Saturday, May 31, 2008

Breaking News: 'Thappar' Results in Tragic Fatality

Alternative Headlines:

1. Bus load of Policeman Abandon Doomed Colleague

2. Nawaz Sharif's Mother and Sister Protest Police Brutality with Obese Female Brutality

4. Pakistani Matrix Filmed: Trinity Attacks Agent Smith

5. Study Finds Pakistani Women Fat, Occasionally Violent

6. Policeman Regrets Bedding Twins

Photo: Courtesy Dawn

Friday, May 30, 2008

British Blackouts and the Electric Roza

It's always entertaining to see the 1st world react to a 3rd world type incident. It seems that the UK had some massive power failures and blackouts on the 27th of May:

"After two power stations suddenly shut down within minutes of one another at midday, nine “generating units” also shut, and at least four other power stations suffered failures throughout the day."

"Operations were cancelled, people were stuck in lifts, traffic lights failed and fire engines were sent out on false alarms. Householders were unable to use any appliances or make phone calls..."
Boo frikkin Hoo.

I'm going to suggest that the West adopt and adapt the concept of 'fasting' from Islam. In fact, I propose specifically that Power cuts become the new 1st world 'roza', instilling patience and fortitude in fat TV addicted Americans everywhere, and engendering some much needed empathy for people in other parts of the world who have to live with KESC and the planets most infuriatingly inefficient electricity distribution grid. I propose that all North American and European households go without power from dawn till dusk, Muslim style. At sunset, they can power up to their hearts content, and switch on the mains to an orgy of television, e-mail, internet porn, microwaving, Plastation/Xbox/Wii, Youtube, Facebook and mobile phone charging. Electric Jalebis if you will.

I would also propose that they commence this new tradition only after I have left London and returned to my humble, bubble enclave home in Karachi, and have activated my extremely noisy, socially abrasive and potent generator. On a related note, readers please take notice of the website known as 'DHA Living' and be appalled and amused in equal measure at the heading which reads:

DHA Living

'Life in the Bubble'

That heading is then followed by the image reproduced below, of two burgers literally floating around in a bubble with an American style trash can full of crap outside the bubble on some imaginary grassy pavement on a road known as "Khayabane - DHA"

When was the last time anyone saw a grassy pavement, even in Defence? What lies. And what self respecting Pakistani will use an American style trash can when there is a perfectly good empty plot next door that belongs to some anonymous Memon who probably deserves to have your disgusting rotten aloo chilkas and keema thrown all over his property? What will these desi burgers think of next?

I can't answer that question. But I can tell you what the 'burgers in a bubble' at Times Online thought of next after witnessing Britain's 'society-shattering' power cuts: A top ten list, of stuff to do when the power cuts. The applicability of this list to the resident Karachi-ite is something that I will now consider, in my capacity as an objective and slightly annoyed Pakistani. I have reproduced it in full below, with my comments in italics.

10 Bring those little solar-powered lights in from the garden

No point letting the foxes get all the benefit of our space-age technology. If you've thought ahead and bought one of those solar-powered iPod chargers (and assuming for one moment that we've had some nice weather) then charge up your iPod. Because you can

Solar powered lights? What the hell kind of an idea is a Solar Powered Light? What the hell is the purpose of a light powered by sunlight? Desi's are too practical to invent such things. We invented UPS. Because only in your decadent West is the power polite enough to go exclusively the daytime.

9 Eat all the ice-cream in the freezer

It'll only melt otherwise. And melted then refrozen ice-cream is horrid. While you're at it, see if there's any beer or white wine in the fridge. They're just not the same warm and whereas, technically, you can re-cool beer you're going to need something to get you through the next few hours

Taubah. Firstly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ice-cream that has melted into liquid and then re-frozen into congealed ice-cream paste. That is why the ice cream tub was invented (the rectangular cardboard Igloo ice cream packs were completely useless at retaining precious melted ice cream fluid).

Secondly, trust the English to use a blackout as an excuse to get plastered. No self respecting desi above the age of 16 will drink all their beer and white wine just because the powers gone. They leave it in the fridge (which stays cool for at least 6-7 hours). And they will continue to leave it in the fridge thereafter, because really, its for the guests anyway.

8 For that matter eat every biscuit, cake, and piece of fruit in the house

Even if you have a gas oven, there's still no sense in cooking anything. You're in the grip of a drama and it's important to enter into the spirit of the thing.

Shutup. This is why the caricature of a fat, drunken biscuit eating solar-powered-light-having imbecile is so pervasive in the East. "Grip of a Drama"? One slap you deserve. Put down the biscuit, light some candles, and get to making chapatis on your gas hob like everyone else.

7 Wake the kids up

If the power cut happens after the hours of darkness, and let's face it every blackout worthy of the name does, then it's important that you don't deny your offspring the character-building Blitz Spirit experience of being dragged from their bed and having terrifying M.R. James stories read to them by a torch-wielding parent.

It is well established that all fathers use the notion of 'Character Building' as an excuse to torture their children for their own amusement. That notwithstanding, in Pakistan, only a truly selfish bastard would wake the kids for 'Character Building'. If your kids have managed to get to sleep during load shedding, despite the heat and after multiple cold showers in their shorts and t-shirts, then LET THEM SLEEP. A blackout is no time to fulfill your retarded fantasy of being some cereal box dad who wakes up his two sweaty children only to stick a torch in their face and petrify them with stories about jinns and bhoots.

6 Play Snake on your mobile

Yes, it's true that your mobile phone might be the only reliable alarm clock left in the house and that if the outage continues after bedtime there's no reliable means of rousing yourself for work the following morning, but there's no better use of your limited battery power than testing your reflexes against the ubiquitous and addictive Nokia serpent-steering game. Besides, you have got that solar charger haven't you?

Yes. Waste your precious battery on the most useless game known to man. Then feel like a gigantic twat when you need to call the hospital or the office and your phones are dead and your battery's dead, and you don't have the numbers anyway because they were saved on your phone.

5 Think about any elderly or vulnerable neighbours you might have

Pop around and make sure they're alright. Take a flask of tea over if you can. They'll probably know some great old Vera Lynn songs you can sing

Why would you take tea to your neighbors house? That would piss them off like no other, unless your neighbors are stingy and strangely tea-less. Trying to then sing some strange woman's songs would probably add insult to injury.

