Stories about General Ziaul Haq

In defence of Ziaul Haq

Pakistan’s liberal classes revile no other figure as much as Ziaul Haq. To them, he is the embodiment of whatever ails Pakistani society today. They put the onus of Pakistani Taliban on that sole grave under the shade of Faisal Mosque. They are quite virulent in their protests that Pakistani society became intolerant and vastly more Islamist solely due to him. Perhaps they forget that the marde-momin mard-e-haq did not declare Ahmadis non-Muslims: Bhutto did. Sadly, the man cannot even take credit for banning alcohol and gambling: Bhutto did. The Objectives Resolution of 1949, calling for the creation of an Islamic rather than a secular Republic, was passed when Zia was a mere Major in the army, with no ...

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When did Pakistan change from being a liberal country to a fundamentalist one?

When and how did Pakistan go from being a moderate Muslim majority country to a fundamentalist society within a relatively short span of time and is this trend irreversible? Pakistan emerged out of a Muslim nationalist movement organised around the group identity of the Muslims of British India. It was led not by cultural relativists in flowing robes, but by modern Muslim men and women, most of whom felt that they could reconcile their faith with modernity. Jinnah’s objectives in any event were to create a united Muslim voting bloc within united India and his demand for a Muslim majority ...

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Qandeel, Muqadas, Zeenat, Sumaira, Ambreen, Maria…

On the fateful day of Saturday, July 16th, 2016, news broke in Pakistan that internet sensation, model and actress Qandeel Baloch had been found murdered in her home in Multan. Controversial till the very end, Baloch shot to fame because of her provocative social media videos and posts, in which she would comment on any issue, wearing risqué clothes, while lying on a bed. Photo: Facebook Her murderer turned out to be none other than her own brother who strangled her. Baloch’s parents discovered her body in the morning and her brother was arrested the same day. [caption ...

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Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of Ahmadis in Pakistan

Chaudhry Abdul Khaliq, a 50-year-old Ahmadi homeopath was killed with a single gunshot to the head this Monday in the Abul Hasan Ispahani locality of Karachi. This is the second fatal shooting of an Ahmadi in this locality in a three week period and a continuation of the increase in violence against the community since the attack on Darul Zikr by the Punjab Taliban in 2012. Unfortunately, many of us continue to remain in denial about the treatment of Ahmadis in Pakistan and refuse to accept that the level of discrimination and the slow trickle of violence against them is untenable and unacceptable. In an attempt to put things ...

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The National Action Plan has been as counter-productive as Pakistan’s blasphemy law

Following the ghastly December 2014 Taliban attack on 132 schoolchildren, Pakistan’s government unanimously passed a National Action Plan (NAP) so that, “No room will be left for the extremism in any part of the country.” Among its 20 points, NAP outlaws radical literature and funding, calls for restructuring in the FATA region and Balochistan to address regional grievances, and lifts the moratorium on the death sentence for convicted terrorists. But well over a year into its execution, NAP has been less effective and more counter-productive than meets the eye. As one of numerous examples, consider the case of 81-year-old optician Abdul Shukoor. This past January, Shukoor, an Ahmadi Muslim, and ...

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Who was Jinnah, an Islamic cultural relativist or a brown sahib?

There are two bar rooms in the Lahore High Court. One is considered the bar room of left liberals and progressives. The other bar room, much bigger of the two, is the favourite haunt of those with a tinge of religious right wing. The left leaning bar room has a photograph of an emaciated Mr Jinnah in a suit. The other one has a sombre portrait of him in a black sherwani and karakul cap. Next to his portrait is an equally serious portrait of Allama Iqbal.  In a poignant piece for Granta sometime ago New York Times journalist Jane ...

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Dancing to the tunes of the Song of Lahore is pure joy

Prepare to be mesmerised by the Song of Lahore, a lovely documentary directed by twice Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Andy Shocken. Be ready to be hypnotised, to clap along, hum along and to fall madly in love with the Sachal-Jazz ensemble and their mission to make, according to founder Izzat Majeed “global music that is rooted in Lahore.” In order to preserve Pakistan’s fading musical roots, Majeed established the Sachal recording studio in Lahore and gathered the best of Pakistan’s classically trained instrumentalists, mostly aging men from extremely humble backgrounds, to revive the music he had grown up on. ...

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As a student of the Matric system, I can vouch that Pakistani textbooks are horrendous!

According to the World Bank data, in the years falling between 2011-2015, only 2.5 per cent of Pakistan’s total revenue was spent on education. This miserliness and misappropriation of the country’s priorities towards education is apparent in the sad state of its textbooks. The education sector is barely using its funds to invest in publishing new versions of textbooks, and spares it only to republish the out-dated versions every year. Having been a tuition teacher, I have noticed that the Pakistan Studies textbook by Professor Abdul Qadir Khan has been republishing its very first edition of the book since 2005. ...

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With PCB and BCCI unable to set aside their differences, what happens to cricket?

The story goes that the chef at Jaipur’s Rambagh Palace had 40 baby lambs slaughtered the day before Pakistan’s military dictator, and arguably the most hated man in his country, was to be hosted as part of his trip to India to enjoy a game of cricket. Former PM Rajiv Gandhi with then Pakistan President Ziaul Haq at the Palam airport on Decemeber 17, 1985.Photo: Hindustan Times Paying true homage to Mughal culinary traditions Safed Maas (White meat curry) and Akbari Raan (Akbari mutton leg) were on the menu as General Ziaul Haq rubbed shoulders with the likes of Lala Amarnath ...

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Stop celebrating Sadiq Khan’s victory, Pakistan, you have no right to celebrate

Sadiq Khan is now the mayor of London. There are countless reasons to celebrate this feat. On a personal level, it is indeed a great achievement for someone who was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father was a Pakistan immigrant and a bus driver who brought up Sadiq and his siblings in a council property. Imagine the son of that particular immigrant getting elected by a record mandate in London; it’s a truly superb moment. Congratulations to him for a truly remarkable victory. But can every Pakistani and every Muslim personally feel proud over the appointment of the new ...

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