Stories published in January, 2020

Sadhguru – BJP’s spiritual henchman

One could argue that the term ‘guru’ has come to become one of the most misused and abused words in India today. Traditionally, Indians have seen gurus as a source of wisdom, whose sage advice was often sought by kings. Ancient Indian texts are filled with stories in which rulers use the advice provided by gurus as a guiding principle when determining state policy. But it appears that this mindset has not remained confined to the past. Modern India now has its own set of gurus, and they too derive their legitimacy through political patronage. In turn, they try to endorse the political deeds of the ruling ...

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Why the struggle for a secular Pakistan was doomed from the very beginning

Pakistan has always tried to portray itself as a beacon of moderate Islam. However, the fact of the matter is, Pakistan at present stands at the cusp of becoming a populist theocracy. After his victory in the 2018 elections, Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted his intention to restore the country to the glory of ‘Riyast-e-Madina’ during the time of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Slogans currently being raised by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf are somewhat similar to what the All India Muslim League propagated during the movement for independence; creating a state which gives Muslims supremacy. Therefore, campaigning in the name ...

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Will the ICJ ruling lead to real change for the Rohingya?

While the horrific treatment of the Rohingya in Myanmar has been repeatedly condemned by many quarters and also resulted in various protests across Pakistan, the simple truth of the matter is that such atrocities can not be addressed by simply staging a march or shouting from the rooftops. Any issue of international concern has to be tackled through the channels and mediums available so as to ensure that long-standing and enforceable measures can be implemented in order to tackle the crisis under question. Hence, while many simply chose to voice their outrage, Gambia chose to take action. The small West ...

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How an education campaign in Balochistan is doing what the state failed to do

The failure of the Pakistan government to ensure access to quality education for the people of Balochistan has already been well documented. While it may well be tempting to harp on about the repeated shortcomings on part of the state to establish a reliable education system from which the residents of Balochistan can benefit, it is perhaps equally important to shed light upon those individuals who have made it their life’s mission to do what the state has failed to do for years – provide quality education to the children of Balochistan. One such initiative is the Balochistan Education System (BES) ...

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Hooz Noor: Another reminder that we continue to fail our children

The sexual assault and subsequent murder of children in Pakistan has become a pandemic of biblical proportions. It is actively haunting the society and posing a significant challenge for the government. People expect law enforcement agencies to address the situation, but are they themselves ready to take responsibility and actively enact long lasting social measures that will protect our children? Recently, yet another spine chilling and gruesome incident of rape and murder was reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) Nowshera district. This time, the victim was eight-year-old Hooz Noor. The assailants were identified and captured by the locals after which a ...

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Was Imran Khan’s Davos trip a success or a failure?

Nestled in the snowy Alps of Switzerland lies a quaint town that plays host to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting. For fifty years, Davos has provided a platform for the world’s political leaders, economists, academics, journalists and corporations to come together to accomplish an impossible task: “improving the state of the world”. From the outside, Davos seems like yet another stomping ground for the global elite. Their onerous mission entails a discussion on the eternal conundrums of economic inequality, political instability and social development. Members of civil society mingle with the heads of powerful organisations to shape ...

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The Musharraf verdict: Of spin doctors and legalities

The doctrine of necessity refuses to go away.  It is something of an  extra constitutional anomaly which acts as a panacea for a whole host of unconstitutional acts and illegalities. Wherever logic fails, this doctrine comes to the fore. It gives legitimacy to unconstitutional acts, allowing the judiciary to compromise with the deep state in order to surrender institutional independence. Chief Justice Muhammad Munir sowed the seeds of this notorious doctrine in the Molvi Tameez-ud-Din case when he ruled that it was the governor general who was sovereign, not the general assembly and ever since then, it has deeply rooted itself in ...

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Will Pakistan support Palestine or the ‘Deal of the Century’?

While difficult to predict how Pakistan would react, the scenario where it is deemed suitable by the makers of the notorious ‘Deal of the Century’ for Palestine to be approached for a stance supportive of the deal is not unlikely. The reason for the plausibility of this and for the speculation about Pakistan’s possible embracement of the deal not being entirely outlandish lies in contemporary Pakistani foreign policy itself. The ‘Deal of the Century’: haphazard and contemptible Reports suggest that the substantially already leaked ‘Deal of the Century’ prepared by partisan US-Israeli Zionists for Palestine will be announced within days. ...

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Why has the state failed to ensure the release of ‘Zindagi Tamasha’?

A few years ago, India got embroiled in a senseless controversy over the movie Padmaavat. Before even seeing the movie, some hard-line elements had decided that the movie contained “intimate” scenes between the revered Rajput Queen, Padmavati and Allaudin Khilji, a Muslim ruler hated by the right wing Hindu ideologues. According to them, the movie hurt Rajput “honour” as it supposedly desecrated the revered Rajput queen. The film’s director, Sanjay Leela Bansali, who was also physically harassed at the sets of the film, had to clarify several times, including through a YouTube video, that the film praised the Rajputs ...

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An in-house change will not solve the problems Pakistan is facing

The winds of change have started blowing in the power corridors of Pakistan. We recently saw how the main opposition parties, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), compromised on their so-called ideologies when the matter of giving Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa an extension was presented in the assembly. Evidently, PML-N and PPP have been trying to mend fences with the powers that be, and it seems that under Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N is ready to present itself as the new ‘King’s party’. Given the economic turmoil burdening the incumbent government, and the fact that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) does ...

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