Fundamentalism: When a woman has to prove her ‘purity’ by balancing a rock on her head

August 2015 fell on South Asia’s shoulders as an overbearing weight and a massive shock – as preparations for Independence Day on both sides of the Pakistan-India border were underway. Pakistan’s largest child abuse scandal surfaced, wherein some 400 children had been victims to the perverted fantasies of sexually depraved men. There has been much debate and dissent as to what the rationale behind rape is, and everyone pretty much knows what drives a rapist to rape. What is more important to note here is the nonchalance of the police force and the deformed laws that govern the heinous crime that rape is. From across the border, ...

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Happy Birthday, Mother – When will you accept me as your own?

It was August 14, 1984. I was only two-years-old. My father decorated the veranda of our small house with lights and green buntings. My parents were excited, as were my elder brother and I. Though I was too young to remember, pictures of that day bring on a strong sensation of déjà vu. Yet, and sadly, before the following Independence Day, we had to leave Pakistan. Persecution, which gained momentum under President Ziaul Haq, forced many Ahmadis to leave for safer lands. Many Ahmadis were killed and their businesses looted.  The state, unfortunately, abetted the religious extremists by promulgating the notorious ...

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Perhaps India can take a few pages out of Pakistan’s poverty reduction playbook

I recently came across a blog titled ‘What’s Really Going on with income trends in India and Pakistan’.  The blog was written by a Pakistani economist working in the Washington office of the World Bank. I have known the author and have great respect for him as an economist and as a person.  However, it pains me to see that in this blog at least, excessive generalisations and selective analysis is presented to promote a political agenda. Nobody can deny the fact that for over a decade, India’s economy has been doing very well.  In comparison, Pakistan is having severe difficulties; partly due to ...

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Kasur child pornography: Knowing the difference between resistance and consent

I don’t curse. But this is a rare occasion where I would love to abuse the perpetrators of the Kasur children’s sexual abuse atrocity in the vilest possible terms. However, here’s the thing about cursing – If I curse, I would end up using words that revile their mothers, sisters, and use the same pile of filth in words that they actually went and committed by use of force, intoxication and blackmailing. So I would only be furthering the same thought process, where sex is connected with a position of power.  People who curse using sexual terminology are played into feeling a ...

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Iran nuclear deal is a battle between the US right-wing and President Obama

While travelling, a few days back, I was having breakfast at my hotel. Engrossed in my own thoughts, I heard a loud scream that prompted a bunch of folks to rush toward the pancake-maker. As I ventured to look through the mass of people, I discovered that a young kid of Persian origin, while trying to operate independently, burnt his little finger. This prompted an Arab, an orthodox Jew and a Caucasian to congregate and help the poor soul. As for me, I just stood there, wondering in awe if the same heart-warming dynamics can be applied to the real ...

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India’s nuclear program was aimed at China, not Pakistan

August 6, 1945 started as a normal Monday morning in the bustling city of Hiroshima, with people going about their daily activities as per usual. Just as the clock struck quarter past eight, all activity was brought to an abrupt end at the behest of the Enola Gay. A giant mushroom cloud dwarfed the city of Hiroshima, and swept it clean of life with an immense shock of energy. Almost 68 years after this tragic yet inevitable scene of death, destruction and devastation, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf demonstrated his chronic condition of dementia by once again bullying India. “We have not made the atomic ...

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Dear Senate, instead of new legislations, how about implementing the old ones?

What are thou going to do today, my lord? I am going to protect minorities in Pakistan. And how would thou protect minorities, my lord? By making new laws! But what about the old laws, my lord? Hmm, they are old and obsolete. How would thou save the new laws, my lord, from becoming obsolete? For that I need to form a committee! Recently, a Senate committee got together to discuss a fresh piece of legislation to help protect the religious minorities in Pakistan. After the killings of 1,456 Hazaras in Balochistan over a period of seven years and other minorities in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), the Senate committee on human ...

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The end of Afghan Basti: It was all they had

Last week, Islamabad High Court judge, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui ordered the removal of illegal settlements in I-11 area of Islamabad. The judgment summarised that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had allotted plots in the I-11 Sector, and therefore the settlements established there were violating the rights of the land owners and resultantly had to be removed. Strangely enough, however, the voters list of 1985 had the names of the inhabitants of the Afghan Basti (settlement) as eligible voters while the plots were allotted a year later in 1986. How could Afghans be registered voters? Well, it seems that the name is a misnomer because the population ...

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The question remains, why was Yakub Memon hanged?

The Supreme Court is an institution of the state. An independent Supreme Court does not mean that judges would not be cognisant of the political implications of their decisions. As the products of the society they live in, it would be unrealistic to expect the judges to make decisions devoid of any political, religious, or social influences. The Judicial Commission in Pakistan must have factored in the political ramifications of their decision, and the Supreme Court of India must have factored in the political ramifications of their decision while deciding Yakub Memon was to be hanged. Memon was pronounced guilty on September 12h, 2006 for ...

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What a newly dated early Quran tells us about Islam

For the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, the idea that the Holy Quran is a seventh-century text disseminated by Islam’s founder, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is neither new nor particularly controversial. But in academia, the history of this holy text is much more opaque. For researchers in Islamic studies, historical evidence dating the Holy Quran back to Islam’s foundational era has proved elusive. This has led to hotly contested academic debates about the early or late canonisation of the Holy Quran, with a small handful of scholars claiming that the book is a product of a much later (mid-eighth century and after) age of compilation ...

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