Stories about ban

Remove the ban on alcohol in Pakistan

Fermented drinks have been running through the subcontinent’s veins since as early as 1200 BC in the form of a beverage called Soma. The history of distilled spirits began in the subcontinent in the geographical area that is modern day Pakistan and until 1977 alcohol consumption was legal in the country. The prohibition on alcohol took place under the rule of an otherwise liberal man – Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. A big fan of whiskey himself, he finally gave in to the whims of the religious factions in 1977. And as the law stands in the country today, it is illegal for Muslims to ...

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Bangladesh’s foreign flags ban: So much for democracy

With the commencement of March 2014, the stage was all set for the race to win the trophy, for a sport that is religiously followed in this part of the world. Yes, it was time for the T20 World Cup to start, which is currently taking place in Bangladesh. Despite all apprehensions and uncertainties, up till the eve of March 25, 2014, the championship boat was sailing in the right direction. However, the on-going event has been plunged into an unnecessary controversy. An unpleasant situation arose after the issuance of a statement by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), whereby a ban was imposed on the locals ...

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Aerial firing: “If Shahid Afridi’s brother can do it, so can I!”

After an indubitably glorious victory against India in the Asia Cup this past Sunday, ardent Pakistani fans, all across the world, have indeed found various ways to celebrate this euphoric occasion. While some celebrations are fun and safe, others are not. I am referring to the infamous aerial firing or, in other words, firing bullets into the air, which is a common practice in many places and cultures around the world within South and Central Asia, the Middle East and South America. While aerial firing is a widespread practice throughout Pakistan, it is particularly customary in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) region where gun ...

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Kholo BC and eight other reasons to lift the ban on YouTube now!

Just as the burning of a book is a sad sight, so is banning of resources of knowledge. It feels as if ideas contained in the treasure of enlightenment are vanishing, as pages turn to ash by the wicked work of flames. Almost a year and six months have passed since the world’s largest video sharing website, YouTube, was banned by the information ministry, after a massive uproar from Muslims across the world took place against the excerpts of the blasphemous film The Innocence of Muslims. The blanket ban on the site, however, has proved to be adverse in numerous ways and many ...

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Sign this petition to save Pakistan from ‘vulgarity’?

As I was about to enter the Blue Dome Mosque in F-10 Markaz, Islamabad, for Jumma prayer, I was stopped by three pious-looking individuals, wearing white turbans and shalwar kameez. They thrust a paper at me and declared that it was my duty as a Muslim to sign the petition. Blue Dome Mosque in F-10 Markaz, Islamabad. Photo: Affan Javed When I asked them what the petition was about, they verbally explained that it was a request to the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to ban behaya (lewd) content, all across the country. When I questioned them further, they seemed to get irritated and ...

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Is it too risky to become a Pakistani rock star instead of a banker?

My accounting teacher back in O-level (Grade 11) gave us an example of how conservative and hypocritical our Pakistani society can be. She said there are certain tribal areas in Pakistan that are against the education of women and would oppose it on every front. But when one of the girls from their area would end up becoming a successful doctor they would proudly exclaim, “Ye dekho, humara larki doctor ban gaya hai!” (Look at that, our daughter has become a doctor!) I have realised this attitude is not just restricted to the tribal areas. Pakistanis do not recognise or appreciate good things while they are ...

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137th birthday: What Allama Iqbal’s poetry has taught me so far

“Maqsood-e-hunar soz-e-hayat-e-abdi hai Ye ik nafas ya do nafas, misl-e-sharar kia” -Iqbal (The real aim of any form of art should be to develop the longing for an ultimate life. It’s not art if all it does is to spark the feelings for a moment or two and then subside – Iqbal) Iqbal’s poetry, beyond doubt, goes in line with the above definition of art (hunar). Though I am just beginning to discover Iqbal myself, it is indisputable that his poetry has proven to be a truly transforming force. Some of his verses had an unprecedented and enlightening impact on me, helping me become ...

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Banning the niqab in Britain: How very Taliban of you

A recent ban on the niqab, introduced at the Birmingham metropolitan college, has sparked huge controversy among the communities in Birmingham and across the United Kingdom. Over 9,000 students across the UK signed a petition against this decision made by the college administration. While a large number of political activists have condemned the decision, College Principal, Dame Christine Braddock DBE, described the ban as promoting robust equality, diversity and inclusiveness. She further stated that she is committed to ensure that students are provided with a safe and welcoming learning environment whilst studying there — a truly ‘British way of life’. I ...

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When the poor pay with their lives for fizzy drinks

Travel through rural Pakistan and two things will strike you. One is heart rending poverty and the other is hospitality. Visitors are greeted with warmth and selfless generosity. The poorest of the poor will immediately call for ‘paani’ for their visitors. Paani means water in Urdu, but in the local lexicon it has come to mean a bottled fizzy drink. And ‘paani’ brooks no refusal. Visitors can demur all they want but the host is not deterred.  “It’s only paani”, he says. “It can do no harm”. But it can and it does. The impression amongst the general public that it ...

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When the song ‘Get Lucky’ is inappropriate only in Ramazan

Around a week ago, as I was listening to the radio while weaving my way through Pindi’s traffic en route to work, an interesting development caught me by surprise. The radio jockey announced the song ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk had been requested but that some listeners called in demanding that it not be played because the lyrics were ‘too inappropriate to be heard during Ramazan.’ The song, which still remains a hit among youth the world over, was not played. For starters, the logic behind the decision was baffling. Ever since the song was released some two months ago, it ...

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