Raza Rashid

Raza Rashid

The author is a Barrister and is interested in politics, religion and sports. He tweets at @RazaRashid14 (twitter.com/RazaRashid14)

A Tale of Two Teams: Pakistan’s World Cup campaign through Charles Dickens

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness….we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.” The famous opening of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities speaks of an era of contrasts and contradictions. In the year 1775, England and France paradoxically embodied the mirror images of good and bad that define our everyday lives and everything within ...

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Kim Jong Un’s impudence is merely food for internal consumption, not words to be taken at face value

In contemporary history, the memory of the 1953 Korean War has been somewhat overshadowed by the internecine World War II that concluded some seven years before it.   Over three weeks, a collective five million civilians and military personnel perished on both sides of the Korean peninsula, entire villages were destroyed and cities obliterated. Hostilities were first stoked when the then North Korean despot Kim II Sung invaded the South, postulating a reunification of the peninsula. The South Koreans, allied with the United States then as they are now, were aided by the first large-scale air campaign conducted by the US Air Force as well ...

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Is the divide within the Sharif family inevitable?

One would usually frown upon the vivisection of a family’s domestic issues on a public forum. But the sheer influence of the Sharif family’s private affairs on the national political landscape renders such an analysis as a necessary evil. In 2015, Hamza Shehbaz attended a wedding ceremony where he spent most of his time sulking in a far corner of the quaintly decorated arena, scarcely mingling with fellow attendees and keeping a low profile. At the same event, a frustrated Begum Nusrat Shehbaz was heard loudly rebuking one of the attendees, after being repeatedly asked to participate in a family portrait ...

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Can Nawaz Sharif salvage his legacy by normalising relations with India and the economic alleviation stemming from it?

The battle lines have been drawn. Nawaz is out flaunting his muscles on the street, and his choice seems clear – defiance over acquiescence. But to what end? One possibility is that the power play is simply intended to gain political leverage and bargain relief from those the former prime minster (PM) feels have vindictively disarmed him. But two factors refute this theory – Khawaja Asif and Mushahidullah Khan. We all know the perversity with which Asif is viewed within the General Headquarters (GHQ), and the comments that led Khan to be scapegoated and removed from his ministry. The appointment of the two ...

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Saudi Arabia, India or the US – who is conspiring against Nawaz Sharif and why?

At the beginning of this month, the government found itself in something of a pickle. Regardless of a dubious WhatsApp call fiasco and alleged political proclivities of the joint investigation team (JIT) members, the Sharifs had failed miserably in elucidating a tangible money trail for their opulent assets abroad. To truly offset the velocity of the storm they faced, they would have to counter attack with something far more potent and invidious – something powerful enough to offset the damning reality of their inconclusive money trial – a global conspiracy. A conspiracy that was hatched in collusion with the venal folks in the General Headquarters (GHQ), ...

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The Bahawalpur inferno victims were not reckless jahils, but simply desperate citizens of Pakistan

The aftermath of disaster is often pervaded by catharsis, and as human nature would always have it, the pressing propensity to find appropriate scapegoats and pass the blame. As I write this merely days after the heinous tragedy of the oil spill on KLP road, it is instantly plain that those who perished in the incident are the ones being held unanimously responsible for the same. But why? Because even as an oil tanker carrying 40,000 litres of fuel overturned whilst making a sharp turn on Sunday morning, it did not immediately unleash the inferno that followed. First, the inhabitants of the nearby village of Ramzanpur ...

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Is CPEC a rebranded Chinese adaptation of the East India Trading Company?

The proposition that the currently under way China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is in fact a rebranded Chinese adaptation of the East India Trading Company is certainly fraught with massive inconsistencies. As has been prudently observed by many before me, it is highly unlikely that the Chinese state is going to use the garb of trade to forcefully occupy Pakistan, seize administrative control and establish a colony as a jewel in some sort of neo-Maoist Empire. Notwithstanding the ineptness of the Chinese at duplicating western artifacts, this might be a step too far, even for them. The simple corollary of these observations is that any attempts to draw a ...

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It wasn’t state facilitation but years of political neglect that turned FATA into an extremist stronghold

Whilst our civilian rulers have borne significant calumny for their dismal governance since the return of the democratic regime in 2008, there remain some feathers in the cap they can yet point to when juxtaposed with their military counterparts. Take the 18th Constitutional amendment for example. Since independence, successive military regimes have sought to consolidate power in the centre, perpetrating a phantom federation which in turn fuelled discontent and separatist-ism throughout the smaller provinces. The unitary propensity of the establishment also played a vital role in the East Pakistan debacle in 1971. The 18th amendment represented a break from this past, bringing about an inclusive administrative system by ...

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Trump’s #MuslimBan: A realist’s take

Recently, the UAE foreign minister defended Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, claiming that it’s not Islamophobic. The unconvincing statement, perhaps given in relief or gratitude for the UAE having avoided the ban itself, only goes to highlight the unscrupulous foundations of the ban. Rich, influential Muslim countries that are financial or strategic allies like the Gulf States and Pakistan have been spared, whereas those with little utility to the US have conveniently been scapegoated to appease Trump’s right-wing populism. Perhaps Abdullah Bin Zayed’s words have some truth to them after all. Perhaps the ban isn’t merely a coup against Muslim countries, but ...

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Is PML-N trying to fool everyone under its centrist garb?

Away from the racket of the Panama proceedings at the Supreme Court, the past couple of months have seen Nawaz Sharif take emboldened steps to reconcile with some of the most marginalised segments of society. Firstly, in the beginning of December, the prime minster gave directions to rename the National Physics Centre in Quaid-e-Azam University as The Professor Abdus Salam Centre for Physics, honouring the late Nobel Prize winner from the Ahmadi community. Followed by that was the premier’s inauguration of the restoration of the ancient Katas Raj Hindu temple complex in Punjab. Speaking at the event, he claimed that Pakistan will soon be recognised as a minority-friendly ...

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