It’s time Nawaz Sharif realised the importance of women in politics

I am very much a child of the ‘90s. The decade has had a profound impact on my intellectual development and has ended up shaping my political ideology. It was during that time that I started to realise that religious extremism, mistreatment of women, political conservatism, and civil military imbalance were the gravest problems which Pakistan faced. It was during that decade when a string of  incidents involving blasphemy charges shook me to the core and changed me as a person. It was during that time when I began to realise that our mind-set is largely misogynist and our ...

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Instead of opposing Uber and Careem, taxi and rickshaw services need to shift up a gear

A few years ago, my old Nissan was at the workshop again and I needed to use public transportation but was dreading opting for a rickshaw or a taxi. After returning to Pakistan several years back, I had relied on them to get around for a year or so until I could afford my own vehicle, and it had been a distinctly unpleasant experience. Many of drivers I had ridden with were rude, dishonest, broke traffic rules and carried the sort of body odour you’d expect from someone driving in the sweltering heat for half a day. Save for one, ...

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What kind of Naya Pakistan do Imran Khan and PTI have in mind exactly?

A lot has happened in the last few days. The much awaited “historic” verdict of the number one obsession of Pakistani TV anchors, Pakistan’s chattering white collar urban middle classes, and their favourite political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), finally arrived. When the news came that a joint investigating team (JIT) had been formed to investigate the corruption of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, I contacted a famous journalist whom I have the privilege of knowing and expressed my frustration that this nonsense would drag further. His reply was: “Well, in a country where there is no entertainment, such things fill the gap!” He could ...

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Imran Khan, the bitter pill we have to swallow to start treating a problem that plagues this country

Since Imran Khan rallied voters to his cause on Election Day on May 11, 2013, selling the promise of real meaningful change for Pakistan in the fight against the status quo, he has fallen from the pedestal in the eyes of many voters. Those who once believed in the former cricket superstar as the person to take the country past its problems have been left disillusioned by multiple problems, the majority of which have been discussed on numerous occasions, including by myself on this blog space. Whenever Imran is in the news on Facebook, a significant portion of the reactions ...

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Is violence following accusations of blasphemy becoming a familiar phenomenon in Pakistan?

This month, the spirit of Cain appears to possess the nation. Within a span of 11 days, there have been two incidents of vigilante mobs responding to ostensible accusations of blasphemy. In the first such occurrence in Mardan, the blood lust was satisfied by murdering and disfiguring Mashal Khan, a bright and principled young man. In the second incident, a man accused of standing up in a mosque after Friday prayers and making ‘offensive’ statements was brutally beaten by a crowd. His life was saved by the mosque’s cleric intervening and facilitating his transfer to the police. The fact is that violence following accusations of blasphemy is becoming a distressingly familiar Pakistani phenomenon, ...

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Dear Murad Ali Shah, why have you suddenly taken interest in the gas situation now?

The normally calm and composed Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, surprised everyone recently by losing his cool and shouting at the top of his voice in the Sindh Assembly. The reason for his outburst was that a power plant in Nooriabad is not being supplied natural gas, as a result of which the said power plant was not able to produce electricity. He threatened to stop the supply of natural gas from Sindh to other parts of the country if the Nooriabad power plant is not immediately supplied natural gas. Are you serious, Mr Shah? Apart from the fact that your ...

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Why are you celebrating, Nawaz Sharif? It’s not over as yet!

The long wait is finally over. The honorable judges have announced the verdict in the Panama Leaks case, and the overjoyed followers of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are distributing sweets under the assumption that their leader has been exonerated and declared innocent of any wrongdoing. Dear Nawaz Sharif, they are wrong. It was a split verdict, and you escaped by the skin of your teeth. Two out of the five judges ruled that you should be disqualified, because you are not “sadiq” (honest) and “ameen” (upright) as required by the Constitution. The other three judges stated that further investigation is ...

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Naureen Laghari, Pakistan’s very own IS bride

In the aftermath of Mashal Khan’s lynching, it is vital that we re-examine some of our assumptions about religious extremism in our society. We can no longer assume that extremism and violence are the territory of the uneducated or the lower classes. The men who beat Khan to death were educated; university employees, students and even a political figure or two were included in the First Information Reports (FIRs). Another case has surfaced that challenges our assumptions even more – that of a young medical student called Naureen Laghari. Laghari, who was studying to become a doctor at Liaquat Medical University in Hyderabad, Sindh, had been reported ...

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Is it really possible to revive government-owned and managed airlines like PIA and Air India?

Both Indian and Pakistani successive governments seem to have been stuck in the same situation. Operating a government-owned airline profitably in a deregulated air transport environment is an unachievable target. Had this been possible, British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Air France or, for that matter, all airlines in Europe, North/South America, Africa, Far East, and Australia would not have been privatised, following deregulation in 1978. The simple explanation is that government-owned entities cannot compete with private ones, in terms of price and quality, in a highly competitive market. Gone are the days when national airlines used to be protected from competition, not only ...

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When Mashal Khan fell victim to our criminal mind-set

Yesterday, I received the news through a WhatsApp message wherein my younger brother sent me a video clip and requested me to watch it. Although the video was brief, about 45 seconds, but it was long enough to make me sick to my stomach. What I was seeing was barbarism at its worst – a large crowd beating an already dead man. Many were silently watching and no one was even trying to stop it. That video, along with many others, has gone viral. At a time when the global opinion about Muslims and Pakistan is already worsening, this ...

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