4 Indulge in a little amateur astronomy

If the power cut is widespread enough it should have a marked effect on the light pollution in your area. Get the whole family out in the street to look at the stars. With any luck someone else in your road will have had the same idea and you can enjoy a rare neighbourly bond as you speculate wildly about the possible duration of the outage

Stars dont exist in Karachi. You'd have to drive to the beach, and even then you can barely make out Venus.

3 Read a book

If you're on your own, you'll find a quiet read by candlelight is a quite distinct experience from the snatched half a chapter on a busy commuter train. If you have any Dickens or Austen in the house, enjoy the classics the way their original readers did

Only AKS would attempt this. The amount of abuse that he would consequently receive from me and Ahsan would deter anyone else from following suit.

2 Do all the sensible things: unplug computers, TVs, Sky boxes etc

After all, power cuts are fun at first but you don't want to be dealing with a blown fuse when everyone else has their power back

Sometimes the power goes for two minutes, comes back and then goes again for three minutes and then comes back. I would love to watch some idiotic biscuit eating Times online author spend his entire day unplugging and plugging all of his household appliances.

1 Have sex

Despite persistent rumours, there was no “Baby Boom" nine months after the great New York Blackout of 1965. Nevertheless, a power cut is a tremendous excuse for an early night, and it's not as if you can really read a book

FINALLY. Something upon which Pakistanis and Westerners can agree upon. Let us revel in the glory of our shared Number One choice of activity!

Also, while theyre may not have been a baby boom in New York, there has been one in Pakistan. In fact, we've grown from 30 million at partition to 160 million to date. I'd submit that this is largley because we don't have electricity, or cable, or any form of game show or reality TV, or parks, or enough Fun-Lands/Cliftons, or bowling alleys or an abundance of cinemas. Combined with our perpetual blackout, the result is that the Number One pastime of the entire country at pretty much all times is conjugal relations. Babies are an annoying byproduct.

I think I have now spent the last of my vitriol for the Times Online. I will now go and watch TV.

Support the Electric Roza!

Maybe This Is What Bear Stearns Should Have Done

Erm, I'm no expert on financial matters, but I'm almost positive the stock market doesn't work this way:
Investors at the Karachi Stock Exchange rose in protest at mid-day on Thursday against the incessant meltdown in stock prices.

As trading began, the market immediately dived 500 points, losing 4.5 per cent of the value, which marked the second consecutive day of a tight bear hug.

In a mixture of anxiety and exasperation, investors watched most of the stocks open on the ‘lower lock’, representing decline of five per cent — the maximum that a stock can shed during a day. That blocked the exit of shareholders who wanted to dump their stocks.

The protesters who gathered outside the trading hall carried placards and banners demanding closure of the market.
So the market should stop functioning because it's treating you badly? Isn't this what kids do when playing sports? You know, when the other player/team is winning, you simply stop playing, take your things, declare the result a "draw", and go home? Man, wouldn't life be great if we could simply call a time-out on it whenever it was going crappily?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Only In Pakistan

The News goes over popular cheating methods:
There are various methods of cheating:

l There is the age-old long-sleeve shirt method where sneaky individuals write important information - such as key dates, people or formulae on their arms and then roll their sleeves down. It’s basic and should be picked up by an exam supervisor. But if it is still being used, then it is working more often than not.

l Another trick adopted by cheaters is desk notes. The key data is actually written down on the desk before the exam starts - and is hidden by papers - allowing the miscreant to have a pretty handy edge over more moral students.

l Mobile phones have also become useful tool of trade for the cheaters. Universities do not allow the use of mobiles in the examinations and thus cheating through this mean has been mostly checked.

Don't forget the old "tap once for (a), tap twice for (b) and so on" method for multiple choice exams.

Links For Wednesday

Stuff to read:

Sharon Stone is apparently good at things other than showing her vagina. She also seems to be an expert at being stupid and insensitive. If you haven't heard, she thinks that China's earthquake - the one that has killed 70,000 people and the one whose aftershocks continue to disrupt and destroy life - was karmic justice. In other news, girls who wear mini-skirts deserve to be raped.

Things Americans believe: one fifth believe the sun revolves around the earth. One third believe Saddam had WMD.

Tucker Carlson - the same dude who got ripped by Jon Stewart so bad that he lost his show on CNN - thinks the intrigue over the Vice Presidential choices of candidates is like sex.

Sad news: one of our favorite blogs, Armed and Stupid, is shutting up shop. Go say your goodbyes.

This is the best story I've ever read on Kobe. It captures his pathological instincts pretty well, I think.

Oral sex: everyone's doing it.

A Moroccan woman spends her time on the internet, urging jihad and preaching hatred of the West. The twist is that she does it from her home in Belgium, where she is a citizen, while collecting government benefits. And they leave her be. Next time I hear some nutjob fucker with a beard talking about Danish cartoons and freedom of speech, I'm going to punch him in the face.

Speaking of which, Baituallah Mehsud talks to the BBC.

It really must be the 90s. If Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari occupying the center-stage is not enough, we're in another controversy over the Kalabagh dam.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Finally, A Voice Of Sanity

This is the most sensible piece I've read on the whole judiciary issue in a long time. It thankfully attempts to dispel the highly mistaken supposition that Nawaz Sharif is invested in the Iftikhar Chaudhry judiciary for "principles". Furthermore, it reminds us that a truly independent judiciary wouldn't have gone along with Mush's first PCO, back when it wasn't convenient to hate Musharraf. And it offers a pretty reasonable way out: a completely new judiciary, picked by a parliamentary committee; Nawaz swallowing the bitter pill of a Musharraf presidency; and Musharraf swallowing the bitter pill of being nothing more than a figurehead.
The second key player fomenting the present crisis is no other than the PML-N leader Mian Nawaz Sharif who has been flying high after winning a major chunk of vote bank, particularly in the Punjab. He is sticking to one-point agenda of restoration of judges as if democracy is hanging down to the robes of the chief justice and without him there, it will fall.

The high moral ground on which he is perched may have its edifice raised on personal motives. Mian Nawaz Sharif may be hoping that a fiercely anti-President judiciary is a pre-requisite to his rule as coalition partner. There have been broad indicators to such a latent scheme of things. Despite publicly denouncing that he has buried the hatchet, he is not ready to shake hands with his nemesis, the President as Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani once remarked. It seems as if his political interests coincide with team of judges led by Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

It goes without saying that if they are restored, they would be too glad to take up cudgels against the person who had removed them. As far as their heroic act of not signing the second provincial constitutional order (PCO-II) is concerned, they can't claim to have perform a great feat. After all, the judges had earlier toed the line of the dictator by signing PCO-I. Realistically speaking, only those judges can be respected as heroes who didn't sign the first PCO-I.

