sadaf.khan

Sadaf Khan

A broadcast journalist based in Islamabad who was formerly associated with Geo News and Dunya News. She blogs at ibteda.wordpress.com/

Mukarram Khan, Saleem Shahzad…who’s next?

In 2001, just after the US invasion in Afghanistan, a tribal journalist from Mohmand Agency was captured near Kandahar along with another Pakistani and a French journalist. All three were taken into captivity by the Afghan Taliban on suspicion of being American spies. As their case went before the Taliban court, the tribal journalist found himself with an unexpected advantage; he was the only one who could understand both English, Urdu and Pushto. Thus, he entered into the unlikeliest contract of all; working as a paid translator for the Taliban while in captivity. At the end of the three months ...

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Edhi, we expected better from you

We all suffer from occasional bouts of madness. It is a hazard of being a human, a side effect of possessing a mind. We all have thoughts, wishes that cannot and should not be taken seriously. Mostly, we keep these thoughts to ourselves but sometimes, we blurt them out. If we are lucky, not many witness our moment of insanity. However, if you are someone with a fan following, if you are someone who motivates and inspires, someone who has a standing in society, you are expected to refrain from having public bouts of mental diarrhea. What to say then of Abdul Sattar ...

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The curious case of Moonis Elahi

So, the interior ministry has pulled yet another stunt with Additional Director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Zafar Qureshi. We can now officially say that the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) has started reaping the benefits of joining the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led government coalition. Moonis Elahi must feel relieved. His party is now aligned with the professionals and he can be sure of the fact that the corruption charges levelled against him will probably not translate into a conviction. As usual, cleansing Elahi’s image has required sacrifice from those who believe in principles. Qureshi, the lead investigator of the case ...

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Gutsy Marvi steps down…goes solo?

I won’t lie – I’ve often made fun of Marvi Memon’s overzealous emotional style, her long winded breathless sentences without full stops and the almost audible exclamation mark at the end of her sound bytes. At times, I have used her high pitched quotes to add a bit of life to an otherwise dull TV report. More often than not, when I have seen her protesting on the streets I have wondered why a parliamentarian who claims to care so much for the masses, would associate herself with a party whose manifesto seems to focus on regaining power. On Wednesday, as ...

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Do parliamentarians care about the education emergency?

The education task force set up by the prime minister has recently termed the situation in Pakistan an “education emergency”. When media walas, policy makers, development sector workers and political activists are invited to sit together, they do not seem to think this “emergency” needs to be addressed urgently. The panel from the educational task force concluded that the main hurdle in educating the nation is the lack of political will. It is ironic that this statement comes directly from co-chair of Pakistan Education Task force Shahnaz Wazir Ali who is a member of parliament and the ruling party. If not her, ...

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All hope died with Shahbaz Bhatti

As I write this, the body of Shahbaz Bhatti is being flown to Faisalabad for burial. He has been dead for three days. As expected, Rehman Malik has claimed that the assassination was Bhatti’s own fault and not the interior ministry’s. The government has called it an act of terrorism, condemned it and is observing three days of mourning. The maulanas of two mainstream religious parties have issued lukewarm condemnations on TV but have refrained from actually meeting the minister’s family. But none of the leaders have so far said a word about the blasphemy law that has been used as an excuse ...

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Skeletons in the Cabinet: A reshuffle that makes no sense

After almost three years of unprecedented failures, the government finally overhauled the Cabinet this week. Or has it? The new and improved ‘small’ cabinet includes  a lot of old faces but there have been plenty of surprises – and they have been shockers. Ministry for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, of heera mandi attack fame, who is often called to talk shows when a little ghunda element is needed has been given the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Dr Awan is now responsible for ‘handling’ the media, and tactfully explaining the government’s policies and defending it’s mistakes. From now on, after every single cabinet ...

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If you can’t control rape, legalise prostitution

In 2005, thirteen year old ‘S’ was sodomised by a truck driver. After 5 long years in court, ‘S’ finally saw Mola Dad, his abuser get convicted. The judge has given Mola Dad the maximum punishment.  But for this monstrous act, even the maximum means only three years mprisonment, a Rs45,000 fine and Rs200,000 compensation. So while the victim spent five years striving for justice, the criminal would be free in three years and can resume his life. When “success stories” are like this, what can be said about the countless incidents that never reach the police station? The street I grew up on ...

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Karachi in a body bag…

Way back in the early 90s, the operation against MQM had just started and life was almost at a standstill. I was a wee little lass of nine and in answer to all my questions, I was told that some bad people were out there killing others. I did not understand the dynamics of politics; “army operation”, “PPP” and “MQM” were familiar but meaningless words that were somehow involved in the havoc that was being raised. I felt afraid of Benazir Bhutto, who seemed to be somewhat responsible for calling the shots during a scary, unstable situation. There were endless strikes and ...

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The noble intentions of Salmaan Taseer

When people pass on, you are suddenly bombarded with memories. Both significant and insignificant, random phrases from different conversations and events flood in. With Salmaan Taseer, the only thing that flashes to my mind is his gallant, challenging smile.The smile that conveyed what his personality was all about – the lack of fear, the conviction in his own opinions, the zeal to do and say what he believed was correct and above all the refusal to back down under threats or pressure. The governor was one of the very few educated politicians who led and lived by his own set of rules. ...

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