Stories about extremist

Not everyone who dies tragically is a ‘shaheed’

In Pakistan the suffix shaheed is frequently used for politicians, scholars, journalists, armed forces personnel and even militants depending upon how people or the media conceives that person. The use of the word shaheed is indeed another gift of Zia’s era when martyrdom was glorified during the Afghan war. Our armed forces have been engaged in conflict against militants since 2004. These militants claim that the killing of innocent Muslims, mostly women and children, doesn’t make soldiers  martyrs and, that in fact they are wajib-ul-qatal (punishable by murder) for this offence. So a militant is considered a shaheed among his ...

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Should I be afraid of becoming a journalist?

When I was a little girl, my father bought me all the books I wanted and told me that one day, his little girl would be a writer. Unfortunately for him, his little girl decided to be more than that; she decided to be a journalist. As I flounder my way through my sixth semester at university, I am horrified at the idea that I’m a year away from graduation – a year away from becoming a journalist. I love writing, and I love writing for a cause. But the events of the past year have left me and my classmates ...

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Shahbaz Bhatti: Wake-up call for Pakistan

Once again conspiracy theories abound. Who killed Shahbaz Bhatti? Of course, there must have been that ever present ‘external hand’ with sinister designs, American interest groups or the CIA. No matter what the theory – there is no excuse. If the conspiracy theories circulating in the media are true (and the CIA is in cahoots with the Taliban without the knowledge or approval of the ISI) then the government and state should be ashamed of their intelligence ignorance and take decisive action to stop this fundamental attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty. If these stories are bollocks and there is no CIA or outside connection (and ...

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Forget Aafia, we’ll keep Davis

On Monday, Waseem, the brother of one of the men Raymond Davis has been accused of murdering, announced that he was open to an exchange involving Dr Aafia Siddiqui and Davis. Later, Aafia’s sister Dr Fauzia and mother seconded the idea. They are not alone. Calls to exchange Aafia for Davis emerged soon after the American was arrested. To me, these do not make much sense as both cases are completely different cases. Aafia was tried and sentenced to 86 years in a US prison on seven charges. Davis, on the other hand, has been accused of shooting two Pakistani citizens ...

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The truth behind the Basant ruling

The Basant prohibition has been explained officially in terms of foul play by kite flyers who use metallic wire or coat their twine with such preparations that it becomes fatal for the people in the streets who happen to get it on their throats. But the real reason is the clerics’ hatred of the festivity. They campaigned against it calling it a Hindu festival and a pagan ritual. The Muslims, they insisted, must be barred from it. It was on account of this campaign that the prohibition was proclaimed. Hindus revere and worship everything in nature. To them, the stars, the ...

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Between food and opium: What Pakistani liberals fail to understand

There’s something Newtonian about the way Pakistani political discourse is being carried out these days. At one end is the ‘ghairat brigade’, with their twisted ideology and their usual diatribe against the liberal fascists – a term which is about as meaningful as a Vegan BigMac. On the other end are the liberals ( fascist or otherwise) who might not be as reprehensible as their bearded cousins, are equally redundant with their staid arguments, essentially revolving around the ‘Quaid’s vision’ and his speech to the Constituent Assembly. Fundamentally, I do not have an issue with the arguments of the liberal ...

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Adding guards to your entourage won’t end terrorism

News that President Zardari may be getting foreign guards for his private security sent my cranial wheels turning. Despite Farhatullah Babar’s vehement denial of the report, I will not be surprised if there is a germ of truth in this statement, given security concerns after the late Punjab governor’s assassination. Government officials often come under heavy criticism for the excessive use of security personnel – is Zardari hoping to top that list? As a citizen witnessing the gravity of the security situation in my country, I can understand why officials need to be protected. As citizens, we want our government ...

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Do we need to rethink segregation?

We often hear rhetoric condemning western culture for being lewd and too open towards sexuality. We accuse it of objectifying women and accrue this as to why they have high cases of rape and child molestation. But take a look at the source of these accusations – the ones pointing the finger,  our religious clerics have made headlines of their own for all the wrong reasons. Clerics and prayer leaders in Pakistan made news when they were found guilty of child molestation, victimising young boys and girls who were their students in madressahs. Although Islam strictly mandates harsh punishment to perpetrators, the ...

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Green militants: Saving the world through terror

What do Osama Bin Laden and some radical environmentalists have in common? They’re both terrorists and believe that America is evil. They are also not doing much to promote the cause of environmentalism. A green propaganda film called “No Pressure,” created by the green organisation 10:10, released earlier last month, provides an alarming insight into the mind of an ‘eco-fascist.’ The four-minute-long video shows a teacher casually exploding students who refuse to cut carbon emissions. Yes, explode – she presses a button and the students are ripped to pieces, and that’s putting it mildly. 10:10 withdrew the video within 24 hours ...

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Left-wing zealots

Of all the ancient adages, I have often considered the one by Descartes “I think, therefore I am” to be one of the most powerful definitions of human potential — but I am not so sure it applies in Pakistan. Most Pakistanis consider ‘critical thinking’ to be an unnecessary appendage to their existence. I have lost count of how many times I have heard so-called ‘educated’ people express pedantic opinions by completely disregarding the need to add any counterweight to their claims. Take Pakistan’s relationship with the US, many would not pause for a second before blaming the latter for all ...

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