Can I give charity to a thief, a prostitute or a rich man during Ramazan?

Pakistan is internationally known for many things; the surge of extremism, the footballs we supplied to the World Cup; for an often exaggerated emphasis on the miseries of its people. But it is lesser known for being one of the most charitable nations in the world. It is amazing how much the people of this country give and share. The sense of giving back to one’s community is deeply ingrained in our system. We give whether we are rich or poor. We share whether we ourselves have enough or not. If you are in Pakistan in Ramazan especially, on every signal you will be handed over boxes of dates and ...

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A woman was stripped naked by Indian officials in Kashmir. And we will blog about it. Again. In vain.

On June 19th 2008, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that included the following statement: “Rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.” The resolution also mentions, “Women/girls are particularly targeted by the use of sexual violence, including in some cases as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instil fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group.” Just a few years later, circa 2015, in Indian-occupied Kashmir, a woman was stripped naked by five men – including one army official. It was the district of Udhampur ...

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Can fundamentalism in Pakistan be traced back to madrassas?

In Pakistan, certain madrassas have a knack for producing terrorists. The government is aware of this yet it does not have a consistent stance regarding such madrassas. After the Peshawar school attack in December, the government made it a priority to regulate madrassas, but when the information minister, Pervaiz Rashid, spoke out against them last month, not a single member of government publicly supported him. This conflicting treatment did not happen overnight. Fundamentalism in Pakistan can be traced back to Former Prime Ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Ziaul Haq who wanted to ‘Islamicise’ the state. Zia’s 1979 education policy highlighted the priority to ...

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No, Zaid Hamid isn’t getting Saudi lashes. Not yet

It is hard for most people to condone the lashings that Saudi Arabia gives out in the form of justice. But when it comes to Zaid Hamid, the first thing that comes to mind is not the barbarism of the image of a man getting 1,200 lashes. It is the irony of the exercise - a bit like falling into a ditch dug by oneself. Since it is Zaid Hamid, nothing will be straightforward. To begin with, the red-cap loose cannon was arrested in early June, but the news came out only on June 25th. Consequently, various Pakistani media outlets reported on July 1st that he had been ...

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The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) warned us of the ISIS

In separate attacks last week, ISIS terrorists killed 39 tourists at a beach resort in Tunisia, and close to 30 worshipers at a Shia Mosque in Kuwait. The onslaught came shortly after the group called on its militant jihadi sympathisers to expand operations in the month of Ramazan. ISIS has demonstrated an unflinching determination to take out anyone who dares to disagree with it. Its members have slaughtered Yazidis and Christians, but the vast majority of its victims have been Muslims who resist it and refuse to acknowledge its authority. ISIS has even executed Sunni clerics who refused to swear ...

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Suffering from Asthma? Here is why inhalers should be your best friend!

Asthma is a rapidly spreading disease around the world, including Pakistan. The number of Asthma patients in Pakistan has increased to seven million, out of which two million are children. There are 300 million Asthma patients around the world and this figure is predicted to rise to 400 million by 2020, if preventive measures are not taken. Asthma has no permanent cure and the victims have to live with the disease for the rest of their lives. There are many suppositions on asthma but as a patient of this disease myself, I can surely say that many of those assumptions are false. My battle with ...

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Mass graves and the filth that is our government hospitals

The sun was at its zenith and the temperature and humidity were at its peak. Karachi, the city of lights, has been a victim of a severe heat wave which has resulted in the loss of more than a thousand precious lives. Unfortunately, the occurrence of such natural disasters highlights the dire situation of relief and care facilities available to the mass populace of Karachi. They say you can’t take nature head on when it decides to wreak havoc on us. But the least we can do is take preliminary steps to minimise the damage it may cause. Unfortunately, our government has been reactive rather ...

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If Michelle Obama can do it, why not Reham Khan?

The role of the First Lady in the US has continued to remain very prominent, active, and vocal over the years. It won’t be wrong to say that any national leader’s wife’s involvement with key social and cultural platforms helps to create positive vibes regarding his sincere commitment to the people who elected him. Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama further strengthened her already strong ties with the community at large by supporting the ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative that champions for the global education of girls. Assuming a leading position in the educational campaign developed by the USAID, US Agency for International Development, Mrs Obama hopes to ...

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When fasting becomes a sin

It was the October of 2005, during the month of Ramazan, when a devastating earthquake claimed close to a hundred thousand lives in the north of Pakistan, and injured just as many. I had the opportunity to serve the victims of this tragedy in the Kashmiri city of Bagh. Of the many things I vividly remember is caring for some men and women with life-threatening injuries who refused treatment because they were fasting. They considered it a grave sin to break the fast. As a medical professional, this was especially frustrating for me. Similarly, we have all come across pregnant women who suffered ...

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Over 400 dead in Karachi and yet we have no plan of action

More than 400 people have died in Karachi since yesterday, due to the deadly heat wave that has laid siege over the city. That’s more than 400 homes struck by tragedy for no apparent reason. That’s more than 400 lives simply wasted away because the local government had no system in place for such a calamity. But then again, when was the last time that we had a system in place for anything? Even in this recent tragedy, chaos ensued. Even hospitals around the city were not equipped to handle the commotion. Jinnah Hospital ran out of ORS and clean drinking water because of the ...

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