My list of top stories

"Since our website was functional sometime in September, a lot of wonderful work done since the paper's launch could not be posted on the internet till that time. As we are saying goodbye to the year, here are my picks"

I am not a man of arithmetic, but it is a columnist’s staple to pick the top stories, out of hundreds of stories, published in the Minute Mirror in the outgoing year. This is my last column of the year 2021. The first edition of the paper was published on June 22, 2021. Since our website was functional sometime in September, a lot of wonderful work done since the paper’s launch till September could not be posted on the Internet. As we are saying goodbye to the year, here are my picks.

Toshakhana: A treasure that Pakistan is yet to develop for foreign gifts

The story – published on November 14 – by Fida Hussain takes a dig at rulers’ prerogative of buying gifts given by foreign friends at a throwaway price. The story compares domestic practices with Bangladesh and India as the two countries have proper mechanisms to deal with the retention of foreign gifts by state heads, but Pakistan lacks the rules. Shame.

Real or fake is irrelevant in Zubair Umar’s viral video

The story by Saniya Rashid published on September 28 made the rounds on the internet which was about a viral video of the PML-N leader. The story is a mix of commentary as well as a round-up of social media’s reaction to the video and violation of ethics and the country’s laws. The story which begins with “Digital political warfare reared its ugly head after inappropriate videos of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) member and former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair Umar went viral on social media”, is a good read.

Punjab EPA gives free rein to private labs

The story by Samiullah Randhawa published on December 9, 2021, goes after the shady working of the EPA, which looks the other way despite an audit report that private environmental labs are working despite violations of conditions of the certificate. Our plea to the labs and the EPA is: please stop playing dirty games with the environment.

Federal Urdu University running rudderless and without money

Mohammad Junaid published this story on October 25, 2021. The investigative story takes the readers to the Federal Urdu University, which has been without a vice chancellor for two years, with the university’s financial constraints affecting the university affairs. The story rang alarms in the quarters concerned, and a VC was appointed to the university. Best wishes for the university!

Iqbal’s daughter tells tales of Allama’s freedom movement

Published on November 9, 2021, the story written by Hassan Ahmed and Kiran Butt, got my attention as for the first time, I read something about Dr. Iqbal’s daughter. The intro says: Munira Salahuddin, the last living child of Pakistan’s national poet Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, recalled the time she spent with her father on his 144th birth anniversary on Tuesday.

A globe enveloped in scandals and leaks

In the age of leaks of audio and video clips, this story by Iftikhar Alam published on November 24 this year, gives us glimpses of such leaks in India, Iran, the US and Britain. A very interesting read, indeed.

Aamer Hussein talks about his latest book – “Restless”

The interview of author Aamer Hussein with Muhammad Ali, published on October 1, 2021, is a short but interesting interview, interesting for both literary and common people.

200 years of Fyodor Dostoevsky

Writer Raza Naeem traveled back to dig the work of the celebrated Russian writer on his bicentennial. The piece published on November 10 will force me to read a few novels of Dostoevsky in the coming year. Thank you, Raza sahib.

Babar Azam: Record-breaker, history maker

The story by Saad Ahmed published on October 5, 2021, is data-rich and has a catchy headline. The story says “Babar has been breaking records for fun since his arrival in the international arena and it is said that the man does not follow records. The records follow him”.

‘Eternals’: A film packed with adventure and thrill

After reading the review by Beenish Mahmood, published on December 3, 2021, I procured the film and watched it on Netflix. Whenever the paper publishes anything by Beenish, I first read it and later on go to other pages.

The list is incomplete. I will conclude the column on Sunday, January 2, 2022. The next column will include opinion pieces, editorials, and more stories. This column mostly includes the stories which were published in November and December, so the chances are that many wonderful stories published in previous months might have been missed.