Altaf Hussain simply explained human biology. What was so vulgar about it?

Once again, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) supporters were quick to criticise Altaf Hussain’s recent speech – mostly on social media. The outburst obviously made me curious about the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief’s seemingly offensive words. I managed to find the speech in question from February 16, 2016, which he made to workers and office bearers at his party headquarter, famously known as Nine Zero. At about 9:30 minutes into the video, he began speaking about reproduction by quoting verse 13 of chapter 49, which is ‘Surah Hujurat’, of the Holy Quran. But what could be considered the most important part of his speech was ...

Read Full Post

Isn’t the Koh-i-Noor diamond better off with the British?

Just imagine, hypothetically speaking, that the British in their infinite wisdom and benevolence decided to return the Koh-i-Noor back to Pakistan, would we be able to maintain its splendour? Or keep it protected from theft? Or even protected from the corrupt hands of the numerous politicians who would be eyeing this as a ripe opportunity to rob Pakistan even further? In the hands of the British, at least we know the Koh-i-Noor is preserved and protected from any ill-intentioned parties. If Pakistan is not benefiting from the magnificence of the Koh-i-Noor then neither are the British. They have, after all, put it ...

Read Full Post

The tale of our globetrotting PM: Are we getting our money’s worth?

Since coming into power in 2013, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has spent 185 days of his 940 days in office outside of the country. In other words, between June 2013 and February 2016, the PM has made 65 trips abroad. This is in laughably stark contrast to the number of times PM Sharif has visited the country’s sovereign legislative body, the National Assembly: a miserly 35 times. While a cash-strapped Pakistan continues on the path of bailouts and loans from international lenders, the PM’s foreign gallivanting has cost the national exchequer upwards of an eye-popping 63.82 crore rupees. One could argue that ...

Read Full Post

Why won’t you let NAB do it’s job, Nawaz Sharif?

Dear Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Until recently, you had nothing against NAB investigating and arresting those who did not belong to your party. But recently you lost your cool and came down hard upon this organisation for “harassing government officers” and you said that you would “clip its wings”. Apparently, you did not want any investigation of corruption in projects like the LNG, Metro Bus, Orange Train and LDA City. Why? You may be under the impression that being in government gives you the freedom to do whatever you want and violate all or most of the rules. You seem to believe that ...

Read Full Post

Why has it become so acceptable to know English but not know Urdu?

“Humne Urdu k saath sautanon wala sulook kara hai aur almiya ye k ye samjhanay k liye bhi aik dusri zubaan ka sahara lena parega.” (We have always treated Urdu as a step-child and the worst part is, in order to fully understand our native language, we seek help from a foreign one.) It hits hard, doesn’t it? Sadly, what we never realise is that language is an art that breathes with those who breathe it. It matters not which language you speak, neither does is matter what your prowess is in the language, but what does matter is the respect any and all languages command. ...

Read Full Post

You know your state is failing if the poor pay taxes and the rich don’t

Skimming through the newspaper a few days ago, I read a front page news piece which shocked me. The piece stated that the elites are not paying taxes and that our tax system favours the rich. The shock was not at the findings of the Tax Reforms Commission (TRC) rather it was at the fact that it took the TRC a year and a half, and millions of rupees in research, to report something everyone knew from the beginning. When we already live in a system which promotes elitism and rewards it, why are we so surprised at the economic endorsements of this ...

Read Full Post

Today I have been recognised, not as a Hindu in Pakistan, but as a Pakistani Hindu

The delayed Hindu Marriage Bill has passed and as anticipated it will bring a shelter of lee and glimmer of hope for many Hindu couples confronted by matrimonial issues. In its absence young, innocent women have been forcibly converted to Islam, widows have led unprivileged lives and there is no way of proving their marriage to claim their inheritance, married couples have faced harassment since they have no certificate proving their nuptials, and newly wedded couples have endured separation waiting for difficult documentation required to apply for immigration. Why is the registration of Hindu marriages important? First and foremost it establishes that Hindus enjoy ...

Read Full Post

If you think the niqab is a choice, think again

In my recent article, ‘Our national dress is the shalwar kameez, not the niqab’, while examining countries in and around the geographical vicinity of the Middle East, I lamented the loss of cultural riches such as art, music, various religious festivities, as well as heritage sites like ancient temples and monasteries to a single fast-spreading inflexible ideology. To drive the point home, between a dozen countries, I compared various cultural garments with the full single-colour veil called the niqab, also known as the abaya or the burqa. The contrast was startling. On one end were 12 aesthetically delightful national dresses varying ...

Read Full Post

Why is Pakistan’s affluent class so ashamed of getting extra food packed at a restaurant?

“You are embarrassing me!” Said the husband, upset over the fact that his wife asked the restaurant staff to pack the left overs which included one kabab, three-fourths of a naan and a bit of chicken karhai. “But it will be wasted,” She smiled and even carried the large mineral water bottle that was almost untouched with resolve. It was a delightful dinner my family and I were invited to and this conversation between our host couple was all too familiar. There is the “what will people think” attitude associated with carrying home leftovers and in doing so we forget that edible, clean ...

Read Full Post

Is Valentine’s Day really something to get so worked up about?

There have been reports making rounds on social media that the federal capital, on the instructions of Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar, had banned Valentine’s Day in Islamabad. What followed was a mix of condemnation and congratulations from the two different sides of the coin; each one adamant that theirs was the right one. As a result, this reaction was followed by the Islamabad Deputy Commissioner denying that such an order had even taken place. Valentine’s Day will go ahead with full furor like it does every year; each restaurant, gift, flower and chocolate shop milking and capitalising it to the nth ...

Read Full Post