When Uncle Prem Naat Mehra finally made it across the border

There sat a man, terminally ill, writing a letter. It was a combination of intuition and denial which compelled him to write a letter to a man who was declared dead. Yet he sat there, holding onto his last wish which gave him hope that may not have any fruit to bear. Using a yellow directory, he wondered to himself if it would reach Afzal Cheema, his Muslim friend in Pakistan with whom he had enjoyed his childhood in the green fields of Lahore. Like a story of novels or thematic compilations, the journey of this friendship took a turn ...

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Does it arouse you to watch someone getting raped, India?

Real videos of rape are being sold in Uttar Pradesh, India. For Rs20 to Rs300. No, this is not a joke. Really think about that for a second. The person you know or heard of, that girl? Who got raped? Yes, the video is of her being raped. Again. And again and again. By not one, not two but four people. Four people who take turns holding the shoddy camera phone with which they are recording their victim being torn apart – physically and mentally. They are clawing at her clothes, biting parts of skin that can be seen. Biting hard, until the ...

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Did the Supreme Court have the power to declare Schizophrenia a “recoverable disease”?

Soon after the release of the Supreme Court’s order on September 27th, 2016, the internet has been flooded with articles criticising the judgment in Imdad Ali’s case mainly on the grounds that the Court has declared schizophrenia to fall outside the scope of mental disorders and as a recoverable disease. While this may offer good news to schizophrenic patients stigmatised as mentally ill, it severely curtails their rights which they might otherwise have been given on account of their illness. On October 28th, Ali’s wife, Safia Bano filed a review petition in Supreme Court. While, the petition has been dismissed, Ali’s execution has been stayed ...

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Will Pakistan ever function as a secular state?

In Pakistan and, in fact, most of the Islamic world, the very concept of secularism is completely misunderstood. Somehow the concept has been thoroughly confused and amalgamated with atheism. An overwhelming majority of politicians, and even intellectuals, often try to defend themselves when “accused” of being secular, particularly on mainstream online media and Urdu print media. To declare oneself as a secular is considered equivalent to being considered an atheist in the public imagination. The entire atmosphere is riddled with severe misconceptions about secularism. Due to fear of being branded an “atheist” and anti-Islamic, the word secular, in both letter and ...

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Is Pakistan in danger of becoming a Chinese colony?

I remember driving through Mall road with my family in 2005, overjoyed to see banners in red, yellow, green, and white hanging above my head in all their glory. Lahore seemed cleaner and quieter than usual, with the exception of the words “Pak-Cheen Dosti” splattered in bold colours everywhere I looked. Billboards were decorated with flamboyant colours and disproportionate faces of Pervez Musharraf and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao, signifying the year when China and Pakistan signed the China-Pakistan Friendship Treaty. It was a historic moment for both the countries; everyone welcomed China with open arms thinking Pakistan and China ...

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In Pakistan, mental illness is diagnosed by a legal expert not a doctor

Every psych unit in the world teems with patients who confess a desire to do the morally unthinkable, or legally dubious. What separates them from the garden-variety criminal is their lack of control over their own thoughts and behaviours. Imdad Ali, a 50-year-old citizen convicted of murdering a cleric many years ago, is a known schizophrenic. His condition has been verified by a government psychiatrist, Dr Tahir Feroze, among others – who, reportedly, has also demanded pardon for Mr Ali on medical grounds. Schizophrenia is a condition characterised by hallucinations, illogical thoughts, and bizarre or even aggressive behaviour. The sub-type of ‘paranoid ...

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The son of an MPA raped me: Will I not get justice?

Last Friday night, Sofia Shahid, a woman from Bhatti Colony in Rahim Yar Khan, filed a report with the Saddar Khanpur Police alleging that she had been raped by Qamar Khan Rind, the son of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) MPA Nawaz Khan Rind. Ms Shahid was interviewed by various local news channels while she was at the police station. She described how she was kidnapped from her house (along with her son) and raped by Qamar while his accomplices stood by. She also told reporters that the police were not cooperating with her and were yet to register her complaint. While this matter will hopefully ...

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Can we blame the West for thinking of Muslims as they do?

In recent times, religiously motivated terrorism incidents have taken place in the West, from Brussels to New York. Due to these barbaric acts perpetuated by extremists, ordinary Muslims are also facing excessive backlash in Europe as well as in the United States. We, as Muslims, are correct to complain that it is unfair to bracket ordinary Muslims with the extremists, but at the same time we need to understand that our negative reputation is not merely due to organisations like ISIS but also because of our behaviour in general. I am not trying to equate extremist organisations like ISIS with normal and moderate Muslims here, ...

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Thank you, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

I don’t know what others may say, but I support Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for taking a rally out on Sunday and paralysing Karachi. We don’t spend Sundays at home; we spend it on frivolous activities like going to the beach, eating out and spending a few thousand rupees on indigestible food in one of the many restaurants which have sprung up over the past few years.  This Sunday we stayed home and (besides saving a good amount of money), I found that my grandchildren have grown up without my noticing it. You see, every day they have already gone to school ...

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Does the creation of Bangladesh prove the two-nation theory wrong?

This article is not a “defence” or repudiation of the two-nation theory (TNT). Rather it tries to critically evaluate the argument that the creation of Bangladesh in fact proved that the two-nation theory was not valid. Those who claim that the two-nation theory has proven to be a failure cite the creation of Bangladesh as an example. It is claimed that ethnic nationalism trumped religion and therefore the two-nation theory has proven to be a failure. I do not intend to prove that the two-nation theory is wrong or right but just evaluate it with reference to the creation ...

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