He was penalised for drinking water out of a well

O’ lord, my Lord, may I have my wage…? It is dark out now and my boys eagerly wait… It was a scorching hot day as I tended to your crops… I toiled all day as sweat rolled down in drops… I felt needles in my throat… my eyes burned with fever… I longed to sit in the shade and have a cool drink of water… I worked near the tube well, a lot of wood I logged… Yet I dared not quench my thirst for the fear of being flogged… I am not complaining O’ master… I have known the rules for ...

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Does the death penalty target criminals or the poor?

A damning report places Pakistan as third in the list of countries where the most number of executions took place in 2015, after China and Iran and before Saudi Arabia and the United States. In other compelling statistics, in 2014, the Global Slavery Index, Pakistan ranked third in a list of 167 countries where the problem of human slavery is most severe. In 2012, we had the most number of people (28 million) affected by war and conflict. Along with other South Asian countries, Pakistan ranks high in hunger and malnutrition statistics, with about 41 million people undernourished in the period 2014-16, a whopping 22 per ...

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You’re looking at Nawaz Sharif, but do you pay your taxes?

It is no secret that Panama, with its strictest financial secrecy rules on the planet, has been a long-time friend to crooks, dictators, corporations and the ridiculously rich. Turned into a tax and money-laundering haven in the 70s with the help of American banks, Panama’s financial laws remain extremely lax and welcoming. As a Panamanian lawyer put it in his 2014 VICE News interview, “When it comes to money laundering, we offer full service: rinse, wash, and dry. You can go to any law firm in the city, from the smallest to the biggest, and open up a shell company with no questions asked.” To ...

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Welcome to the game of drones

The US President, Barack Obama, acknowledged on Friday that civilians should not have been killed in drone strikes. He went on to say that the US administration is now cautious on striking where women or children are present. Gee thanks, Mr President. It took President Obama close to eight years to acknowledge this fact. Drones might be the third most annoying thing in the sky after mosquitoes and plastic bags caught in the breeze. Despite being a nuisance, the US president loves them. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, not only has he launched more than eight times the drone strikes his predecessor did, ...

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This post is about Autism, but are you even going to bother reading it, Pakistan?

Last year at the Harvard Ed School we ‘lit it up blue’ for Autism Awareness. We had blue lights on the buildings and people wore blue shirts in solidarity. A lot of my focus while in school was on education in Pakistan, and so as I walked by and saw the sea of blue, I wondered what might be happening back home on this day. The State of Pakistan I found some articles about autism in Pakistan on popular online news outlets and magazines. I wondered how many people actually clicked on the articles and read them. Someone else had obviously ...

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Why has Pakistan forgotten about the 2.5 lakh Pakistani refugees in Bangladesh?

A few years ago, I was travelling to Birmingham from London’s Marylebone Station. I sat with an elderly Asian who happened to be a Bangladeshi. During the course of our discussion, the tirade of the Fall of Dhaka came up. He suddenly became defensive, stating that Pakistan never wanted Bangladesh to be part of it from the get go. He began to justify his stance and he went on to mention Allama Iqbal’s blunt ignorance towards Bengali Muslims, whilst defining the territorial limits of free Muslim States, claiming that they would constitute the north-western frontier parts of India. He added that in 1948 when Jinnah, the father of ...

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Nawaz Sharif’s speech: It’s time the PM stops talking the talk and starts walking the walk

Following the March 27th Easter Day massacre of 72 people – mostly women and children – Sunni militant group Jamaatul Ahrar proudly claimed responsibility via this ominous tweet, “Let Nawaz Sharif know that this war has now come to the threshold of his home. The winners of this war will, God willing, be the righteous Mujahideen.” In turn, the PM appeared on live television with a comeback to remind these terrorists, “…that we are keeping count of every drop of blood of our martyrs (and) this account is being settled, and we will not rest till it is paid.” Within hours, reports poured in of the launch of an ...

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Is the Mughal Empire to blame for the schism created between Hindus and Muslims?

When we think of the Mughals, we immediately conjure images of artistic splendour, architectural grandeur, and military might. There is much to support the argument that the Mughal rule was the envy of the world at its peak with its efficient institutions, its system of Mansabdari, its large military, and its achievements in artistic and architectural design. The Taj Mahal, the Badshahi Mosque, Bibi ka Maqbara, Shalimar Gardens, the Deccan expeditions, the Rajput subjugation, the Maratha skirmishes – the list of accomplishments is as long as their tortuous and sometimes torturous reign. However, what classroom history often conveniently forgets is how different each Mughal ...

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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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