Dear Bilawal (Zardari), please read a newspaper so you know what Sindh is going through

Dear Mr Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, It has been reported that you are behind the move to remove some ministers in the Sindh cabinet and appoint new ones. Of course, this is nothing new, all over the world ministers are sacked and replaced if they do not perform satisfactorily. Usually what happens is that new and competent people are chosen to run the government. With all due respect, I, for one, feel that nothing will change by sacking some ministers and replacing them with others. The people of Sindh will continue to suffer due to the absolute lack of governance in the ...

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I, for one, am glad that General Musharraf was allowed to leave the country

It is embarrassing to admit it but when General Musharraf took over in 1999 through a bloodless military coup, one did support the aims and objectives he laid down in his famous seven point address. I, as a 19-year-old living abroad, was particularly thrilled by Musharraf’s invocation of Kemal Ataturk because I felt that only a military man like him could undo the damage done to Pakistan by General Ziaul Haq’s military regime in the 80s. All our hopes were dashed slowly but surely during the decade of Musharraf’s rule. The lesson to be learnt is that military rule follows ...

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Would you accept blood from a gay donor?

More than a month has passed since the Orlando shooting revealed an exploitable defect in American gun laws. What it also exposed, was a structural bias against a peaceful community that has existed for a long time. On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen – later identified as a young Muslim who was troubled by his own homosexual orientation – opened fire inside a nightclub, killing 49 innocent people. In the wake of this devastating attack, we’ve heard survivor accounts that challenge what we’ve been indoctrinated to believe regarding the alleged inhumanity of gay individuals. We’ve learned of ‘deviants’ who threw their bodies in ...

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Would justice be served if Waseem is eventually executed? Maybe, not.

One of Qandeel Baloch’s most important legacies will remain her defiant and glamorous take down of patriarchy through her bold and feisty performances. In the aftermath of her brutal murder, there has been renewed debate around the law against honour killing and its intersection with the laws of Qisas and Diyat. Many Pakistanis are deeply concerned about laws that bypass legal process for a problematic and potentially arbitrary settlement (and that too) for the most heinous of all crimes – murder or a murder for honour. Even more so, people are concerned that this case will hit trial, will end ...

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The only country ‘sponsoring terrorism’ is the United States of America

News is meant to be serious and, apparently, so are the legal proceedings attended by lawmakers. Unfortunately, in our country, parliamentary proceedings are exceedingly boring but funny; not because of the content but because of the kind of characters who inhabit our parliament. A great example is Shah Sahib’s sadness at the murder of Junaid Jamshed which sparked a round of hilarious memes. What tickles my funny bone even more is when lawmakers abroad have long discussions about something absolutely absurd or condemning actions which their country is itself involved in. A recent example of this happened last week ...

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No, Mr Dar, an amnesty is not the solution!

Dear Mr Ishaq Dar, It is reported that you have directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to call all stakeholders in the property sector to find a solution to a problem which is supposed to have been created by your government. What problem? Is it a problem to finally do something which should have been done long ago? It is in the supreme national interest to levy taxes on the actual value of properties, rather than on the (mis)declared low values. To give just one example, in DHA Karachi, taxes were levied at the rate of Rs1,650 per square yard, while the actual price of ...

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Why is Pakistan allowing an imam to call for jihad against our Shia community?

Immediately after the news of the suicide attack on Masjid-e-Nabwi was released on various TV channels, a local imam of the masjid next to my house thronged to the mike and made a thorny speech against Iran and Shias around the world. The infamous Jamia Masjid Abu Bakar Siddique also has several posters of banned outfits such as Jamaatul Dawa pasted outside its walls. The speech was full of controversies, conspiracies and hatred – and called to capsize the entire population of a minority Muslim sect in Pakistan. His open call for the Shia genocide was based on his logic that the suicide ...

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He was only a Buddhist by salutations, just like we are only Muslims by virtue of rituals

If you visit the Tiananmen Square at any given day, you’ll see hoards of people flocking around in large groups. Some can be seen led by a guide, others trying to find an inlet to the tunnels that lead to the main square, turning the entire landmark into a beehive. Besides being the womb of the People’s Republic of China where Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, the square also houses the Chairman’s mausoleum. On my 10 day visit to China, I found the Tiananmen Square to be the most religious of all spaces. It ...

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Will China ever allow India to be part of the Nuclear Suppliers Group?

Before the start of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) plenary session in Seoul on June 24, 2016, the word was out that China would not be supporting India’s membership into the NSG. China had exhibited a similar reluctance towards India’s bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Although China managed to stonewall India’s application, what came as a total surprise to them was that out of 48 countries, 44 countries openly supported its membership; evidence of India being recognised as an emerging global power. In fact, the Chinese negotiator was pulled up because of the unprecedented support India received at the meeting. Those who have been following ...

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Do we deserve to ‘celebrate’ Eidul Fitr this year?

“Chand nazar agaya! Ramazan Kareem! Kal se rozay shuroo.” (We can see the moon! Ramazan Kareem! Fasting begins tomorrow) Some spend the night before in prayer. Others clink glasses and prepare for the pause in self-induced inebriation. Others stock up on Rooh Afza and pakora mix. Some can’t wait to be put in a food detox in hopes that they will lose the last few pounds during the holy month. The others are scared those extra pounds will sneak up on them. Some prepare a week in advance, cleaning out their savings account so that the banks don’t deduct zakat fees that they are liable to ...

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