Stories published in February, 2020

Was Pakistan always destined to become an Islamic republic? – Part 2

This article is the second in a two part series which looks at pre-partition and post partition events that led up to Pakistan being declared an Islamic republic. Read part one here. ~ In the 1945 elections, although Thanvi had died, the Muslim League had the support of one of his protégés, another Deobandi scholar named Shabbir Ahmad Usmani. The ulema offered their help to the Muslim League and sent 24 scholars, including Hasrat Mohani,across Uttar Pradesh (UP) for campaigning. Mohani later became a member of the UP assembly. Usmani’s JUI lent their support to the League officially and Nawab Ismail Khan recognised the leadership ...

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India is at war with secularism

Let’s not call what happened in Delhi communal riots or a sectarian conflict. Let’s call it what it was: a systematic attack against the Muslims of India. What  happened in Delhi between February 23-25 was an organised and planned offensive against the Muslims. Both Hindus and Muslims are among the 42 people who have been declared dead so far; evidently, violence, once it begins, assumes its own character and does not discriminate on the basis of religion. Ever since protests erupted against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December last year, a parallel campaign has been running, aimed at increasing divisiveness and furthering the agitation. The CAA redefines Indian citizenship on the ...

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Was Pakistan always destined to become an Islamic republic? – Part 1

This article is the first in a two part series which looks at pre-partition and post partition events that led up to Pakistan being declared an Islamic republic. Read part two here. ~ Saturday, 29 February 2020, will mark the 64th anniversary of the day when Pakistan was formally declared an Islamic republic. However, was Pakistan always destined to be a Muslim state? This was one of the critical questions faced by Pakistan’s founders and the subsequent leadership soon after the country’s independence in 1947. The question, however, was not new. Ever since the Muslim League’s Lahore Resolution of 1940 and Jinnah’s ...

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A spectacle of egos: Dissecting the Trump-Modi modus operandi

While American President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were busy tooting each other’s horns this week, Delhi was burning. The Hindu-Muslim riots were emblematic of the violence and sectarian divide which has gripped India in recent times. Yet, it appears that Trump and Modi are rather unbothered by this escalation. Trump said that the incident was “up to India” to handle and that Modi had worked “really hard” to ensure religious freedom, while Modi simply addressed the matter through one tweet. Although both Trump and Modi claim to be teetotalers, to me at least, they always look drunk ...

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Why does child labour continue to plague Pakistan?

The Pakistani population has multiplied rapidly in the last few decades, lack of efficient administration by subsequent governments and failure of policy implementation have plunged a sizeable number of our population into poverty. In a developing country, a rapidly growing population and administrative deadlocks can adversely affect all segments of the society, particularly children belonging to low income or no income households. The result is an increase in child labour, along with an ever growing number of children being pushed to the streets so they can financially contribute to their households. According to Pakistan’s first Child Labour Survey conducted ...

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Is a PML-N resurgence on the cards?

On Tuesday, the stalwarts of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal were both granted bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). Given that PML-N has adopted a much softer line of political rhetoric and has completely ditched its narrative of “respect the vote” in an effort to mend fences with the powers that be, Abbasi and Iqbal receiving bail was not particularly surprising. It appears that a new power-sharing deal between the PML-N and the establishment is being negotiated through the back channels. However, the Punjab government’s decision to recommend to the federal government to not extend Nawaz Sharif’s bail came ...

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Why Afghanistan should leave Pakistani Pashtuns alone

Successive Afghan governments, since Pakistan’s founding in 1947, have remained self-proclaimed champions of Pakistani Pashtuns’ rights. The basis on which Afghan officials (and part of the public alike) have shown interest in Pakistani Pashtuns is the assumption that Pakistani Pashtuns are an oppressed people. The source of the oppression, the argument goes, is the Punjab province. Bilateral Afghan-Pakistan tensions did not begin after the 1978 communist coup in Kabul or the subsequent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, when Afghan Mujahideen and refugees fled to Pakistan. Afghan-Pak tensions had begun in 1947, when Afghanistan started insisting that Pakistan give ...

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PCB’s new domestic structure: Improvement at the price of unemployment?

The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) domestic cricket underwent radical overhauling last year when the departmental system was scrapped in favour of a new regional cricket structure. The old departmental cricket system, which had been the backbone of the local cricket scene since the early 1970s, featured 16 first-class teams that belonged to private organisations such as the Khan Research Laboratories and Habib Bank Limited. However, with the introduction of the new system, the number of teams has been reduced to six provincial squads, with Punjab sporting two teams and the sixth team catering to the cricketers of the northern ...

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Israel-GCC ties and the bizarre future of Hasbara

Hasbara is the Hebrew word for Israeli state propaganda and it has always been a top-heavy affair, relying less on quality and more on the stifling of opposition via censorship. Also top-heavy are Israel’s newly-formalised Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners, from their domestic and foreign policy-making machinery to the distribution of wealth and financial power within their jurisdictions to their media. Zionist organisations and Jewish civil society have already started a socio-religious bonding process of sorts with the GCC. Given the status of the GCC as Arabs, at least from an ethno-linguistic perspective, Hasbara will concurrently need a cosmetic make-over forceful ...

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How karo-kari continues to haunt Sindh

The Sindh Police recently released a report on the statistics of honour killing in the country, which held up a damning mirror to our state institutions charged with our protection and by extension to our society at large. The report revealed that in Sindh, 769 people, out of which 510 were women, were murdered between 2014 and 2019 on the pretext of honour. Although the practice of karo-kari or honour killing spares no gender, women still remained the more vulnerable group, with 108 women being murdered in 2019 alone. It is perhaps more disturbing to consider that these numbers are not accurate, ...

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