Sabeer.Lodhi

Sabeer Lodhi

The author is studying at Monash University, Melbourne. He is a student and supporter of human rights with a focus on gender equality, minority rights and feminism. He tweets as @sabeerlodhi (twitter.com/sabeerlodhi)

PML-Q may be an underdog in this game of politics but their contributions speak for themselves

The “king’s party” is back in mainstream politics after a hiatus of almost 10 years. They have done much to rid themselves of this tag since Pervez Musharraf’s downfall. Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) performance in Pakistan’s largest and administratively difficult province, Punjab, has been exemplary during the Musharraf rule, after both supported each other for almost eight years. After losing strong candidates, PML-Q has seen many lows but remained steadfast and persevered to now make a coalition with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). With PTI’s support, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi was elected as Punjab Assembly’s speaker – the province he once governed as ...

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PTI’s citizen journalism: From the Sharifs and Junaid Safdar, to Reham Khan and Sahir Rehman

The advent of social media and access to smartphones dawned an era of citizen journalism. Anybody can make a video through their mobile phones and upload it on social media to inform the world about an event. We have seen such examples during the Arab Spring, when citizens uploaded pictures and videos of the atrocities committed against them. Students in Bangladesh are also currently using the power of social media and user generated content to update the world on their protest against traffic laws, and the government’s high handedness with them.  As with anything else, citizen journalism has its ...

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#PunishSadatBashir: Are 80 voices not proof enough?

Online feminist campaigns such as #MeToo have brought down many titans of toxic masculinity. Famous international cases include James Dean, a famous adult actor who was accused by many women of sexually assaulting them. The House of Cards star and Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey too was accused by a man of sexually assaulting him and is currently under police investigation, after having his contract with Netflix ended for his shameful conduct. The never-ending list of accused also includes other former legends like Bill Cosby and recent addition, Morgan Freeman. In all these cases, the allegations have been and are undergoing investigation by relevant authorities. Careers have taken ...

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Pauline Hanson’s burqa ban proves she is an isolationist and the female version of Donald Trump – but only worse

The Australian senate witnessed unusual scenes yesterday when a woman walked in wearing a burqa for the first time in its history. The footage shows gasps of ‘what on earth!’ from senators as the woman revealed herself to be Pauline Hanson, a senator from Queensland and the head of the One Nation Party. Revelling in the attention, she bared her smug face to advocate a ban on burqas in Australia and its parliament. She called it oppressive, un-Australian and a threat to security and western society, and asked the leader in the senate, Attorney General George Brandis, whether he will work to ban ...

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Is religion more important than unity in Australia?

During my school days, students would queue in the main ground and proudly sing Pakistan’s national anthem during the morning assembly. Singing the national anthem brought everyone together, nurturing inclusiveness and a sense of unity. The school had students from different religious backgrounds, although the majority was Sunni Muslims. Singing the anthem instilled love for Pakistan from an early age and brought everyone together in solidarity. Those were the only times when Jinnah’s Pakistan twinkled in the eyes of everyone and reminded us of his quote, “You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other ...

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Setting the record straight: 6 stereotypes overseas Pakistanis face

A Pakistani living abroad has to battle with numerous stereotypes. It has been a year since I moved to Australia and I still get heckled by people’s pre-conceived notions about where I’m from. It is not just because I am from Pakistan, a country plagued by terrorism and corrupt regressive regimes, but also because Pakistan is considered to be a religiously extremist country. There is a distinct need to set the record straight and inform the international community that Pakistan is a lot more than what they have assumed it to be. I want to address some of the questions that were ...

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And the award for the most ridiculous fatwa goes to…

Allegedly, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al Sheikh, recently issued a fatwa that allows starving men to eat their spouses to save their own lives. This will be considered an act of obedience by the wife and her willingness to be one with the husband’s flesh. My initial reaction was laughter at the mufti’s idea to feed starving husbands. It was then followed by disgust at his misogyny and sexism, among other things. Fortunately, now we see reports of a rebuttal. Saudi media is attributing the source of this misreporting to the Iranian media. However, this is not ...

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#IStandWithMariam but if you don’t love Pakistan, leave!

Mariam, mother of two, is an Afghan refugee in Pakistan. She sought refuge even before the Afghan War started and has been proudly calling herself a Pakistani since then. Pakistan provided her the liberty to do what she wants without any fear or prejudice. Her children take advantage of an education system unavailable in her home country and she herself is a trained lawyer, an opportunity that is a dream for women in Afghanistan. But Mariam recently took offence when a famous departmental store sold shirts that read, “If you don’t love it, leave,” with a Pakistan flag printed on it. This was ...

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#IllRideWithYou in Sydney and Pakistan

Australia woke up to one of the worst terrorist attacks in its contemporary history yesterday. A gun-toting extremist, Man Haron Moris, took people hostage at Lindt Café in the heart of Sydney’s Central Business District. Visuals of hostages pressed against windows holding black placards that read ‘There is no God but Allah (SWT) and Muhammad (PBUH) is his prophet’ were plastered all over TV channels and news sites. A black flag with white Arabic writing is held up in the window of the Lindt cafe in this still image taken from video from Australia’s Seven Network. Photo: ...

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I’m Sunni and I went to the 10th Muharram procession in Melbourne!

Pakistan, home to 180 million people, saw another deadly Muharram this year when 57 people were killed in a suicide bombing in Lahore. Each time, short term administrative solutions are followed to bandage the plague of ideological intolerance that has infected us for years. Cities are put under curfew, statements of condemnation floated, promises of fool-proof security made and cellular services blocked for as long the government deems fit. Nothing much has changed since last year, when Raja Bazar in Rawalpindi was gripped by sectarian violence. This religious intolerance and administrative failure is in stark contrast to what I recently experienced in a foreign land. I come from a ...

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