Stories about hate speech

Will Operation Raddul Fasaad be effective?

February 17, 2017: Within hours of the Sehwan attack, terrorist hideouts are magically discovered all over the country and over a hundred “militants” are killed across Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the tribal belt. Yet another military operation, by the name of “Raddul Fasaad” (“elimination of discord/violence/mischief”) is announced. I don’t know about you but I’ll tell you what I’m feeling; it’s called deja vu, the feeling that this has all happened before. And that might just be because it has. Flashback to June 15, 2014: Following the attack on Jinnah International Airport, the military launched Operation “Zarb-e-Azb” (“cutting strike”). This operation targeted militant hideouts in North Waziristan and along the Afghan border. Within a week, ...

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I recorded Imran Khan’s ‘phateechar’ comment and now I’m being threatened

In old times, there used to be an unwritten code of conduct about sending and receiving messages through emissaries across opponent camps, battlefields, and states. That code – “don’t shoot the messenger” – demanded that even if the commanders did not find the message to their liking, they must receive and send back the envoys of the enemy safe and sound. A modern-day revision of shooting the messenger is to point fingers at the media for presenting bad news about a favourite person, cause, or organisation regardless of how authentic or true that news may be. Experts of logic and ...

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It isn’t hate speech for Yiannopoulos to say “feminism is cancer”, it’s just how he feels

In May of 2016, Ben Shapiro resigned from Breitbart News because it was a “propaganda outlet for Donald Trump”. That same month Shapiro posted a joyous announcement on social media, saying that his wife had given birth to their second child. With infinite gratitude to God, we're overjoyed to welcome to the world our new baby boy, who arrived at 10:30 this morning! — Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 8, 2016 In response, Milo Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart mainstay Tweeted: “Prayers to Ben who had to see his kid come out half-black. And already taller than he is!” The Tweet included a photo of a black infant. ...

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Terrorist attacks? Sectarian violence? Civil strife? Maybe if we arrest Nasir Khanjan and ban Valentine’s Day everything will be okay…

As a writer of some notoriety, I received a message yesterday including some choice expletives. When pressed about the reason as to why I deserved such “kindness”, I was told that I targeted our Pakistani values with one of my posts. After questioning this person for 20 minutes, my assailant could not name a single value I was targeting.

That is the beauty of blaming somebody over something as intangible as values, honour or image – you do not have to prove anything. You can mask your dislike for something under the pretence of national concerns. My popularity is nothing compared to that of Nasir ...

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Why was Khabaristan Times blocked?

Freedom of speech is defined as “the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint”. Seems simple enough but caught between the war between the liberals and conservatives in Pakistan – two words which mean entirely something else here – it is more about making a chutney out of it or a yoyo or rather a squishy ball that can be thrown at anyone’s face to win any argument. A certain TV show anchor/religious scholar/ Ghalib movie fan/ two-week PHD prodigy/ game show host/mango seller/actor was taken off air by PEMRA after numerous complaints were made. On his show, he ...

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Why 2016 was not a good year for gadgets and technology

“If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new.” – (Einstein) But is this famous quote fit for tech giants like Apple, Samsung, SpaceX, etc? 2016 is ending with many new gadgets, smartphones and other tech innovations. But this year, we saw some major technology flaws and failures from different companies. So let’s take a look at some of them. The SpaceX Falcon 9 explosion Facebook’s dream was broken into pieces when on September 1,2016, the Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad during a test launch at Cape Canaveral. This video is nuts: Moment of #SpaceX explosion at Cape Canaveral. pic.twitter.com/Vu6aLF3YYs — Dan ...

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Dear PEMRA, on behalf of all Ahmadis, we urge you to stop taking notice and start taking action

On Thursday, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) “took notice” of the telecasting of “provocative” content by NEO TV and 92 News targeting the Ahmadi community. It released a statement to the effect that the complaint had been forwarded to its Council of Complaints and the television channels had been notified. This is a commendable action by the media watchdog and one hopes that the “notice” will be followed by stern action. PEMRA has a reasonable 24-point code on what constitutes hate speech which it has not effectively implemented in the past. It is time it started doing so. To provide some background, NEO TV, in its program Harf-e-Raz and Channel 92 in its show Subh-e-Noor had both telecast content that branded Ahmadi’s as “traitors to ...

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How far is the state willing to go to police the internet in Pakistan?

It is unfortunate that every time activists engage the government in a discussion regarding the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB), with the aim of protecting civil liberties in cyberspace, the government in turn makes the law more complex and open to multiple interpretations. In recent days, an extensive round of deliberation was carried out with the senate’s standing committee and sub-committee on information technology. This time, digital rights organisations somehow managed to push legislators through, with the help of a few sane voices, in the senate for removing and/or improving the sections contravening the essence of democracy vis-à-vis civil liberties. Pakistan has ...

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Why is Pakistan allowing an imam to call for jihad against our Shia community?

Immediately after the news of the suicide attack on Masjid-e-Nabwi was released on various TV channels, a local imam of the masjid next to my house thronged to the mike and made a thorny speech against Iran and Shias around the world. The infamous Jamia Masjid Abu Bakar Siddique also has several posters of banned outfits such as Jamaatul Dawa pasted outside its walls. The speech was full of controversies, conspiracies and hatred – and called to capsize the entire population of a minority Muslim sect in Pakistan. His open call for the Shia genocide was based on his logic that the suicide ...

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Can all Muslims act like the Muslim heroes of Mandera?

There was an incident in Kenya whereby a group of Muslims thwarted a potential attack by al-Shabaab (the fire spitting Somali al Qaeda) when they tried to kill a group of Christians who were traveling by bus to Mandera, Kenya. “Finally”, I said to myself, “Here’s something that shows that the Muslims still have some compassion left to do good and care about fellow humans!” In this day and age of doom and gloom, instances of turmoil and destruction loom large on our heads and overwhelm our thought process. Life, as we know it, is a tough nut to crack. ISIS and ...

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