Stories published in July, 2013

The mosque where ALL Muslims are welcome

The opening of Pakistan’s first sect-free mosque is such a refreshing change from the religious violence that has been plaguing the country for years now. On the foot of Margalla hills in Islamabad, a businessman by the name of Zahid Iqbal has constructed a mosque. This mosque – called the Darul Iman Jamia Masjid Qurtuba – is Spartan in its appearance, but the message it sends is even morepowerful. In a time when inter-faith conflict is constantly escalating and Shia Hazaras in particular are subject to ethnic cleansing, this mosque welcomes visitors with a sign that reads, “This mosque does not discriminate ...

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Hockey World Cup: For Pakistan, hopes for Hague dwindle

Pakistan finished seventh at the recently concluded World Hockey League Tournament semi-final in Malaysia. The seventh place finish means that Pakistan has no hopes of qualifying for the World Cup Hockey Tournament next year in Hague through the World Hockey League. The sole qualification hope for Pakistan is by winning the Asia Cup Hockey Tournament to be held in August in Malaysia. This will be a stern test as Pakistan will face competition from Asian powerhouses in the form of India, South Korea and Malaysia, who all interestingly are vying for a place in World Cup as they have failed ...

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A reply to TTP commander Adnan Rashid’s letter to Malala

Dear Mr Adnan Rashid, Your letter has left me confused. Right after you expressed regret to Malala over her shooting you write: ‘Taliban attacked you, was it Islamically correct or wrong…I will not go in this argument now.’ I wonder if you and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are aware that our religion forbids the killing of any human being unless acting out of self-defence? It preaches nothing but compassion to children and forbids the killing of the offspring of one’s enemies. So, Mr Rashid, how you can even suggest an ‘argument’ when the actions of your party were so vehemently against the teachings ...

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Lessons for life: A letter to my beloved daughter

Dearest daughter, It seems as if only yesterday you entered this world. I remember holding you for the first time. You, my little one, were so tiny and fragile. You held my finger with your little hand and smiled up at me. The memory of that moment is, for all time to come, etched on my heart. With your birth, I learned of new relationships and the meanings they hold. First I was your aunt. Then, when your mother would be away I would replace her. And now that you are growing up, I am your friend. Dear one, there are things ...

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Lootera: A magical ode to true love

Lootera is one Bollywood flick that seems to have drawn very strong reactions for people – they either love it or hate it – and both situations are actually understandable! As per the synopsis, the film is set in the years 1953-54. Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha) is a young Bengali girl, living with her father, a zamindar, in an aristocratic world. Here enters an archaeologist, Varun (Ranveer Singh), seeking help from the zamindar with a letter from the Archaeological Society of India. With his remarkable knowledge of books, music, and expertise in his own field, Varun impresses the zamindar, sneaking his ...

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Ehteram-e-Ramazan: Don’t forget to beat, backbite and bribe.

It has to be said, nay proclaimed, that we are the proud custodians of Islam and chest thumping leaders of the Ummah. But was there any doubt on that score? Notwithstanding the deafening silence in the land of Al Harmain Al Sharifain, Saudi Arabia, we protested against an American film by a sloppy filmmaker. We so loved setting ablaze our own property and cinemas, because of the resounding impact it had on the life and profession of that sloppy American filmmaker. We keep screaming like banshees at the plight of poor dispossessed Palestinians who have never backed us on ...

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Pakistan: Where Dr Aafia Siddiqui is a hero and Malala, a villain

He bravely stood up against a confusing blasphemy law that was often misused to target minorities, yet after his assassination, we indulged in the irrelevant details of Salmaan Taseer’s private life, while showering his killer, Mumtaz Qadri, with rose petals. Perhaps learning of Salmaan Taseer’s ‘westernised’ lifestyle helped us vilify him as a puppet of the west, and relieved us of any guilt. Yes, we are Pakistan – a nation with confused priorities. We are a nation where Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan is hailed as a hero who singlehandedly brought nuclear capability to the country, yet we barely acknowledge the murky details of ...

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Celebrating 95 years: Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela!

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” – Nelson Mandela. Having lived in Zimbabwe as part of larger Southern African community for more than a year or so, I have found that you cannot remain untouched by the magic of Madiba. Probably one of the most influential icons of African history and a sparkling star of our times, Nelson Mandela is fighting the ultimate battle for his life today, physically. However, his legacy will remain as ...

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Taxi driver shot dead by Rangers: Trained to kill or trained to protect?

Yesterday, Murad, a taxi driver, was shot dead in front of his four-year-old son by Ghulam Rasul, a Rangers soldier. Witness accounts suggest Murad was asked to stop his vehicle and as he reversed towards the Rangers, he was greeted with four bullets in the chest. Ghulam Rasul has been apprehended and four other Rangers have been suspended due to their involvement in the incident as of the publication of this post. Before we delve into debates about the army, morality, or the legality of this incident, let us take a moment to acknowledge the many human lives that will be ...

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Ramazan tips: Sehri everyday keeps the hunger pangs away!

The blessed month of Ramazan is a superb opportunity to practice self-restraint, self-accountability as well as a great chance to shift to lighter meals and find a healthier lifestyle. To beat the hot and humid weather, it is imperative to have the right choice of food during this holy month. Avoiding high processed, fatty, oily, spicy, fried foods and having lots of fruity drinks is the key to good health. The pre-dawn meal or Suhoor or Sehri – whatever you may call it – is a vital constituent of Ramazan. Indulging in a healthy Sehri nourishes, hydrates and strengthens the body to cope with ...

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