FCR: Man playing god with the people of Fata

FATA is home to approximately 10 million people. These people may be called ‘Pakistani’ citizens, but the reality is – they are not. Even after 67 years of independence, despite being a strategic part of Pakistan, the constitution of the country simply does not apply here. Why? Good question. What is worse is that the laws that do, in fact, apply are a set of colonial laws formulated and enacted by the British more than a century ago! Some of these date all the way back to 1893, when the Durand Line was drawn by colonialists. A single visit to Fata will demonstrate ...

Read Full Post

Is Imran Khan being ‘democratically correct’?

The political storm that has stirred in Islamabad has left many stunned and reeling to see what lies ahead. Among this intricately complex political dilemma, many senior politicians have put on their mediation caps and tried to return to more chartered waters. But despite all efforts, the emboldened and resilient figure of Imran Khan has stood in the way, reiterating his poetic calls for justice and reform. Delivering those highly charged speeches, come rain or shine, he has shown his commitment to his cause that surpasses the usual, disengaged approach of most politicians. Apart from his individual qualities, his recent political decisions have ...

Read Full Post

Subjugation and Kashmir during the 100 days of the Modi Sarkaar

More than a hundred days of Modi Sarkar’s achey din are over and since then the Indian premier has visited the occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir twice. Lately, the disputed region, for a constellation of reasons, has also taken up quite a bit of space in the news. Starting from a debate over the abrogation of Article 370, which gives Kashmir special status, on paper at least, from the Constitution of India to the recent cancellation of foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan, Kashmir has dominated headlines and been the subject of prime time discussions on TV in India. An in-depth analysis of these ...

Read Full Post

Can’t a woman ask for her property share?

A few days ago, I was at a get together with friends and the usual small talk somehow turned to the ‘controversial’ topic of women and their property rights. One of them dramatically sighed and told her sympathisers how her ‘atrocious’ sister-in-law had the audacity to ask for her share of the family’s property. That opened up a Pandora’s Box as she was joined in by the other women who started sharing anecdotes of girls who had the audacity to ask for their share of their family’s property. I did not, and could not, understand what was so reprehensible about a ...

Read Full Post

There is no PTI or PML-N, there is just Pakistan

Imran Khan’s protest began against alleged rigging in general elections, transformed into a march and sit-in against the prime minister, and has blossomed into one of the firmest stances against status quo in the history of Pakistan. It is not just the number of people, but the kind and class of people in his sit-in that speaks volumes about the strength of his stance. These are people who were never seen in political gatherings or protests. The upper-middle and upper-class; educated people, professionals, women and children, have taken over the space that was once occupied mostly by simpletons, who were nothing but ...

Read Full Post

Is anarchy within Pakistan’s reach?

Imran Khan, Nawaz Sharif, Tahirul Qadri: A triumvirate of egos. This is what it is all about. You’d wish this was about democracy, but unfortunately, it is these three we should focus on to understand this. Pakistan’s current political crises are a joint concoction of blunders committed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT). PML-N instigated this with their utter refusal to take the opposition seriously, or accept the legitimacy of their demands. Perhaps they were yet to grasp the reality of the new face of opposition force; that it wasn’t going to settle for ...

Read Full Post

Wait, what about Zarb-e-Azb?

This August has been defining and shaping a lot of things for us Pakistani’s, nationally and globally. I, for one, am neither a supporter of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, nor am I a non-supporter. I am just a Pakistani who wants betterment for my country; I don’t care who brings it, but I seek progress. With the long march that has been initiated by Imran Khan, and has resulted in Tahirul Qadri bringing on his own revolution, I feel that there are certain things that need to be analysed carefully. On Saturday, August 16th, 2014, Qadri announced a 48-hour deadline for his 10-point ...

Read Full Post

Depression is not an ‘abnormality’

Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society changed my life forever. Before the movie, I had no idea what I wanted do with my life. Some days I wanted to be a doctor, on others I’d aspire for whichever career was my elder sister’s favourite at the time. But as the credits rolled in at the end of the film; I knew I wanted to be ‘Mr Keating’ and connect with people the way Williams’ character had. I wanted to teach and perhaps be able to influence my students’ lives the way Williams had done in the movie. Without realising it, across oceans and ...

Read Full Post

Rallying behind Imran Khan

I believe we can all agree that Pakistan needs, above all else, strong state institutions and the rule of law. These are the only way in which a proper modern country can function. They are necessary to ensure the social stability necessary for a functioning democracy and a prosperous market economy. But when powerful individuals can sway the institutions of the state to serve themselves, when they can bend the rule of law and use the mechanisms of the state for private gain, then that can no longer be called a modern state. When there are individuals, business leaders or politicians ...

Read Full Post

Did PPP really handle the assorted marches ‘better’ than PML-N?

There is no doubt that, on the face of it, the Zardari administration has handled the political crisis of Imran Khan’s and Tahirul Qadri’s previous marches much better than the Nawaz administration has so far. However, the constant comparisons that political pundits have made between the two situations are not only unfair but also erroneous. The reason that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government was able to handle the situation ‘calmly’ was not because Zardari is some sort of a political mastermind. Contrary to what we would like to believe, the PPP’s response was not part of some strong commitment to a ...

Read Full Post