Stories about hate

Defy Pakistan: How the right-wing turned rogue

The Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) is a tightly-held multi-party alliance of some 40 parties representing all shades of the country’s religious right-wing. It is led by veteran cleric Maulana Samiul Haq, who is popularly known as the father of the Taliban. The alliance is founded upon a single anti-US agenda, to drive out the Nato forces in the region and sprang up soon after Pak-US relations took a nosedive post the Salala bombing. After some low-key, closed door seminars on Pak-US relations, the alliance took to rallies, the first of which was staged at the Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore. This rally was an ...

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Call me an Indian Pakistani

I recently wrote a blog post titled ‘An Indian who moved to Pakistan‘. The response I got – positive and negative – is much appreciated. It inspired me to write this piece about my dream of a world without borders and wars. Before I begin, however, I want to make clear that I do not have any desire to undermine the sovereign and political borders between India and Pakistan or between any other countries. My dream is to erase the psychological borders that are etched in our minds in the shape of prejudices and hatred towards the other. So I’ll get to ...

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Pakistan’s (love) hate affair with India

While contemplating the widely proclaimed idea of nations bearing distinct personalities, my thoughts recently forayed into what diagnosis a shrink would have proposed for Pakistan as a ‘person’, considering the events that it has endured. The country’s genesis in the year 1947 as a result of a disturbing, gory and a relentless bloodbath with its Siamese twin (though many would call it our step-brother) left the nation in  an erratic frame of mind. We can not dispute the fact that there have been numerous skirmishes in Pakistan’s early years with its so-called brother, followed by  a serious scuffle over the ...

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Fight religious extremism, with religion

Aqib took a sip of cappuccino at a Starbucks outlet in the Canary Wharf area of London. He graduated from LSE last year and is now working as an investment banker at one of the world’s leading bank (albeit a bailed out one after the 2008 economic meltdown). Pointing out the economic prosperity of London, he confidently exclaimed: “We have invested too much in religion whilst the West has excelled in all discipline of sciences. Look, all this development took place in the last 100 year or so when the West shunned religion and secularism took a stronghold in public decision making.” Aqib, ...

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Her brothers killed her

I was on the phone with my mother who had left for Hyderabad a few days back, but ended up in our village in district Badin. Her voice shook as she spoke when I asked her if everything was fine. She replied: ‘Did nobody inform you? Shanu was killed by her brothers.’ I felt numb. Shanu, my mother’s second cousin had been shot dead. The thought of her lifeless face gave me goosebumps. Shanu was a middle-aged divorced woman and mother of three, whose two brothers shot nine bullets into her. She wanted to remarry but her family managed to persuade her against it. ...

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Facebook activism, and where it fails

Today I was invited to a Facebook event called “18 Crore People demanding Zardari’s Resign – We Hate You. Leave Pakistan”. Thinking it was just another one of those inexhaustible Facebook invitations everyone keeps getting, I ignored it until I saw how many people were attending: The number was 55,321. And from the looks of it, the figure is growing. Now I’m a strong proponent of freedom of political expression, but I feel that ensuing debates should actually be constructive. A mere expression of hatred and loathing for a leader with a gazillion ‘likes’ isn’t going to do anything to ...

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‘How could you serve breakfast to a Hindu?’

Early one morning, a few days ago, I left my hometown Umerkot for Mirpurkhas with some friends. On the way we stopped for breakfast at a roadside cafe. What followed was an incident that left me shaken, although it involved no violence. While we were eating, a man with a long beard approached the café owner. We could clearly hear the conversation. He was telling the owner off for having served breakfast to us: “Tum Hinduon ko bhi nashta karwate ho?” (So, you serve breakfast to Hindus too?) The owner responded: “Kisi ke maathay pe likha hua nahi hota ki koi Hindu hai ya ...

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I will not dance on Osama bin Laden’s grave

I have been in the US for the past two years and in this time I have felt culture shock twice – the first, when I first arrived, and then again on the night of May 2, 2011. Any supporter of peace would feel nothing but hatred for Bin Laden and his organisation, and I do hate him or I thought I did. But, Sunday night when everyone was out on the streets celebrating, chanting “USA” and firing fireworks, I felt like an outsider. I couldn’t join in – partly because it still felt wrong and partly because I realised instantly that ...

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‘My kidneys are not for kafirs’

A Pakistani runs our local mini-cab service in north London. This means we get fantastic rates when a cab is needed to get around. It also means I get an odd assortment of Muslim drivers from different parts of the Muslim world. Sometimes, conversations with cabbies reveal a lot about their community politics and general worldviews. It was one such conversation with an Algerian cabbie that got me thinking about the uniformity of hate and anti-western sentiment across the Muslim world. It also made me realise that I have justified reason to feel angry with the many Muslims settled in the United Kingdom ...

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I’m sorry, but Habib Jalib who?

It was Habib Jalib’s death anniversary a few days ago, and, as expected, when I inquired from my friends if they knew who this revolutionary poet was, they said no. Why would they know Jalib anyway? I didn’t know who he was until I stumbled upon a few videos of his poetry recital when I was in college three years ago. It was then that I was exposed to a man whom I went on to respect. In fact, I made sure I learnt some of his verses, as they seemed very applicable around the year 2007, as they were when ...

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