Mian Nawaz Sharif, remaining consistent to his commitment, staged a walkout of the federal cabinet but he continues to shore up the coalition partner in the hope of pushing Mr Zardari to ditch the President. This smells sheer politics. Mr Sharif and his party are neither in the government nor in the opposition, trying to make the best of the both worlds.


The PML, which has always been a pro-establishment party, has become a populist party and the PPP, which remained anti-establishment in spirit and character, is cozy with the establishment for a change. At long last, the PPP leadership has realized the bitter truth that it needs the backing of the establishment to rule over Pakistan and do something for the hard-pressed classes of society which has been its main stay.

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry owes his popular backing to Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan who discovered the power of the black coats in the recent crisis. Mr Ahsan wants Pakistan to traverse from dictatorial and semi-dictatorial rule to a pure and true democracy within a span of eight months for which the British took eight centuries to reach (after the signing of Magna Charta in 1215). Pakistan has long been suffering from one judicial crisis after another only because no government ever laid the institutional foundations of judiciary. Judges have always been appointed by powerful political and dictatorial leaders in order to get their misdeeds validated. It is therefore wrong to pin justice to people of Pakistan to a few persons who had never been the paragon of virtue themselves.

The three out of the four key players have therefore directly contributed to the present imbroglio. One of the main reasons for this confrontation is, of course, the vested interest of each player. The nation can move forward from this point if Mian Nawaz Sharif is ready to run the affairs with its coalition partner, accepting the man in sitting in the Presidency as a bitter pill. Second, the solution to the judiciary is to have all PCO-I and PCO-II judges removed.

A fresh appointment of judges should be made through a high-powered parliamentary committee, which should enjoy the trust of the stakeholders to pick the most competent men from the legal fraternity. There are many ways to compliment Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry for having said "No" to a dictator. The President should be retained on the condition of remaining a neutral referee with his powers curtailed by the coalition partners. If the elected political leaders desire to accord priority to nation building, they can overcome the obstacles by sacrificing vested interest. The present crisis which looks like an insurmountable mountain is actually a mole's hill. Leaders should be honest and dedicated to people's cause and they should demonstrate the spirit to be able to sit together with others to achieve the objective of serving the nation rather than themselves, even if they have to do it at a pinch. All the key players should reconcile with each other and run the ship of the country with a united strength.
Hear, hear.


First of all, I want you to watch this video of the presentation ceremony at the conclusion of the 1992 World Cup final which Pakistan won. Note Colin Cowdery's delightful British wit when he hands the trophy to Imran, and says "you mustn't drop it".

Why is this relevant? Well, watch this video and find out:

P.S. $50,000 for winning the World Cup? My, how times have changed. That's approximately what Ishant Sharma now makes for bowling four overs (in two spells).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pakistani Politician Gets His Groove On

Meandering through the world of YouTube I ran into a remarkable clip of the Chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue dancing manically in front of an applauding audience that includes President Musharraf and Former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. Mrs. Musharraf looks on rather embarrassed. (At the 1:40 mark the singer recognizes that it would be best if this event stays private asks the cameras to be shut - the cameramen do not listen until Mushy joins in at the 3:13 mark, thereafter the cameras turn to the audience.)

Pakistani politicians are not the only politicians fond of getting jiggy with it. Enjoy this clip of Messers Bush, Yeltsin, Albright, et al dancing followed by random political punch-ups. (You have got to see Yeltsin at 1:50.)

How Very Magnanimous Of Them

I love this headline in Dawn:
Taliban allow girls to attend schools
Thanks, Taliban! We should note, however, that their generosity has limits:
Leader of the 10-member jirga Abdul Manan Kodakhel said that the Taliban had agreed to allow girls’ schools provided their teachers wore the veil.

Former MNA Maulana Abdul Malik who negotiated for the Taliban also agreed to provide protection to government employees in the area and said they could do their job without any fear.

The Taliban, however, announced that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) would not be allowed to resume work in the area and accused them of ‘spreading obscenity’ which could not be tolerated.
Good times.

David Brooks Thinks He's A Comedian

From his latest column:
My first thought on the running mate question is that to balance his ticket, Barack Obama should pick a really old white general. Therefore, he should pick Dwight Eisenhower. John McCain, on the other hand, needs to pick someone younger than himself. Therefore, he also should pick Dwight Eisenhower.

When Curbing Global Warming Meets Personal Hygiene

Yikes. From the NYT on efforts by college students to become carbon neutral:
With their professors as collaborators, and with their own technological and political savvy, students are persuading administrators to switch to fossil-free fuel on campus — Middlebury is building an $11 million wood-chip-powered plant, part of its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2016 — serve locally grown food in dining halls and make hybrid cars available for shared transportation when, say, the distance is too far to bike and there is no bus. Students are planting organic gardens and competing in dorm energy-use Olympics. At Oberlin last year, some students in the winning dorm did not shower for two weeks, officials said.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Best Thing About Cricket Clips On YouTube

Since this is apparently cursing week on Rs. 5, I thought I'd bring up something I've long been fascinated with: the comments on cricket videos on YouTube. Browsing these comments is a guilty pleasure of mine, mainly because the insults/stereotypes/hate speech flies thick and fast in all directions. The best place to go is anything featuring either a Pakistani cricketer or an Indian cricketer. If you find a clip from a Pakistan-India match, then you've hit the jackpot, my friend. Particularly enjoyable are (a) the terrorist references, (b) the nuclear war references, and (c) the cow piss references. Let's do a bit of browsing, shall we?

Here's Waqar nailing Phil Tufnell on the toe back in 1992 (the halcyon days).

And here are some of the comments:

trekkie1981 asks politely: " can an indian bastard do this? no"

mbain85 helpfully replies: " no u fukin terrorist but we can fukin nuke ur ass"

SaeedE has a rejoinder: "we'll nuke you first"

Enjoythisandstfu pipes in: " proud to be a terrorist, now go fuck ur mom like a redneck u r"

Ah, good times. Next we move on to Afridi's 100 off 45 a couple of years ago.

