Protection of Pakistan Ordinance: Always guilty unless proven innocent?

The government tightened the anti-terror legislation of the country last month, as President Mamnoon Hussain approved the Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO). It declares all peace-disrupting elements as ‘enemies of the state’ and states protection of life to be the state’s top priority. However, many clauses of the PPO remain controversial. One such clause is clause 14 on burden of proof which reads, “An accused facing the charge of a scheduled offence on existence of reasonable evidence against him shall be presumed to be engaged in waging war or insurrection against Pakistan unless he establishes his non-involvement in the offence.” The drafters of the legislation appear to be ...

Read Full Post
February 11, 2014
 Aalia Suleman
TOPICS

Don’t label me ‘Mohajir’

Being a first generation Mohajir might have felt like stepping into an exciting new territory full of adventures in reassertion of identity, a deeper assimilation into the national fabric and finding a voice in a country teeming with provincialism. However, as a second generation Mohajir reflecting over the three decades that have transpired since, it seems that these were nothing short of a fool’s dreams that at least I could have survived without. Objectively, I feel that having chased these dreams has actually left me more devoid in numerous avenues than empowered. Retrospectively, I find it hard to understand why we ...

Read Full Post
February 9, 2014
 Javed Hassan
TOPICS

Down memory lane: Peace talks have never been ‘peaceful’

“The Romans never allowed a trouble spot to remain simply to avoid going to war over it, because they knew that wars don’t just go away, they are only postponed to someone else’s advantage.” These wise words were spoken by Niccolò Machiavelli – the Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. According to historical documents, when the Jews revolted against the Roman Empire inspired by ‘religious fervour’, the Romans responded with an intensity rarely witnessed in ancient history. The campaign against the uprising reached its final stage in AD72 in the province of Judaea with the Romans advancing ...

Read Full Post

Pervez Musharraf: Defending a patriot from cowards and liars

Many people like to ask me questions about why I support former president Pervez Musharraf. As part of the questions, they like to pepper in the misinformation that the Pakistani media has presented to the public for consumption. During one such discussion on Facebook, I was asked the following: The question cum comment “According to you, Khalid Muhammad, what were the positives and negatives of Musharraf’s tenure? People consider him to be the reason for drones, missing people (Aafia Siddiqui), Bugti murder case, Lal Masjid, all that happened to Pakistan after 9/11 (and) the current shortfall of electricity and gas. Suicide bombing took ...

Read Full Post

Protection of Pakistan Ordinance: A legal pass to abduct, torture and kill?

“Kaleemullah, 22, was coming out of a mosque in Kallar Syedan near Rawalpindi in June last year when personnel of an intelligence agency allegedly took him away. Son of a retired Khateeb of the army, Younis Farooq, Kaleemullah was found dead in a hospital in Chakwal on Jan 1.” This news was published in newspapers on January 26, 2014. Initially, it was yet another addition to the list of missing persons and the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry pushed secret service agencies to produce the abducted in court. However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised earlier that he would solve the missing persons ...

Read Full Post

The Taliban must not be painted as violent savages

“You have no option but to take direct military action.” This was the advice given by John F Kennedy’s top military aide at the height of the Cuban missile crisis which brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war. The future of the world hinged on Kennedy’s acquiescence. After the Second World War, global politics were dominated by the political, ideological and power clash between the Americans and the Soviets. Communists were painted as violent savages to the Americans who were made to fear communism. However, the idea of communism gained ground in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union grew as a global superpower. Following ...

Read Full Post

If you are reading this, you are part of the 0.1% elect few

Greetings! If you are reading this blog, you are a part of the ‘elect’, the fortunate ones in this great country of un-equals. Let me tell you something more about yourself. You are able to read in English and hold a conversation in the language and this very ability makes you one of the privileged ones: out of a population of nearly 200 million, only six million Pakistanis are able to afford a daily newspaper and out of this tiny number, a further 60,000 happen to read the English ones. A strong correlative factor determining your present status is that you went to a good private school ...

Read Full Post

I left the US because of their hatred towards Muslims… this is my story

I was born in 1982, in the beautiful American city of San Jose, California. A proud patriotic Muslim American, my dad would decorate our house with lights every Fourth of July. Fast forward to the year 2001, when I got admitted to one of America’s top medical schools – the Harvard Medical School in Boston. Moving from San Jose was hard. I stayed in the dorm. Every morning, when I went to take a shower, I saw a sticker on one of the bathroom mirrors on my floor that said, ‘Whoever is a friend of the Muslims is a traitor of Christianity and ...

Read Full Post

Here is why breastfeeding your child is important

Hooray! The Balochistan Assembly finally enacted the Balochistan Protection and Promotion of Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Bill 2014 on January 18, 2014. This is truly a progressive step towards a healthier province and a healthier Pakistan. However, the real test for the provincial government will be to effectively implement this bill, in letter and in spirit. I say this because, even though the Protection of Breastfeeding and Young Child Nutrition Ordinance 2002 is very much present on the statute books since its approval, its implementation  continues to remain a distant dream. As most of us know, Pakistan is not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal ...

Read Full Post

Pride and prejudice: The case of Abdus Salam

Pakistan’s collective diary has had quite a few pages ruthlessly torn out of it. The chapter of Abdus Salam is also one of those classic tragedies that are symptomatic of deeper ills pervading our society. The story of his rapid descent from the position of an honourable presidential advisor to that of a heretic in exile speaks volumes about a number of issues – the value we place on education and science, the heroes we pick and choose, and the treatment meted out to minorities in this country – each one of these being as relevant on his 88th birth anniversary today ...

Read Full Post