She was 13 and he was 39

The 15-year-old girl from Lahore gave her “consent” and he was her “boyfriend”, and so it is not rape, they say. This case is garnering a very expected response. But why are we surprised? It reminds me of a case I came across a while back. A 13-year-old girl fell for her 39-year-old neighbour. They started chatting via the internet. One day, when she was home alone, he coerced her into having a sexual encounter. Reality was not as the girl had imagined. When it actually happened, she yelled, cried and resisted but was raped. But the men in her ...

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Is Modi’s visit to Lahore being overshadowed by the Pathankot attack?

The impromptu visit of the Indian prime minister to Lahore on his way back from Kabul took everyone, including the Indian media, by surprise. Both the Indian public and the media sang praises for the statesmanship shown by both Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif for initiating confidence-building measures to put the peace process back on track. Nawaz broke protocol by receiving Modi at the airport and also seeing him off. Similarly, all leading newspapers of Pakistan welcomed Modi’s visit to Lahore in the hope that the stalled peace dialogue would be resumed in the interest of both the countries. [caption ...

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If we can get a foreign passport, why can’t Adnan Sami get Indian nationality?

Recently, Adnan Sami Khan acquired the Indian nationality; this has infuriated many urban middle-class Pakistanis who think that he has committed some sort of ‘treason’ by becoming an Indian citizen. What is ironic is that some of my friends, who happen to be non-resident Pakistanis, are also raising severe objections. I find this reaction rather perplexing and even objectionable. First of all, Adnan Sami Khan is an independent individual who has found fame and glory in India and his adopting Indian nationality is a reflection of this fact. India has made him far more famous and rich than he could ever be in Pakistan. ...

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Overcoming the fatal product of your imagination

When I was 10-years-old, I accidentally fell into a swimming pool. I had never learnt to swim. I flailed my arms, but it did no good. I felt myself drowning. I still remember the terror as the dark water surrounded me. I gasped for air and my mouth was filled with water. At the last moment, a life guard noticed my plight. He jumped in and pulled me out. This experience sank into my subconscious mind. The result was that for years I feared the water. Then one day I mentioned this irrational fear of mine to a wise, elderly psychologist. “Go down to ...

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Five legal milestones from 2015 that Pakistan should take pride in

With the Pakistan Protection Act, cybercrime bills and the 21st Amendment, it’s been a tough year for human rights. Yet our courts have been actively making progressive human rights decisions which require a more in depth consideration.  Here are five cases which represent good law: 1) Mumtaz Qadri versus The State Judgment by Asif Saeed Khan Khosa Supreme Court The Supreme Court’s judgment in Mumtaz Qadri’s case held that statements made by Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, though unsubstantiated, were criticisms of the blasphemy law, which is not blasphemy itself. Taseer had made allusions to it being a “Black Law” amended by an unrepresentative military dictator that had ...

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My hijab is both Islamic and unforced

Richard Dawkins recently called upon Muslim women to shun their hijabs as a show of solidarity with the victims of Paris attacks. Dawkins is an anti-theist, wholly ignorant to Islam. Thus, his case against the hijab fits perfectly well in his anti-Islam narrative. However, when Muslim women — who take pride in their ‘feminist’ credentials — cite half-baked and fabricated definitions of ‘hijab’ and join the club to make a case against a guidance clearly rooted in the Holy Quran, they only succeed on placing Hijab wearing women in danger. Not only do Asra Nomani and Hala Arafa undermine their own credibility, they are also ...

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How I deal with Islamophobia in the US

Mass shootings in the United States have become a frequent occurrence. Every time I find a breaking news story flashing on my cell phone that mentions a mass shooting, my heart skips a few beats. My first concern is not the number of casualties or the setting of the tragic event, but the name and religion of the shooter. Unfortunately, in this part of the world, those factors define how the news media provides coverage of the event. It was a nightmare come true when I found out that in the recent shootings in California that claimed 14 lives, the shooters ...

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To defeat the ISIS, America needs to get Saudi Arabia on board

In the aftermath of the Paris tragedy, people are asking whether ISIS’s attempt to strike at public places is part of their deliberate strategy to attack liberal western values. The argument gains credence especially when one finds ISIS chose soft targets like a concert hall, a sports stadium and restaurants in Paris, a city which they described as a “den of prostitution and vice”, to instil fear in the minds of the people. Samuel Huntington, a well-known political scientist, wrote in his insightful and classic book “The Clash of Civilisations and Remaking of the World Order”, “… the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and ...

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Is it really ‘shirk’ to wish someone a Merry Christmas?

As Christmas is nearing, I am starting to see the occasional anti-Christmas messages on the internet that say that greeting on the occasion of Christmas is haram (forbidden) according to scholarly consensus. Some are claiming that saying “Merry Christmas” is tantamount to committing “shirk” or associating partners with Allah. Of the many clerics that push this view, Dr Zakir Naik is a prominent one. He says, “What people don’t realise is that when you are wishing Merry Christmas, you are agreeing that Jesus Christ was born on the December 25th and… he is the son of God… which is shirk.” True, Islam is based on ...

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Unless PIA is privatised, it will continue to hijack the nation

Having already confirmed with Pakistan International Airline (PIA) my return flight to Karachi a few days earlier, I was feeling relaxed on the penultimate day of my lovely vacation in Nepal, but when I called the Pakistani national airline’s office in Kathmandu to re-confirm my flight, I received a surprise. According to the PIA representative, my flight had been cancelled days ago, and I was to wait another four days to fly to Karachi. As much as I was fascinated by Nepal, I didn’t wish to spend more time in the country. For one, I was running low on cash ...

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