This particular copy of the highlights doesn't have too many comments, but it does have this doozy from mysticspear: " rape man total rape for all u pussy hindus PROUD TO BE A PAKISTANI".

Anyways. Always guaranteed to get emotions riled up are videos featuring the indomitable Sachin Tendulkar and the mercurial Shoaib Akhtar. Here's a video from (ugh) the World Cup in 2003.

A lively discussion ensues:

supermanpaki informs us: " you dont have any prophets. you have cows. elephants, snake, rats and biggest god is monkey whose shitt you all eat."

codespeed is quick with his response: " supermanpaki,,,atleast our prophets were not paedophiles...aisha was the name right? you know about it better."

A few comments later, boyantamnevalfredo23 joins in: "supermanpaki you are a loser, consumed by hate. Go ahead and vent against us. Makes you feel good, eh? One day you will find something positive to feel good about Pakistan too: things like nice colleges, software parks, solid democratic system, growing economy."

zyadkhan dutifully steps in: "Hey fuck you why are you telling our superman from pakistan what he can say and what he cant he has figures ad i can approve that they right... i mean come on tell me indians dont burn woman for not paying dowry... hindu drink cow piss and even eat cow shit that true and what your indian friend mentioned above is not true because in military we are better... and in software you have american companies using your cheap asses how are you trying to look smart out of this?"

retaliationking tries to live up to his name: "Its strange you call us cheap cos america sets companies here. Thats the way economy grows brother. They set up companies where they know the companies will flourish due to the growth of the economy. If you are so uptight about westernisation, I hope u realise u guys too use western products in ur country. And as far as the military economy or GDP goes, u guys are hardly on the world scenario.Use some valid argument and dont make a fool of yourself."

ferrariformulaone joins the fray: "fucking pali bastards..assholes..atleast we have the skills on softwares to sell to USA..u bastards are fit for selling terrorism..cant u go to school u assholes??"

concessios707 replies with somewhat of a non-sequitur: " Send your sister,we will"

By the way, I should note that there were some comments on Sachin's innings itself, but I chose to gloss over them here.

Next we move on to easily the most difficult-to-watch video for any Pakistani anywhere: that's right, the Jadeja finish in Bangalore. I haven't actually seen this clip past the 0:03 mark (I simply cannot) but what I can do is go through the comments. As always they don't disappoint.

imrankh68 gets us started off: " somebody got lucky"

jayesh14 clears up imrankh68's confusion: "yes, your mother got lucky that night. While you watched this game, she was being fucked by a wild pig that she then served you guys in the name of beef."

imrankh68 thinks that jayesh14 has misrepresented that day's events: "Actually it was your mom who later got gang rapped by the entire Pakistan team.Later she was fucked by a bull who's piss you guys drank that morning"

bcthighs gives us a history lesson: "umm your a dumbfuck who doesnt know shit about war. go on wikipedia and look at india vs pak war history. we took east pakistan off the map (now bangladesh), we took back kargil and your pussy general surrendered to us. o yeah, india beat pakistan in the 1996, 1999, 2003 wc..u PORKISTANIS suck"

A pretty clean and constructive discussion then ensues between imrankh68 and joyindian on religious tolerance and the places of minorities in India and Pakistan. I will gloss over this because there are no insults thrown around.

A short while later, amantha03 has a suggestion for imrankh68: "Dear Imran, Please get off youtube and return to beating your four burqa wearing wives. Or maybe go molest some nine year olds like your pedophile, warlord prophet Muhammad. But then again, your religion does say you get 72 virgins in heaven if you kill in the name of Allah. Muhammad was sure an amazing hallucinator. He definitely had some serious mental issues."

imrankh68 has a reply ready and waiting: "Thank God our religion is not like your fucked up religion where you have to worship monkeys, cows, elephant etc. After that you guys go to the refrigerator and drink nice cold cow piss then go to your whorehouse ashram and get raped by your pundit."

We then get treated to one of my favorite types of comments: the comment where a commenter professes to be from somewhere when he/she clearly is not, just so their insult is assumed to carry more weight because it's coming from an unlikely source, even though it actually isn't. lmllml steps up to the plate: "Jadeja and Kumble raping pakistani cunts!! Great stuff and I am pakistani!!"

Two guys called TAUFEEQQQ and atoz711 then get into it. The highlights are below.

First TAUFEEQQQ (apparently an Indian Muslim) says "i will fuck ur mom up her ass. right now i am watching jadeja slaughtering waqar. fuck pakistan. i never go to stinking pakistan sites. its you who has come to the indian link to see ur ass getting fucked. fuck pakistan in the ass. allah decides when u die who has been a good or bad muslim not faggots like you. now get the fuck out of this site and go to ur shit paki sites. you pakis smell and are called pakis becuae of u smell."

atoz711 disagrees. Vehemently. "but i have already fucked ur mother and UR sister IT WAS FUN..WHEN UR SISTER WAS SCREAMING WHEN I PUT MY DICK IN HER PUSSY..u are a fucking bad ass..just by watching 1 inning from fucking jadeja..u are getting too exited...and fuck u. u cant tell me what do to..i can use any site i want and u know i will put ur SISTER'a naked pictures on this about that..FUCK U..AND U FUCKED UR OWN MOTHER NOT MINE. fucking double headed faggot..LOL..."

LOL indeed. Anyway, you get the picture. When I'm bored and have very little to do, I can honestly spend up to an hour just browsing comments. It's highly entertaining.

All this got me thinking though. Not that this is a particularly original thought, but MAN do people lose all sensibilities when there's anonymity involved. The internet basically gives freedom to the id and casts aside any inhibitions relating to the super-ego; it's as if societal norms simply don't apply if we know society cannot see us. As a first cut, this has profound implications for the nature/nurture debate; clearly nature-based instincts are constant (hate) and nurture-based instincts are context specific (not expressing hate in polite company; going ape-shit on YouTube).

Having browsed a bunch of comments in my time, I can also safely say it's always a few people, always the same people, who comment the most and flood the message board, making it seem like it's a widespread phenomenon when it's actually not. As usual, the most passionate among us drown out others' voices. This has other profound implications in everyday practice, from lobbying to crowd control at rallies and protests.

