Netanyahu bans the Azaan and Pakistan bans Christian channels

Religion is once again being dragged into the profane world of politics as a deflective show of force while people choose other avenues to preserve what is sacred. On November 13, The Times of Israel quoted Prime Minister Netanyahu: “…excessive noise …from prayer house announcement…in many European cities… (and consequently) in the Muslim world… they limit(ed) the volume of the calls out of consideration for the general public.” The following day, The Independent reported that citing: “noise pollution, representatives of Israel’s Knesset have given their approval to what is known as the ‘muezzin bill’ banning religious leaders from using loudspeakers or public address systems to summon worshippers for prayers.” A ...

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Does Pakistani law allow you to deport Turkish teachers, Nawaz Sharif?

The recent controversy that has emerged regarding the PakTurk school system is troubling to say the least. PakTurk schools started popping up all over Pakistan during last decade. Turkey has always carried a strong brand value in Pakistan and it is therefore not surprising that the school system ostensibly embodying the best of Pakistan and Turkey was an instantaneous hit with parents.  This school system allegedly has connections with Fetullah Gulen, the reclusive Turkish Islamic scholar now living in the US. In the aftermath of the failed July 15 coup, President Recep Erdogan and his government have accused Gulen and ...

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For shame Imran Khan, for shame

Imran Khan, you perpetually misguided political novice. You inherently misinformed self-proclaimed leader of the youth. You have done it again. First the fiasco with shutting down Islamabad, and now the reaction to Erdogan’s visit. Just when we think you’ve gained some much needed sense, you prove us all wrong. And you don’t do that in your average every day way. No, sir. You do in the most spectacular of manners, debunking every delusion we may have had of you finally mending your ways. Over 80,000 people dead, more than 48,000 of which are civilians. Blood splattered across the streets of Pakistan, ...

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An open letter to Asra Nomani

Dear Ms Asra, I am a student who has been living in the United States of America (USA) for the past five years. I did my Masters from here and right now I am in my third year of PhD. As someone deeply interested in politics (my degree is in Political Science) I have read your previous work. I have also seen you on TV and deeply respect your liberal values and understanding regarding what plagues the Muslim world. However, I was surprised when I read your letter justifying your rationale for voting Trump. That letter is being shared by many who have voted for Trump as ...

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Jinnah was not Iqbal’s first choice to lead the Muslims

To say Allama Muhammad Iqbal was an extremely complex individual is an understatement. The poet, philosopher and political thinker that Allama Iqbal was, he constantly evolved, or some might argue, regressed in his approach to the idea of a Muslim political identity and how it translated politically. Iqbal was, at various times, a Muslim modernist (he endorsed the founding of secular Turkish republic as a seminal event in Islamic history), a Muslim reformer (his lectures compiled as the Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam show the breadth of his reformist vision) and an uncompromising Islamist believing in theological unity and ...

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Why aren’t there any well-equipped ambulances available in Karachi?

A few years ago, my cousin passed away in Gwadar. His wife had to transport his body from Gwadar to Karachi in a Toyota Hiace because she could not get hold of an ambulance. That memory resurfaced when I heard that ambulance services were unavailable to carry the dead bodies of the martyred cadets in the attack on the Police Training Academy in Quetta. Even if one tries to justify the legitimacy of such issues by claiming that Gwadar and Quetta are ‘remote’ areas, why is there a shortage of ambulances in Karachi and in other developed cities of Pakistan? Apart from the ...

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Our company said if he didn’t touch you, it isn’t harassment

What happens when you finally voice your opinions over the unbearable harassment that you’ve had to face for three months? You are ridiculed, you are blamed for having filth in your mind; you are indirectly under suspicion in everyone’s eyes and all this, for what? Only because you raised your voice against something you do not want to endure anymore. Three years ago I started working at an IT company – it was the beginning of my professional career. The company provided a van service for women, a facility which almost every working woman needs and that is one of ...

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Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is the reason the state of education in Pakistan is so bad

I recently came across an Urdu newspaper in which the date was stated to be October 32, 2016. Apparently the editor didn’t know that October has only 31 days, and it can’t ever have 32 days, not even if Imran Khan wants it and threatens to lock down the whole world if it is not done. Teachers of English in our schools are not qualified to teach, which is why most Pakistanis routinely add an apostrophe before an “s” even when it is not required. Education standards have deteriorated drastically. I usually come across such phrases as “his” husband or ...

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“We’re begging, it’s not like we’re stealing”

“Even if we’re begging, it’s not as if we’re stealing or looting.” These were the hard hitting words of the signature beggar in my film Beggars of Lahore. The film was shot in the Summer of 2005, initially as part of an MPhil thesis, the interest for which arose out of my hybrid origin as a British Pakistani trying to come to terms with the intense scale of begging within the walled city and cultural hub of Pakistan, that is Lahore. I, too, couldn’t understand why people scorned upon the beggars so much for merely pleading poverty. I later ...

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The smog is here to stay and there’s nothing you are doing about it, Punjab

We have a fairytale relationship with development, mainly because it includes building wide boulevards and skyscrapers in cities as a sign of prosperity. While in reality, it is a slow process which should include both urban and rural populations. As Kamil Khan Mumtaz said during a recent conversation, “You develop something or you develop into something and we have not defined this ‘something’!” This lack of definition has resulted in a development rat race that has now started to frequently slam us in the wall of environmental issues. The recent haze that has engulfed upper and central Punjab is a case in point. ...

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