shehzad.ghias

Shehzad Ghias

A graduate from the LUMS Law School and is running his own theatre production company, Cogito Productions.He works as a theatre teacher at various schools. He tweets @Shehzad89 (twitter.com/Shehzad89)

Calm down, Pakistan – there is no revolution coming!

Imran Khan has repeatedly insisted that the revolution he is advocating will be peaceful. Maybe, that is why it has not materialised as a revolution. Peaceful revolution is an oxymoron; a contradiction unto itself. Hans Kelsen theorises in The Pure Theory of Law that societies are built around a Grundnorm, a basic norm, that all of the society’s customs derive out of. A revolution simply changes this Grundnorm. The French Revolution replaced the absolute rule of the monarchy with democratic ideas of citizenship. The Iranian Revolution replaced monarchy with an Islamic republic. The Cuban revolution replaced a dictator with a communist regime. ...

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Ferguson, a window into our own cases of police brutality

I have been arrested. I have been handcuffed. I have been put in jail. I have had a police officer put a gun against my temple in the middle of the road in Defence. I have had a police officer threaten to indict me with charges of rape and murder if I do not give him money. There is no record of any of this because I never committed any crime. My “crimes” ranged from driving on the road at 2am to being in a car with a girl without possessing a ‘Nikkahnama’. I would not call them bribes, it was extortion. ...

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Islam may be trending on the streets of New York

Thirteen years after the events of September 11, 2001, New York is ready to begin its cathartic process. News of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda may still dominate the majority of the news, but the feeling of the streets is more of intrigue rather than fear. Most of the food carts in the city are halal, and the number one street cart in the city is called ‘Halal Guys’. To see people have chicken over rice from these carts has never been surprising but now some bars are also exclusively serving halal meat, ‘halal’ food is being embraced ...

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Can LUMS still be considered apolitical?

This has not been a great week for Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). Fresh off the sexual harassment case and an online petition to remove the Vice Chancellor, the university was embroiled in another controversy when an event featuring a talk session by Asad Umar was cancelled by the university. LUMS has since issued a public apology to Umar acknowledging that permission was granted to the Law and Politics Society at LUMS to invite him to speak to the students. The permission had been sought from the university and the topics of discussion were approved. However, just a couple of days before the event, LUMS revoked ...

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Unity, not uniformity

We tend to accept unity as one of the fundamental guiding principles of Pakistan, without questioning what it means. The oft repeated, and clichéd, political slogan is that we need to unify the country. We all need to come together for Pakistan, but come together to what? Unify to become what? The acceptance of the need for unity as a given truth, without questioning the very meaning of the word itself has led to a perverted understanding of the word. Unity seems to be understood to mean uniformity; a society where dissent is not accepted, any person holding an opinion ...

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Sexual harassment at LUMS, don’t blame the university!

A video of a woman walking the streets of New York City, getting hundreds of catcalls from men went viral around the world this week. The woman is followed, called all sorts of names, and her attention is solicited, but none of the men touch her. In Pakistan, instances of men “inadvertently” touching women are all too common. Girls are taught to ignore it, to avoid creating a ‘scene’. Not only does society silence the woman, our very laws discourage women from reporting cases of violence against them. Yesterday, news broke out of the Federal Ombudsman directing the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) to ...

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Ban the bowlers, ban them all!

After depriving the world of the most glorious sight in international cricket – Saeed Ajmal in all his grace, splendour and beauty giving an interview to Nasser Hussain after a match – the ICC plans to throw the book at bowlers. I welcome this hard-line decision taken by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the matter; if only these regulations had come a few years earlier, Kachra would never have been able to win the match for the farmers and the British could have enjoyed imposing dugna lagaan. Had they banned Imran Khan, our politics would have been deprived of the numerous cricket analogies ...

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I see Gullus everywhere…

“There is no hypocrisy in Pakistan; we just have completely different standards for men and women.” The comment above summarises the general feedback I received on a meme I created, which went viral on Facebook last week. I hope the irony of that statement was not lost on them. The idea behind the meme was to call out a population that was in an uproar about Humaima Malick crossing over to the tinsel town next door but was showing a general acceptance towards Fawad Khan doing the same. I am no moral authority to judge anyone’s behaviour but it is always fun to start ...

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You don’t have to celebrate homosexuality, but please don’t be a homophobe

The landmark Supreme Court judgment was definitely not going to go unnoticed in Pakistan. It was obvious that it was going to get widespread support in Pakistan as well. I was surprised to even see a few people drape their profile pictures in the rainbow colours in unity. However, the copious amounts of vitriol directed towards those people were vastly unwarranted and totally unnecessary. Nobody is requiring every single person in the world to celebrate pride but there is no reason to berate people doing so. You are free to express yourself but your freedom of speech does not extend to having a right ...

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The Taliban must not be painted as violent savages

“You have no option but to take direct military action.” This was the advice given by John F Kennedy’s top military aide at the height of the Cuban missile crisis which brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war. The future of the world hinged on Kennedy’s acquiescence. After the Second World War, global politics were dominated by the political, ideological and power clash between the Americans and the Soviets. Communists were painted as violent savages to the Americans who were made to fear communism. However, the idea of communism gained ground in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union grew as a global superpower. Following ...

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