That's it from me for tonight.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Quote Of The Day

Jose Mourinho says no to wine; he'll have some bitter instead:
In my philosophy it was a very bad one [season] because in football 'almost' means defeat and Chelsea almost won the Carling Cup, almost won the Champions League and almost won the Premier League. Almost is nothing. After two titles per season for the last three years there were zero titles this season, which in my philosophy means a really bad season. Maybe in the philosophy of a loser this was a great season, which I respect.
Oh, and by the way, Roman just gifted him a limited edition Ferrari worth more than 2 million Pounds.

I Hate Socrates

I've really come to hate Socrates. No, not the Greek philosopher who wrote everything in really difficult English, but this Socrates.

Prior to stumbling on his profile all I knew about him was that he was a great Brazilian footballer who played in the 80’s, had crazy hair, and is a key member of my awesome Classic Brazil team on Pro Evolution Soccer. His being a great footballer was enough to cause me some distress (I’m a jealous, jealous man). But it turns out, there’s more to him, plenty more; so much more in fact that he’s become the bane of my existence.

First of all he’s called Socrates, which is undeniably a cool name if you can pull it off, and boy did he pull it off. He captained Brazil in two World Cups and, while he may not have won a World Cup, he is still considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time. (Moreover, his family did not have to wait too long to taste World Cup success. Socrates’s younger brother Rai was part of the World Cup winning team of 1994.) Here's a clip of Socrates in action:

Playing professional football would be enough for some people, but not Socrates. In the middle of his football career, he managed to attend Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto at the University of Sau Paulo, one of the best medical schools in Brazil, and became a certified Doctor. This is truly an exceptional achievement, but Socrates still wanted more. So, he went and became a vocal opponent of the military junta that ruled Brazil at the time. He co-founded the Corinthians Democracy Movement, while playing for Corinthians, and most famously during one game led the team onto a football pitch in a kit with “Democracia” emblazoned on it. One would think that after retiring from football, Socrates would just chill out and maybe take part in some dumb reality show like other footballers. Guess what he did? He obtained a Doctorate in Philosophy!

So, to sum it up Dr. Dr. Socrates M.D. PhD is a Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy, considered to be one the greatest footballers ever who captained Brazil to two World Cups and stood up to a despotic military regime.

To be honest I don't really I hate him. I bet my danda is bigger than his!

P.S. Apparently Qaddafi proposed that Socrates run for President of Brazil, which Socrates dismissed by saying "I'm Political."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hamid "fuck face" Gul Threatens To Lead A Coup

The leaders of the Ex-Servicemen Society of Pakistan held a press conference a couple of hours ago wherein they voiced out their opposition to Musharraf’s continuing rule. The conference was chaired by General Durrani (Retd) a former head of the ISI and he lambasted Mushrraf for his disastrous dictatorial rule. The Ex-Servicemen wanted an overhaul of the constitution so that real power would rest with the civilian leadership. The proposed measures included: a restructuring of the command and control structure of the armed forces and place the army chief directly under the control of the civilian leader; the abolition of 58(2)(b) – the rule that allows a President to throw out the government; the formation of an independent Election Commission; and the strengthening of the Judiciary. Gen. Durrani asked for the accountability of the former government, in particular he asked for the investigation of the former P.M. Shaukat Aziz. He finally asked the President to leave Army House at once as the army should only be occupied by the serving army chief. (President Musharraf is expected to move into the President’s House after 2 months as the residence is still being made secure – GEO.)

The microphone then passed on to General Hamid Gul (Retd.), himself a former head of the ISI, and seated on the platform with other retired generals. Mr. Gul reiterated the aforementioned points – i.e. freedom, democracy, the American way, etc., etc. But he didn’t stop there. Gen. Gul demanded the trial of President Musharraf, following his impeachment by Parliament. He stated that this was the first time in history that army personnel had demanded the trial of a former Army Chief, but then so egregious were the misdemeanors of President Mushrraf that they had no choice. As a parting shot Gen. Gul stated that “this is only a warning shot, if Mushrraf kicked out the civilian government he would see the true force of the Ex-Servicemen – a society with 2.5 million soldiers as its members and a force to be reckoned with.”

First of all Hamid Gul is a cunt. Secondly it’s a fucking joke to hear demands for democracy and independent judiciary from a group of men who have done more harm to the civilian infrastructure of this country than any one else. Lastly, the thought of Hamid Gul, creator of the Taliban, overthrowing Musharraf and taking over the country scares the life out of me.

Friday, May 23, 2008

If You're Going To Be A Racist Cunt, Then At Least Admit To Being A Racist Cunt

You know who I hate more than racists? Blissfully self-unaware racists. Watch this brilliant piece of reporting by Al-Jazeera. In particular, listen to the woman at about the 0:30 mark, who claims "I'm not a racist or anything like that".

Along the same lines, watch this clip from the Daily Show a few days ago, featuring voters from West Virginia, a state where Hillary crushed Obama. Listen to voters tell us that "He's a Muslim, and that has a lot to do with it" and "I don't like the 'Hussein' thing".

And if you think this phenomenon is limited to poor, ethnic Anglos in middle America, think again. Check out
this article in the NYT, where Obama's problems with Jewish voters, particularly older Jewish voters, are dealt with in depth. Watch out in particular for the man who says he's not voting for Obama because he's black, and then claims he's a "semi-racist". Motherfucker, there's nothing "semi" about your racism. Cunt.

Anyway, while all this is fairly pissing off, the more important question one should be concerned with is: will this matter? In other words, what are the practical electoral consequences of Barack Obama being black? At this point, he's the favorite. First, he's outpolling John McCain nationally (though polls this early tell us very little about the final outcome). More importantly, most political scientists tend to believe that the rate of change in economic conditions in the year preceding the election is the most powerful predictor of Presidential election outcomes - a finding that clearly supports the Democrats, with the U.S. mired in a recession right now. Finally, two other important predictors are the incumbent's approval ratings (higher ratings result in a greater likelihood that the President's party is voted back into power) and the length of time the incumbent party has spent in the White House (voters tend to want to return power to the other party if one has stayed in power for eight years). Each of these indicators favor Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

Now, can he lose? Of course. A million different things can go wrong between now and November. But his race, I don't think, should be a factor - the pricks featured in the above videos would never vote Democrat anyway (seriously, West Virginia and Kentucky!), so it really shouldn't bother Obama that they won't vote for him.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Burnt Alive In Karachi By 'THEM'

In the last week 2 separate cases of extreme ‘vigilante justice’ have occurred in Karachi . Robbers / looters were chased down by citizens and then set on fire. The events occurred in broad daylight and in relatively busy areas of the town. (News reports here and here - courtesy Dawn)

It was heartening to see the Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah stepping up to the plate and offering us some real insight. This is what he had to say (loosely translated from a TV interview)

T.V. Anchor: Does the police know who burnt the robbers?

