to qualify for the World Cup last year, 2015 was another ill-fated story of a forgone fairytale for Pakistan hockey as the senior side was unsuccessful in securing a berth for the 2016 Rio Olympics for the first time in its history this July.

Read the full story here.

It took them nine years, but Pakistan tennis torchbearers Aisamul Haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan finally lifted their country back into Davis Cup’s Group I of the Asia-Oceania Zone after beating Chinese Taipei 3-2 in Group II’s final this year.

Read the full story here.

With cricket hogging all the resources, acclaim and monies, life of a Pakistani sportsman who doesn’t play the gentleman’s game is hard enough on its own. But when — in addition to overcoming their sporting challenges — they are expected to fight the local system’s flaws too, it becomes a herculean task to do anything of note — let alone win. This is why cueist Hamza Akbar deserves far more credit than he gets.

In 2015, Akbar became the first ever cueist from Pakistan to turn pro and play in the professional circuit — unfulfilled dreams even for greats like Saleh Mohammad and former IBSF World Champion Muhammad Yousaf.

Read the full story here.

Any successful team in any sport needs a fully functioning juniors setup to churn out potential candidates for the senior side. These junior systems act as platforms to allow players to accumulate much-needed experience by playing in competitive matches, and in many cases, getting international exposure.

Read the full story here.

 

Pakistan football’s otherwise bleak 2015 saw Chaman-based striker Kaleemullah move to third-division US League’s club Sacramento Republic in June, becoming the first Pakistani footballer to sign a contract with a US club after making waves in the Kyrgyzstan Premier League in 2014.

Read the full story here.

As the year 2015 comes to a close, we look back at some of the standout performances in the sporting world.

Here’s a list of emerging superstars who managed to surprise us throughout the year, with some great pull shots, great finishing touches, knockout punches and backhands, all of which will make us remember this sporting year for some time to come.

Usually, Zimbabwe touring a fellow cricket-playing nation is hardly a historic matter. In fact, the only kind of history that Zimbabwean cricketers are known for making on their travels is when home teams pummel them to enter the record books. This is why the Chevrons’ tour of Pakistan in the summer of 2015 was unique.

Read the full story here.

It was a spectacular collapse from Pakistan while playing in Bangladesh in April that saw its people come out roaring in anger, fuelled with passion.

Read the full story here.

The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), which is responsible for facilitating and promoting football in the country, has been giving the sport constant trouble throughout 2015.

Read the full story here.

2015 started with reports of a divided Camp Nou as manager Luis Enrique and talisman Lionel Messi were allegedly at loggerheads over the Basque’s decision to rest the Argentina skipper.

2015 ended with Barcelona winning five trophies — being crowned champions of Spain, Europe and then the world — and with Messi being almost certain to win the Ballon d’Or.

They say a year is a long time in football and 2015 has proven as such for the Catalans.

Read the full story here.

Just as witnessed before the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the same question lingered in the media circles ahead of the 2015 Copa America: Can Lionel Messi finally get his hands on a major trophy with his national side?

Read the full story here.

If there could be one thing that perfectly sums up the dominance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the current era of football, the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards would fit that criterion like a hand in glove. Since 2008, either the diminutive Argentine or the hunky Portuguese has won what is the most prestigious individual award in all of football —possibly all of sports — and the 2014 version was no different.

Read the full story here.

Enter 2015. Australia lifted their fifth ICC World Cup trophy, Bangladesh shocked the world of cricket by first whitewashing Pakistan and then beating India, Mohammad Amir returned to competitive cricket after his ban ended, South Africa suffered their first away Test series defeat in nine years and the first day-night Test match made its debut in an effort to revive faltering interest in the longest format of the game.

Read the full story here.

The six inches that Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif deliberately overstepped set Pakistan cricket miles back; miles that the country’s most popular sport is yet to recover.

2015 saw the end of the bans of the fast-bowling duo, along with then skipper Salman Butt, yet events of five years past continue to haunt the hallways of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Read the full story here.

For  someone termed as ‘tuk tuk’ and accused of being too defensive throughout his career, Misbahul Haq’s attacking leadership abilities were on full display at the 2015 World Cup, which won the hearts of his critics and fans alike.

Read the full story here.

Little over a year ago, Silicon Valley-based organisation World Startup Report’s local chapter called Pakistan the next destination for entrepreneurs and investors. No wonder 2015 kicked off with calls from local tech gurus stating that the “time is ripe for investing in the country’s start-up ecosystem”.

For those who are still sceptical over the predictions, a careful review of the country’s start-up community over the last 12 months would offer a good explanation. For Pakistani entrepreneurs, 2015 was a stellar year. More than $100 million were raised by start-ups operating in the country – a significant amount given the start-up culture in Pakistan is still in its infancy.

Read the full story here.

One can officially now wave good bye to 2015 with the sector left awaiting the policy that would have given some direction to the automotive industry in Pakistan.

The last auto policy expired on June 30, 2012, and the industry has waited with bated breath for a fresh one for over three years.

The government’s failure to finalise the auto policy was mirrored in its attempts to delude the industry by repeatedly giving new dates for the announcement.

Read the full story here.

Ending its three-year bull run as one of the best-performing stock markets worldwide, the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) remained largely flat in 2015.

The benchmark of the Pakistan share market representing over 85% of market capitalisation – KSE-100 Index – gained just 685 points over the last year, resulting in a meagre annual return of 2.1%.

Read the full story here.

There is no doubt that the country is better positioned in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) than it was a year ago, though some analysts deem the sector’s performance in 2015 “below expectations”.

To review the outgoing year and discuss what could be in store for 2016,The Express Tribune spoke to experts from the Pakistan Software Houses Association, Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan, Pakistan Software Export Board and ICT Forum Pakistan.

Read the full story here.

The year posed several challenges for the government on the privatisation front as it tried to run the largest show of the country’s history with an incomplete Privatisation Commission (PC) that also struggled to clear itself from different sorts of allegations.

Despite being touted as among the top most priorities of the PML-N government and conditioned under the $6.2-billion International Monetary Fund programme, the government’s attempt was nothing less than a flop.

Read the full story here.

The PM appears to be completing 2015 unscathed politically and more confident, despite the fact that during the year the economy remained in doldrums.

Read M Ziauddin’s ‘A year of political balancing acts‘.

The regime of the financialisation of the economy has been presided over by a munshi-turned-financial wizard aka Ishaq Dar, blindfolded by self-serving international financial institutions

Read Dr Pervez Tahir’s ‘2015 — financialisation of the economy continues‘.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Kaleem
    Dec 29, 2015 - 2:23PM

    Whats with image at top right? Do not go to that level :) Recommend

  • Dash
    Dec 29, 2015 - 7:14PM

    @Kaleem:
    It was a story of friendship btw two friends :DRecommend

  • Jag Nathan
    Jan 1, 2016 - 9:23AM

    I wish the people of Pakistan a Happy 2016, I wish your PM Nawaz Sheriff a long and healthy life so he can work with our PM Modi and bring peace between our nations and prosperity to our people. I wish the scourge of terrorism becomes a thing of the past in 2016 for the people of this planet.Recommend

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