The “homecoming” rally serves no purpose to anyone except to stroke Nawaz Sharif’s ego

Pakistan continues to be the playground for politicians. Fit or fat, fair or dark, politicians of all caste and creed continue to make a mockery of Pakistan and its people. What is this democracy they tout when the only choice they give to the people is themselves? As was evident from Imran Khan’s dharna and now Nawaz Sharif’s rally, our leaders seem to care more about touting their own horns and publicising their victimhood instead of helping the masses. Nawaz started towards Lahore on Wednesday afternoon, as if he were a king receiving an amicable send off from a grateful nation ...

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India boycotting Chinese goods is like cutting your nose to spite your face

As the standoff between the Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam in Bhutan continues, the clamour to boycott Chinese goods in India is rising. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has organised a 15-day ‘Boycott Chinese Products’ campaign.  The RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, says the nationwide campaign is to raise awareness against using Chinese goods. The Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), an RSS affiliate, claims that the campaign has received huge support. A rally has been planned on October 29th at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan to conclude the campaign. For some, boycotting Chinese goods is now the ultimate way of proving his or her credentials as a nationalist. And nationalism, with its twisted ...

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Bhutto to Bhutto, Sharif to Sharif: This is Pakistan and blood (nepotism) is thicker than water (meritocracy)

“Tum kitnay Bhutto maro ge? Har ghar say Bhutto niklay ga.” (How many Bhuttos will you kill? A Bhutto will come out of every house). Truer words may have never been spoken. After Benazir Bhutto’s untimely demise in 2007, political analysts feared the Bhutto legacy and lineage may be severed for good. But lo and behold, we saw Bilawal Bhutto Zardari emerge from the shadows and pushed to the forefront of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Party stalwarts may never have imagined the English-speaking, Oxford graduate to take up a position which may very well have been better suited for someone more ...

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Rasm over rights: Why is the nikkahnama woven with inequality towards women?

Shaadi (marriage) is perhaps the most cherished tradition in Pakistani culture, a gathering of levity and simultaneous importance and an event which many deem to be the most significant in their lives. For women in Pakistan, the latter is often the case since marriage bounds them to a contract that is deliberately created to disadvantage them. The institution of marriage has been weaponised by the male-dominated religious lobby in Pakistan to systematically disenfranchise women into a life that is decided by their significant other. The most integral part of this system is the nikkahnama (marriage certificate). For many married couples, the nikkahnama is at best an afterthought in the marriage festivities, ...

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If it’s unfair to believe an allegation, it is also unfair to doubt Ayesha Gulalai and call her names

A few months ago, I wrote an article where I pointed out that both the Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were promoting a misogynist culture. In the said article, I criticised PML-N leaders like Khawaja Asif and Javed Latif for spewing filthy language against women in rival political parties. I further argued that PTI was also indulging in the same practice as an overwhelming number of its supporters have repeatedly abused prominent women politicians and also public figures. I cited examples of Malala Yousafzai, Asma Jahangir, Reham Khan and Maryam Nawaz. I also wrote about how Dr Shireen ...

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Was Nawaz Sharif dishonest by virtue of not declaring something he could not know he was supposed to declare?

On July 28th, a three member special bench of the Supreme Court announced their judgment. This judgment was followed by a final order of the five-member larger bench, in the infamous Panama Papers case. Nawaz Sharif, the recently ousted prime minister of Pakistan, was declared dishonest and was disqualified from being a member of the National Assembly under Article 62(1)f of the Constitution. The judgment was always politically controversial even before it was authored and announced. Unfortunately, it has also become a legal controversy at the centre of which lies the all mighty and all powerful Article 62(1)(f). The late General Ziaul Haq, in his attempted ...

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#KhadijaTheFighter: Democracy may have won yesterday but justice continues to lose

Khadija Siddiqi’s case and her bravery amidst all the chaos has continued to serve as a lesson for women to hold their heads up high and fight against injustice. A year later, her case is still going strong with the accused bringing forth the most absurd arguments out of desperation to win the case. Clearly, the only thing working in his favour is the power his father holds in the legal fraternity. Siddiqi, a law student at a local college, was stabbed 23 times in broad daylight on May 3, 2016 by 21-year-old Shah Hussain, the son of an influential lawyer, when she had ...

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Shehbaz Sharif can buy himself a helicopter, but it’s too costly to provide adequate medical facilities in Punjab?

The aftermath of the Bahawalpur tragedy is a harrowing tale of gross incompetence and disregard for human life. Before this, little emphasis has been placed on how the massive loss of life could have been avoided. For instance, Army helicopters had to be called in for transporting the burn victims to the hospital since the rescue services didn’t own one. But here’s a little fact – just three months ago, a Rs2.25 billion Russian helicopter was bought by Shehbaz Sharif for personal use. The question that should be asked here is, whether it was bought with public funds that could have been utilised elsewhere. Numerous lives could have been ...

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Anti-honour killing and acid attacks bills: More laws to be buried in the graveyard of good intentions?

This past week, the Sindh Assembly passed two laws against honour killing and acid attacks. It is a commendable initiative and the first such act against honour killings in all four provinces and territories. The laws are adequately severe with stipulations such as no blood money is allowed to be granted, acid attacks are unbailable offences and suggesting that the capital offence may be given to those killing in the name of honour. Furthermore, they are reflective of a humanistic mind-set and the architects of it will have to do far more than merely draft it and push it through the red tape of senates and assemblies to receive accolades ...

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Saudi Arabia, India or the US – who is conspiring against Nawaz Sharif and why?

At the beginning of this month, the government found itself in something of a pickle. Regardless of a dubious WhatsApp call fiasco and alleged political proclivities of the joint investigation team (JIT) members, the Sharifs had failed miserably in elucidating a tangible money trail for their opulent assets abroad. To truly offset the velocity of the storm they faced, they would have to counter attack with something far more potent and invidious – something powerful enough to offset the damning reality of their inconclusive money trial – a global conspiracy. A conspiracy that was hatched in collusion with the venal folks in the General Headquarters (GHQ), ...

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