Usman Asif

Norwegian born of Pakistani descent, writes on politics, society and religion. He blogs at He tweets @UsmanBaghi.

Is there room for secularism in Pakistan?

Each time China is mentioned in Pakistani media, the notion ‘all weather friend’ comes up. We look to China with respect, their economic growth and political might with awe, and their investments with huge gratitude. However, we still refuse to implement the system of governance which has secured it its strength. When the current Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf recently paid a visit to Saudi Arabia, he repeated the old mantra that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are two countries but one nation. His predecessor Yousuf Raza Gilani said that Turkey was a guiding star for Pakistan when his counterpart Recep ...

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Jinnah had a dream, and we failed him

Hopes were high when Jinnah presided over the Constituent Assembly in 1947 and declared without doubt that freedom of religion was to be respected. It was his wish to lift up the economic and politically deprived Muslims from their backwardness that led to the support of many non-Muslim minority activists as well, notably Christians. In a time where major Muslim political groupings allied themselves with the Indian National Congress, the Christians in their legislation secured Jinnah the desired support the All India Muslim League needed. His close friends and those amongst the founding fathers of Pakistan also belonged to minority ...

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Why democracy should stay

Pakistan’s administrative setup was modeled after the British system: an elected legislative assembly was to give form to an executive government headed by the prime minister. The president was to hold a symbolic role while the judiciary was set to be independent. It remains a reality that despite the narrow scope in the electorate, Pakistan was a product of democracy, and will only thrive and succeed if it is democratic in structure and spirit. The continuous hampering course that Pakistan is passing through is not helping it become a truly democratic nation which can grow strong economically and deliver welfare to ...

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The rights and wrongs of Imran Khan’s politics

With the Arab Spring sweeping  away dictators world over, Pakistanis too are looking for a revolution to get rid of its democratically elected government. Interestingly, they have found new hope in the Niazi from Mianwali.  Former cricketer turned philanthropist turned politician, Imran Khan, is probably the most popular politician in Pakistan today. While Pakistan will never get its Arab Spring, a change in the political landscape is definitely a looming reality. Previously naive Khan has learnt some vital lessons from his mistakes, and has started to mature. He is careful to not criticize the military and its top brass – apparently he has ...

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