A tale of two speeches: Why Bilawal has proved to be a better leader than Imran

This blog is about two speeches that are invariably linked. The first, delivered in a firebrand style by a young leader, provoked a response from an older leader. Both are leaders of major political parties, belonging to different generations and espousing different political ideologies. But as the crux of their speeches show, they belong to different calibres as well. The first speech was given in a National Assembly session by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. It was partly in response to Asad Umar’s infamous speech attacking Bilawal, and partly to raise some important questions about the recent ...

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(Not) ‘All Pakistanis suffer equally’

In the wake of the recent heart-rending tragedy that befell the Hazaras of Hazarganji, a number of prominent media personalities such as Asad Rahim Khan, Pervez Hoodbhoy, and the relentless political activist Jibran Nasir, came out in vocal support of the highly persecuted minority ethnic group. They openly spoke about the real motivation behind why the community continues to be preferentially targeted by a now annual onslaught of militant attacks, and why its predicament is still met with a rabid form of popular indifference that is nauseating to even consider, let alone make sense of. Tomorrow morning a few friends and I will be ...

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Pakistan is in a climate crisis but its minister incharge is a bigger cause for concern

As a journalist who regularly covers climate change related issues, I was taught early on by my former editor at BBC, Alex Kirby, that: “Your job is to communicate the science, not to do it, and if you do not know much about it, you will probably be better able to understand your readers’ ignorance and confusion about the subject. But never overestimate their knowledge, and never underestimate their intelligence.” I have always tried to communicate climate change in the easiest possible language, but the primary intention has always been to remain cognisant of the scientific facts. You cannot dumb-down climate ...

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Rawalpindi: A chaotic labyrinth, caught between heritage and heresy

In the post-modern world, the topography of the city has undergone a drastic shift. Rapid urbanisation and growing job opportunities have resulted in many cities in the developing world being swamped by an increasing number of people coming in from the villages and suburbs. In order to accommodate this burgeoning populace, the intrinsic structure of the modern metropolis has had to evolve. Countries such as India and Pakistan have had to grapple with the dual ambitions of wanting to urbanise their cities while also wanting to hold onto their rich architectural heritage. The complex history of a multi-ethnic country ...

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Is Imran Khan not the PM of Balochistan? Is the Quetta attack not as tragic as the Christchurch attack?

As I begin to put these words on digital paper, I am appalled at the memories of every time I have written about this same tragedy. Despite the periodic occurrence of these catastrophes, it is evident nobody gives a damn. Thus, I ask, ‘Jacinda, Jacinda. Where art thou, Jacinda?’ It was only a few weeks ago that Christchurch suffered a devastating hate crime against Muslims at the hands of a self-righteous terrorist. The whole of New Zealand, spearheaded by their Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, rallied to protect and support its Muslim community. Her government went on to ban the category ...

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Federal minister of style: 4 great appearances by Faisal Vawda that nobody asked for

Pardon my political naivety, but who asked Mr Faisal Vawda to do anything more than his actual job as the minister of water resources? Regardless, we have been blessed with an impressive array of performances in Pakistan’s robust political theatre this year. It seems unjust to not acknowledge the many contributions of Vawda, who has worked hard to establish himself as more than just a federal minister. The greatest of these performances are being listed here for the convenience and amusement of our nation’s proudest patriots or theatre-enthusiasts. 1. The punisher Some may argue that it’s unusual for an armed federal minister ...

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While endorsing Modi, did Imran Khan forget the plight of Kashmiris and Indian Muslims?

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, while talking to Reuters, gave a statement that really shocked the diplomatic world. Referring to the Indian elections, he said: “Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached.” India’s General Elections have started from today, April 11th, and will continue till the end of next month. The most surprising aspect about Imran’s statement is that it came just a day before the start of the first round of the Indian elections. Usually, world leaders avoid giving out statements that seemingly endorse any political party of a foreign ...

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Renaming BISP: PTI’s art of turning non-issues into controversies, because any publicity is good publicity

The art of turning a non-issue into a controversy seems to be a favourite habit of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. From the moment it came to power, PTI has only been good at changing the names of projects initiated by former governments and trying to re-launch them under its own name. The inauguration of the Lahore to Multan Motorway and the opening of the Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim in Karachi are examples in this regard, for the latter was already inaugurated while the former was a project almost completed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. As the prime minister is a media-savvy person, ...

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In a party of U-turns and double standards, one man rises to the occasion

Known for beating the democratic and ‘ethical’ drum, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has consistently maimed and shamed opponents for destroying the democratic culture within political parties, meant to harness debate and difference of opinion. However, in recent times, under the political authority of PTI, circumstances have changed and the bold narratives of transparency, openness and honesty have long subsided. It comes as no news that the power centres in PTI have been preoccupied due to a harrowing tug of war; a cut throat competition meant to shamelessly obliterate the rival group. In this scenario, senior member of the PTI and Pakistan’s ...

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‘Perfect victim’ or not, Asma Aziz is still a victim of her husband’s brutality and society’s mentality

We have all seen Asma Aziz’s bruised face and shaved head plastered across all media forums. With a croaked and defeated voice, she narrated the extent of the sexual violence and physical abuse inflicted on her by her husband, Faisal Aziz. She disclosed that he had stripped her naked and beaten her with steel pipes while the male house-help pinned her down in a grotesque display of violent voyeurism. She later implored for justice through social media. And justice is what the nation demands, unequivocally, irrespective of class and gender. Disgusting! A woman in Lahore, who identified herself as Asma Aziz was tortured ...

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