Stories about liberals

No, Imran Khan’s “phateechar” comment was not racist

Prejudice has flown through Pakistani society across generations. We have held open biases against ethnicities that aren’t our own, against women, against religious minorities, against those of a different sexual orientation, and of course, against people with darker skin tones. The latter is especially common, even today. For example, our film, advertising, and modelling industry features very few artists who don’t have light skin. In fact, there is so much pressure in Pakistan that skin whitening creams are advertised and sold to reinforce every other stupid potential mother-in-law’s view that their son, regardless of his skin tone, should marry ...

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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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If a Trump and a Muslim American can put aside their differences, why can’t we?

Recently, the Huffington Post covered an incident where a Muslim American comedian, Mohammed Amer, sat next to Eric Trump on a flight. A fellow passenger warned, “I wouldn’t even sit next to him if I were you.” Mr Amer, ignoring the advice, took a seat and had a pleasant exchange with the son of the future POTUS, even when they discussed immigration and the proposed ban on Muslims. Amer said, “I just know we had a good, decent conversation, and I think that proves that we can talk to each other, and I think that’s what’s most important.” He concluded, “We need to…work through the problems and find the solutions… (and not ...

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An open letter to Asra Nomani

Dear Ms Asra, I am a student who has been living in the United States of America (USA) for the past five years. I did my Masters from here and right now I am in my third year of PhD. As someone deeply interested in politics (my degree is in Political Science) I have read your previous work. I have also seen you on TV and deeply respect your liberal values and understanding regarding what plagues the Muslim world. However, I was surprised when I read your letter justifying your rationale for voting Trump. That letter is being shared by many who have voted for Trump as ...

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Will Hillary Clinton be another George Bush? Probably!

Donald Trump’s heavy tread has swept the path clear for liberals of all stripes to present or reinforce their creds by giving him a sustained, collective bashing. While he has succeeded in getting all guns to turn on him, his gleeful opponent seems to be getting off scot-free. It is perhaps time to wonder what sort of president Hillary might be, if elected. Unless Donald pulls a last-minute rabbit out of his ear, Hillary is liable to return to the White House, this time on the arm of the First Gentleman whose dubious comportment record will always haunt the ...

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Guys, we can no longer have an opinion on chicken handi

Liberals in Pakistan watched with envy as Hamza Ali Abbasi pretended his account got banned every time he wanted attention to further his political career. It is undeniable that Mark Zuckerberg personally stalks Hamza Ali Abbasi on Facebook. A fact further corroborated by life sized posters of Hamza Ali Abbasi at the Facebook headquarters. It is rumoured that Mr Zuckerberg created Facebook only to obtain semi-nude pictures of Hamza Ali Abbasi from his Moulin Rouge days.   The time for conservative propaganda is over kyunkay naya zamana aya aur saath cybercrime bill laya (a new era has arrived, and it has brought the cybercrime bill with it). The government ...

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The length of my sleeves has nothing to do with my ghairat

A university in Faisalabad has decided to impose a clothing restriction on its students and staff. Like always, the opinions on it have now been divided into the two most common categories: the beyghairat (shameless) liberals and the ghairat brigade (moral brigade). The beyghairat liberals argue that such a code is superfluous and ridiculous. They believe that enforcing such a code is unnecessary considering that the students are adults; they can decide for themselves what is right and wrong. They don’t need a code like this to try enforcing such decisions. The ghairat brigade supports the implementation of a dress code, ...

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Egypt’s Hollowed-Out Society

On Wednesday, three judges in Cairo will decide whether to allow prosecutors to pursue their case against me and my co-defendant, the journalist and human rights advocate Hossam Bahgat, in the government’s continuing attack on nongovernmental organisations in Egypt. The case against me has centred on my role in founding the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, which aims to educate the Egyptian public about their civil and human rights. As for Mr Bahgat, it is widely known that his investigative reporting has rattled the government. But the case against him has focused on the activities of the organisation he ...

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Today, India is not what it was before he won the elections

Is India paying the price for electing Narendra Modi as its prime minister? I ask this question regularly because since Modi assumed office in Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been hurtling the country from one controversy to another. An atmosphere of fear has been created where any opposition to majoritarian politics is termed anti-national and the questioning of the government’s divisive agenda invites counter protests and blame for vitiating the atmosphere of the country. The state, therefore, has created enemies out of its own citizens by labelling them liberals, seculars, freethinkers and religious minority. The current controversy involving New Delhi based Jawaharlal Nehru ...

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Is Charlie Hebdo’s most recent Aylan Kurdi cartoon genuinely racist?

Outrage is a natural response to a magazine cover that seemingly mocks a deceased 3-year-old Syrian boy. Yet, there may be more to these cartoons than what meets the eye. Charlie Hebdo has produced another cartoon every bit as tasteless as that which we’ve learned to expect from this French magazine. It features the drowned Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, and suggests that if the refugee child had survived and grown up, he would have been sexually harassing women in Germany like the other immigrants. The cartoon refers to the wave of attacks carried out by immigrants in the German city of ...

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