Communism’s love-hate relationship with Pakistan

A sizable amount of literature suggests that the Left supported the Pakistan Movement. However, a deeper reading into the politics of the Left in the crucial last decade of the British Raj reveals a far more complex situation. In 1936, three young communists, namely ZA Ahmad, Sajjad Zaheer and Kunwar Muhammad Ashraf, upon the alleged instructions of the Communist Party of India (CPI) [1], joined the All India Congress Committee under Nehru’s presidency. Nehru had initiated the Muslim Mass-contact Programme (MMCP) to increase the Muslim members of Congress and had placed it under KM Ashraf. He and his two ...

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A visiting Indian delegation opened my mind and heart

When all eyes were on Kartarpur Corridor’s landmark inauguration scheduled for November 9, a day before the main event (on November 8), a group of Indian journalists crossed into Pakistan via the Wagah Border. They were in Lahore to attend the opening ceremony of the corridor ahead of the 550th birthday of Baba Guru Nanak on November 12. Baba Guru Nanak is also respected among the Muslims of Pakistan because of his teachings on humanism and unity, and against separatism and barbarism.I was the part of a team tasked with hosting the Indian journalist delegation and it was a riveting experience ...

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What does it mean to be Pakistani?

The concept of national identity has been long debated in Pakistani drawing rooms and in the media. The question as to whether or not we as a nation can claim to represent a monolithic or homogeneous group has been one which largely remains unanswered, yet continues to be just as important today as it was when this nation came into existence. Earlier this year, a friend of mine went on a mission to ascertain how us Pakistanis described ourselves in nationalistic terms. There was a background to this activity; his brother had relocated to the United States (US) several years earlier and despite ...

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What psychological impact is sexual harassment having on Pakistan’s students?

In light of the recent case of harassment that has emerged at the University of  Balochistan, it is vital that we do not shy away from discussing the psychological impact such incidents have on students. As someone who has previously been associated with the academia, it is worrying to see the apathy with which such occurrences are treated and how often teachers accused of harassment are simply not held responsible for their actions. This lack of accountability was the very reason why I left a teaching position about half a decade ago. During my time as an instructor, an entire classroom of students ...

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Pakistan’s burgeoning intellectual dilemma

Normally, we think of knowledge as an activity which is shorn off from society in the libraries and laboratories of thinkers and scientists. On the contrary, production of knowledge is very much connected to the prevailing mindset and cultural ethos which directly influences our perception and reception of knowledge. It is this very mindset that has contributed to the poor state of human sciences in Pakistan – where these subjects have essentially been assigned a marginal status at the higher education level, as compared to natural sciences. Instead of engaging with complex ideas, we reject them by stating that they are ...

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Why does Balochistan have a dearth of trained psychotherapists?

It was an uneventful day at work when I got a query from an acquaintance asking for a psychotherapist or clinical psychologist in Quetta. I asked everyone I knew in connection to this and exhausted all my options only to find out that there were no practicing psychotherapists or clinical psychologists in the region. It came as a shock to me, after all, why did this major city of Balochistan not have a single clinical psychologist? And what about the rest of the province?  Years passed and somehow this notion remained trapped in my mind, and the requirement for referrals for ...

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Abul Hasanat – The man that was my father

As The Express Tribune bids a heavy-hearted good bye to friend, mentor and stellar editor Mr Abul Hasanat, his daughters give us a glimpse into the great man that he was, both at work and at home. The moving finger writes, and having writ, Moves on, nor all thy piety, nor wit, Shall lure it back to cancel half a line. Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.  Omar Khayyam My father, Abul Hasanat, after a brief illness passed away on October 5, 2019. He was a great human being. His passion for life, kindnesses and humanity were dominant traits in his character. ...

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How reliable are the mental health clinics in Pakistan?

It was half a decade ago when I started my own mental health consultancy that offered courses and other educational services related to my field. At that time, opening a psychotherapy or mental health clinic in Pakistan was not particularly common. Offering psychotherapy was not lucrative enough for beginner level professionals and only benefitted those at a senior level. Fast forward five years, and I see a significant increase in mental health services, and many of these services are also being offered over the internet in the form of Skype consultations, chats and emails. There are a variety of mental health clinics, ...

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The psychology behind sexual violence

Countless women have been murdered in the name of honour and a number of girls are being avenged through rape for the crimes their male family members have committed. Underage girls are being married off to men thrice their age in compensation of any social embarrassment faced by the girl’s father or brothers. At the same time, there are constant reports of children being on the receiving end of sexual violence. A handful of perpetrators were caught when videos were circulated on social media, but most of them roam free. Sexual crimes and violence have been perpetrated against women and children in almost ...

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Should vaping be banned in Pakistan?

An outbreak of ‘vaping-induced lung injury’ has killed 12 people and affected more than 800 people during the past month alone and the numbers are still rising. This outbreak has served as a wake-up call for major health regulatory organisations leading to numerous warnings against these products. Around the world, more than 20 countries have either entirely banned or at least restricted vaping products. In Pakistan, despite reports of the widespread use of vapes among young people, this issue is yet to be addressed at a government and community level. The idea of vaping came about after Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik lost his father ...

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