Why can’t we bring back Ali Haider Gilani or Shahbaz Taseer?

Ali Haider Gilani, son of former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, was abducted on May 2, 2013 during an election rally from his hometown, Multan. His secretary and bodyguard were both killed, and soon after that, the election campaign of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in Multan crumbled. The authorities claim that Shahbaz Taseer, son of late Salman Taseer, is also imprisoned under conditions as bad as Ali. The locations of both the political figures is said to be somewhere in Afghanistan, but has not been confirmed as yet. Yesterday, Yousaf Raza Gilani received an anonymous telephone call from Afghanistan and it happened to ...

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What are you trying to prove by denying Geelani a passport, India?

Ignorant of their own history and overlooking how leaders like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Subhash Chandra Bose visited countries like South Africa, England and Germany to further their political ideologies, a certain ultra-jingoist Indian media channel recently aired a provocative debate titled Fly Pak Flag, Seek Indian Passport. This was done on Kashmir’s octogenarian resistance leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s request for a passport, as he wanted to visit his ailing daughter, Farhat Jabeen Geelani, in Saudi Arabia. Did Gandhi, Savarkar and Bose visit European countries as Indian citizens and on Indian passports? Did they surrender their political ideology and abandon their struggle for freedom in exchange of ...

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Balochistan 2: There is more to Balochistan than the state’s high-handedness

The attack by Baloch separatists on labourers in Turbat last month was a timely reminder that there is more to Balochistan than the state’s high-handedness. The atrocities of the armed forces reviewed in the preceding blog-post take place in, and are part of, a two-way conflict. Mama Qadeer’s son, Jalil Reiki, was the information secretary of the Balochistan Republican Party, headed by Brahamdagh Bugti. Brahamdagh is also believed to control the Balochistan Republican Army and, alongside Harbiyar Marri and Allah Nazar Baloch, credited with leading the insurgency in Balochistan. All three are designated as terrorists by Pakistan. The insurgency, which has often been romanticised because of the neglect ...

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Four ways to condemn violence against minorities in Pakistan that are all wrong!

Minority communities in Pakistan are thankful for their moderate friends from mainstream Sunni school of thought, for supporting them in these harrowing times. Countless have condemned the attacks against minorities, and many have risked their own lives to stand up for others. However, in a few circles, some arguments in opposition to violence against minorities, while appearing to be a condemnation of violence, often end up being detrimental to these side-lined communities. Here are a few of those arguments, often heard from mainstream moderates (and if you hear yourself making one of these – please stop): 1) “We shouldn’t kill Shias because Shias and ...

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The Rohingya of Burma is the Shia of Pakistan

This is possibly one of the least highlighted human rights violations that has and continues to take place in the day and age when communication and cyber systems dominate our lives and nothing seems to escape an ordinary person’s attention. This is probably the most dragging, prolonged episode of persecution and genocide in modern history, the worst of its kind since the holocaust even. I’m talking about the Rohingya catastrophe – a story of blatant hatred, spite and animosity. Regrettably, I never dug deep enough into the origin of the Rohingyas. I did, however, come across an article called The Muslim Rohingya ...

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Why MQM wants Dr Ishratul Ebad to resign

The demand by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Dr Farooq Sattar for Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad to resign is just another proof that the political parties, and in this case the MQM, don’t understand their own political system that they chose to call ‘democracy’. The reason why this demand has come after so many years of Dr Ebad in office is a charge sheet prepared by Sattar a few days ago during a press conference, where he said that Dr Ebad had failed to meet people’s expectations, as the murder of innocent civilians in the urban areas of Sindh ...

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From APS victims to Sabeen Mahmud: Honouring all who have been taken away from us

I write this from the #IamSabeen vigil at Do Talwar. It has been 17 days since I have been present here daily from 8pm to 9pm. I come to celebrate Sabeen, to grieve her death, to find comfort in fellow protesters and to tell the world that I have not forgotten her. Photo: Nadra Huma Quraishi/Karachi Heart Beats #IamSabeen Facebook page Perhaps all that they gather, the people who stream by, is that I lost someone that meant a great deal to me; enough that myself and others are compelled to come here every day. No, she meant even more than ...

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Balochistan 1: The nature and extent of State abuse

Sabeen Mahmud, a peace activist and founder of The Second Floor (T2F), was shot dead on Friday, April 25, 2015, after hosting a talk on Balochistan. Her guests included the now infamous Mama Qadeer, who was also the most prominent invitee at an earlier talk at LUMS. That talk was cancelled after intervention by the state. The subject she highlighted right before her death, and the manner of it, suggests unusual bravery. It also puts an onus on the rest of us to discuss it more. Obviously, Balochistan is too complex an issue to encompass in its entirety, especially for outsiders. We ...

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There is no Bhutto left to rebuild PPP, Mr Zardari

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided to kick-start its campaign for the upcoming general elections. For this reason, and to prove that Lyari is still its stronghold like it has been in the past, the party organised a public gathering recently in Kakri ground. In a bid to gain local support for the coming local government polls and general elections, the party’s co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, during the public rally, announced multiple developmental projects. He said that the PPP government will build an engineering college as well as a housing scheme and promised that the people of Lyari will get jobs in ...

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Not all mothers deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day

When I was around seven-years-old, my mother forgot me at the imambargah for a brief moment of 10 minutes. Since there was a bunch of us and we were in multiple cars, she assumed that I was in another car other than the one she occupied. I remember being scared, very scared, and feeling unimportant since they forgot me behind, along with multiple thoughts running in my head about what will happen to me. Being the youngest of five, I always assumed that when it was time to take care of me, my mother just gave up after taking care of four ...

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