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)

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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Should Malala be blamed for Gaza too?

Consider this: Pakistan is in the midst of a war on terror. Swat is in control of Maulana Fazlullah, who is now the chief of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Radio is banned, schools have been forced shut and a barbaric (read: Taliban’s) Sharia law has been imposed. In all this, a brave 12-year-old risks her life to tell the world what girls like her are going through. Fast forward two years. Her blogs on BBC and activism for the cause of education infuriates perpetrators of terrorism who attempt to assassinate her. She survives against all odds, and has now won many accolades and awards for her work and ...

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Do impaired individuals deserve to be made fun of?

He has had speech impairment for as long as I can remember. Each word uttered has to be a deliberate effort for him. His sentences spoken are often unclear and difficult to comprehend. Perhaps, he also faced bullying whilst growing up but that never shattered his confidence, for his career demands him to interact with large crowds and be a public speaker. Despite the lisped sentences, his statements hold clout and his opinions are always sought. People make fun of him and glances are exchanged around him, yet he only fumbles, never stumbles. He is the 14th prime minister of Pakistan, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. ...

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Is Pakistan ready to pay the cost of a complete ban on smoking?

The Pakistan Paediatric Association estimates that about 12,000 adolescents become addicted to smoking every day. If this seems like another passable statistic, let me confess that I smoked my first cigarette when I was only eight-years-old. Most of my childhood was spent in an environment clouded by thick smoke of the cancer sticks, yet I was always taught that smoking was bad. The mind of a child can never grasp why something his male relatives indulge in so often can be harmful and I was no different. Not until I took up smoking in my late teens and observed examples of smokers ...

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Of celebrity sex tapes and right to privacy

Meera has been in the news for all the wrong reasons; her every word is dissected, every move analysed and every action judged. So when an alleged sex tape with her now ex fiancé Captain Naveed became a collection in everyone’s mobile phones, the reaction was nothing startling. Most blamed it as a desperate publicity stunt to nourish a floundering career and some empathised with the trauma the ‘leak’ may have caused to the couple. Mubashir Luqman dedicated a show on this alleged sex tape that added fuel to the fire. But debate on another pertinent question was absent in ...

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‘Eye for an eye’: Does capital punishment do justice or encourage vengeance?

Around 140 countries have progressed to becoming abolitionist states in the last 65 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was promulgated. Unsurprisingly, Pakistan oddly stands as a retentionist for over a dozen crimes including blasphemy, drug trafficking, kidnapping and adultery. A sore reminder of this is the recent adjudication by an anti-terrorism court in Karachi that sentenced two men to seven and fourteen years imprisonment followed by a ‘to be hanged till death’ order. In a country that is deeply influenced by a strict and orthodox interpretation of the religion that the majority follows, are we ready ...

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Support minorities and save St Joseph’s Hospice, they need our help!

I wrote an article on street beggars and how they are more greedy than needy yet we still keep stuffing their pockets by directing our charity to this flourishing business of begging. The comments, numerous ‘likes’ and the feedback I received acknowledged how people agreed with my suggestion of giving charity where it’s deserved – to organisations that truly work for the poorest of the poor. But ironically, we have places like St Joseph’s Hospice in Rawalpindi that tirelessly work for people whose own families are either unwilling or unable to support them due to limited resources. For 50 years, St Joseph’s Hospice has been ...

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