Religion and abortions do not make a pretty mix

Abortions and the Catholic Church have always been a very contentious issue. The formal stance taken by the Catholic Church is that abortions are completely disallowed and any pregnant woman whoever undertakes one is excommunicated, which requires the pardon of a bishop for it to be lifted.  It is a very serious offence amongst followers of the Catholic Church. In 2012, an Indian dentist, Savita Halappanavar living in Ireland, suffered a miscarriage and repeatedly requested an abortion, which kept getting denied. Doctors did not consider her to be in ‘medical’ danger, which is a prerequisite to obtaining a legal abortion. The lady’s foetus’s heartbeat ...

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Dear Zardari, you weren’t above the law in the 90s nor are you above it today

In his fiery and ‘courageous’ speech, followed by his ‘courageous’ exit from the country, Asif Ali Zardari seemingly tried to intimidate the country’s establishment in general and the army in particular. The speech was filled with direct and indirect attacks at, and threats to the Pakistan Army, apparently as a pre-emptive response to what followed. It was later that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) clarified that these accusations and threats were actually hurled at former army men and not ones currently in service. This was the first of many unbelievably lousy explanations put forth by PPP as part of a damage control exercise. Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) ...

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Does liberalism do more harm than good?

As a philosophy, liberalism is more inward looking and hence does not try to shift blame on the outside forces. By its orientation, it also does not have an overly negative assumption about human nature and consequently is not obsessed with crime and punishment. It believes in the rationality of humans and further assumes that human intelligence is capable of creating an artifice where ethnic, linguistic, and other such ‘natural’ differences can be accommodated without creating a rift. Its emphasis and belief on human rationality rather than instinct, logically lead it to being more fluid and progressive. Conservative points of views ...

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Is it compulsory to hate India, America and Israel, in order to love Pakistan?

A few days ago, I was sitting by the Indus River in Jamshoro, singing a patriotic song. Moments later, I noticed a fisherman who burst into laughter observing me. When I asked him why he was laughing, he said, “Saeen where is this Pakistan this song speaks of? Here, I don’t have the money to send my children to school or even shop for Eid. That aside, women are continuously killed in the name of honour, children are raped and such brutalities are recorded then sold. People are murdered because they belong to different sects or religions, be it Shias, Ahmadis, Christians etcetera. There’s no tolerance in this society. Hindus ...

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For PTI, it’s either ‘yes’ to by-elections or ‘bye’ to elections

Imran Khan had sought investigation in four constituencies to ascertain whether the General Elections 2013 (GE 2013)were rigged or manipulated. Election tribunals have ruled in favour of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Inshaf (PTI) in three out of four ‘sample’ constituencies handpicked by the PTI chairman. Imran also demanded for the formation of a Judicial Commission (JC) to probe rigging in the GE 2013 on an overall basis. A JC was formed and no rigging or manipulation was proven. In its report, the JC rejected all allegations of planned rigging but pointed out grave irregularities by the Election commission of Pakistan (ECP). Of the three election tribunals that ruled in favour of PTI candidates, ...

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The real politics behind India cancelling talks with Pakistan twice in a year

There is no doubt about the fact that a well-planned policy is behind the cancellation of the India-Pakistan talks twice within one year on the same issue.  It has nothing to do with peace at the border but politics at home. Narendra Modi initiated a mandate in 2014, but within one and half years, the sheen of his governance has started coming off. There is nothing on his plate to show that during his regime, the economy would take a radical upward shift, a promise which he made to the electorate before becoming the premier. He managed to win a large chunk of the rising Indian ...

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Is Pakistan bold enough to give sex-offenders the death penalty?

A recent verdict of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has laid appropriate emphasis on the award of both criminal and civil compensation for rape victims. In the contemporary judgment of Nadeem Masood vs The State, Justice Anwarul Haq, while invoking Section 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), not only sentenced the convict to 20 years of imprisonment but also ordered the offender to pay compensation of Rs0.1 million to the victim and another one million rupees to the child born out of the rape. This judgement, however, comprises part of the population of less than five per cent of Pakistan’s rape cases that actually ...

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Should Afghanistan, India and Iran always blame Pakistan for their own mistakes?

It’s nothing but ironical that I’m writing this blog on the latest (if not the greatest), all intensive, simmering hot issue of yet another AfPak entanglement right around the time when one of the chief architects of Pakistan’s Afghan’s policy of the 80s-90s, General Hamid Gul, bade farewell to the world. The general, a villain to some and a hero to others, was by all means a controversial figure, one who left a deep impact on the regional politics for years to come. So when I hear the current crop of Afghan leadership screaming their lungs out with ferociously unsavoury, emotion-laden statements pointing fingers at the Pakistanis for ...

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When the ‘city of lights’ turns into the ‘city of survival’

Karachi will endure not just because it has to, but because its inhabitants refuse to call it quits and give in to the face of adversity, for it is the people that define Karachi, and their resilience in essence embodies the spirit of Karachi. Karachi belongs to all of those who seek refuge beneath its bruised and battered but bountiful shade, irrespective of what walk of life they come from.  Karachi is not just owned by the political parties that represent it in the provincial or federal echelons, rather, it is owned by its people. We blame the politicians that they’re not doing enough to quench the violence happening daily ...

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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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