Talking out loud – Islam needs a reboot

At the very outset, let me clarify that I am neither a religious scholar nor do I have disciplined knowledge about the Muslim faith. The views expressed in this article are purely based on the perspective that one has developed over the course of the past many years. This is by no means a critique of a faith that millions of folks all over the world follow. To begin with, as paradoxical and contradictory it may sound, amidst all this opulent irreverence, the Muslims claim that there is a ‘back-to-religion’ movement the world over, as a reaction to the incessant indulgence ...

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My beautiful boys, my murderers

“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.” – Carl Sagan “We killed our mother because she was supporting them.” Read those words. Read them again. In fact, keep on reading them until you can find even the slightest hint of humanity in them. After all, they are the words from a son about his own mother. I have been doing that, in a desperate attempt to find at least some common ground between myself and these people. This was the line that ...

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Another conspiracy theory, another anti-Malala day

Yesterday, when I was browsing through the internet, two headlines caught my attention. First was that of a terrible suicide blast in Nigeria that killed 47 students and second was of Pakistan Schools’ Federation observing anti-Malala day where they blamed Malala for supporting controversial novelist Salman Rushdie. A similar development took place last year as well when All Pakistan Private Schools Federation banned its members from buying Malala’s memoir claiming that it has anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan content. What is more disappointing than observing such a magnitude of falsehood which is going around in loops since a long time and we find these school federations projecting the same. ...

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Stem cell research and ethical dilemmas: How far have we come?

Stems cells are biological cells that have the potential to differentiate into many types of specialised cells in the developing stages. They are present in multi-cellular organisms. In several tissues, they mimic a type of internal repair system and they keep dividing without any restriction to serve the purpose of replacing other cells to keep the animal or person alive. The division of stem cell through mitosis creates a new cell that has the potential of either remaining a stem cell or becoming another kind of cell possessing a specialised function – like a red blood cell, a muscle cell or even a brain cell. Stem cells ...

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Maligning Islam in the name of blasphemy

Charred remains of two human bodies become a question mark on our humanity. Smoke that rises from their ashes is denser than one that clouds our judgment. It will not vanish into the air; it will instead taunt our silence forever. What burnt was not bodies, but the very fabric of our society. In the presence of the rule of law – as demanded by the Holy Quran and our constitution – blasphemy would be dealt with by the aggrieved party registering a case against the accused under relevant sections of the Pakistan Penal Code. A free and fair trial in a ...

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Refreshing our faulty memory: Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir go hand in hand

One of the main and often forgotten blunders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), during their different stints in power, is the sell-out of the hopes and aspirations of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. This is a historical fact, though the PPP tries to hide it as they are hiding other blunders as well, counting on the short memory of the public. But not all is forgotten and especially not forgiven; some of us do remember what happened in the past. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan had liberated themselves from the clutches of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir in 1948, declared accession to ...

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Karbala and universal truths

There comes a moment in our lives when we realise the ‘Great Truths’ around us and this happened to me a decade back in Amroha, Uttar Pradesh, India. I was taking part in a Muharram procession when I stopped to talk to a Sikh cloth seller. His shop’s porch was being used as a pulpit to read a eulogy of Imam Hussain (RA) and when it finished, I asked him why he allows the mourners to block his store’s entrance. “Syed Sahib, it is because of Hussain that we earn our living. If it was up to me I would ...

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Sexual harassment at LUMS, don’t blame the university!

A video of a woman walking the streets of New York City, getting hundreds of catcalls from men went viral around the world this week. The woman is followed, called all sorts of names, and her attention is solicited, but none of the men touch her. In Pakistan, instances of men “inadvertently” touching women are all too common. Girls are taught to ignore it, to avoid creating a ‘scene’. Not only does society silence the woman, our very laws discourage women from reporting cases of violence against them. Yesterday, news broke out of the Federal Ombudsman directing the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) to ...

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Drones, Pakistan’s worst kept secret

The current surge in drone strikes in FATA has reignited the infamous ‘drone debate’ and ‘Pakistan’s tacit agreement’ on intelligence sharing with the United States. Only a few months ago, Peter Bergen, a US expert on drones, had revealed that the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan may have finally come to an end. Not only Bergen, but even the current Nawaz-led PML-N government boasted of lobbying against drones and convincing the Obama administration to cease the strikes. Till June this year, one could believe these reports and revelations as there was a long hiatus in predator strikes. However, it was on June 11 when, negating such ...

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Pakistan’s fear of a local security check-post

Last month, Sajid, an engineering student from the University of Engineering and Technology, was shot in the head by a Frontier Constabulary (FC) constable. Different sources obviously claim different versions of the story. The security officials, however, have stated that Sajid refused to stop at the security check post after being flagged down repeatedly. The real story will only be revealed when an impartial investigation into the incident is conducted. Putting the validity of the versions aside, what concerns me today is the important ‘issue’, a daily ritual might I add, of passing through security check posts in the country. ...

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