C.M.: This was a deliberate attempt to undermine the government. I spoke to the victim of the robbery who told me that the area people chased the crooks and caught them, after which they were heading to the police station to hand over custody to the police. But then suddenly two or three youths on motorcycles came out of nowhere and doused petrol on the ‘apprehended’ robbers and set them alight.

Exactly the same thing had happened in the second incident. The local people apprehended the robbers but then 2 or 3 youths on motorcycles, carrying petrol, came out of nowhere and burnt them alive.

T.V. Anchor (With a Straight Face): Were the youths trailing the criminals? Did they know about the robbery from before hand?

C.M.: We are waiting for the Police to complete their investigation.


Thank God for that. I feel much better now that I know it was 'them' (I bet R.A.W. agents). And there I was thinking that the people of this country had become so jaded and unremorseful that they could crowd around and burn people alive. The C.M. has reassured me that there is nothing to be alarmed about, there's no need for Pakistanis to reflect upon these events and accept that we are heading towards savagery and there's no need for the our leaders to ask some hard questions and offer us some real solutions.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sharia In Swat

From the BBC:
Pakistan's government has agreed to pull troops out of a valley in the north-west under a peace agreement signed with pro-Taleban militants.

The authorities say they will also allow the militants to impose Sharia law in Swat in return for promises to close training camps and end attacks.

The move is part of efforts by the new government to end violence in the area.

Let's ignore for the moment the vast security implications of this move (for one thing, I doubt the U.S. will let it last, one way or the other). Think, instead, about it what it represents - the caving in by the government to militants in an area under the jurisdiction of the state and government of Pakistan.

I have had many, many arguments on this issue over the last two or three years. The most common refrain I have heard centers on the following three claims:

1. They are our people.

2. They wouldn't be attacking us if our troops and military would leave them alone.

3. We are are attacking them only because of the U.S; it is not our war and not in our interest to fight against militants militarily.

Isn't this news somewhat damaging for that argument? If the militants have negotiated to impose Sharia law in Swat - essentially the government has agreed to formally withdraw its writ from the area - doesn't that mean the militants have expansionist motives? If they had purely defensive motives, wouldn't they want autonomy only in the tribal areas of Waziristan or FATA generally, the areas where they have historically enjoyed autonomy? Doesn't the fact that they've pushed their autonomy into areas universally recognized - until now - as purely Pakistani territory say something about what their goals are?

Links For Wednesday

Stuff to read:

Read these names and tell me what you think they have in common: Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Nabokov, Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, Chekhov, Kafka, D.H. Lawrence, George Orwell, and Ralph Ellison. That's right, none of them ever won the Nobel Prize in literature, despite it being instituted before each of them died. (Via Slog)

Priorities for Australians: Beer > Children. (Courtesy Nikhil)

Rich hedge funders complaining that even richer Russian oligarch is building a mansion that makes their mansions look small. All together now: Awwwww. (Courtesy the WTB)

You want to know how close the Hornets-Spurs series was? After 7 games, they ended up with the exact same number of points: 645. In another NBA stuff, here's a great column on Pop and the Spurs. I don't believe it's come to this, but I'm actually going to have to support them in the Conference Finals. Anyone but Kobe and the Lakers.

Javier Bardem is an incredibly lucky man. I now hate him with all my heart.

More machinations in Pakistani politics. You know, if our leaders were half as clever in practicing leadership as they are in practicing politics, we might be somewhere. I mean, just think about how much time, energy, and brainpower has gone into some of these "solutions" to the judiciary issue. If you step back for a second and take it all in, it really is incredible.

Fareed Zakaria weighs in on the whole "appeaser" controversy. Speaking of which, if you haven't already seen this video, please do so.

It's good to see the Indian leadership engaging with the civilian leadership in Pakistan. For long, many of us feared that only the military was capable of delivering good relations with India - mainly because the military wouldn't allow anyone else to do so. One hopes that that is no longer the case.

Good night.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

PPP, NGOs and a Cold Beer

The PPP, bastions of all that is liberal and great and awesome and cool and peoplepowery has decided, once again, to aid the citizens of this great nation by shutting down Wine Shops and hitting out at NGOs.

Those in the higher echelons of the PPP have been dismayed by the growing influence of these dastardly illiberal and fundamentalist forces and have taken the first steps towards the promotion of democracy, tolerance and moderation. The repressive regime of President Musharaff, closet right-wing fascist homo, had by design, allowed the establishment of several ‘Wine Shops’ selling locally brewed alcoholic drinks in order to promote intolerance. As is well known, these drinks have been proven to cause a sudden change in the fragile minds of young people and cause them to leave everything and go on Jihad; in a famous control-tested experiment researchers at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, supplied copious amounts of Murree Beer to the strapping enlightened moderate Zia-ul-Haq and let him lose – Zia blinded by the booze headed towards the far-right like a drunk sailor chasing a pair of breasts on shore leave.

President Musharraf’s actions have angered liberals who believe that the President's decision to allow the average urban citizen to make up his own mind regarding alcohol is a violation of fundamental rights. Constitutional experts too agree with this assertion and find the opening of wine shops offering safe and affordable alcohol to the urban middle classes as an affront to the sacred constitutional parchment:

“Thou shall pay Rs. 500 for a can of smuggled Heineken and if thou cannot afford such a can, thou shall buy moonshine from a gangster in Korangi and die before the morning sun.”

The PPP spokesman and noted libertarian Ijaz Bijrani (MNA) commented that “This is the first step in the establishment of a true democracy. For eight years General Mushrraf has been playing God, limiting oil supplies, raising food prices and allowing any right wing nut job the opportunity to enjoy an ice-cold bottle of Murree for only Rs.140. We will bring down the price of oil, we will bring down the price of foods and we will once again ensure that only the truly chaste, like me, are allowed to sip down a Rs. 6000 bottle of whiskey bought with tax payer’s money.”

