Stories published in February, 2015

“We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”

Was Obama mincing words when he refused to pin the ‘Islamist’ tag on to terrorism? His unequivocal statement that the war on terror was against people perverting Islam drew him a lot of flak from a predictable group who see the world as black and white, and discern no shades (not 50) of grey.  In any case, why would the West be at war with Islam when many Muslims are doing a pretty darned good job of it themselves? Look around, groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al Qaeda are painting towns, villages, cities, and actual battlefields red with blood; mostly of their own countrymen and ...

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Pakistan vs Zimbabwe: It’s time to pull up our socks, boys

If you’re dreading having a sleepless night right before your team faces Zimbabwe, there is either something terribly wrong with your team, you, or both. What will keep me up is not how well my team will execute its strategy, but if it even has one. When I first saw the list for the World Cup, I could not help but notice that the last of all pool games is slated to be played between Pakistan and Ireland. My instant fear – would this become a pre-quarter final round? My second thought – is it St Patrick’s Day by any ...

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16 photos that prove India and Pakistan are just the same

Conflict isn’t the only thing common to India and Pakistan. We are just like neighbours who might quarrel but always have each other’s back. We are like neighbours who may not be too happy with the noisy parties the other throws but who would still like to be a part of each other’s happiness. This article is an attempt to focus on the everyday, the little things which unite us as a people. Forgive me if I come across as stating the obvious. But sometimes, the best of us tend to forget the obvious. And then it’s always good to remember, and to ...

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Mr Spock, may ye live long, dear friend, and prosper, in eternity

The Star Trek series, as with all offerings produced in the ambitious 60’s and 70’s to define the newly construed sci-fi genre, attempted the most arduous task of instigating a solemn courtship; that between imagination and high-tech innovation (which was projected to arise in the future). These emphatic productions, both in print and electronic media, called upon people to stretch their neurons, and envision a world of endless possibility; where advancements in technology enabled mankind to solve its most fundamental, age-old maladies – such as aging, warfare, disease, as well as lack of unity. Photo: Star Trek ...

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Mr Prime Minister, do you support religious bigotry?

Dear Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, I hope this letter finds you well. I am sure you are busy; so let me cut to the chase. You know well that Pakistan’s Ahmadi community has long faced the wrath of extremist religious clerics. Despite succeeding in hijacking Jinnah’s vision, and pressurising the state into incorporating anti-Ahmadi bigotry into the Constitution and law, these clerics have continued to demonise, spread hate and incite violence against the Ahmadis. The group currently at the forefront of this witch-hunt is Pakistan’s Khatam-e-Nabuwat organisation. Whereas this organisation claims to uphold the honour of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), it does everything under the sky against his ...

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Mews Cafe: An aesthetically delightful experience

Mews is one of Karachi’s newest and emerging cafés. Having had the opportunity to visit Mews prior to its opening, I was eager to go back and see what changes had been made to the café. Photo: Mushal Zaman Even though quite a few people have given negative reviews about Mews on Karachi Food Diary, regarding the service, reservation ordeals and exorbitant prices, I was eager to visit it again. Advertised as a hearty and wholesome restaurant, Mews has yet to disappoint me even after two visits. They have lived up to their self-proclamations. Driving by and seeing how busy Mews ...

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My interview with Misbahul Haq, Waqar Younis and Moin Khan

For the third time, I check my voice recorder to make sure the device is in operational order.   Yes, it is fine. Of course it is fine. I wipe away my sweaty palms on the fabric of my jeans and allow myself a few deep breaths. This will be the biggest interview I’ve ever conducted. I am sitting in a small conference room at the Pakistan cricket team hotel in Brisbane, Australia, waiting for captain Misbahul Haq, coach Waqar Younis, and chief selector Moin Khan. Determined to put my admiration for these three individuals aside, I try to focus. After all, a cricket ...

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It is not just the West, Islamophobia is on the rise in Pakistan too

Only when we thought Osama bin Laden was rotting in his grave and the West had started accepting us for our faith, Islamophobia struck again.  After the Charlie Hebdo attack of January 7th, the Denmark shootings of February 14th and the public flogging of Raef Badawi, a liberal blogger of Saudi Arabia, the West found grounds to fear Islam again. We see articles in the news about how the West is becoming cynical and alienating Muslims, and how a parking space issue can turn into a homicide because almost everybody in the West is either afraid of Muslims or angry at them. Like Mr Kashif Chaudhry, you too might believe that some Twitter ...

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May peace win

Al Arabiya: “An Iranian educational and exhibition centre has launched an international cartoon competition around the theme of Holocaust denial, in a response to the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) by the French Charlie Hebdo magazine.” Charlie Hebdo’s immediate publication of an issue of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) with a tear and a message of forgiveness, in response to the January 7 massacre, has fomented protests from Mali to Lahore. Iran came up with a Holocaust cartoon competition, and Pakistani lawmaker Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour offered a bounty to whoever can murder the owner of Charlie Hebdo. Then Copenhagen, in a parallel attack to Hebdo, saw another sociopath fire shots at ...

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Where has our religious freedom gone, Pakistan?

The intrusion of reactionary Islam into the Pakistani way of life is not a recent trend, at least for large sections of the country’s current youth. While not officially a theocracy like Iran, Pakistan is still an Islamic Republic and despite having a Federal Sharia Court, legal rulings are the responsibility of scholars who do not necessarily need to be clerics. In an environment such as that of modern day Pakistan, suffocating religious sentiments are quite common. When these religious sentiments are given the support of a legal framework, things take an even more suffocating turn. This is what has happened ...

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