In recent years, there have been growing concerns that Islam’s major problem, as well as the world’s, is Islamic radicalisation, since Islam is one of the major and fastest growing religions of the world. These concerns are being voiced in various countries and have yielded various reactions ranging from apologetic defence (whereby some of the western liberals interpret it as a ‘reaction’ to the US hegemony) to outright xenophobia. Radicalisation is a major problem and there is no question about its lethal potential to inflict harm in the form of religious extremism and terrorism. However, though present, it is not as widespread in the Islamic world as is ...Read Full Post
What better way of diverting attention from Donald Trump than by blaming Pakistan for all the ills of the world?
The world awoke earlier this week to another one of Donald Trump’s controversial insinuations. I call this an insinuation because the American president didn’t make any official statement himself, but had senior members of his staff hint at the possibility of his administration “hardening the line” against Pakistan. The revelation made to Reuters comes across as nothing new. Pick up any article printed in any paper from any country about the US-Pakistan relationship and you will find the exact same content, phrases, threats and arguments. It usually revolves around the US lamenting that Pakistan is not doing enough and is in cahoots with militant groups that are bent upon hampering the ...Read Full Post
The proposition that the currently under way China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is in fact a rebranded Chinese adaptation of the East India Trading Company is certainly fraught with massive inconsistencies. As has been prudently observed by many before me, it is highly unlikely that the Chinese state is going to use the garb of trade to forcefully occupy Pakistan, seize administrative control and establish a colony as a jewel in some sort of neo-Maoist Empire. Notwithstanding the ineptness of the Chinese at duplicating western artifacts, this might be a step too far, even for them. The simple corollary of these observations is that any attempts to draw a ...Read Full Post
Dear Murad Ali Shah, It is well known that if you want to get anything done in your province, you have to pay the right people. In most cases, the right people are the ‘baboos’ as they are the ones who can skilfully insert whatever you want in any document knowing that the person who approves it will do so without reading it. Sometimes, if a baboo is not paid anything or not paid what he wants, he can do the opposite; he can get a tax imposed or increased on a particular commodity or service. This is what seems to have happened in the recently announced Sindh budget. ...Read Full Post
When former General Raheel Sharif, shortly after taking office, started and pursued Operation Zarb-e-Azb against terrorists, the entire country applauded his efforts. Similarly, when Operation ‘clean up’ started in Karachi, large sections of the Urdu speaking population applauded General Sharif’s efforts despite the sometimes heavy handed tactics of the Rangers. This even included some long-time supporters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). The lawlessness and violence in the streets of Karachi had just become too much for everyone. If it took the dismantling of some formations of the MQM and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) (for example, the Aman committee) to bring it down, so be it. General Sharif’s single-minded devotion to his job and his statement that he will not ask ...Read Full Post
As is often the case in regional conflicts, outside players may feel compelled to toe the line of one of the parties. Thus, in the latest conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt (also known as the Saudi bloc), Pakistan finds itself walking a diplomatic and economic tightrope. That is, until the last few days, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told King Salman of Saudi Arabia that Pakistan will not be taking sides in the conflict. As this commentary will illustrate, I believe that this is the commendable choice as it is in Pakistan’s interest to remain neutral, if not lean, towards Qatar based ...Read Full Post
Last week, an anti-terrorism court in Bahawalpur gave 30-year-old Taimoor Raza a death sentence for allegedly blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on social media. The verdict left many stunned since it was the first time a death sentence has been given to someone for their actions online. Yet, despite it being a shocking legal decision, it was not a surprising one. At least not for those of us who have been keeping up with the country’s constantly evolving crackdown on its citizens’ cyberspace activities. For years now, activists, politicians, and journalists have bemoaned the many ways that Pakistan’s antiquated blasphemy laws can be abused. Whether it is ...Read Full Post
“The people who are trying to hold us accountable, listen closely. You shall not be spared.” These were the ominous words of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) leader and future candidate for villain in a Bond movie, Senator Nehal Hashmi. Hashmi was referring to the joint investigation team (JIT) which had been tasked by the Supreme Court to further investigate Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s financial holdings, which has been the subject of the Panama Papers controversy in Pakistan. It was slightly embarrassing for Hashmi that Nawaz asked him to resign from his senators seat for his comments. “The prime minister has declared Nehal Hashmi’s speech as an irresponsible one,” said ...Read Full Post
In the wake of the recent London attack, nearly 500 imams refused to offer funeral prayers for the terrorists responsible for the atrocity that took numerous innocent lives. While the British public was coming to terms with the tragedy in Manchester, only a couple of weeks ago, they woke up to another inhumane attack. And sadly enough, it was done in the name of Islam once again. The Muslim community in Britain has long been facing struggles in the name of culture and religion; they have been facing ethnic divides within the community itself, identity dilemmas and growing levels of anti-social behaviour amongst their youth. The two tragic events that ...Read Full Post
After replacing Babri Masjid with Ram temple, can the Hindus of BJP claim to be the owners of India?
The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) rose to national consciousness through the Babri Masjid agitation in the 80s and 90s. Through this movement, it laid the foundation for majoritarian politics in India. The victory of the BJP in 2014, where it got a majority in the parliament for the first time in the history of independent India, is the fructification of the campaign that started in the late 80s. The Hindu right-wing party wants to build a temple on the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. They claim it was built by the Mughal ruler Babur in the early 16th century on the place which is supposed to be ...Read Full Post