When did Eidul Azha turn into a vicious spending competition?

Every year, Muslims all over the world observe the festival of Eidul Azha to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s (pbuh) submission to the will of Allah (swt). By obeying His order to sacrifice his only son, Hazrat Ismail (AS), he proved that he was a true servant of Allah, and it is this spirit of sacrifice that is to be observed by Muslims every year. Unfortunately, instead of realising that they have to be ready to sacrifice every precious possession in the way of Allah, Eidul Azha is now observed only as a ritual. And with the exception of a few, most Muslims do ...

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From water scarcity to water infused with alarming levels of arsenic – good job, corrupt government

I recently came across an alarming news story about high levels of arsenic in our groundwater supply. Unfortunately, this is turning into a serious issue in developing countries such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and other parts of the subcontinent. Recently, a nationwide study based on sampling approximately 1,200 groundwater pumps was carried out. The study was led by Dr Joel Podgorski, a Swiss geologist and computer scientist. The study illustrated that the amount of arsenic in the groundwater of various Pakistani areas dotted along the Indus River and its tributaries, including Multan, Lahore, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala and around Hyderabad, have reached alarming levels. This shocking news ...

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Is Pakistan doing enough to protect its Hindu minority?

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Hindus constitute around 1.6% of Pakistan’s population. During the time of independence, there was a sizeable Hindu population in the areas that eventually became a part of Pakistan, but a majority of Hindus opted for India. However, thousands of Hindus were still living in the eastern wing of the country, but after the dismemberment of East Pakistan, Sindh became the largest province to house Hindus; it constitutes 6.51% of Sindh’s total population. But over the years, numerous Hindu families have migrated from Sindh to India which is the natural destination for Pakistani Hindus as they share ...

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Electing a party president who thinks “the poor are born to serve the rich” only reveals PML-N’s bourgeoisie mind-set

Last week, Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar, a senator from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), made a controversial comment at a Senate committee meeting. He said: “The poor are born to serve the rich. This is a system created by God, and He has made some people rich and others poor, and we should not interfere in this system.” What’s worse is the very same man was recently elected as the president of PML-N. Moreover, on one hand, we have the ousted PM Nawaz Sharif demanding justice at rallies, while on the other hand, they are electing a party president who is making absurd statements ...

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Is the divide within the Sharif family inevitable?

One would usually frown upon the vivisection of a family’s domestic issues on a public forum. But the sheer influence of the Sharif family’s private affairs on the national political landscape renders such an analysis as a necessary evil. In 2015, Hamza Shehbaz attended a wedding ceremony where he spent most of his time sulking in a far corner of the quaintly decorated arena, scarcely mingling with fellow attendees and keeping a low profile. At the same event, a frustrated Begum Nusrat Shehbaz was heard loudly rebuking one of the attendees, after being repeatedly asked to participate in a family portrait ...

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If the basis of PML-N’s unwavering support is blind devotion, would reason even matter at all?

An impeached prime minister, an overjoyed opponent, scandal relishing media outlets and 197 million whispering spectators – welcome to Pakistani politics. Every day here is better than your average soap opera and provides fodder for your next gossip session. Don’t get me wrong. I am highly sensitive to the ‘delicate junction in history our beloved country currently stands at’. However, I cannot help but question how much we needed to sacrifice in order to get here and if it could have been done any other way. Why do some nations only need the fall of confederate statues to trigger a movement, whereas others have human bodies falling every ...

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Ziaul Haq’s legacy consists less of his own policies and more of the actions successive governments have taken to undo their effects

Throughout human history, there have been numerous individuals whose existence and actions have adversely affected the course of a nation or the world on a whole. They have been the cause of great pain and suffering directly such as Joseph Stalin with his agricultural program or Adolf Hitler’s war on Jews and the minorities of Germany and later on, the rest of the world. Pakistan too has had its fair share of such individuals but none of them stand out in comparison to the man who sowed the seeds of dissension, discord, sectarianism and extremism in our country – General Ziaul Haq. On the ...

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Dear Tahirul Qadri, you cannot be a leader as you are three years too late to demand justice for the Model Town brutality

In January 2013, The Express Tribune reported, “Dr Tahirul Qadri’s ‘million-man march’ began from Lahore towards its destination, Islamabad.”  For much of Pakistan, and the rest of the world, this was the first time people had heard of Tahirul Qadri. Before he rose to eminence, Qadri was best known for the altruistic and educational activities of his international religious charity, the Minhajul Quran Foundation. He also issued a 500-page long fatwa against terrorism at London’s Wembley Stadium, securing his place amongst the moderate clerics in the Islamic spectrum. In just a few weeks’ time, he became part of the defining political movement in Pakistan in 2014 – the Islamabad ...

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Can Nawaz Sharif salvage his legacy by normalising relations with India and the economic alleviation stemming from it?

The battle lines have been drawn. Nawaz is out flaunting his muscles on the street, and his choice seems clear – defiance over acquiescence. But to what end? One possibility is that the power play is simply intended to gain political leverage and bargain relief from those the former prime minster (PM) feels have vindictively disarmed him. But two factors refute this theory – Khawaja Asif and Mushahidullah Khan. We all know the perversity with which Asif is viewed within the General Headquarters (GHQ), and the comments that led Khan to be scapegoated and removed from his ministry. The appointment of the two ...

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Instead of chanting the devaluation mantra, exporters should reduce their costs

Last month, the rupee plunged to its lowest in nine years. A banker friend called me and said, “If you have dollars, don’t sell them, if you don’t have dollars, buy them. The market is plunging and by the evening you will need Rs120 to buy a dollar.” This was very alarming since I am in the import business and would have to sustain big losses if the free fall continued. In the evening, the price of eggs had shot up by Rs10 to the dozen. Why? In response, the shopkeeper said, “Don’t you know? The dollar has gone up sharply.” Pressed further, he said, “I buy ...

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