Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case is the tie-breaker Pakistan and India have been waiting for

The verdict of the top United Nations (UN) court ordering Pakistan not to execute Kulbhushan Jadhav until it makes a final judgment in the case, has stirred discontent and debate across Pakistan. Jadhav, who was arrested in March 2016, is a retired Indian naval officer who confessed to espionage and terror activities in Pakistan. In a video that went viral, Jadhav confessed to have aided terrorist and separatist activities in Pakistan, particularly by fuelling insurgency in the province of Balochistan. He further exposed his country’s top intelligence agency’s role in funding activities with an aim to destabilise Pakistan. Pakistan’s military ...

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Why James Comey’s dismissal is testimony of Donald Trump’s dirty hands

The past 10 days in the American political spectrum have been marred by one scandal after another. The latest controversy has been triggered by President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey. This ushered in a new sense of chaos into an administration that is less than four-months-old and has already had to face a fair share of outrage stemming from the Muslim ban and other controversial cabinet appointments and legislative actions. The firing of Comey has intensified a crisis of credibility with the Trump administration, and more importantly it has raised fears on possible obstruction of justice being carried out by the ...

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Dear JI, why do you fear the emancipation of women in Pakistan?

Recently, the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) chief, Sirajul Haq, made a controversial speech that sparked a debate. In the speech, Haq tried to compare western culture to Pakistani culture and trivialised it by claiming that it advantaged individuality over everything else. In order to make his point, Haq gave several examples. He stated that in the West, children don’t live with their parents or take care of them when they grow old. However, the statement which really made the headlines was the anecdotal “evidence” he gave that in the West, men don’t even buy their girlfriends ice cream and couples pay for things separately. It was ironic that the JI chief tried to ...

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India’s ICJ move is a big swing and miss, and is only fooling the people of India

If you are an avid reader of Islamic history and have had the privilege of going through Jalalud Deen Suyuti’s famous compilation, ‘Tareekhul Kuhalafa’, you must be well aware of a certain narration. It dates back to the era of the second Caliph Umar ibn al Khatab (ra) and narrates the ordeal of a young widow who used to struggle to make ends meet. The narration has it that the unfortunate widow, in order to console her hungry and starving children, had devised an appalling strategy of deceit and deception. She used to place a pot full of water and rocks over a stove and ...

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Why the world isn’t talking about Kashmir

Today, the trend lines for Jammu and Kashmir are quite troubling, to say the least. Nearly a year after Indian security forces killed Burhan Wani, a young Kashmiri militant with a large following, anger hasn’t abated. Tension has risen in recent days after a video surfaced on social media that appeared to depict Indian security forces using heavy-handed tactics against a civilian. On April 24th, assailants gunned down a local politician in Kashmir, Abdul Gani Dar. Students have regularly clashed with security forces. When Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh this week, according to ...

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Dear Pakistan and India, stop trying to convert your minorities

My attention was recently drawn to a news story according to which non-Muslim employees of Mian Mir hospital in Lahore are forced to recite verses from the Holy Quran daily at the morning assembly. The news further stated that those who refused to do so were penalised by being marked absent for the day (and thereby losing a day’s wages). If true, this is indeed shocking news. Once a non-Muslim says the words of the Kalima, he or she automatically is converted to Islam, and cannot go back to his or her original religion. It goes without saying that such men or women cannot continue ...

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Why is India, a secular and progressive state, refusing to ban triple talaq?

Triple talaq or talaq-e-bidat is one of the eight ways to divorce in Islam. However, unlike popularly known in India, this form of irrevocable talaq is not Quranic but a post-prophet innovation of Umayyad Oligarchs in second century of the Hijri era – approved by the jurists of Hanafi Law. One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding this concept is that people believe the husband can say “talaq” or “I divorce you” three times consecutively and annul their marriage. However, that is not the case. Rather it means the person has to wait for a period of three months, within which if ...

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Is India losing Kashmir?

As India’s most restive region stares down the abyss of what a commentator calls another “hot summer of violence”, the doom-laden headline has returned with a vengeance: Is India losing Kashmir? Last summer was one of the bloodiest in the Muslim-dominated valley in recent years. Following the killing of influential militant Burhan Wani by Indian forces last July, more than 100 civilians lost their lives in clashes during a four-month-long security lockdown in the valley. It’s not looking very promising this summer. This month’s parliamentary election in Srinagar was scarred by violence and a record-low turnout of voters. To add fuel to the fire, graphic social videos surfaced claiming to show abuses by security forces and young ...

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India prides itself as a tolerant and multi-ethnic state, but is it really?

Recently, India has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Over the past three years, after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won in a landslide, India has witnessed increased religious intolerance.  Beef has constantly been politicised and electoral rhetoric has constantly used the communal card to pull voters. During the Uttar Pardesh (UP) elections, communal rhetoric was couched in an extremely hateful language, and in the end, BJP chose a fire brand anti-Muslim to lead as the chief minister, despite the fact that it had other alternatives. After his elections, and despite his attempt to tame down hardliners, the law and order situation in ...

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How India and Pakistan are afflicted by the same madness of religious vigilantism

The issue of cow slaughter and the consumption of beef has been an issue that many orthodox Hindus have found an affront to their religion. Blasphemous speech, in regards to orthodox Muslims and their reverence for the Prophet (pbuh) and Allah (swt), produces a similar sentiment of outrage. This sense of outrage has led to the phenomenon of religious vigilantism. Yet, it seems that this malaise, which was once a rare occurrence in the early history of both India and Pakistan, has transformed and metastasised into a cancer that is permeating the very fabric of each nations’ respective society. Justification through legislation Pakistan In 1986, Pakistan, ...

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