Stories published in November, 2015

“We will beat them, we will lynch them”, they chanted, before setting fire to the Ahmadi factory

With the recent rise of Islamophobia in the United States, most Pakistanis have suddenly become experts on minority rights. My social media timelines are filled with Pakistanis urging the West to accommodate Syrian refugees escaping persecution, and be more accepting of pluralism. I also see my countrymen condemning the Western media for having double standards, and not giving enough airtime to aggrieved Muslims. Many have also erupted in fury over Donald Trump’s recent Islamophobic comments.  All these grievances in far-off lands are justified, but an incident here at home on Friday has put our uprightness on these same issues in question ...

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A Muslim man stood blindfolded asking for hugs in Paris and this is what happened

Following the attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead and hundreds more injured, the city’s inhabitants have found myriad ways to stand together and show the world that they won’t be divided by terrorism and fear. The latest heart-warming example is this video courtesy of NBC Nightly News. A Muslim man stands blindfolded with open arms at the Place de la République (an area of Paris that has been used for vigils and memorials since the attack) asking for free hugs. His sign reads: “I’m a Muslim and I’m told I’m a terrorist. I trust you. Do you trust me? If yes, hug me.” And one after another, ...

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Hillary Clinton takes on ISIS

This week we had a chance to watch Hillary Clinton respond in real time to a complex foreign policy challenge. On Thursday, six days after the Paris attacks, she gave a comprehensive antiterrorism speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. The speech was very impressive. While other candidates are content to issue vague calls to get tough on terror, Clinton offered a multi-layered but coherent framework, not only dealing with ISIS but also putting that threat within the crosscutting conflicts that are inflaming the Middle East. For example, instead of just issuing a generic call to get tough on the terrorists, she pointed to the reality ...

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Mitchell Johnson, the hunter who instilled fear on the pitch

With a moustache that made him look more like a gangster than a cricketer, running in with a single-minded purpose of making you pay for just showing up at his turf (the crease), Mitchell Johnson must have been a scary site for many international cricketers. And he could make the ball talk when on song – not like Wasim Akram, who would make the ball swoon to his tune, but in a way that was more dangerous in the physical risk it posed to the batsmen. Photo: Reuters Johnson was an inconsistent performer at the highest level. There were days ...

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Add some oomph to your conventional Fettuccine Alfredo for some major gobbling

When you have a sister who orders Fettuccine Alfredo at pretty much every restaurant we go to, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Hence, I decided I needed to make a better version at home. And trust me when I tell you, it wasn’t just better, but the best she had tried. The spicy blend added the right spice hit that is required to add to its creamy flavour. I completely understand that I don’t need to throw in cayenne pepper and paprika in everything I cook, but why the hell not? If these revered spices give that ...

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Can we trust the pharmacists in Pakistan today?

Pharmacists have a broad role in the health care team, from dispensing drugs to monitoring patient health. They are an important source of information regarding appropriate, safe and effective utilisation of medicines. In developed countries, pharmacists council patients on the use of medications, and advise physicians and other health professionals on drug related decisions. This collaboration between pharmacists and physicians has resulted in safer and effective medication. Hence, pharmacists are being given more and more responsibilities, globally. For instance, in two states of the US, pharmacists are allowed to prescribe medication independently. In addition to this, the role of pharmacists in New Zealand is changing ...

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Why Muslims should empathise with Islamophobia

After 9/11, the world was pushed into a forced and impetuous war on terror by the president of the United States in 2001. A war on terror means nothing less than more terror and the aftereffects of the war have shown that the war achieved little more than destruction.  But the infamous George W Bush in his post 9/11 speech said, “I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit ...

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Will the amendments to the Diyat and Qisas laws make any difference to the Shahzeb Khans out there?

When murder is committed within Pakistan, the victim’s family is usually offered blood-money by the perpetrator’s family as a way of pardoning the punishment of the crime itself. Diyat or ‘blood-money’ differs from Qisas which is the pardoning of the crime by the victim’s family without any monetary compensation being paid. These two concepts have courted controversy recently since they have been abused in practice by the wealthy to rid themselves of any culpability, as seen in the Shahzeb Khan and Zain Rauf cases. The purpose of accepting financial compensation following murder is to espouse forgiveness and mercy in people’s hearts. But in Zain’s case, where the victim’s family ...

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Is Twitter dying a slow death?

The importance of social media cannot be overstated. It has gained significant value in the personal, social, professional and corporate aspects of our lives. The public is believed to be the biggest beneficiary of these social networking tools as they have provided people with a decent opportunity to share their opinions, independently. This is endorsed by a few happenings in the recent past. From the Arab Spring to US Presidential Elections 2012, Pakistan’s GE 2013, Operation Zarb-e-Azb, and Shahzeb Khan’s murder case, there are numerous examples at which the public shared its voice, anger, opinion and led a change. Twitter, the subject under discussion today, gained significant popularity as being the leading source ...

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Why doesn’t Pakistan care about climate change?

You may have come across news about climate change or an agreement in Paris in December, and ignored it. For many of us, this threat seems far off from Pakistan; but it is coming our way, and if we don’t prepare ourselves the right way, the damage could be insurmountable. The threat I am referring to is one posed by climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions are causing world temperatures to rise and if we don’t act to slow down, and eventually stop carbon emissions, our planet will become uninhabitable for our grandchildren. People in Pakistan might question why this matters for a country like ours; it is not ...

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