Stories published in November, 2015

“Is there any Shia here?”

Being a minority and living amidst a majority that is largely ignorant of your beliefs, you tend to become used to living around whispers. You pretend to not hear them sometimes and sometimes you speak up. But they haunt your consciousness, always. “Did you know she’s Shia?” “Shias aren’t really Muslims.” “Why are Shias into self-harm?” “Did you know they say bad things about Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA)?” In a gathering, when an ignorant question is flung into the air like a loose arrow, when the tongue waggles without restraint or understanding, caution fills the air and a problematic question follows, “Oops. Are there any Shias here?” The ...

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Why question God for tornadoes and floods?

The fire burnt, reflecting all shades of yellow and red, The flames dancing as if they’ll never be dead, Engulfing everything coming in its way, The fire roared, not ceasing to spread.   A couple of birds watched the scene from a tree, And as the fire neared, they planned to flee, Just as they were about to fly away, They saw something they were not expecting to see.   A sparrow passed by, reaching the fire, With water in its beak, for an unknown desire, And as it dropped the water on the flames, The birds approached the sparrow, in order to inquire.   “O Stupid creature! What are you up to?” The birds ...

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I am ashamed by this Ahmadi clause at a university in Lahore

A month ago, I got a very disturbing call at 8pm. One of the best engineering professors at a leading American university told me, in a flabbergasted tone, that something is troubling him and is related to Pakistan. “I have not seen such overt discrimination ever in my life,” he said. A few days before the distressed phone call, he and I had an interesting conversation regarding basic human rights when my column on pluralistic ramifications of Sufism and its association to the land of the subcontinent was published in a local newspaper in the US. He appreciated that I had tried to highlight the mystic culture ...

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Unless Pakistani producers look up new script-writers, our drama industry has hit a dead-end!

It would be an understatement to say that the Pakistani drama industry has grown leaps and bounds in the past two decades. It now exerts a magnetic pull on viewership that extends far beyond the borders of Pakistan. Considering that our dramas have attained a level from which they can induce motivation for positive social change and raise awareness, the next big step would be to bring in themes that create such avenues of thought. Also, because the industry has a tremendous expat viewership on its roster, issues faced by overseas Pakistanis should be highlighted. Unfortunately, in terms of themes, most of ...

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Why do Pakistanis block roads, cars and houses, in a rush to attend prayer?

A popular Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim hadith quotes Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) as saying that once prayer has started, Muslims are not supposed to rush to join in quickly. Instead, they must proceed to the mosque at a calm and normal pace. If they miss any part of the prayer, they should simply complete whatever they missed, rather than making a mad dash to join the rakkah. The intention of this command, clearly, is to avoid creating hassle for yourself or anyone else. If you live anywhere near a mosque in Karachi, or have travelled to work, school, or even the ...

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18 Premier League conclusions which prove that Man Utd could win the title

Given the recent attacks on Paris, including the match between France and Germany at the Stade De France stadium, the English Premier League kicked off this weekend with a different backdrop. In case you missed it, here are 18 conclusions from this weekend’s EPL: 1. Football wins The French anthem, La Marseillaise was played before every match as the entire country showed solidarity with France. Many of the players involved in the France versus Germany match at Stade De France started this weekend, and it must have been heartening for them to see their colleagues and fans show their support. The terrorists dealt a blow last week but ...

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Why is the Pakistani education system so alarmingly out-dated?

Two of the most neglected concepts in Pakistan are education and health, and this can be seen in the amount of effort our government invests in these sectors. It may sound clichéd to say that we shouldn’t blame the government for everything and that the responsibility also lies with us, but the fact remains that we do need to self-evaluate and work on our own lacking as well.  Education has never topped our priority list as a nation and it fails to receive the attention it truly deserves. While the world is integrating the latest developments in all walks of life, we are still ...

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Why can’t liberal Muslims get together to discuss issues that plague the Islamic world?

These are trying times we live in, gruesomely exhausting if one thinks deep enough to comprehend that things are changing in a dastardly manner. Humanity is beset with a challenging situation like no other time in modern world history whereby the colossal monster of Islamic extremism is impacting each one of us regardless of our beliefs or otherwise.  Europe, beyond the recent Paris attacks, will never be the same. While the French carried on with their lives after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the most recent carnage, many argue, may turn out to be Europe’s 9/11 type of wakeup call. The repercussions of this episode ...

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Dear Aamir Khan, if India was an intolerant nation, you wouldn’t be where you are

Aamir Khan, one of the biggest movie stars that India has ever seen, has made a controversial statement about his wife, Kiran Rao, contemplating leaving India because she is concerned about incidents of “growing intolerance” that India has witnessed off late. He is quoted to have said that as a mother, Ms Rao fears for the safety of her child and has expressed her concerns to her husband. I believe in free speech and as citizens of India, both of them are entitled to their opinions and have the right to voice their apprehensions. But like many of my fellow countrymen, I disagree ...

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“Ahmed Shehzad wasn’t needed in the playing 11” – Are you sure, Haroon Rasheed?

Ahmed Shehzad – also called Pakistan’s Virat Kohli (minus a little talent and Anushka Sharma by the side of course – is young, stylish and confident, to the extent of even being cocky at times. He’s a selfie addict and is also considered as Boom Boom Afridi’s best buddy in the side. Now its shopping time with Lala..!!! A photo posted by Ahmad Shahzad (@iamahmadshahzad) on Jun 1, 2014 at 6:24am PDT Apart from all that is said, Ahmed Shehzad is Pakistan’s 216th international Test and 172nd ODI player. In terms of ODIs specifically, Shehzad is the third highest run-scorer for Pakistan in the last 12 months after Muhammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali. In ...

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