When it comes to sex crimes in Pakistan, is it better to remain silent?

Today, I am going to address one of the least talked about issues in Pakistan – sexuality. Our religious-conservative society does not encourage dialogue in this sphere, due to the stigma of immorality attached to sex, leaving little room for awareness on related issues. The topic of sex includes sex crimes, which also shares the same taboo status. This results in a very ugly scenario; uglier than what the common mind can anticipate. Snubbing such issues and covering up sex crimes leads to a misunderstanding of their nature which often causes victim blaming and an institutional lack of rehabilitation for ...

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Why the Punjab budget is useless

Each year, as Member Punjab Assembly (MPA), when I returned home after the budget speech with a pile of hefty books containing the budget documents, I found myself more interested in the supplementary budget than in the budget statement itself. It seems more productive to focus on what the government has actually done instead of what it expects and promises to do. While a budget statement would give you an insight into what revenues a government expects to generate, and the expenditures it intends to make in the coming year, a supplementary budget gives you a report of what the government actually made and spent ...

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Don’t let teachers bring guns to school in KP… Please!

It would appear that the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) is still waiting for its ‘change’ or tabdeeli. Many Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters argue that things have changed and we all hope they are right. But the one thing they might want to ask their leader to look into is the alarming incidents of gun violence in academic institutions. A study conducted done in 2006 revealed that 77% of the homicidal deaths in K-P were a result of gun related incidents/gunshot wounds. Maybe no one in the K-P government knew or understood just how violence can erupt or hadn’t read that study when they decided to ...

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Blind the Kashmiri protesters: A new tactic employed by India

This is the story of a teenager. His face is disfigured. One eye is lost forever. I have not spoken to him in person since he is lying in a bed in New Delhi, while I sit and write this in Islamabad. But if you see his face the way I saw it when his story broke, you will not be able to forget it. And you will begin following his story updates more vehemently. He should not have lost his eye. Who loses an eye for carrying a placard, shouting slogans, and partaking in a peaceful protest for a political cause? I often ...

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10 lessons Pakistan can learn from the 2015 Turkish General Elections

The 24th general elections of the Republic of Turkey were held on June 7, 2015, to elect 550 members of the Grand National Assembly. The election left many surprised as it resulted in the first hung parliament in Turkey since 1999. However, from a purely Pakistani perspective, there are many lessons to draw, some which have been mentioned here: 1) The ruling party should not be over-confident The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has governed Turkey since 2002 and won its fourth consecutive election this time. However, it lost its parliamentary majority as its total seats dropped from 311 to 258. Thus AKP, despite winning the elections failed miserably to meet President Tayyip Erdoğan’s ambitious target of getting 400 ...

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Ahmad Saleem – a paedophile – and the tarnished image of Islam in the US

This week, American Muslims find themselves holding their heads and groaning over the new wave of sneering and jeering coming their way again. The tidal wave was set in motion last week with the arrest of Ahmad Saleem in Florida in a sting operation that busted a major child sex ring. Saleem was one of the 100 men arrested in attempting to have sex with girls between the ages of 12 and 14. Police officers in Lake and Polk counties in Florida posed as young girls on chat forums to lure in these predators. When Saleem arrived at the arranged house looking to have ...

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A pro-poor budget with the rich in mind? Cute, Mr Ishaq Dar, cute!

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” – Joseph Goebbels Goebbels was one of the most prominent propagandists during Hitler’s era; the man was a magician. I mean, if someone can sell Hitler and his ideology to millions of people at a time, then he definitely deserves respect. And therefore, I virtually have the same respect for our long line of finance ministers, who have the guts to come on television every year, present a horrendous budget for the common man, and then dub it “ghareebon ka budget” (poor people’s ...

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Who is trying to disconnect Kashmir from the world? Why attack cellular towers?

The unusual series of attacks on cellular towers in different parts of Indian-administered Kashmir Valley has already resulted in the killings of two civilians. And furthermore, the way these attacks have been taking place is also very dubious in my opinion. Many appear clueless about the perpetrators, despite claims made by Lashkar-e-Islam, a lesser-known outfit that had purportedly circulated threat-posters to cellular companies, their employees, and local owners who usually rent out space for installing towers in their compounds, in North Kashmir. These attacks allegedly carried out by Lashkar-e-Islam, which seem to have categorically asked the mobile operators, vendors, and their employees to shut ...

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India’s unhealthy obsession with China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

A mammoth $46 billion project, stretching over 3000 kilometres from Gwadar to Xinjiang, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has the potential to make Pakistan’s economy grow by leaps and bounds. The project that consists of construction and up gradation of roads, oil and gas pipelines, railway tracks and an international airport in Gwadar, promises to make Pakistan an economic power in the world, and Gwadar a trade and economic hub of the region. But the CPEC does not promise wonders for just Pakistan; China stands to gain just as much, if not more, from this initiative. China will gain easier ...

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Children’s Day: They belong in schools, not factories

Some of us are liberals while others are conservatives; some of us are righteous Muslims while others are humanists. We have created labels and have given birth to unnecessary clashes, but what most of us have failed at doing is work. We are ready to speak but we are not ready to act upon our words. As John F Kennedy once said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future”. This quote perhaps sums up not only the importance of children, but also the need to turn them into such individuals that our future may be secured, because it ...

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