raza.habib

Raza Habib Raja

The author is a recent Cornell graduate and currently pursuing his PhD in political science at Maxwell School, Syracuse University. He has also worked for a leading development finance institution in Pakistan. He is a freelance journalist whose works have been published at Huffington Post, Dawn (Pakistan), Express Tribune (Pakistan) and Pak Tea House. He tweets @razaraja (twitter.com/razaraja?lang=en)

Indians can’t wait to ‘marry Kashmiri girls’, ‘buy land in Kashmir’ – and therein lies the problem

A few years ago, I wrote a blog in which I cherished an overarching identity which connected me, a Pakistani, to the inhabitants of neighbouring India. The said article was not a negation of the Two-Nation Theory but rather what I thought was the right way forward. I had written, “Yes, modern Pakistan and India are a reality, but then so is our great common heritage. Yes, it is important for us to be loyal to our political states, but at the same time not overlook the joint heritage. There is an overarching identity which unites us despite our political ...

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As a Muslim husband, I do not agree with Farhat Hashmi and her view on marital rape

It was the summer of 2015. I was in Pakistan for a month and a half due to the demise of my father. My visit coincided with the month of Ramazan. During the holy month, my wife decided to attend Dars-e-Quran sessions conducted by a certain Islamic scholar, Tahira Yousuf. One night, my wife asked me to pick her up after the lecture. When I reached the centre, the lecture had just ended and I saw a large number of women from apparently affluent backgrounds coming out of the hall. When my wife sat in the car, I asked her ...

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Not finding oil reserves was expected, but PTI had to save face so it gave false hope

After a lot of anticipation, the news finally arrived a few days ago that the much hyped oil exploration off the shore of Pakistan has ended in failure. This attempt by Exxon Mobil has cost the Pakistani exchequer about $100 million. This failure marks Pakistan’s 18th attempt at trying to find oil in the deep sea, but this should not be a cause for concern as offshore drilling is considered to be a ‘high risk, high reward’ business with a small chance of success associated with each attempt. Moreover, although this attempt is a failure, experts are hoping that future ...

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A tale of two speeches: Why Bilawal has proved to be a better leader than Imran

This blog is about two speeches that are invariably linked. The first, delivered in a firebrand style by a young leader, provoked a response from an older leader. Both are leaders of major political parties, belonging to different generations and espousing different political ideologies. But as the crux of their speeches show, they belong to different calibres as well. The first speech was given in a National Assembly session by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. It was partly in response to Asad Umar’s infamous speech attacking Bilawal, and partly to raise some important questions about the recent ...

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When will people like Khateeb stop using a peaceful religion as a tool for violence?

A frightening incident recently took place in Bahawalpur in which a student fatally stabbed his teacher. The teacher wanted to organise a welcome party which the said student considered ‘un-Islamic’ due to the intermingling of males and females. In a chilling confessional video, the student alleged that the late professor used to ‘insult’ Islam on a regular basis. He showed absolutely no remorse for his action, and when asked as to why he didn’t take the legal route, his answer was that courts in Pakistan are freeing ‘blasphemers’. A student of 5th semester at Govt Sadiq Egerton College in Bahawalpur who identifies himself as Khateeb Hussain when ...

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Asad Umar mocking Bilawal Bhutto is a new low, even by Old Pakistan standards

A few days ago, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressed the National Assembly in the English language. I did not see it at first and in fact, my attention was drawn to it after hearing Finance Minister Asad Umar’s rebuttal, which was tweeted by PTI’s official Twitter account: Finance Minister @Asad_Umar reminds Mr @BBhuttoZardari of how a grassroots worker beat PPP in its own heart of Lyari, and how his speech in English today toeing India’s narrative was postured for a specific international audience whose bidding he does. #PTI pic.twitter.com/fKYaHhiUWa — PTI (@PTIofficial) March 6, 2019 In his rebuttal, the finance minister first mocked the ...

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Despite his achievements, Imran Khan does not deserve a Nobel Peace Prize

A few days ago, a resolution was moved in the National Assembly requesting nomination of a Nobel Peace Prize for Imran Khan. The resolution, which comes after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s decision to release the Indian pilot, argues that Imran has “played a sagacious role in reducing recent tensions between Pakistan and India which were created due to the warmongering attitude of the Indian leadership”. It further states that Imran averted possible war by “deft handling” of the crisis. After the news of the resolution broke out, the entire media erupted. The resolution has led to fierce debate, both in electronic and ...

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If Gillette’s ad proved anything, it’s that #NotAllMen want to be their best

When a celebrity or corporation deviates from societal norms, it ends up creating controversy and a lot of debate. Right now, a Gillette advertisement, released just a few days ago, is doing the same. The advertisement has so far garnered well over 17 million views but more than the views, it is people’s responses to it which tell the real story: Presently, over 450,000 people have ‘liked’ the video on YouTube while the number of dislikes is almost double this number. The comments section is also interesting because of the fierce debate that is developing slowly. On the whole though, ...

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11 years later, both Pakistan and PPP are suffering the loss of Benazir Bhutto

I still remember the date. It was October 18, 2007, the day Benazir Bhutto returned from self-exile. I was posted in Karachi at the time, and it seemed as if an electric vibe was going through the entire city. As I returned from the office, I could see cars and buses full of people, many of whom were waving the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) flag. I was with a colleague who, after seeing those PPP supporters, could not hide his disgust and remarked: “Jahil qaum hai. Itni corrupt aurat ko welcome kar rahi hai. Yeh Bhuttos mulk loot ker kha gaye. Tab ...

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Who will invest in Pakistan if its head of state constantly highlights its corruption and desperation?

Prime Minister Imran Khan, after taking oath, has so far been on six foreign trips despite initially stating that he would not go on any foreign trips for the first three months. Perhaps given the economic dire circumstances, these trips were inevitable. The extent of success of these trips, with respect to obtaining economic aid and attracting investment, is still being debated in the national media. However, another thing which is under discussion is the way prime minister conducted himself on these trips. Like all rulers, Imran has also tried to market Pakistan by pointing towards its large young population, ...

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