Usman Ali Virk

Usman Ali Virk

The author hails from Lahore and is a lawyer by profession. He recently graduated with a Masters in Law from the University of California, Berkeley.

For Imran Khan, it’s never been about winning the race, but about not letting PML-N win

Let’s rewind back to October of 2011. The charged up youth of Lahore welcomed the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan, with the sort of political fervour and passion not seen by this city in recent memory. That rally in Lahore turned out to be the defining moment in Imran’s political career, as for the first time, he was taken seriously as a possible contender for the seat of prime minister. Fast forward to January 2018. The city was the same, the person gracing the stage was the same as well, but the crowd and the passion of old was absent. We will subsequently discuss ...

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7 reasons to look back at 2017 and be proud of Pakistan

2017 would be mainly remembered by the judicial verdict in Panamagate, whereby a sitting prime minister was sent packing by the Supreme Court, and the pervasive political turmoil that ensued as a result of that decision. There were many positive events during the year that would help us look back at 2017 with a fond smile. As we move closer towards 2018, here is some of the inspiring and reassuring news that came out of Pakistan: 1. Top of the sports world Anyone who knows anything about cricket will tell you that if there is one team that has the raw talent ...

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History shows that the rejuvenated ‘right’ will prosper, and Pakistan will be the inevitable sufferer

Pakistan is in a state of utter confusion. Our people are uncertain as to who is running the affairs of the country. Is the government even capable of maintaining its writ over the citizens, or are certain groups powerful enough to challenge the state at will and without repercussion? These questions came to light as a result of the recent sit-ins by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi that virtually brought the entire country to a halt. As far as religious parties go, Pakistani voters have never seen them as serious contenders to represent the people ...

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When a white “terrorist” is awarded a privilege 1.8 billion Muslims are denied

If the world can largely agree on one thing, it is the need to defeat terrorism. However, the frequency of unity seen when condemning terror does not echo beyond that, for every state of the world is employing its own methods (or lack thereof) of tackling this daunting, multi-faceted predicament, and hence achieving varying degrees of success. The first and probably most pivotal step in the fight against terrorism is to clearly define what constitutes as terror and who is actually a terrorist. Failure to reach a singular consensus on this starting point will invariably lead to utter confusion amongst the ...

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A ‘progressive’ Saudi Arabia that practises moderate Islam – possibility or a sham?

Is Saudi Arabia turning over a new leaf, or are these new policies just an anomaly; perhaps a misdirected confidence of an individual who is trying to change the society in his own image? Only time will tell. The recently appointed crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS), has embarked on an impressive but debatable development plan for the oil-rich country. This plan will see Saudi radically transform from its archaic system of governance and develop an over-the-top modern, high tech city which, according to MBS, is “The first capitalist city in the world… this is the unique thing that will be revolutionary.” This effort, ...

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Silence of the lambs: Pakistan is doing its fair share for the Rohingya refugees, but what about India and Bangladesh?

One wonders what is more appalling – Myanmar’s systematic genocide of its Muslim minority, or the inexplicable manner in which the world stayed numb while a small country, wielding hardly any politico-economic clout in international affairs, went about openly violating all norms of international law. Let us forget about the world for a second, what exactly has the “Muslim Ummah” done to stop the killings of our Rohingya brethren? It is because of the inaction of Muslim governments in times like these that the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) is often referred to as “Oh, I see”. If Muslim countries had ...

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Today, Jinnah and Allama Iqbal’s noble profession is being held hostage by rogue elements

The practice of law is considered a noble profession in every society, pursued by those for whom reading, writing and interpreting sentences, words and even punctuation marks is second nature. Lawyers breathe life into the sacrosanct Constitution and other legislated statutes, construing them in different ways when presenting their cases before judges. The reverence for legal practice lies precisely within this sophistication. Today, the profession of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal is being held hostage by a few rogue elements that have slowly crept into the system. Misbehaving with judges and locking them up in their chambers is now a ...

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Why the only face-saving way out for the US is a complete military withdrawal from Afghanistan

To quote the Chinese proverb, “He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves – one for his enemy and one for himself.” Afghanistan is in a state of utter chaos. Unless there is a drastic change in the current Afghan strategy, this proverbial ‘graveyard of empires’ seems set to add the United States in the list of countries that failed to control this area. Donald Trump’s aggressive policies on North Korea and Syria have shown that he is not a man of dialogue or negotiation. Thus far, he has followed the militarist route for resolving international issues, with little to no success to show for it. After Trump’s election, the US ...

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Dear Pakistani selectors, why do you keep picking the same old, tried and failed players?

In sporting terms, as with perhaps all aspects of national life, Pakistan is probably amongst the few unfortunate nations that have regressed, not progressed, with time. There was a time in the 1992, when Pakistan was the World Champion in not one, but four different sports – cricket, hockey, squash and billiard. But as merit started taking a backseat, and mediocrity, incompetence and favouritism reigned supreme, today we see the former champions finding it hard to even directly qualify for the cricket World Cup. Oh what a fall! Pakistan lost the first ODI against West Indies, raising a lot of questions about our nonsensical selection policies. You ...

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The only nation where Malala Yousafzai is a contentious figure is her own

Of the numerous fault lines that exist in our society, none is as divisive as society’s opinion about Malala Yousafzai. A revered symbol of liberation and women empowerment across the world, sadly the only nation where she is a contentious figure is her own. But why would anyone have a negative opinion about a teenage girl who stood up to the Taliban and even took a bullet for her convictions?  In the following lines, I shall respond to some of the accusations presented against her by her critics. Perhaps the most pervasive sentiment observed is, “why only her”? The argument goes that Pakistan has lost more than 60,000 ...

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