Shakir Lakhani

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (twitter.com/shakirlakhani)

Why is there a religion column in advertisements for sweepers anyway?

Whenever a local body like a municipal or town committee advertises for jobs involving ‘dirty work’ (like sweeping floors or cleaning bathrooms), the religion of those applying for the job is also specified. And the advertisement usually mentions that the applicants should be Christians or Hindus (Dalits). Though why sweepers and cleaners have to be non-Muslims is not clear. Who does the dirty work in countries where there are few, or no, Christians or Hindus (like Saudi Arabia for instance)? One such advertisement went viral recently. But this time the advertisement stated that applicants for the job should be “Shia, Hindu/Balmikis or ...

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Thank you, Modi, for proving that partition saved the subcontinent’s Muslims from extinction

Dear Mr Narendra Modi, I was not at all surprised that your party, Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP), swept the recent Uttar Pradesh (UP) elections. You ran your campaign on an anti-Muslim platform, you convinced most of the UP Hindus that Muslims in their state are Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents and that Muslims would not vote for your party, therefore they voted en masse for BJP. In fact, to appear anti-Muslim, you did not field a single Muslim candidate despite the notion that there are more than 40 million Muslims in UP! So, in spite of the Muslim population of UP being over 20% of the total population, the ...

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Do the right thing, Nawaz Sharif, expel Javed Latif from your party

I watched in shock and horror the comments made by Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Javed Latif about the moral character of the sisters of MNA Murad Saeed in a press conference. Earlier, he had called Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan a ‘traitor’, which had provoked PTI MNA Saeed into punching him.

It was, of course, unlawful for Saeed to react so violently, as it has become perfectly acceptable for our politicians to label those who oppose them as traitors. In fact, I have lost count of the number of politicians who have been called ‘ghaddar’ ...

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An open letter to AJK Chief Justice Muhammad Ibrahim Zia

Respected AJK Chief Justice Muhammad Ibrahim Zia, According to newspaper reports, you have announced that the annual salary increments of those working in your court will be based on “how regularly they offer their prayers”. You also declared that you would lead some of the prayers yourself, ostensibly to observe which of the court’s officers offer prayers and to secretly check whether they are complying with your order or not. Your honour, do you realise that your order violates Islam’s injunction which clearly states that there ‘should be no compulsion in Islam’ (Surah Baqarah, verse 256)? Since those who do not ...

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Is Pakistan ready for mock drills in malls and hospitals?

Imagine you are a cardiac patient lying on a hospital bed, waiting for a specialist to decide whether you are fit enough to undergo triple bypass surgery. All of a sudden there’s commotion and you see people running around and someone shouts, “Bomb, bomb! Run outside!” There is pandemonium everywhere. You see patients being taken away by hospital attendants, and you almost have a heart attack, waiting for someone to carry you to safety. You pass out and when you come back to your senses, you find out it was just a mock drill, carried out by “experts” to find out how the hospital ...

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Why is the jirga system being given constitutional cover in Pakistan?

As if we didn’t have enough problems of our own, the National Assembly has recently given constitutional cover to the jirga system which threatens to destroy the justice system in the country. I thought a system so biased against women would surely not find any support among the masses. I did some research and spoke to various people and discovered, to my surprise, that the jirga system is indeed very popular in those parts of the country where it is practiced. “Last year, a man killed my brother,” said one of my workers. “Going to the courts would have taken a long time and a lot of ...

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Can learning Arabic really prevent terrorist attacks? PML-N surely thinks so

I suppose it is reasonable to assume that the men and women in our National Assembly are mentally fit – people who think and act rationally. We elect them every five years, hoping that they will solve our problems and make us proud of being citizens of Pakistan. But then, one of them says something completely absurd which makes me want to bang my head against the nearest wall and regret not going abroad after I graduated (those were the days when it was very easy to get a US visa). I am referring to a female member of the ...

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Why has Pakistan not had a census in 18 years?

Now that the country will have a census after 18 years, doubts are already being expressed about the accuracy of the data that will be collected. Farooq Sattar, MNA and former Karachi mayor, says that the census should not be influenced by the landlords as the census commission is very close to the landlords and there should be no injustice with the people living in Sindh’s urban areas. Mir Hasil Bizenjo, the chief of the National Party and the incumbent federal minister for ports and shipping, has said that the census should be put off in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) till the four million Afghan refugees return to Afghanistan ...

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Do you think you have done enough to end child labour, Murad Ali Shah?

Around 20 years ago, a relative of mine got into serious trouble when a European customer of his visiting Pakistan saw some children working in his factory. The foreigner immediately cancelled all orders and my relative had to wind up his business to avoid bankruptcy. In Pakistan, child labour is something that is considered normal and the laws dealing with it are very lax. In developed countries, forcing a child to work can result in severe penalties and imprisonment. But in Pakistan, even today, a child can be “sold” to work as domestic help and the punishment for this is a mere fine of Rs250, if ...

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No, Ms Bakhtawar Zardari, a simple apology will not do

After the harassment of Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s (PML-F) Nusrat Sehr Abbasi in the hallowed precincts of the Sindh assembly, Ms Bakhtawar Zardari has asked her party’s parliamentarian, Imdad Pitafi to apologise to the female lawmaker for his lewd remarks about her. Yes must apologise absolutely unacceptable behaviour & totally against ethos of our party that has been led by the strongest of women #PPP https://t.co/3BZAlvC4c6 — Bakhtawar B-Zardari (@BakhtawarBZ) January 21, 2017 We condemn vulgar and ill language of MPA #ImdadPitafi and #TaimoorTalpur against #NusratSeharAbbasi Sahiba pic.twitter.com/YM44PhTLHL — Sangri (@Sangrisaeed) January 20, 2017 Likewise #Jiyalas&Pak nation urges PPPChairman @BBhuttoZardari 2tke notice of #ImdadPitafi ...

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