Stories published in June, 2016

Orlando shooting: I don’t just blame religious extremism – I blame the Internet

The news of the mass shooting at the gay club in Orlando, Florida early Sunday morning by the lone gunman identified as Omar Mateen leaves people aghast… yet again. The bloodshed has been deemed the worst mass shooting in US history and the deadliest terrorist attack in the country since 9/11. Opening fire in the nightclub packed with over 300 people, Mateen killed 50 people and wounded 53 others. He held the rest hostage for three hours before the bar was stormed by the police and he, too, was shot and killed. The dust had barely settled after the San Bernardino shooting by the radicalised couple, Rizwan ...

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Why should non-Muslims bear the brunt of your compulsion to fast in Ramazan?

How many times have you gone for a dinner to a restaurant and then told the management to get rid of the beggars outside looking in through the window? If not that, then how many times have you gone to buy a kebab roll with a hungry child staring at you? How many times did you react in an irritating manner saying, “It’s hard to even buy a roll now without them bothering me!” Let’s dial it down even more, how many times have you eaten something knowing very well that there are people right outside the restaurant who can’t even ...

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The Orlando shooting may prove to be a turning point in US elections

As I got around to pen down my thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s nomination for this November’s election, I found myself conflicted, shrouded in profound sadness and agony. Just about a couple of days before, I was rejoicing Hillary’s victory in the primaries process. More than anything else, what really got me excited was the Democrats coming together and pledging to work hand-in-hand to keep their sick-in-the-head opponent, Donald Trump, out of the White House. Come Sunday morning, June 12th, things changed abruptly. As the news flashed on the screen about yet another ISIS-influenced man running rampage on an Orlando night club killing scores of innocent souls, I at once thought ...

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Dating in Ramazan: Three delicious ways to eat dates

Looking for a different way to “date” this Ramazan? Then check out these recipes for three delicious (and easy) ways to eat dates come sundown. They only take a few minutes to prepare but will definitely give your daily date some serious pizzazz! You only need a handful of ingredients to bring these recipes to life. I like to serve them up on a massive platter and let loved ones pick away at them throughout the night.  Popping your dates in the oven makes them taste even more beautiful – like salted caramel. Ingredients: Honey dates – 16 Sunflower oil – 1 tbsp Himalayan ...

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The rusty water

In the utmost silence of the dark room, he pulled the journal out from the drawer trying not to make a sound. The dust on the jacket of the cover forced him to scrunch up his nose as he withheld a sneeze. After recovering, he sat on his bedside with the journal in his lap. Under the dim moonlight beaming through the window, he began reading. June 9, 1946 Dear Diary, I think we will finally be able to stay permanently in Khushkot. Our dear uncle came last night with some official papers and Abbu had signed them. This is great news! ...

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The National Action Plan has been as counter-productive as Pakistan’s blasphemy law

Following the ghastly December 2014 Taliban attack on 132 schoolchildren, Pakistan’s government unanimously passed a National Action Plan (NAP) so that, “No room will be left for the extremism in any part of the country.” Among its 20 points, NAP outlaws radical literature and funding, calls for restructuring in the FATA region and Balochistan to address regional grievances, and lifts the moratorium on the death sentence for convicted terrorists. But well over a year into its execution, NAP has been less effective and more counter-productive than meets the eye. As one of numerous examples, consider the case of 81-year-old optician Abdul Shukoor. This past January, Shukoor, an Ahmadi Muslim, and ...

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What would you do if your professor called you at night and told you he’d like to see you in a sari?

It was just another day at the University Of Karachi (KU). I gathered my books in my bag, carefully putting my fingers between the dog-eared pages of another journal to get them copied from the photocopier near the computer lab. As I handed the journal to the photocopier, I noticed a man; his eyes were fixated on me as he busied himself with his genitals. Visibly disturbed, I tried to look away only to realise that the window’s reflection wasn’t of any aid as I could very well see how he was able to harass me even though he was standing three feet ...

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Budget 2016-17: Reinforcing the same old Pakistani agricultural story – no improvement!

Imagine the trickledown effect on the economy of a country when its largest employer, absorbing 42.3% of the country’s total labour force, and the highest contributor to the national export basket (up to 73.1%) fails miserably! During Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, the performance of the agriculture sector witnessed a negative growth of 0.19%. The growth of important crops (cotton, sugarcane, rice, maize and wheat) other crops (bajra, jowar, gram, barley, tobacco, potatoes, onions) and cotton ginning registered a growth of -7.18%, -0.31% and -21.26% respectively. But in view of random and arbitrary agricultural reforms and policy interventions by successive military and civil governments, this was expected sooner ...

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Did this Stanford student get away with rape because he is white and privileged? Yes!

This week, the verdict was announced in the rape case of the, now former, Stanford University champion swimmer Brock Allen Turner, 20, for the rape of an unconscious 23-year-old girl lying behind a dumpster at a college fraternity party back in 2015.  The sentencing leaves the public stunned at the obvious and blatant racial prejudice displayed by the judge. For despite having been convicted on three counts of sexual assault and a heart-wrenching 12 page letter read out by the victim herself in court, Judge Aaron Persky chose to cut the rightful sentencing of 14 years in prison down to only six months of ...

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Facebook’s Ramazan greeting spreads dangerous myths about Islam

Facebook produced their own Ramazan greeting which popped up on news feeds as users logged onto the website. Though this may appear to be a simple, generic seasonal greeting, there are several underlying issues with its visual message. The first thing that struck me was that the female figures in the greeting are wearing hijab. Let me make it clear that I have no objections to the hijab, niqab, or any other type of covering that people may choose to don, as long as it is done with knowledge, awareness, and understanding. With regards to the hijab, this pertains to the ...

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