In his magnus opus, "Tainted Love: An Ontological Evaluation of Unrequited Love Between A Man and his Goat", noted liberal scholar Betullah Mehsud writes “Mushrraf’s undemocratic activities have allowed these fanatic drunkards to roam about freely and ruin the sanctity of this nation, corrupting its very core and morally bankrupting the national conscience through the degradation of women and support of militancy. The most telling example of this has been the establishment of an NGO at every street corner. These NGOs are nothing but a front for extreme right-wing elements and serve as recruiting centres for Jihadi outfits. War Against Rape, The Children’s Foundation, Aurat Foundation, etc., have been carrying on their nefarious activities as though they are guardians of this land. This is a complot against the liberal forces that are desperately attempting to guide the country towards a better tomorrow. We must allow these liberal forces to succeed so that one day we too will be able to walk proudly with Mullah Umar and his libertarian revolutionaries.”

In a recent interview the brilliant mind of Prof. Mehsud guides us on a new path. He states that "in order to clear my mind from the stresses of modern life, I have recently taken up cave dwelling and I can't impress on people the wonders of modern cave living. It is so much more peaceful than the constant hustle, bustle and bombing of downtown South Waziristan. I am a changed man. I feel like dancing in the moonlight..."

The prophetic words of Prof. Mehsud have not gone unheard. Government officials congratulated him for the meticulous research and assured the public that actions would soon be taken to purge this nation of NGO scum. As the government mulls over 'accountability of NGOs' a Zardari House insider stated that “ Zardari House may be moving to a cave near you but that doesn't mean we have forgotten what the people of this country really want. We have struck a telling blow on these fascists by going after the juggernaut and shutting down their wine shops. We, as a party, do not believe in leaving things half done and will complete the job by going after Musharraf's army of drunkards who set up countless NGO. We champion cheap political populism and will leave no stone unturned in our quest for instant political rewards. In order to achieve this Mr. Zardari has decided to get his hands dirty and will personally be going over the accounts and records of NGOs; this way he will know exactly who to harass. We've playing blind for too long.”

The libertarian hero Mullah Omar took a sip from the cold can of Bud (U.S. Army surplus) in his hand and smiled as he gazed at the setting sun. A glorious tomorrow awaits this freedom-lover.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Giving hope to Pakistanis everywhere...

Though perhaps false hope. Were the cameraman a Pakistani crossing an international border (say Canada-US), the video would likely have had a different ending.

That said, its still great though, so very satisfying.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Exporting Bhangra and Punjabi Viral Videos

Before I go any further, I should warn you that an 8 week stretch of bar exams appears to have warped my mind. The relentless exposure to statue, case-law and legal commentary has caused me to temporarily misplace the ability to write unpretentiously. I consequently sound like an annoying prat, even to myself. However, for reasons that I will not divulge, I do not have the time to colloquialise my language. For this I apologise.

I came across this video by way of forward the other day. It raised the question as to why Bhangra in particular, and Punjabi-ism to a more general degree, is South Asia's predominant pop cultural export?

Now you may watch that video and say "What rubbish. 'Britain's Got Talent'? Please. This show is lame, and Simon Cowell is a tight-t-shirt-wearing, middle-aged, man-breasted farticle. How can this be used to evidence the supposed pervasiveness of Punjabi Bhangra in Western Pop culture?"

And you'd be right about Simon Cowell. Sure, a more authoritative example of Bhangra's popularity might be the one discussed previously on this blog, namely Daler Mehndi in "World of Warcraft", but I still feel that this video somehow articulates the appeal and the universailty of Bhangra.

Let me set out the elements that I think form the basis of the Punjab's global appeal:

Bhangra's Beat and Pace

The spare riffs, pace and percussion go well with the heavy pop baselines currently in vogue within mainstream pop. Bhangra seems to lend itself to hip-hop remixes in a manner that other regional music doesnt. Dont beleive me? I challenge anyone to try listening to K-Pop for 5 minutes straight without feeling like a tasteless pre-pubescent twit of a girl.

The Dance Moves

Anyone who has watched bhangra at a wedding knows its fun to watch and to do, without being too technical. There are enough examples in the videos to follow so I wont repeat any here.

The Indulgent Tastelessness of it

This aspect of Bhangra may also be refered to the "The Jiggly Fat Man Celebratory Aspect". Case in point, the Legendary Arif Lohar.

I would go as far as saying that part of the central appeal of Bhangra is its universal idiotic goofiness, and it's gaudy lack of self restraint. The costumes are appalling shiny neon blues and greens. The sets are redundantly located overseas ("Arif Lohar in China"??!) and the actual video pretty much comprises of Arif Lohar making gleefully silly faces whilst dancing around "Cheeny" and "Sheedi" dancers in stereotypical costumes that purport to add to their exoticism. The directors of the videos are blind and mad.

All of that bad taste adds up to an irresistible combination, the ultimate guilty pleasure. No one can look away. Whilst writing the previous paragraph, I've watched the video thrice.

Now to prove that tastelessness persistently remains a feature of Bhangra videos (and also to prove the influence of hip hop on bhangra), please observe Arif Lohar's relatively new remixed rendition of his fathers classic "Jugni". Do note the blinged out Chimtas.

The Crudeness of it

Relatedly, it cannot be denied that swearing in Punjabi is an art in itself. I present as evidence the poetic "Punjabi Underworld", one of my favorite Youtube clips of all time. I have in fact learned all of it by heart. I should warn that it is completely obscene and graphic and should not be listened to by those amongst us who are prudish or proper in any respect.

What crudeness as such has to do with Bhangra is moot. But it certainly helps sell the culture as a whole. Moreover, the phonetic appeal of the language helps explain why the music can be appreciated without the lyrics being understood. For fun, here is another classic Punjabi/Urdu dub.

Other Stuff

I suppose there is a lot to be said about minority communities and their respective pop cultural manifestations. It isnt a coincidence that Bhangra is way more popular in the UK than it is the US. But for the moment, I am tired so I will continue this at some other point. Readers, do let me know if there are any other features I've missed.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

To Kill A Mockingbird: The Sequel

Atticus Finch tells us what happens to the characters after we left them last:
After old Bob Ewell closed that chapter in our lives by falling on his knife, the kids settled into their schoolwork and joined glee club. Jem played baseball for a while, but he didn't really like it. Sometimes they'd drop in at the Radley place to pay their regards to Arthur. They even stopped calling him Boo. After a couple years he died of pneumonia. Or was it diabetes? I suppose I was saddened that he didn't live to see another adventure—but then again, how many chances does one reclusive idiot man-child usually get to stand up for justice in the face of small-minded ignorance, and change the course of a community forever?

