raza.habib

Raza Habib Raja

The author is a recent Cornell graduate and currently pursuing his PhD in political science at Maxwell School, Syracuse University. He has also worked for a leading development finance institution in Pakistan. He is a freelance journalist whose works have been published at Huffington Post, Dawn (Pakistan), Express Tribune (Pakistan) and Pak Tea House. He tweets @razaraja (twitter.com/razaraja?lang=en)

Bhutto was neither a total villain nor a complete Messiah

I remember going through Stanley Wolpert’s book called ‘Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan: His Life & Times’ on this enigmatic politician. The first sentence more or less defines Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s legacy. Wolpert, while researching his book on Muhammad Ali Jinnah wrote that, during his stay in Pakistan, he found out that people either hated or loved Bhutto. He also wondered about the amazing contradictions in the personality of this remarkable politician. Today, as we stand in 2017 and look back into the strange chequered history of this country, no discussion on politics, culture, economic and social ideology, military and ...

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PTI knows that it cannot win the 2018 elections and the Panama case proves just that

For the past one year, no other issue has gained more prominence in the political landscape of Pakistan than the Panama leaks. The issue is frankly trivial and not worth this much obsession, but thanks to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and our electronic media, a triviality has transformed into a national obsession. The government has been distracted and is in some sort of a survival mode; more pressing issues in the country have been relegated to insignificance as the Panama case has become the centre of everything.   For PTI, the Panama case has become a fixation which is now bordering ...

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It is pretty clear that neither Ali Muhammad Khan nor PTI know why Pakistan was created

Recently, I had the opportunity to witness a panel discussion where the firebrand conservative MNA from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Ali Muhammad Khan, delivered his, and for that matter his party’s, “vision” for Pakistan. According to him, Pakistan should be a theocratic state and seculars should either mend their ways or leave Pakistan. Moreover, he also brought in the havoc of the Partition riots, arguing that all the sacrifices were actually for the creation of an Islamic country.  PTI's MNA @Ali_MuhammadPTI calls secular people a threat to Pakistan and asks them to mend their ways or leave the country pic.twitter.com/R2tezc7QoV — Reema Omer (@reema_omer) ...

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Why Turkey’s referendum is important

Turkey is one of the most beautiful countries of the world. Besides physical beauty of its architectural heritage and breath-taking landscapes, Turkey also captures the imagination because it is a crossroad of Asia and Europe, and consequently a lovely mix between tradition and modernisation. But what makes Turkey truly fascinating for me is that since the 1920s, it has been a secular as well as a moderate Muslim majority country. Whenever someone wants to prove that a Muslim country can be secular and moderate, they use Turkey as their example.  Turkey was cited by Reza Aslan as an example to counter ...

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The world will judge Islam by the way Muslims behave in the name of Islam

A year ago, the government took a bold decision by hanging Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of late Salman Taseer. The funeral, despite the media’s lack of coverage, was attended by thousands of people, highlighting the appeal of a man who was nothing but a murderer. One year later, thousands of hardliners defied the rally ban to attend his first death anniversary. The sad reality is that for many, Qadri is a hero, and the significant percentage of those who disagree with his actions have an “empathetic” attitude towards him. I have heard people coming up with all kinds of justifications ...

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Why politicians like Javed Latif use women to humiliate opponents

“Mein nahi kehna chata ke log jo batein is ke mutaliq karte hain. Woh kehte hain ke us ki do choti behenein hain unka Imran Khan ke saath kia taluq hai aur kyun ana jana hai, mein nahi kehna chata.” (I don’t want to repeat what people say about this matter. They say that he has two younger sisters and ask what relation they have with Imran Khan and why they visit him so often, I don’t want to say.) This statement was made by none other than Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Javed Latif. The utterly filthy content almost made ...

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For how long will you keep defending Imran Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi?

Currently, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan, or rather the demigod for the impressionable PTI fans, is under fire for uttering “phatheechar” comments about foreign players. I personally think that his comments were made in extremely bad taste and reflected on Imran’s inability to show bigheartedness. If Pakistan had been unable to host the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final, then I am a 100% sure Imran would have called it a complete failure on the government’s part, despite previously calling the entire idea “madness”. Once the government showed its resolve and successfully hosted the event, Imran then started to ...

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Trump’s ban on Muslims is just as offensive as Pakistan’s racial profiling of Pakhtuns

Not every Muslim is a terrorist but a significant number of terrorist incidents are conducted by Muslims. This statement is controversial and yet, deep down we all know that there is some sort of evidence for it. At least the terrorist incidents which are indiscriminate and use suicide bombings are overwhelmingly committed by Muslims. Of course, as already mentioned, this does not mean that every Muslim is a terrorist and in fact thinking in such terms would be overstretching and overgeneralisation, resulting in bigotry if endorsed by the general populace and institutionalised discrimination if incorporated into laws by the state. Donald ...

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Of the Lahore blast and PTI’s real “achievements”

The city of my birth, Lahore, is bleeding again. Many are shocked and have condemned it in strong words, while some have reiterated their pledge that the fight against extremism would go on – both Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa made strong statements of condemnation. With respect to fight against extremism, military and civilian leadership seems to be on the same page. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has very strongly condemned the blast that occurred at Charing Cross Lahore. — PML(N) (@pmln_org) February 13, 2017 However, reactions from some quarters were unfortunately petty. One of ...

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Why does the state structure and narrative unfairly favour Punjab?

The selective way of presenting history in Pakistan conveniently ignores the fact that at the time of the country’s creation, there were two large movements which were sometimes contrasting and sometimes overlapping. The first was primarily centred on the Muslim identity and tried to actually bargain a better position for its bearers. This movement though ended up in carving a separate homeland for the Muslims but did not have a strong separatist thrust, at least in the beginning. However, the Islamic identity itself was not the only identity taken up by the Muslims as strong ethnic nationalist tendencies existed particularly in ...

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