salman Zafar

Salman Zafar

The writer works in the Education Sector and tweets as @salmanzafar1985 (twitter.com/salmanzafar1985)

Divided by politics 70 years ago, India and Pakistan are still united by the cancer of rape

Imagine being a young woman who steps out of her house late at night. You hang around with friends, partake in merrymaking that stretches deep into the night, and then safely return home in the morning. There isn’t an ounce of worry in your mind as you go about this. Being wary of your surroundings never crosses your mind, and looking out for unwanted stares doesn’t either. You feel secure, safe and sound. If you’re living in modern day India or Pakistan, this scenario would never happen. Divided by politics 70 years ago, they are still united by the cancer ...

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“Khud khana garam karlo” – Pakistani men’s kryptonite

There is very little doubt that the #MeToo socio-political statements on the internet are among the most powerful ones in recent history. Spreading virtually across the entire globe, the online movement has gathered its fair share of attention in Pakistan too and thankfully so. The recent Aurat March was proof of this movement affecting this country. What began as a protest against sexual misconduct, has now raged into something much bigger. It holds even more meaning in countries such as Pakistan, since not only is sexual misconduct ripe here, the country is still home to an extremely patriarchal society. The Aurat ...

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The rise of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari: Much more than a poster boy of Pakistan’s family-dominated politics

In the midst of the political tussle between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has been a distant observer for the large part. For a party with rock solid ideological roots, this is not a healthy sign. For a party that has historically been Pakistan’s most potent left-wing force at the federal level, this is even worse. The PPP was outmuscled, outwitted and completely blown away in the 2013 General Election. Statistically, the PPP’s seat count in the National Assembly went down to 42 seats from the 118 it won in the 2008 General Election. ...

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Will the Islamic State flag in Islamabad hinder Pakistan’s progress?

There is the lush screen scenery. There are the picturesque Margalla Hills. There are the curve-friendly roads on these hills that remind one of Vital Signs and Junaid Jamshed. There is the crisp and cool weather. There is a particular calm never found in other major cities of the country. Then there is the Lal Masjid – the antithesis of everything in Islamabad – loud, angry and not at all pretty. It was only a matter of time before this happened then, an Islamic State (IS) flag dangling in Islamabad, even though it may or may not have anything to do with Lal Masjid. Things in Pakistan have generally looked better off late. The military ...

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Kashmir: The perfect combination of Vital Signs and EP, all rolled into one

Despite being an avid music lover, I’ve stopped following contemporary Pakistani music for quite a while now. It would not be incorrect to claim that things took a wrong turn ever since Rohail Hyatt left Coke Studio. However, the recently concluded Pepsi Battle of the Bands has changed that. And it really is down to one band alone – the eventual winners, Kashmir. I was mildly surprised when they won the competition even though I was rooting for them myself. Badnaam, the runner up, had been impeccable throughout the competition, managed to stay out of the danger zone every time and ...

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Nawaz Sharif must be allowed to complete his term as his dismissal will do no good

The earliest memory of television I have is Pakistan winning the 1992 Cricket World Cup. I don’t recall what happened on TV afterwards or how things got there, but I vaguely remember Nawaz Sharif’s sombre looking face on the television set in our living room a year later. Nawaz was prime minister. That’s all I was old enough to understand. Then one day he wasn’t. I was in grade three and apparently a new federal election was taking place. I recognised no one except Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz when they were on television or the newspaper. Who was my family voting for? I had no idea, but ...

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Are our traffic wardens the only ones who need psychotherapy?

A recent news piece mentioned traffic wardens in Lahore being given psychotherapy sessions in light of their unruly behaviour. It appears to be a good move on the surface, but is it only the traffic wardens who need these sessions? If one makes a list of the most disliked authority figures in Pakistan, it would have traffic wardens at the very top. This is not a phenomenon that is common to a select few – it is much bigger than that. I remember growing up in Lahore, and learning to drive. Every now and then when I would be out with a group of friends (before ...

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An open letter to Benazir Bhutto

Bibi, It has been almost a decade since you met your untimely demise on December 27, 2007. It has been almost a decade since the day the country lost one of its greatest leaders. The state that Pakistan finds itself in today may not surprise you. Unlike the others, you had the foresight to see the storm we were heading towards when you spoke of secular values. The state your party finds itself in today, however, will crush you. Your party has always represented the best of Pakistan. From your iconic father, to people of unparalleled substance, brilliance and integrity like Meraj Muhammad Khan, Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani, Sherry Rehman and Malik ...

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Tarek Fatah’s recent tantrum: What two celebrities name their child

Unless you’re fairly active on Twitter, and/or have a genuine interest in expat Pakistanis who are active within sociopolitical circles, you might not be aware of who Tarek Fatah is. Originally from Karachi but now based in Canada, he writes a regular column for one of the country’s largest newspapers and has a frequent broadcast presence. In addition to this, he is a staunch critic of virtually everything Pakistan. His criticism of Pakistan has its merits. However there are times where the gap between the truth and what Tarek Fatah perceives to be the truth is larger than the Grand ...

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For shame Imran Khan, for shame

Imran Khan, you perpetually misguided political novice. You inherently misinformed self-proclaimed leader of the youth. You have done it again. First the fiasco with shutting down Islamabad, and now the reaction to Erdogan’s visit. Just when we think you’ve gained some much needed sense, you prove us all wrong. And you don’t do that in your average every day way. No, sir. You do in the most spectacular of manners, debunking every delusion we may have had of you finally mending your ways. Over 80,000 people dead, more than 48,000 of which are civilians. Blood splattered across the streets of Pakistan, ...

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