Scout's gone through some changes of her own. All fairly standard. Back when I was arguing that case, she was so young and spirited. Always fighting for what she thought was right, bless her heart. I thought she'd go to college and get a degree in journalism, like she talked about, but she dropped out of Tulane after a year and moved back to Maycomb and became a waitress.

Who's Stupid Now?

Based on three important factors, namely (a) that the PPP and PML-N were structurally each other's biggest rivals for political supremacy in the country, (b) that the PPP and PML-N had different preferences vis-a-vis the reinstatement of the judiciary, and (c) that the PPP did not mathematically need the PML-N to get a workable majority to work in the Assembly, I predicted the day after the February 18 elections that:
The PPP will form an alliance with the PML-Q in the centre and in Punjab.
Well, well, well. Look what we have here:
ISLAMABAD: Thinking of new political alignments, power circles in Islamabad are engaged in fresh calculations to provide two-thirds majority for the government by cobbling together a PPP and PML-Q alliance.

“The PPP and the PML-Q, minus the PML-N but including others, guarantee two-thirds majority not only in the National Assembly but also in the Senate,” a key Q Leaguer said while talking to The News here on Friday.

The PML-Q leader, constantly in contact with the presidency, also revealed that President Pervez Musharraf was ready to back the PPP either by extending the Q-Leagueís support in the form of forward blocs or through some other face-saving arrangements.


Our main purpose is to keep the PML-N out of power and support the PPP both at the Centre and the Punjab province one way or the other,” the Q-League leader said while quoting President Pervez Musharraf.

Kudos can be sent to This makes up for everything - my terrible record at predictions deserves to be wiped clean.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Links For Friday

Stuff to help you waste time:

Malcolm Gladwell is back after a long hiatus. Here he talks about big ideas, and how contrary to popular opinion, they are a function of the times more than a function of genius per se.

You remember the Iraqi man who stamped on, suffocated, and stabbed his daughter to death for falling in love with a British soldier? Well, he's sorry now. Sorry that he didn't kill her at birth, that is. (Link courtesy Asad)

I don't care if they're giving an iPhone to every incoming freshman - I still would never consider going to Abilene Christian University.

Speaking of higher education, here's a story about a massive drug bust at San Diego State University that "that netted 4 pounds of cocaine, 350 Ecstasy pills, 50 pounds of marijuana, 30 vials of hash oil, $60,000 in cash and two guns, one of them taped to a bed frame." The undercover operation was precipitated by a student dying after mixing cocaine and alcohol. (Link courtesy Sarah)

A video from the archives: Bill O'Reilly flipping out. Good times.

Barack Obama talks to David Brooks about Lebanon.

George W. Bush has lost some of his net worth over his tenure. It's only fair - if everyone else in the world is worse off because of these eight years, he should be too.

If there's a shadier looking man than Salman Taseer, I'd like to meet him. And by that I mean: I really, really, really would not like to meet him.

A cool test - try identifying whether these men are serial killers or computer programmers. I got 1/10. One out of ten. That was worse than my score in the Game Theory final (but not by much). (Link via India Uncut)

An academic conference...on The Sopranos. Featuring, inter alia, "Blabbermouth Cunts: The Sopranos and the Feminist Dilemma", “Whatever happened to stop & smell the roses?: The Sopranos as Anti-Therapeutic Narrative”, “I can’t turn the other cheek on this . . . My father was a Knight of Columbus: Christopher and the Contested Construction of Italian American Identity”, “When it comes to daughters, all bets are off: Meadow Soprano and the Question of Familial Determinism in The Sopranos”, and of course “Creating a Little Dysentery in the Ranks: Epistemology and Class Relations in The Sopranos”. I would be willing to bet my left testicle that every single one of the presenters and panelists at this conference has tenure. These are the epitomes of post-tenure projects. (Link via Andrew Sullivan)


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pakistan: Where Not Cheating On Exams Makes The Papers

From Dawn a couple of days ago:
He said that all those candidates who took their examination at the RLAK College of Home Economics were, however, given extra time to compensate for the loss of time. Explaining the reason for this delay, he said that the vehicle which was supposed to deliver the papers to the centre, had developed some fault that caused the delay.

When asked about the number of cases pertaining to the use of unfair means reported during Tuesday’s examinations, he said that not a single such case was reported because it was Islamiat’s paper. “In fact, most of the unfair means cases are normally detected on those days when papers of English, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics subjects are held”, he said.

I have three reactions to this. First, cheating on exams in Pakistan is sort of like violence against women in Pakistan - just because something isn't reported doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Second, from my recollections of high school, students in Pakistan don't really play favorites vis-a-vis which subjects to cheat on - they're equal-opportunity bastards.

Third, if this is true ("this" being less cheating in Islamiat than other subjects), it would count as pretty compelling evidence for a theory posited in Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. In the book, Ariely talked about an experiment he conducted on honesty and cheating. Three groups of people were asked to take a simple math test consisting of twenty problems. The control group simply handed in their response sheets to the experimenter. These people averaged 3.1 correct problems.

The second group was given the opportunity to cheat. They were given the solutions at the end of the test, told to score themselves, and then tell the experimenter how many problems they got correct. This group claimed to answer 4.1 problems, a fully 33% higher than the control group (so they obviously cheated).

The third group was also given an opportunity to cheat, in the exact same way as the second group. Except there was one twist. While the second group was asked to name ten books they read in high school before they entered the testing room, this group was asked to recall the Ten Commandments before they entered, and wrote them down on a piece of paper. Note that they didn't have to correctly identify the Ten Commandments, they just had to write down what they thought the Ten Commandments were (indeed, almost none actually got all ten right). This group - given an opportunity to cheat, remember - averaged 3 correct problems. In other words, there was no statistically significant difference between those who were not allowed to cheat, and those who were allowed to cheat but were forced to think about religious texts/moral guidelines.

That may be what's going on in the case of the missing cheaters in the Islamiat exam: when they were confronted in a very tangible way with the notion of God or religion (the exam was on Islamiat, after all), they were more honest.

But I wouldn't bet on it: I've been a student in Pakistan and I've seen some, I don't even know where to start. So I won't.