Stories published in September, 2012

Save Balochistan before it’s too late!

“We believe every country and nation is entitled to nurture and promote these (human rights and democratic)values in accordance with their own historical experience, cultural and religious values” said Ms Khar during a meeting of foreign ministers in Iran ahead of Non Aligned Movement (NAM) summit. The underlying fear wrapped in layers of suspicion of a ‘foreign hand’ involved in our land of the pure is yet again evident in Ms Khar’s ostensible message. Defining human rights in the context of cultural and religious values is injustice to a phenomenon that transcends such reductionist boundaries. These values of human rights and ...

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World Hijab Day: Strangely authentic, deeply disturbing?

Scrounge for your scarf; dig out that dupatta – its World Hijab Day! You may have heard of ‘World Health Day’, and certainly of ‘World Population Day’ and perhaps even of ‘World Literacy Day’. But before today you may not have heard of ‘World Hijab Day’. Unlike ‘Earth Day’ or ‘World Cancer Day’, though, ‘World Hijab Day’, has not, as you might initially think, been decreed by the UN, the organisation which earmarks certain days for international observances, designed to further its goals of world peace and social progress. No, World Hijab Day has in fact been declared by Pakistan’s biggest religious political ...

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ICC awards nominations: Why didn’t Ajmal make it?

 “I don’t mind that I have not been shortlisted for any of the awards. I will try even harder next year and try to win the award next year Insha’Allah.” Saeed Ajmal’s reaction at not being shortlisted for any of the ICC awards that he was initially nominated for was probably the calmest reaction among former Pakistani cricketers and Pakistan cricket supporters. The news that Ajmal was no longer a nominee for any of the ICC awards came as a shock to every Pakistan cricket fan that I know. So are we Pakistani fans cribbing for no reason or are we justified ...

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A reminder: Sanitation workers are human beings

It is World Coconut Day on September 2, a day to, “Propagate the importance of this tree and to make people aware about the benefits of the fruit”. While the day is also meant to remind people about people whose livelihoods depend on the fruit, rising salary demands from fruit pickers have left much of the global industry looking at alternative farming methods. In India and Thailand, monkeys are a popular alternative. They work cheap (mostly for bananas), don’t need uniforms (or any clothes for that matter), and according to studies, are five times as effective as human pickers. The monkeys ...

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Would Jinnah, a Shia, also have to leave the country he founded?

August 15 marked the completion of 65 years since our country came into existence. Yes, it was August 15 and not August 14, however, we officially celebrate our independence day on the 14th. The Pakistan we see today is not the Pakistan envisaged by the founders of this country. There were a lot of mishaps surrounding the birth of this country as it faced a pre-mature labour. Short-sightedness on the part of leaders of the Pakistan Movement coupled with the intrigue that arose by the parting Britishers resulted in a country that was in shambles as soon as it came ...

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Let them eat cake

Files outside broken doors, Head counts reach to thousands, Hands spread, Arms outstretched, For food, Money, (Weaponry exchanges hands) And still, Waiting for more.   Greedy, no, Impoverished, Eyes eat up more, Than goes in the mouth. At the end of the day, Let them eat cake.   But at the turn, The dreams peek through, Stolen glances. The daring hope, (The bird still perched) We’re silent amidst the noise of our revolt. (Revolution) At the end of the day, Our blood is still green. Read more by Maryam ...

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What lies beyond The Dark Knight?

“Guess what they are going to call the sequel to The Dark Knight Rises?” I asked a friend of mine, as we made our way out of the cinema. “What?” “The Boy Wonder!” Many people might know what I am talking about here, but just to clear any confusion, I am referring to Batman’s sidekick, Robin – the Boy Wonder. Most of you must have already seen The Dark Knight Rises (for those of you who have not-warning: Spoilers ahead) and after careful consideration, I think everyone has convinced themselves by now that ‘yes, it was an epic end to the trilogy’. Now, ...

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Pakistan is not ‘only for Muslims’

In my freshman year of college I wanted to set up a Pakistani students association to network and interact with other Pakistani students in the area and also to promote and share our rich culture with the diverse student body in the United States. As I finished writing the constitution and prepared to launch the organisation, I was approached by another Pakistani student who was thinking of relaunching the Muslim Students Association. She met with me and suggested that we merge our organisations and simply call it the ‘Muslim Students Association’. I asked her why and how that made any ...

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PEMRA: Complain today, gone tomorrow?

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), over the years, has maintained an active role over complaints it receives via its website form and email. It maintains a parallel system of independent ‘Council of Complaints’ in each province which redresses public grievances relating to media conduct and directs Pemra to play its regulatory role where necessary. Many small interest groups, have seen in it an opportunity to direct the regulatory body in particular directions and as a way of exerting pressure over broadcasters. The numbers of complaints are thought to represent the extent of public opposition to a particular show. However, ...

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Not all Republicans are Islamophobes but all Islamophobes are Republicans

The straw man of the famous post-Sept. 11 slogan, “Not every Muslim is a terrorist but every terrorist is a Muslim” was debunked by a 2005 FBI report. It showed that only six percent of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil from 1980 to 2005 were carried out by extremists calling themselves Muslims. But one group has sustained the Islamophobic rhetoric, nonetheless. So I wonder if Muslims would rally outside the Republican National Convention this week carrying a banner stating, “Not all Republicans are Islamophobes but all Islamophobes are Republicans” Trust me. The data supports it. A new poll conducted by the Arab American Institute asked the attitudes of voters, ...

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