Banning the niqab in Britain: How very Taliban of you

A recent ban on the niqab, introduced at the Birmingham metropolitan college, has sparked huge controversy among the communities in Birmingham and across the United Kingdom. Over 9,000 students across the UK signed a petition against this decision made by the college administration. While a large number of political activists have condemned the decision, College Principal, Dame Christine Braddock DBE, described the ban as promoting robust equality, diversity and inclusiveness. She further stated that she is committed to ensure that students are provided with a safe and welcoming learning environment whilst studying there — a truly ‘British way of life’. I ...

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Of justice in India and Pakistan: Shahzeb Khan and Nirbhaya

There’s a quote by George Bernard Shaw that I love throwing around when I’m trying to prove a point – most points, actually. Most things I want to say or do are defined within these few short lines as said by one of the most iconic playwrights of the past century; “There are two kinds of men in the world. The reasonable man and the unreasonable man. The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man adapts the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” In India The courts of India, while understanding that the people ...

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“Democracy is the best revenge,” President Zardari’s legacy

I can say with some confidence that President Zardari’s legacy will be written in golden words. I don’t say this as his son, or patron-and-chief of the Pakistan People’s Party – but as a student of history. I would compare his presidency to that of America’s Lyndon B Johnson (LBJ). He too was an accidental president. He came to power following the assassination of the popular and charismatic John F Kennedy. Much like Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto, JFK was assassinated before he could implement much of his agenda and vision for the country. LBJ used the political capital he gained following ...

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Why I do not care about teaching my toddler about letters, shapes and colours

How many adults do you know that can’t read, can’t draw a circle or can’t identify colours? Honestly, you may be able to think of one or two in your life. Statistically, one in seven adults has issues with reading and writing. So this is not an issue to completely forget about, but if you are reading this blog, chances are your child will not be one of these children. This statistic mainly comes from very impoverished and neglected children and these adults will need far more than basic grammar skills to function in life. So what’s your rush to get your toddler to ...

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Was the creation of Pakistan a mistake?

Over the years, I have come across many people who believed that Pakistan should never have been created. Keeping today’s lawlessness and corruption in mind, I often feel that they are indeed right. However, amongst the many reasons given to me by such individuals for Pakistan being a mistake, one of the most prominent is that had India not been divided then, Muslims today would have been the largest religious group in the subcontinent. Such statements are misguiding as these people are misinformed. Currently the population of Muslims in the subcontinent is 510 million, with roughly 180 million each in Pakistan and ...

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September 5, 2013
 Tooba Khalid
TOPICS

Have the British Council and CIE become moneymaking machines?

Recently, the British Council of Pakistan dropped an email saying that I was required to visit its office to collect my Cambridge International Examination (CIE) certificate. As the scheduled time clashed with my university hours, it was almost impossible for me to go myself. However, when my mom called the office to ask if she could come and collect it for me instead, the person answering the phone said, “No. Your daughter will have to come and collect it herself. We need her identification card. We are not dispatching the results this year.” I had no choice; I direly needed my ...

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You won’t hire me because I am … old?

After leading an active life, I suddenly find myself ‘shelved’ because of the age factor. True we all come with a predetermined expiry date, but until that date and time comes, to be ‘shelved’ because of the age factor is difficult to accept. Trying to get a job is next to impossible simply because no one wants to employ an old person for a good salary when the employer can hire two for the price of one. So, years of experience that one banks on, is of no consequence, and all your contacts are in your age group, so what does one ...

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Why Pervez Musharraf is Chitral’s hero

Despite the boycott of the 2013 general elections by the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), the party managed to get two seats (one national and one provincial) from the constituency of Chitral under special permission to contest the elections from its party’s president, Pervez Musharraf. This victory for the APML in Chitral proved yet another time that the common people never forget leaders who give prime importance to their demands and are keen to serve the people at all costs. Chitral is a far-flung area in the north of Pakistan with scenic beauty and breath-taking picnic spots located all over the ...

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Bring the Army to Karachi!

Recently issued statements by the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain and the subsequent debate on the floor of the National Assembly have brought forward a plethora of concerns for citizens of Karachi. The ruling party, Pakistan Peoples Party, instead of giving hope and a plan to stabilise the worsening law and order situation in the city, has started pointing towards the 30-year-old violent history of this beautiful port city. Instead of showing resolve to eliminate criminal elements, the information minister for Sindh government, Sharjeel Memon, accused the MQM of hatching a conspiracy alongside the Pakistan Army. Allegations are ...

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Our damaging obsession with F-16s

While there seem to be fewer reasons to honour our national holidays with each passing year, it’s always heartening to watch patriotic songs being played on every TV channel upon these days. The heart-warming lyrics and mesmerising tunes make us feel proud to be part of this great nation and remind us of the huge sacrifices made by our forefathers. Yet, these songs also bring to the forefront a certain kind of sadness along with feelings of desperation and hopelessness, like a loved one has tragically passed away. The videos of many of these patriotic melodies seem to be made with ...

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