Stories about ideology

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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He was only a Buddhist by salutations, just like we are only Muslims by virtue of rituals

If you visit the Tiananmen Square at any given day, you’ll see hoards of people flocking around in large groups. Some can be seen led by a guide, others trying to find an inlet to the tunnels that lead to the main square, turning the entire landmark into a beehive. Besides being the womb of the People’s Republic of China where Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, the square also houses the Chairman’s mausoleum. On my 10 day visit to China, I found the Tiananmen Square to be the most religious of all spaces. It ...

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Kashmir Day holiday is fine but you have an issue with Holi?

Nothing brings out excessive patriotism in Pakistanis like blatant jingoism and bigotry. The Pakistani government recently agreed to allow the Hindu festival of Holi and the Christian observance of Easter as public holidays. This, however, did not sit well with our patriotic, bleed-green Pakistanis who took to social media to portray their “rage”. In short, all hell broke loose. Photo: AFP I, for one, do not understand the reason behind this uproar. The decision seems absolutely justified as people belonging to minority groups should be able to observe and celebrate their religious events, just like Muslims do. Why is it ...

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Unless your name is Muslim or Jew, why does Nutella’s ban matter to you?

My kids love Nutella as do I. It is one of my favourite late night indulgences. Open a jar, dip the index finger in, or maybe a cracker, and forget all the worries of the world. Yes, creamy chocolate hazelnut goodness can do just that; it has the power to make you forget the mundane everyday worries. While we are on this subject, do try my all-time favourite, fresh bread Nutella banana sandwich. This may sound cheesy, but it is definitely a match made in heaven. Being a Nutella addict household, we obviously know a little more about the product than your average ...

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There is no difference between Christmas and Eid

Tis’ the season to be jolly! December always comes with great tidings; winter chills, hot chocolate, numerous holidays and an opportunity to make new resolutions. And along all this, it also brings the joyful day of Christmas. This day is an embodiment of religious beliefs, which celebrates a miraculous event and a time of togetherness. Two billion Christians all over the world celebrate this day with great spirit and felicity. As a child, the idea of Christmas for me was all about decorating Christmas trees, receiving presents and Santa stuffing himself down a chimney. I used to be most excited about meeting Santa ...

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Did Hindu nationalists celebrate Gandhi’s murder?

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants the Indian National Congress (INC) to be derecognised by the Indian Election Commission. The Hindu nationalist leaders of this party were apparently infuriated over a speech made by Rahul Gandhi in Maharashtra last month during his whirlwind poll campaign wherein he accused the former’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of being involved in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. The 43-year-old said, “They killed Gandhi. RSS people shot Gandhi dead. And today their people (the BJP) talk about Gandhi. Sardar Patel was a Congress leader who has written clearly about RSS and today they (the ...

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Can’t a Pakistani and Indian live in harmony? We used to…

Like most Pakistani’s, I too experienced an overload of nationalistic fervour when I left Pakistan and that too for India. India evoked a psychological barrier and conjured the dreaded feeling of being ‘the other’ even though I had spent my formative years away from the jingoistic identity formation of the Zia years and had been brought up with the tolerant outlook of my parents (although my Kashmiri father did have staunch nationalist ideals). In hindsight, it was a sad, instinctive conditioning. I remember our Indian neighbours in the UK, where I spent most of my childhood, and despite the exchange of formal pleasantries ...

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Jinnah’s love for Balochistan

There have been times in the history of Pakistan when the founding father was manipulated, criticised, misquoted, used, abused and misused by different political parties for different political purposes. Not very long ago, a prominent political leader questioned Jinnah’s nationality. Fortunately the nation, as well as Quaid, survived the insult, and life moved on. However, never in the history of Pakistan was Jinnah disowned from his contributions towards an independent and sovereign Pakistan, nor made into an oppressive figure that haunted the corridors of Pakistan’s national history. Even the hard-headed Taliban never questioned Jinnah’s personality and his attitude towards Islam (though he was condemned by ...

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Death of ideology

In Pakistan, there has been a death of ideology of sorts in the wake of the elections. Day in and day out political parties, which appear to be secular – on paper at least – are targeted by insurgent elements. Out of the four provinces, three have almost no election campaigns as parties are afraid of speaking out. One side of the argument may very well be that electoral candidates ought to be provided with adequate security so that they can effectively carry out their campaigns. However, provision of security is only a part of the very complex problem. The real ...

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We are not Malala, we may be the Taliban

In order for terrorists to flourish, they need more than guns, funding and a geographical location to operate in – they also need an ideological space to occupy and work inside. That is how they persist; that is how they can win. This fact is one which the majority of Pakistanis have yet to come to terms with: the fact that we ourselves are often individually culpable and involved in the war being waged against the terrorists in our country. Tragically, we are often knowingly or unknowingly on the wrong side of the ideological front. Nowhere has this been better illustrated ...

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