Doing hash? Think again

During the first week of January 2014, I was surprised to read three different news stories about marijuana – Washington became the first American state to legalise sale of marijuana for adult recreational uses, Sahiwal police seized a truck carrying hash worth 650 million rupees and Uruguay is now the first country in the world to legalise marijuana trade.  Usually, anti-narcotic laws are not strictly enforced in Pakistan when it is comes to hashish (hash) and other drugs of the same family including marijuana (charas), cannabis, weed, garda and bhang. These drugs are widely available in Pakistan and almost anyone who wants them can get them from a local ...

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Is Islam better practised in the West?

Most people are very quick to point out the flaws and imperfections of Western lifestyle, citing promiscuity, free flowing alcohol, homosexuality, gay marriage and a free mixing of sexes as the main ingredients in its destruction and thus its aberration from Islam.  However, I personally think Islam is implemented in a much more effective manner in the West than it is in Pakistan. Why? Well for several reasons – the social welfare system, the cleanliness of streets, the unacceptability of discrimination, the freedom to practice your religion and a system which protects women and recognises their rights as commensurate with men. Social welfare By social welfare, ...

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Protection of Pakistan Ordinance: Always guilty unless proven innocent?

The government tightened the anti-terror legislation of the country last month, as President Mamnoon Hussain approved the Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO). It declares all peace-disrupting elements as ‘enemies of the state’ and states protection of life to be the state’s top priority. However, many clauses of the PPO remain controversial. One such clause is clause 14 on burden of proof which reads, “An accused facing the charge of a scheduled offence on existence of reasonable evidence against him shall be presumed to be engaged in waging war or insurrection against Pakistan unless he establishes his non-involvement in the offence.” The drafters of the legislation appear to be ...

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February 11, 2014
 Aalia Suleman
TOPICS

Don’t label me ‘Mohajir’

Being a first generation Mohajir might have felt like stepping into an exciting new territory full of adventures in reassertion of identity, a deeper assimilation into the national fabric and finding a voice in a country teeming with provincialism. However, as a second generation Mohajir reflecting over the three decades that have transpired since, it seems that these were nothing short of a fool’s dreams that at least I could have survived without. Objectively, I feel that having chased these dreams has actually left me more devoid in numerous avenues than empowered. Retrospectively, I find it hard to understand why we ...

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February 9, 2014
 Javed Hassan
TOPICS

Down memory lane: Peace talks have never been ‘peaceful’

“The Romans never allowed a trouble spot to remain simply to avoid going to war over it, because they knew that wars don’t just go away, they are only postponed to someone else’s advantage.” These wise words were spoken by Niccolò Machiavelli – the Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. According to historical documents, when the Jews revolted against the Roman Empire inspired by ‘religious fervour’, the Romans responded with an intensity rarely witnessed in ancient history. The campaign against the uprising reached its final stage in AD72 in the province of Judaea with the Romans advancing ...

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Pervez Musharraf: Defending a patriot from cowards and liars

Many people like to ask me questions about why I support former president Pervez Musharraf. As part of the questions, they like to pepper in the misinformation that the Pakistani media has presented to the public for consumption. During one such discussion on Facebook, I was asked the following: The question cum comment “According to you, Khalid Muhammad, what were the positives and negatives of Musharraf’s tenure? People consider him to be the reason for drones, missing people (Aafia Siddiqui), Bugti murder case, Lal Masjid, all that happened to Pakistan after 9/11 (and) the current shortfall of electricity and gas. Suicide bombing took ...

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Protection of Pakistan Ordinance: A legal pass to abduct, torture and kill?

“Kaleemullah, 22, was coming out of a mosque in Kallar Syedan near Rawalpindi in June last year when personnel of an intelligence agency allegedly took him away. Son of a retired Khateeb of the army, Younis Farooq, Kaleemullah was found dead in a hospital in Chakwal on Jan 1.” This news was published in newspapers on January 26, 2014. Initially, it was yet another addition to the list of missing persons and the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry pushed secret service agencies to produce the abducted in court. However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised earlier that he would solve the missing persons ...

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The Taliban must not be painted as violent savages

“You have no option but to take direct military action.” This was the advice given by John F Kennedy’s top military aide at the height of the Cuban missile crisis which brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war. The future of the world hinged on Kennedy’s acquiescence. After the Second World War, global politics were dominated by the political, ideological and power clash between the Americans and the Soviets. Communists were painted as violent savages to the Americans who were made to fear communism. However, the idea of communism gained ground in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union grew as a global superpower. Following ...

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If you are reading this, you are part of the 0.1% elect few

Greetings! If you are reading this blog, you are a part of the ‘elect’, the fortunate ones in this great country of un-equals. Let me tell you something more about yourself. You are able to read in English and hold a conversation in the language and this very ability makes you one of the privileged ones: out of a population of nearly 200 million, only six million Pakistanis are able to afford a daily newspaper and out of this tiny number, a further 60,000 happen to read the English ones. A strong correlative factor determining your present status is that you went to a good private school ...

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I left the US because of their hatred towards Muslims… this is my story

I was born in 1982, in the beautiful American city of San Jose, California. A proud patriotic Muslim American, my dad would decorate our house with lights every Fourth of July. Fast forward to the year 2001, when I got admitted to one of America’s top medical schools – the Harvard Medical School in Boston. Moving from San Jose was hard. I stayed in the dorm. Every morning, when I went to take a shower, I saw a sticker on one of the bathroom mirrors on my floor that said, ‘Whoever is a friend of the Muslims is a traitor of Christianity and ...

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