salman Zafar

Salman Zafar

The writer works in the Education Sector and tweets as @salmanzafar1985 (twitter.com/salmanzafar1985)

Nawaz Sharif must be allowed to complete his term as his dismissal will do no good

The earliest memory of television I have is Pakistan winning the 1992 Cricket World Cup. I don’t recall what happened on TV afterwards or how things got there, but I vaguely remember Nawaz Sharif’s sombre looking face on the television set in our living room a year later. Nawaz was prime minister. That’s all I was old enough to understand. Then one day he wasn’t. I was in grade three and apparently a new federal election was taking place. I recognised no one except Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz when they were on television or the newspaper. Who was my family voting for? I had no idea, but ...

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Are our traffic wardens the only ones who need psychotherapy?

A recent news piece mentioned traffic wardens in Lahore being given psychotherapy sessions in light of their unruly behaviour. It appears to be a good move on the surface, but is it only the traffic wardens who need these sessions? If one makes a list of the most disliked authority figures in Pakistan, it would have traffic wardens at the very top. This is not a phenomenon that is common to a select few – it is much bigger than that. I remember growing up in Lahore, and learning to drive. Every now and then when I would be out with a group of friends (before ...

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An open letter to Benazir Bhutto

Bibi, It has been almost a decade since you met your untimely demise on December 27, 2007. It has been almost a decade since the day the country lost one of its greatest leaders. The state that Pakistan finds itself in today may not surprise you. Unlike the others, you had the foresight to see the storm we were heading towards when you spoke of secular values. The state your party finds itself in today, however, will crush you. Your party has always represented the best of Pakistan. From your iconic father, to people of unparalleled substance, brilliance and integrity like Meraj Muhammad Khan, Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani, Sherry Rehman and Malik ...

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Tarek Fatah’s recent tantrum: What two celebrities name their child

Unless you’re fairly active on Twitter, and/or have a genuine interest in expat Pakistanis who are active within sociopolitical circles, you might not be aware of who Tarek Fatah is. Originally from Karachi but now based in Canada, he writes a regular column for one of the country’s largest newspapers and has a frequent broadcast presence. In addition to this, he is a staunch critic of virtually everything Pakistan. His criticism of Pakistan has its merits. However there are times where the gap between the truth and what Tarek Fatah perceives to be the truth is larger than the Grand ...

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For shame Imran Khan, for shame

Imran Khan, you perpetually misguided political novice. You inherently misinformed self-proclaimed leader of the youth. You have done it again. First the fiasco with shutting down Islamabad, and now the reaction to Erdogan’s visit. Just when we think you’ve gained some much needed sense, you prove us all wrong. And you don’t do that in your average every day way. No, sir. You do in the most spectacular of manners, debunking every delusion we may have had of you finally mending your ways. Over 80,000 people dead, more than 48,000 of which are civilians. Blood splattered across the streets of Pakistan, ...

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Forget the weapons – he was carrying alcohol! Taubah Taubah!

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Revenue Minister Amin Gandapur has been in the news ever since Kalashnikov rifles were recovered from his vehicle. The problem wasn’t the rifles though. The problem was the bottle of whiskey. This is not the first time that possession of alcohol by a public figure has given our moral police a field day, and nor will this be the last. Back in 2011, Attiqa Odho was caught at Islamabad Airport with wine bottles in her luggage and the daggers were out. More recently, Jamshed Dasti, the MNA from Muzzafargarh, made a lot of noise when empty alcohol bottles were ...

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Pakistan and India should celebrate independence from the British – not from each other

Sometime back I ran into an elderly man at work. Since I live in an area of Canada that is densely populated with immigrants from Indian Punjab, I knew the gentleman was from India. After I was done helping him out, he looked at my name-tag and asked me what part of India I was from. I told him I was from Pakistan, not India. A wide smile appeared on his face, and he asked me what city of Pakistan I belonged to. After I mentioned that I was from Lahore, his smile grew even wider as he got teary-eyed. ...

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Labour Day: The continuous plight of our workers

Labour struggle and issues in Pakistan receive little attention. This issue is not glamorous enough for the mass media and nor does it drive up ratings. In all fairness, a country in the middle of a battle against violent religious extremism has other priorities. The fact that this Labour Day will be observed like every other public holiday is a sad reflection of our society. Some major incidents have taken place over the last few months with regards to the rights of workers. However out of these, only the PIA case stands out as one which gathered significant attention. The management at Nestle’s ...

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So we can watch LGBT porn, but not support the community?

The editor of an LGBT magazine in Bangladesh was hacked to death two days ago. This is not the first time that something of this nature has happened, and neither will it be the last. Tracing back as far as ancient Greece, up until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, same-sex unions have existed in some form or the other. The Church was obligated to be critical of non-procreative unions and this began to be seen as deviant behaviour. Soon after, same sex unions became socially and legally unacceptable. However, times have changed as well as our mentality. Scandinavian ...

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Why are we as Pakistanis okay with Ahmadis getting killed?

A few days ago, BBC reported that ‘Kill Ahmadis’ leaflets were found at Stockwell Green Mosque, in London. They were authored by a former head of Khatme Nabuwat, and the mosque, expectedly, denied any connection with the leaflets. This follows the murder of an Ahmadi shopkeeper named Asad Shah in Glasgow last month, because he had allegedly ‘disrespected’ Islam and falsely claimed to be a prophet. All this took place in England, but things in Pakistan, home to the most powerful anti-Ahmadi sentiment in the world, are even worse. While hate speech against all religious minorities in Pakistan is common, the ...

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