Stories about Gujranwala

From a “political nobody who would never amount to much” to the prime minister of Pakistan

Twenty-two years ago, did I think this day would ever arrive? That in little more than 10 minutes, a visibly uncomfortable Imran Khan would fumble over difficult Urdu words and take the oath to become Pakistan’s 22nd prime minister? I wish I could say a resounding yes, but I, like so many of his supporters, have seen Imran rise and fall over the years (only to rise again) with exasperation. ‘Surely he will deliver once he reaches his goal’ is how we have comforted ourselves through the many stumbles, U-turns and compromises. Along the way, we have been called cult followers, ...

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Imran Khan is right, Pakistan should have more than four provinces

Whenever I make any comments about Pakistan having more provinces and smaller units, the reaction is always the same, “You want to divide the country? Are you a RAW agent or what?”  So when Imran Khan promised the creation of a South Punjab, it was a pleasant surprise to hear him say something intelligent for once. Imran made this promise recently as he welcomed turncoats from South Punjab into his party; defectors who enjoyed the perks and privileges of being MNAs for the past five years while saying nothing about creating a new province, until now. While supporting the demand by the Janoobi ...

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Happy Children’s Day, Pakistan! BTW, child sexual abuse increased by 10% since 2016

Child abuse is one of the most prevalent social issues in Pakistan. A 2017 report suggests that there has been a 10% increase in cases since last year alone. The issue is only made worse by the fact that neither do we talk about its prevalence, nor do we take any preventive or rehabilitative measures to deal with it. Topics of importance, such as child abuse, rape, sexual assault, honour killing, forced marriage or mental illness, all are considered taboo and often brushed under the rug. The fear of being shunned by society and victim-shamed is perhaps what keeps some of the victims from speaking up about the issue ...

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Pakistan does not need more thieves, harassers or mobs – its police officers are doing the job for them

Recently, I came across a news article about senior police officers breaking down the door of a house in Rawalpindi to arrest a murder suspect. The house they raided belonged to the cousin of the man suspected of having committed said murder. In addition, when these upright gentlemen did not find the man they were looking for, they decided to take with them cash and jewellery, worth at least a million rupees, which belonged to the owner of the house. Naturally, the poor victim immediately went to the nearest police station to file an FIR (without which the police cannot investigate a crime) ...

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A historical walk through the forgotten Sheranwala Bagh in Gujranwala

Gujranwala is one of the cities of Punjab that have contributed to its history, especially during Ranjit Singh’s rise to power and the establishment of the Sikh empire. This is where Ranjit Singh was born to Sardar Maha Singh, who belonged to Sukerchakia misl in 1780. Sheranwala Bagh is home to the monuments of the Sikh rule in Gujranwala. I had been hearing about the charm of Sheranwala Bagh for a long time, and every time I went to visit my maternal family, I’d dream about the bagh. It wasn’t until this year that the dream finally came true. [caption id="" ...

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Maligning Islam in the name of blasphemy

Charred remains of two human bodies become a question mark on our humanity. Smoke that rises from their ashes is denser than one that clouds our judgment. It will not vanish into the air; it will instead taunt our silence forever. What burnt was not bodies, but the very fabric of our society. In the presence of the rule of law – as demanded by the Holy Quran and our constitution – blasphemy would be dealt with by the aggrieved party registering a case against the accused under relevant sections of the Pakistan Penal Code. A free and fair trial in a ...

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Pakistani airports: Heading for paralysis?

A person belonging to the procurement department of a military-related setup once told me an interesting story about how the US had banned the sale of F-16 spare parts to Pakistan and had blacklisted the concerned setup. A metallic plate of some specific calibre was urgently required for the F-16s and they had run out of any other options. Out of utter necessity and desperation, one of the officers from the organisation called up a blacksmith from Gujranwala and asked him to forge the plate. The blacksmith was able to forge an exact copy of the plate and for much less money, ...

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Zain Ghaffar: The lawyer who law could not save

The sweltering heat on May 21, 2013, was nauseating. This is when my senior Mr Shahid Ikram Siddiqui asked me and another colleague to sit in the court where his case was to be heard after the judges’ tea break. We entered the air-conditioned court room of the Lahore High Court and I took the seat on the extreme left corner, which would have a direct view of the counsels when proceedings would begin. I began to go through the case papers which Mr Siddiqui was to present that day. I was deeply engrossed when my colleague brought to my notice ...

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