Stories about Hindus

Why has Pakistan not had a census in 18 years?

Now that the country will have a census after 18 years, doubts are already being expressed about the accuracy of the data that will be collected. Farooq Sattar, MNA and former Karachi mayor, says that the census should not be influenced by the landlords as the census commission is very close to the landlords and there should be no injustice with the people living in Sindh’s urban areas. Mir Hasil Bizenjo, the chief of the National Party and the incumbent federal minister for ports and shipping, has said that the census should be put off in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) till the four million Afghan refugees return to Afghanistan ...

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Of coexistence, mannequin challenges and Pakistan

The history of the region where Pakistan exists today would tell you a lot about its pluralistic values. This is the land where Hindus and Muslims have peacefully coexisted for years. This is the land of Muslim Sufi saints like Baba Bulleh Shah, Baba Fareed and Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, who preached values of humanity, coexistence and religious tolerance which is why they are revered today, not just Muslims, but by Hindus and Sikhs of the region as well. Even when you fast forward to 1947, it is evident that the post partition era of Pakistan was also very pluralistic. Do we not know our very ...

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Will Pakistan be able to #SaveNabeel?

In September, Nabeel Masih, a sixteen-year-old Christian boy was charged under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws. His crime was ‘liking’ a post that allegedly ‘defamed and disrespected’ the Kaaba. Over a month later the police have yet to submit an initial investigation report to the courts. This means Nabeel is currently languishing in jail. His family has been forced into hiding and, fearing for their safety, many of his Christian neighbours have fled the area. Fair trials are uncommon in blasphemy law cases. Should Nabeel have a proper and fair day in court he’d likely be found not guilty for two reasons. First, there is ...

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Will rebranding Christians make their lives any easier in Pakistan?

“Pakistan’s Christians will now be respectably called ‘Masihi.’ National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has issued orders regarding use of Masihi for Christians instead of Esaayi, in the column for Religion.” Pakistani Christians had been seeking rebranding for quite some time. “The Urdu ‘Isai’ (derived from ‘Esa’, the Arabic word for ‘Jesus’ used in the Qur’an) now carries strong overtones (of) ‘unclean’ demeaning occupations. This use of language feeds the narrative which makes Christians feel like second-class citizens in today’s society.  On October 8, 2015 in Lahore, more than 500 Muslim students took an oath that they would not call Christians ‘Esaayi,’ but would ...

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When did Pakistan change from being a liberal country to a fundamentalist one?

When and how did Pakistan go from being a moderate Muslim majority country to a fundamentalist society within a relatively short span of time and is this trend irreversible? Pakistan emerged out of a Muslim nationalist movement organised around the group identity of the Muslims of British India. It was led not by cultural relativists in flowing robes, but by modern Muslim men and women, most of whom felt that they could reconcile their faith with modernity. Jinnah’s objectives in any event were to create a united Muslim voting bloc within united India and his demand for a Muslim majority ...

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Soaked in scarlet for Eid: Today’s bystander could be tomorrow’s victim

The last one week has seen attacks in six different cities of the world, all of which have been claimed by the so called Islamic State, and all of which have made headlines across the globe. People of various religious and denominational persuasions lost lives. They were targeted by the so-called Islamic State loyalists, inflicting carnage that knew no religion or nationality. These attacks should reinforce that IS can represent anything but an Islamic State. If there are any IS apologists even in Pakistan, then they have a lot to ponder upon in finding justifications in defence of the indefensible. The attack ...

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Donald Trump vs Sadiq Khan: Who is the better leader?

In a momentous blow to Donald Trump’s divisive tactics and fear-mongering, London elected their first Muslim mayor, Mr Sadiq Khan. Mr Khan, of Pakistani descent, was born and brought up in London and won the election despite being harangued as a terrorist sympathiser by Zac Goldsmith, his opponent and David Cameron. Although those allegations didn’t stick, his election shows that the people of London were able to look past his ethnicity and faith, and instead rely on his sound policies, like dealing with the on-going housing crisis that plagues London. Trump, on the other hand, seems to be gaining popularity in the American primaries by isolating different ethnicities ...

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Will we ever be able to fill in the gaps in Pakistan’s social fabric?

A recent poll done by BBC World Service, found that people are more likely than ever to identify as ‘global citizens’. According to Globescan, which conducted the poll and interviewed more than 20,000 people, over 56 per cent of Pakistanis identify as global citizens. While 27 per cent identify as Pakistanis first, and 43 per cent say their religion comes before their nationality. Is the nation failing its citizens or has globalisation made borders so meaningless that people need new political orders to anchor them? Or is it just stating the obvious; Muslims are always Muslims first, nationals second? The caliphates ...

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Religion and feminism: Why women in India are fighting for a place in temples

It’s time we remove the decadent practices that discriminate against people belonging to marginalised sections of society, especially women, from entering religious places of worship. On January 26, while most Indians celebrated the participation of an all-women’s contingent during India’s Republic Day Parade, 400 strong women activists did what has never been done before: they forcefully tried to enter the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra to break an age old custom that prevents women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The attempt was a symbolic act to assert women’s rights and fight patriarchy. Indian women have for long struggled to attain gender equality, and ...

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Is it okay if someone doesn’t want to say ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ in India?

Humans have been organising themselves in some sort of collective national structure since time immemorial. As much as many intellectuals, including Rabindranath Tagore, may argue that nationalism is a Western construct which doesn’t apply to India, or advocate the concept of a wider community of humanity, the value of the nation in the lives of its people cannot be trivialised. While these intellectual ideals are definitely worth pursuing, it is critical to factor in the harsh reality of human nature that has determined the history of humanity and shaped political boundaries. Weak states and kingdoms have been wiped out and untold sufferings have ...

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