Jahanzaib Haque

Jahanzaib Haque

News buff and Web Editor, The Express Tribune. Jahanzaib tweets @Jhaque_ twitter.com/jhaque_

Welcome to the war in Balochistan

In 2007, those of us journalists working on news desks could see from the daily reports pouring in from Swat and Fata that the situation had turned dire; that there was a war upon us that we, the media, could see, but which the general population would not wake up to, at least not until it reached their doorstep. Due to Pakistan’s overt involvement in the US war on terror, the lid on that battleground blew open fairly soon, but even back in 2007 we could see that there was another deadly war front opening – the war in Balochistan. ...

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Why comments and likes matter in the (new) media world

The number of comments or likes or tweets on an online news article or Op-ed do not determine its real worth, just its popularity. What is popular on news sites is ‘common’, ‘low-brow’ perhaps ‘sensational’ maybe even ‘gripping’ but it is rarely what is ‘good journalism’ or ‘valuable opinion’. Therefore, clicks, hits, comments and likes are definitely not a measure of success for a ‘real’ writer or journalist. This is what the old vanguard of journalists, columnists, bloggers and writers of all-sorts would have you believe. Being an editor for an online news desk has left me open to frequent attacks ...

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Print is dead, long live news

In case you missed the story, the media world is changing, and print news is dying. Given that I work in English print in a country where even the last English TV channel standing was forced to shut down, this should be a terrifying thought. I’m not the only one who is scared however – so is the New York Times (NYT). Watching Page One: Inside the New York Times, a documentary focusing on the NYT’s struggle to stay relevant and adapt to a rapidly changing media landscape is like a glimpse into ...

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Salmaan Taseer’s sacrifice was in vain

One year on from the assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, and all debate on amending the blasphemy laws has essentially come to a close. I do not blame individual citizens for this. Given the prevailing extremist temperament in the country, it is next to impossible to effectively stand up to what is, at the end of the day, a case of bullying in the name of religion. Given the kind of organisation and capabilities the extremists/militants have, it is very difficult for the average man or woman, appalled at the rapid rise of violent radicalism in the country, to speak out. It is not just ...

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All that is good (and bad) in Memogate

1. Whoever wrote the memo was speaking for the supremacy of the civilian, democratic setup with acknowledgement of the ground realities of a country easily swayed, even toppled off-course by the military. Kudos. Caveat: The sentiment to preserve civilian rule may have stemmed from self-preservation rather than democratic principles – but either way it is worth applauding. 2. The fact that Osama bin Laden was found on our soil, living a stone’s throw away from the Army encampment really called for an accountable and independent inquiry along with the exposure and termination of service of those possibly involved in the whole ...

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How the US will win

It’s not often that you end up on the same table with characters carrying such hefty, esteemed titles as the KarachiKid, TeethMaestro, DiscoMaulvi and US Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs. Not unlike the Mad Hatter’s tea party, the US Consulate General Karachi tossed a motley crew of media folk, bloggers, local Twitterati and ‘youth leaders’ into a quick brunch with US Under Secretary Maria Otero just to mix things up a little for the visiting diplomat. The selection of the guests was geared to create an “interactive session focusing on youth initiatives and blogging” as the invitation read. For independent ...

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What do Pakistani atheists mean for Pakistan?

“How does one begin to write a blog about atheism in Pakistan?” This rather tricky question was posed to me by a web sub-editor  after the discovery that not only are there atheists and agnostics alive and well in Pakistan, they are in fact running their own website and using social media to stay in touch and multiply. I call the above question tricky for a number of reasons. For anyone who is not aware, the most dangerous minority to be in Pakistan is not (contrary to popular belief) an Ahmadi, but an atheist, a disbeliever in any form of God(s); ...

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Evolution is false…and the Sun goes round the Earth

The Express Tribune received this letter to the editor recently, and I have taken it upon myself not only to reproduce the letter in full, but to reply to it in full as well. The letter Dear Editor: What evolutionists stumble over in their beliefs about evolution is, given enough time, any change is possible.  The more time, the more plausible the theory.  Sounds so reasonable, doesn’t it? But that doesn’t address the more important  question that asks about the mechanism that causes change. There isn’t a scientist in the world who can explain or demonstrate the step-by-step mechanism that evolved, for ...

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Sialkot lynching: Hang ’em all

“An eye for an eye makes the world blind…but with so much injustice around us, perhaps blindness is preferable.” [J Haque] After a total of 401 days, the Sialkot lynching case has come to an end with an outcome that is perhaps as grisly as the event that took place – death sentences for seven of those involved, and I for one fully support the verdict. In fact, just to play judge, jury and executioner, (as is our classic Pakistan ka haal) I would also like to know why the other six involved, and particularly the policemen who stood by and ...

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Video blog: What’s your 9/11 conspiracy?

Too few facts? A vast global conspiracy? Too many cheesy documentaries and delusions, or just a lot of anti-US sentiment? Whatever the case may be, the September 11 attacks on US soil have had a lasting and unending impact on Pakistan’s psyche. This video is a mash-up of just some of the opinions floating around a single office space, and while no means comprehensive, they do capture some of the banter surrounding 9/11 in the country. 9/11 was the day the world changed forever, and there have been just as many conspiracy theories as to who is responsible for the attacks as the number ...

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