Shar

Shar

The author holds an MPhil in Public Administration and has taught Politics and Public Policy at the University of Karachi.

Hazaras: The Rohingyas of Pakistan?

Last week, when I was planning a trip to Quetta for training, Mujeeb Hashmi, a friend from work, asked me to wear shalwar kameez, not only to the airport but also whenever I went out and about in the city. Hashmi, being a veteran filmmaker, has been to almost every habitable area of Pakistan – so I had to pay heed. He also warned me to be wary of certain localities within the city such as Hazara Town and Alamdar Road, given the violence witnessed by the city in the past. He was right. Quetta made a great first impression on me – ...

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Benazir Bhutto’s assassination was carefully planned, politically motivated and amply funded – but who did it?

Every movie buff has their favourite action movie star – mine is Mark Wahlberg. He has acted in several high octane, action-packed and successful movies. For our purpose, I’d like to remind my readers of one of his more subdued films, Shooter. The film follows the story of a sniper living in exile who is coaxed back into action to prevent a plot to kill the president of the US. Unbeknownst to him, the people who brought him in to help them are the ones who were involved in the whole conspiracy to begin with. If you haven’t seen the ...

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Ziaul Haq’s legacy consists less of his own policies and more of the actions successive governments have taken to undo their effects

Throughout human history, there have been numerous individuals whose existence and actions have adversely affected the course of a nation or the world on a whole. They have been the cause of great pain and suffering directly such as Joseph Stalin with his agricultural program or Adolf Hitler’s war on Jews and the minorities of Germany and later on, the rest of the world. Pakistan too has had its fair share of such individuals but none of them stand out in comparison to the man who sowed the seeds of dissension, discord, sectarianism and extremism in our country – General Ziaul Haq. On the ...

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Game of zones: Why India must resolve its issues with both its nuclear neighbours, Pakistan and China

While framing this piece in my mind, I was stuck in a conundrum. Why am I writing a blog at a time when everyone is probably watching Game of Thrones (GoT)? Simply enough, an answer came to mind. Apart from the very few people who do not watch the series, everyone is interested in real life power struggles as well. Hence, the name game of zones, conflict zones to be exact. I read an article recently, which quoted a Chinese analyst saying that the Indian government should avoid opening two fronts. This was of course an apparent reference to its neighbours, Pakistan and China. Pakistan has ...

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If you think Qatar’s ostracism is an awful misunderstanding, you are dead wrong

Queen was never my first choice of music when I was an avid music lover during my youth. I guess Freddie Mercury’s antics were not really to my taste. I stopped listening to music over the years because I wanted to choose mental clarity over residual ideals that music brings with it. However, there have been several events throughout world politics that have reminded me of Queen and their seminal classic ‘Another one bites the dust’ – Qatar’s expulsion from the fold of ‘peace-loving’ Arab nations being the most recent example. To everyone who thinks that Qatar’s ostracism by its once chummy Arab buddies namely Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United ...

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To my three beautiful children, this Father’s Day, please forgive me

Dear Muhammad, Maryam and Zaynab, Life is a system of cycles. One event or historical phenomenon, which takes place, tends to repeat itself albeit after numerous years. Personal histories and legacies are all the same. As we grow up, we love our parents (biological or otherwise) when we are young. This idealism gives way to rebellion once, we as children, start to explore the world around us and subsequently discover boundaries in the shape of rules and limitations set by our parents. The rebellion may or may not increase in each individual case but it is there to some extent. This rebellion stabilises when we are ...

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Donald Trump will be giving a lecture on Islam to Muslims in Riyadh – let that sink in

Blowing trumpets, doves flying overhead and the awaiting red carpet. To many, this scenery invokes fairy tales of kings visiting their prefectures on gilded carriages with soldiers in tow. The princes and princesses line up to greet their guest along with the nobility, hoping a beautiful guest from within the entourage would catch their eye and sparks would fly. Not much was expected to change from this picture apart from the medieval setting when Donald Trump landed in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. This is Trump’s first visit to a foreign country and surprisingly, he chose Saudi Arabia as his destination. Surprising is too mute a word to capture the reality ...

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The parasitic relationship of Pakistan, the shark, and Afghanistan, the remora

Reality is more complicated than fiction. Before someone loses a fuse by just reading this statement, let me explain. Fiction, no matter how fantastical, has to make some sense at the end of the day, otherwise it would not be able to appeal to any ‘reasonable’ audience. I apologise for using the term ‘reasonable’ here but I must make some sort of differentiation, otherwise people would point out the weirdest fictions out there as examples also known as House of 1000 Corpses. In fiction, two brothers who despise each other throughout the narrative would somehow find common ground and get back ...

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The curious case of Hussain Haqqani

In ancient cultures across the globe, people believed that the gods punished them directly for their transgressions. These punishments would be in the form of droughts, excess heat or cold or simply too much rain. Numerous outcasts or prisoners paid the price as human sacrifices to the gods including children sacrificed by the Aztecs. In certain cultures, the sins of the people were transferred onto a goat by a priest and then sacrificed to pay for peoples’ transgressions. A similar story can be found in the Bible. Hence the term ‘scapegoat’ was born. I think it’s best to state the ...

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Does Imran Khan stand a chance in the 2018 General Elections?

The Nolan brothers are a great team; they have teamed up for some impressive films such as The Dark Night Trilogy, producing ground-breaking action cinema. What intrigues me even more is that some of the lessons from their films are also applicable in the factual world. When Bane cornered Batman in The Dark Knight Rises, beating him to a pulp, he uttered the movie’s famous lines, “Peace has cost you your strength, victory has defeated you…” A tired and peaceful Batman had won his victory and thus gave up the struggle that made him who he was. There are some parallels that ...

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