Yasser Latif Hamdani

Yasser Latif Hamdani

The writer is a lawyer based in Lahore and the author of the book Mr Jinnah: Myth and Reality. He tweets as @theRealYLH (twitter.com/therealylh)

The minority protection bill is both Islamic and constitutional

The Sindh Criminal (Protect of Minorities) Bill 2016, passed by the Sindh Provincial Assembly seeks to outlaw forced conversions. This has led to a backlash from certain quarters, the self-styled thekaydars of Islam in particular, who say that the bill is unconstitutional and unIslamic.  Unfortunately, these people who are agitating against the law have neither an understanding of the constitution nor that of Islam. But then very few people, including I am sad to say our black coat brethren, have any understanding of constitutional law. “Holy Quran and Sunnah are supreme under the Pakistani constitution” they scream. Their reference is to ...

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Does Pakistani law allow you to deport Turkish teachers, Nawaz Sharif?

The recent controversy that has emerged regarding the PakTurk school system is troubling to say the least. PakTurk schools started popping up all over Pakistan during last decade. Turkey has always carried a strong brand value in Pakistan and it is therefore not surprising that the school system ostensibly embodying the best of Pakistan and Turkey was an instantaneous hit with parents.  This school system allegedly has connections with Fetullah Gulen, the reclusive Turkish Islamic scholar now living in the US. In the aftermath of the failed July 15 coup, President Recep Erdogan and his government have accused Gulen and ...

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Jinnah was not Iqbal’s first choice to lead the Muslims

To say Allama Muhammad Iqbal was an extremely complex individual is an understatement. The poet, philosopher and political thinker that Allama Iqbal was, he constantly evolved, or some might argue, regressed in his approach to the idea of a Muslim political identity and how it translated politically. Iqbal was, at various times, a Muslim modernist (he endorsed the founding of secular Turkish republic as a seminal event in Islamic history), a Muslim reformer (his lectures compiled as the Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam show the breadth of his reformist vision) and an uncompromising Islamist believing in theological unity and ...

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Can Pakistan really afford Imran Khan’s antics right now?

As someone who voted for Imran Khan directly in the infamous NA 122 in the 2013 General Elections, I am forced to ask: what game is Imran Khan playing? Boycotting the joint session at a time when the country faces an external threat is not good politics. By harping on about Panama leaks, which is a dead horse, instead of focusing on the clear and present danger that the country faces, Imran Khan is only isolating those who had mistakenly thought he was the country’s great white hope. On its own, the demand that the Prime Minister of Pakistan should resign because some of his close family ...

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A dispute over water, a lifetime of war?

When the Indus Water Treaty was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Ayub Khan in September 1960, President Eisenhower described it as the, “One bright spot…in a very depressing world picture.” Only eight months after independence, in 1948, India had first begun diverting water from the Pakistani canal system emanating out of the Indus water system. After about a decade of conflict over water (which also saw the two countries reject a proposal for unified basin development that would have brought Pakistan and India together in many ways), it fell to the newly installed military regime in Pakistan and Jawaharlal Nehru in India ...

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Did the 1965 war make Pakistan stronger?

September 6th to me will always remain a day of remembrances of the following brave soldiers of Pakistan; Raja Aziz Bhatti, Sarfraz Raffiqui, Peter Christy and Younas Hassan. Through their ultimate sacrifice, they ensured that a superior invading force, which outnumbered Pakistan’s military forces, was decisively stopped from taking key cities like Lahore.  That Pakistan could hold India to a stalemate during the 22 day war was nothing short of a miracle brought about by the sheer bravery and an indomitable will of our fighting men – and in particular our magnificent little air force – which was outnumbered five ...

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A common Pakistani’s response to Happy Bhag Jayegi director’s open letter

Mr Mudassir Aziz, Proud Indian, Director of Happy Bhag Jayegi. Dear Mr Mudassir Aziz, I just read your open letter to Pakistan on The Quint regarding the unfortunate ban on your film Happy Bhag Jayegi in Pakistan. I am not the person in charge but merely a common Pakistani, for whose benefit you want to get the film unbanned. Let me say at the outset, that having successfully fought against the YouTube ban as a lawyer in the Lahore High Court, I am absolutely opposed to censorship of any kind. I believe any speech, no matter how offensive, should be allowed unconditionally. I recognise that this ...

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Who should be blamed for Punjab police’s inefficiency?

The big story in the news recently has been the kidnapping of children in Punjab. This year, as many as 767 children have been abducted from various cities of Punjab, including the provincial capital of Lahore. This means that 767 families have gone through hell this year.  Last year, the number stood at 1200 kidnappings. Bear in mind these are just the reported numbers. All this points to organised crime rampant in Pakistan’s largest and supposedly most secure province. What, one must wonder, is the Punjab government doing and where are its law enforcement agencies, especially the police? A word about ...

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When did Pakistan change from being a liberal country to a fundamentalist one?

When and how did Pakistan go from being a moderate Muslim majority country to a fundamentalist society within a relatively short span of time and is this trend irreversible? Pakistan emerged out of a Muslim nationalist movement organised around the group identity of the Muslims of British India. It was led not by cultural relativists in flowing robes, but by modern Muslim men and women, most of whom felt that they could reconcile their faith with modernity. Jinnah’s objectives in any event were to create a united Muslim voting bloc within united India and his demand for a Muslim majority ...

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Who killed Fatima Ali Jinnah?

Fatima Jinnah, the sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and Pakistan’s first woman presidential candidate all the way back in the 60s, remains a mystery for the nation, both in her life and her death. Her portrayal in various biographies of Jinnah, as well as popular fiction, has either been ambivalent or even net negative.  The recently released Indian novel, Jinnah often came to our house, portrays her as a spoilt child and an overall malignant influence on Jinnah, instrumental in turning him from a leading light of the Indian independence movement and ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity to a dogged separatist ...

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