Is Nawaz Sharif trying to prove he is above and beyond the law?

Last year’s Panama Paper leaks not only exposed the truth behind the corrupt and swindling ways of Nawaz Sharif but also the person he really is. It turns out that behind his false facade of being a selfless father, husband and brother, Nawaz is really nothing more than a self-involved actor who took our country for a ride. Furthermore, he claims to love nothing more than his countrymen and is quick to rise from the ashes like a phoenix (despite being ousted repeatedly), when this is anything but true. Last week, in a great twist of irony, Nawaz finally decided to take us on ...

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Why weren’t other religious minorities forced to videotape their Independence Day celebrations in India?

As if ghar wapsi programs and beef lynching was not enough, madrassas in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) have been told to celebrate the Indian Independence Day with great fervour and patriotism. And to prove that their students are very good and patriotic citizens of India, those who manage Indian madrassas will have to submit videos of how they celebrated the patriotic day. Of course, it shouldn’t surprise us, since after the appointment of a rabid anti-Muslim like Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister of India’s largest state (with a large Muslim population), killings of Muslims suspected to have eaten beef have increased. Now, ...

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70 years of independence for Pakistan, zero years of independence for its women

Seventy years of independence today. I’m sitting here, trying to sum up what that means for me. There are too many things that encompass this day. There are too many ways to go about it. It’s 1947. Your grandfather is fighting for his life on a train that has no food. He is holding your father tight in his arms. Your great grandmother is leaving behind her house, her jewellery, her life, to run to a place she never wanted to go. You are not yet in the picture. You have not experienced the hardships. You came when it had already ...

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Why the only face-saving way out for the US is a complete military withdrawal from Afghanistan

To quote the Chinese proverb, “He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves – one for his enemy and one for himself.” Afghanistan is in a state of utter chaos. Unless there is a drastic change in the current Afghan strategy, this proverbial ‘graveyard of empires’ seems set to add the United States in the list of countries that failed to control this area. Donald Trump’s aggressive policies on North Korea and Syria have shown that he is not a man of dialogue or negotiation. Thus far, he has followed the militarist route for resolving international issues, with little to no success to show for it. After Trump’s election, the US ...

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The “homecoming” rally serves no purpose to anyone except to stroke Nawaz Sharif’s ego

Pakistan continues to be the playground for politicians. Fit or fat, fair or dark, politicians of all caste and creed continue to make a mockery of Pakistan and its people. What is this democracy they tout when the only choice they give to the people is themselves? As was evident from Imran Khan’s dharna and now Nawaz Sharif’s rally, our leaders seem to care more about touting their own horns and publicising their victimhood instead of helping the masses. Nawaz started towards Lahore on Wednesday afternoon, as if he were a king receiving an amicable send off from a grateful nation ...

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India boycotting Chinese goods is like cutting your nose to spite your face

As the standoff between the Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam in Bhutan continues, the clamour to boycott Chinese goods in India is rising. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has organised a 15-day ‘Boycott Chinese Products’ campaign.  The RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, says the nationwide campaign is to raise awareness against using Chinese goods. The Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), an RSS affiliate, claims that the campaign has received huge support. A rally has been planned on October 29th at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan to conclude the campaign. For some, boycotting Chinese goods is now the ultimate way of proving his or her credentials as a nationalist. And nationalism, with its twisted ...

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Bhutto to Bhutto, Sharif to Sharif: This is Pakistan and blood (nepotism) is thicker than water (meritocracy)

“Tum kitnay Bhutto maro ge? Har ghar say Bhutto niklay ga.” (How many Bhuttos will you kill? A Bhutto will come out of every house). Truer words may have never been spoken. After Benazir Bhutto’s untimely demise in 2007, political analysts feared the Bhutto legacy and lineage may be severed for good. But lo and behold, we saw Bilawal Bhutto Zardari emerge from the shadows and pushed to the forefront of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Party stalwarts may never have imagined the English-speaking, Oxford graduate to take up a position which may very well have been better suited for someone more ...

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Rasm over rights: Why is the nikkahnama woven with inequality towards women?

Shaadi (marriage) is perhaps the most cherished tradition in Pakistani culture, a gathering of levity and simultaneous importance and an event which many deem to be the most significant in their lives. For women in Pakistan, the latter is often the case since marriage bounds them to a contract that is deliberately created to disadvantage them. The institution of marriage has been weaponised by the male-dominated religious lobby in Pakistan to systematically disenfranchise women into a life that is decided by their significant other. The most integral part of this system is the nikkahnama (marriage certificate). For many married couples, the nikkahnama is at best an afterthought in the marriage festivities, ...

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If it’s unfair to believe an allegation, it is also unfair to doubt Ayesha Gulalai and call her names

A few months ago, I wrote an article where I pointed out that both the Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were promoting a misogynist culture. In the said article, I criticised PML-N leaders like Khawaja Asif and Javed Latif for spewing filthy language against women in rival political parties. I further argued that PTI was also indulging in the same practice as an overwhelming number of its supporters have repeatedly abused prominent women politicians and also public figures. I cited examples of Malala Yousafzai, Asma Jahangir, Reham Khan and Maryam Nawaz. I also wrote about how Dr Shireen ...

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Was Nawaz Sharif dishonest by virtue of not declaring something he could not know he was supposed to declare?

On July 28th, a three member special bench of the Supreme Court announced their judgment. This judgment was followed by a final order of the five-member larger bench, in the infamous Panama Papers case. Nawaz Sharif, the recently ousted prime minister of Pakistan, was declared dishonest and was disqualified from being a member of the National Assembly under Article 62(1)f of the Constitution. The judgment was always politically controversial even before it was authored and announced. Unfortunately, it has also become a legal controversy at the centre of which lies the all mighty and all powerful Article 62(1)(f). The late General Ziaul Haq, in his attempted ...

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