Why do I have to tell anyone if I am Shia or not?

The natural course of policies made in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always had a negative tilt towards the Shia Muslims of the world. Having the privilege of hosting Islam’s most sacred place of worship, they have monopolised the Islamic faith and exploited the concept of pilgrimage as much as possible. After years of exporting its ideology to Pakistan, and many other countries across the Middle-East, and creating fissures in society, the kingdom took it up an ante – since proxy wars may not always be feasible – they have created divisions even in the unifying act of ...

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#LabourDay: Is Pakistan doing enough for its labourers?

International Labour Day is being celebrated today almost everywhere around the world in various ways – some enjoy their holiday at home; some people celebrate it by organising rallies, while television channels arrange special talk shows and programs for paying tribute to the labourers. But the question is, should that be it? What is the working class labourer getting out of all these celebrations? What benefits are they receiving from rallies and talk shows? The amusing part is that the actual labourers don’t even get a holiday on Labour Day, let alone its benefits. I mean, they are paid a tribute; what else could they want? They ...

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A C-section does NOT make you “less of a mother”

Last night, as I browsed the internet, a ridiculous statement at Inquisitr caught my eye. “C-section makes you less of a mother, says Pastor Patrick” Not only did I find his statement extremely offensive but it also reminded me of the sarcastic remark a ‘new’ grandmother once gave, whom I had met at a hospital. “Hum ne toh bohat takleef se bachay paida kiye tha. Aaj kal toh larkian dard se bachnay kay liye jhutput C-section kera ke farigh ho jati hain.” (We endured a lot of pain during our time while giving birth. Nowadays, girls opt for C-sections just to avoid the pain.) Her daughter-in-law had just given ...

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How much Indian civilian nuclear activity is safe?

Once again, democracy is open for renovation, and frosty relations are back on track after prolonged negotiations. Earlier, only Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatories and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) were allowed to carry out nuclear trade. As a student of nuclear and strategic studies, I feel India has been able to strike a nuclear deal without abiding by the rules set out for other countries by the international non-proliferation regime. While democracy remains but a show, and power but a spectacle for the people to behold but not wield, this nation will remain handcuffed by favouritism. The Harrods sale of ...

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As a citizen of Pakistan, I demand to know more about Balochistan

Back in 1998, while living in Quetta in our cosy cantonment apartment, I had known little about what this province in the southwest of Pakistan is facing. For me, it was more about exploring the rugged mountainous terrain of the largest province of Pakistan, enjoying the juicy apples and cherries, and experiencing the melting of snowflakes on the palm of my hand during winters. Back then I didn’t know that for 60 years this region has been a battleground. Even today many people living in other provinces of Pakistan do not know about the on-going conflict. Mostly because whenever somebody tries to talk ...

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An open letter to Pakistan’s leaders: One more nail to the coffin

Sabeen Mahmud was brutally murdered yesterday, and with her, yet another flame in the vast darkness of our land extinguished. For those of us who had the pleasure of knowing her, she was genuine, warm, and always open to dialogue and everything we wish Pakistan would be known for globally. She died shortly after hosting an open forum on Balochistan with, among others, a voice the government did not allow to speak at LUMS. With her death on your watch, we continue to be known instead for all the illiterate brutality, intolerance and narrow-mindedness that exemplifies the short-sighted policies of politico-religio-military convenience/expediency of ...

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Modi-Obama or Nawaz-Jinping: Which should be worried?

We are lucky to have a neighbour like the People’s Republic of China, a country which has always stood with us unconditionally. I have always been fascinated with our relationship with them. While the Chinese president’s visit to Pakistan is making headlines these days, I feel that we should revisit our historic relationship and the strong bond we have developed so far. Pakistan was the first Muslim country which accepted China in 1950 and ended diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Then, in 1962, the Sino-Indian border conflict took place, which laid the foundation of a strong friendship that was to change the course ...

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Will running for local government elections help the Christian community in K-P?

Amid all the hoopla of the Chinese premier’s visit to Pakistan, individuals belonging to the Christian community have filed nominations papers for the first time in Dir District, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) for the upcoming local government elections. Both news items are not linked, but both are significant. While commentary on minority rights in Pakistan has a large presence on social media, it is slowly creeping into everyday dialogue too. And even though the focus on this issue is not as profound as it should be, every step forward is a step in the right direction. It is, however, unfortunate that what pushed the Christian community ...

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How can India justify killing a 16-year-old Kashmiri?

I am enraged. And I am sure there are thousands of Kashmiri youngsters who are just as enraged as I am, for another young member of our ilk has been killed in cold blood. Suhail Sofi, aged 16, was killed in cold blood by the Indian police, while he was protesting against the deaths of two youngsters in Tral and the subsequent arrest of Masarat Alam, senior Hurriyat leader and pro-freedom activist. The message is clear by the Indian establishment – if one of your people is killed, you are expected to stay quiet and move on, and if you choose to ...

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Milord! But which one?

On December 17, 2014 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lifted a seven-year moratorium on executions, after the Taliban killed more than 150 pupils and staff during an attack at the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar. Subsequently, Pakistan’s Parliament passed a constitutional amendment that allows a parallel system of military courts to try terrorists – it was argued that a weak civilian judicial system had failed to bring militants to justice. Conversely, on April 16, 2015, the Supreme Court of Pakistan suspended death sentences passed by the new military tribunals, until it rules on the legality of the sentences concerning six militants who would have otherwise imminently ...

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