How many more of God’s children will die in the name of God?

Aaj kay naam, aur aaj kay gham kay naam Aaj ka gham kay hay zindagi kay bharay Gulistan say khafa Zard paaton ka band jo mera des hay Dard kee anjuman jo mera des hay Un dukhi maon kay naam  (To, this day and to its sorrows, To the day’s sorrows, cross with life’s overflowing garden, The thicket of yellowing leaves, This thicket of dying leaves that is my land, This assembly of anguish that is my land.) (Intisaab by Faiz Ahmad Faiz, translation by Mustansir Dalvi) The first time a person strapped on a bomb and stood in the middle of a public place and ...

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The problem with Vande Mataram and Hindu nationalism

There is a constant debate of whether Hindutva nationalism has mainstreamed in India or does it remain confined to the right-wing constituencies. Whatever may be the case, the Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen MLA Waris Pathan’s suspension, through a unanimous nod, by the Maharashtra Assembly is an indication that there is a thin line between Hindutva nationalism and Indian nationalism. For now, Pathan remains suspended for the entire budget session until April 17, 2016; for exercising his right to not to speak certain things that he didn’t want to say, as guaranteed by the Indian constitution. In the double irony – which seems to have become a hallmark ...

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This March 23rd, admit that you do not love Pakistan

I do not believe that patriotism and the expression of love for our country ought to be limited to just a couple of occasions like March 23rd or August 14th. Yet here I am, writing a piece for one of these very days, which is less of a celebration and more of a concern. I have said and heard the phrase “I love Pakistan” a million times and wondered what it really means. Love for the soil, the seas and the sand, for the land that is Pakistan’s territory? For me loving Pakistan is loving the people who belong to this country; my people. ...

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Why did PML-N let Musharraf go?

Those who had anticipated the former military dictator lingering behind bars, for monopolising power through unlawful acts for nearly a decade, are reminded of Manto’s masterpiece, Naya Qanoon. The story was written during the British rule in India in the midst of the promise of limited government under the Indian Act of 1935. Ustad Mangu, an ordinary, disillusioned tonga driver in Lahore attempted to test the new law by responding to racial discrimination. Mangu was arrested for beating an English man but kept screaming, “New constitution, Naya Qanoon!” The police retorted, “What nonsense are you talking? What Naya Qanoon? It’s the same old constitution, you fool.” Mangu was ...

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Who thought Nawaz Sharif would turn out to be a bigger liberal than Imran Khan?

Is this really Nawaz Sharif? The religious-right choked on their tea when Nawaz Sharif shared his vision of a more ‘liberal’ Pakistan during a speech to the international business community in late 2015. Some thought he misspoke. Others felt he was pandering. When hours later, in response to the anger, the Pakistani prime minister clarified his statement, it seemed like Nawaz was caving in. But, no. Over the course of his leadership, it has become clear that rather than deep frying, Nawaz Sharif believes in slow roasting a chicken. In this hyperventilating country, perhaps this is what Pakistan needs. Case in point: When Imran Khan ...

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In Pakistan, we have 13-year-old rape victims

The terrible news of a 13-year-old girl, raped and impregnated by her teacher in Larkana, Sindh, breaks the heart over and over again. The only good thing about this is that the teacher has been arrested, and has confessed to the crime (now that the child is four months pregnant). A powerful essay talks about how nobody in the government has taken notice of this case. Worse, the community blames the victim’s family for not protecting her “honour”. Supposedly they should have protected her “honour” by either never letting her go to school in the first place, or by killing her as soon as they ...

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Is Pakistan okay with its houbara bustards being hunted to benefit “foreign policy”?

Consider this:  1. A sovereign government – despite being a signatory to international treaties protecting endangered species – issues permits to Arab royalty to hunt an endangered species of bird within its borders as a way of staying on good terms with the royals. 2. Locals rejoice because thousands are employed to wait on these lavish expeditions of the royals, who, in turn, will finance the building of local hospitals, educational institutions, mosques and religious seminaries. This is what is currently happening in Pakistan. Although the construction purported to be financed is being questioned by some, Arab money is definitely benefiting some in the country ...

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Mustafa Kamal or MKUltra?

MKUltra was a top-secret Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) mind control program initiated in the 50s. It involved the use of drugs, chemicals and other sensory stimuli to breakdown an individual’s will. Other implications of the program included brainwashing and indoctrination, which would lead to the creation of sleeper agents to be used for ulterior purposes. Once you gain control of a subject, the possibilities are endless. On a larger scale, gaining control of peoples’ minds or the group mind depends on several factors most important of which is opinion leadership. When several individuals identify with each other in a personal relationship, they form a ...

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Imran Khan hasn’t carried balls since he stopped playing cricket

(Author’s note: Blog and blog title refer to cricket balls only. Puns not intended). Here we go. Another day, another Imran Khan statement reflecting a worryingly right-wing mind-set. This much is clear: Like the countless who voted for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) in the last General Elections, I shall not be voting for a political party that is full of so much hot air it should be floating around the world, that holds a country hostage through street politics, that is both outsmarted and manipulated, that consistently panders to the single biggest threat in the history of this country: the religious preachers. There is a ...

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This Women’s Day, our celebrations remain incomplete

There was a time when women would hide their bruised faces with layers of foundation, fake a smile and accompany the husband to a family dinner 20 minutes after being beaten. They would weep in the bathroom when everyone, including the children, had gone to sleep. They thought they were being good wives, upright mothers and chaste women by letting the hurt fester. And then, somehow, somewhere, things began to change. Around 102-years after the first observance of International Women’s Day that took place on March 8 1914, Pakistan’s women are ruffling some feathers. A recent Facebook post of a young woman posting ...

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