Stories about Jinnah

The media didn’t fail on January 8, you did, Pakistan!

Chaos, screams, gunshots, children running from one end of the camera to another, mothers wailing in the background, mortifying reports, death tolls, debates, condemnations, shock, horror and terror – this was Pakistani media on December 16, 2014. Our minds couldn’t fathom, let alone comprehend what we all heard and saw that day. Our very souls quivered with absolute fear, remorse and anger. That was the day a small army of terrorists entered the Army Public School in Peshawar, opened fire on innocent students and teachers, forever scarring our ‘pure’ land with blood. Pause. No, not ‘forever’. Pakistan doesn’t remember anything ‘forever’. Fast forward. No wait, not ...

Read Full Post

Will we ever hold Aamir Liaquat accountable for spewing hate?

December 25th has always been an important day for Pakistan. It was on December 25th that our founder – Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah – was born. Officially dubbed Jinnah’s day, many celebrate it by remembering Jinnah’s enduring struggle for freedom and equal rights for the minority Muslim community within United India. Jinnah’s selfless struggle was driven by a passionate sense of respect for human freedom and equality. He dreamt of a state where there was no discrimination, one that stood firm on the values of tolerance, acceptance and pluralism. It is well known that Ahmadis played a very prominent role in the creation of ...

Read Full Post

Jinnah’s Pakistan does exist

“Terrorism, target killings, rape, corruption and dishonesty – what else is there in Pakistan?” Comments like these are not new to Pakistanis. Coming across tragedy and despair almost every day, it becomes hard for people to see anything but negativity here. A large number of people have already fled the country and most have started believing that the conception of Pakistan itself was a big mistake. Many are of the view that staying here would mean jeopardising the future of their coming generations as well. While some of it might be true, this is not what Pakistan is all about. In order to set the record ...

Read Full Post

Calm down, Pakistan – there is no revolution coming!

Imran Khan has repeatedly insisted that the revolution he is advocating will be peaceful. Maybe, that is why it has not materialised as a revolution. Peaceful revolution is an oxymoron; a contradiction unto itself. Hans Kelsen theorises in The Pure Theory of Law that societies are built around a Grundnorm, a basic norm, that all of the society’s customs derive out of. A revolution simply changes this Grundnorm. The French Revolution replaced the absolute rule of the monarchy with democratic ideas of citizenship. The Iranian Revolution replaced monarchy with an Islamic republic. The Cuban revolution replaced a dictator with a communist regime. ...

Read Full Post

Confessions of a comment moderator at The Express Tribune’s blogs page

The first time I moderated comments, for the blogs section of The Express Tribune, I learnt a sad truth; people have unabashed hatred for one another. I couldn’t believe until I saw it myself. Perhaps I was living in a bubble, I thought we had come a long way from partition and that Pakistanis and Indians had learnt to coexist. I didn’t think that Muslims and Hindus cringed at the very mention of the other. It wasn’t long before, I started moderating comments flooding in from around the world and, my idealistic bubble burst. Our blog readers belong to the educated class. ...

Read Full Post

Why isn’t Pakistan on Obama’s travel itinerary?

Ever wondered why Pakistan is made to play a second fiddle role when it comes to US handling South Asian affairs? It’s only been a few months since Narendra Modi took office as India’s prime minister but he’s already captured the imagination of the West. He’s treated like a superstar wherever he goes. His visit to the US back in September this year was a tremendous success. He created a superb rapport with US President Barack Obama and his administration, and won admirers all over the US. Obama is now scheduled to pay a visit to India and attend the Indian Republic Day celebrations in ...

Read Full Post

Iqbal’s relevance as explained by Saadat Hasan Manto

I first came to translating Saadat Hasan Manto about two years ago, 2012 being celebrated as the birth centenary year of this literary lion. Partly intrigued by the Kashmiri roots I share with him, and partly disgusted by the neat pigeonholing done by literary critics, Manto could apparently only either be a realist of sex or partition. I sought to bring the joy of his satirical and prescient nonfictional pieces about postcolonial Pakistan to an audience – not necessarily a younger one – that had been brought up on the comfortable fiction that Manto was not a political animal with a far-reaching ...

Read Full Post

Undoing religious intolerance – undoing the second amendment

Religious clerics in Pakistan celebrate September 7th as a day of victory for Islam and Pakistan. Officially dubbed the “Khatme Nubuwwat Day” or “Finality of Prophethood Day,” many mosques come alive with celebrations this day, sweets are distributed and intense speeches are made in large religious gatherings.  Forty years ago this day, Pakistan passed the second amendment to its Constitution, forcibly declaring the Ahmadis non-Muslim. With the stroke of a pen, the Ahmadis had been snatched of their basic right to self-identity at the insistence of the very clerics who had opposed Jinnah in his rightful struggle. It was this day that Pakistan started drifting away from ...

Read Full Post

Wait, what about Zarb-e-Azb?

This August has been defining and shaping a lot of things for us Pakistani’s, nationally and globally. I, for one, am neither a supporter of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, nor am I a non-supporter. I am just a Pakistani who wants betterment for my country; I don’t care who brings it, but I seek progress. With the long march that has been initiated by Imran Khan, and has resulted in Tahirul Qadri bringing on his own revolution, I feel that there are certain things that need to be analysed carefully. On Saturday, August 16th, 2014, Qadri announced a 48-hour deadline for his 10-point ...

Read Full Post

Imran still in the game, but will civil disobedience work?

In the movie Jinnah, there is a telling scene when Mountbatten asks Mahatma Gandhi to give up his protests and play “by the rules”. Gandhi replies, “In order to play by the rules, you have to include us in the game.” Imran Khan feels similarly cheated of things promised by the Constitution. I disagree with him but why are many PTI supporters on the defensive about civil disobedience? What are the objections? The most obvious is that it is ‘illegal’. A simple, and powerful, retort: “so what if it is illegal?”.  The call for a mid-term election might have been couched in a different language ...

Read Full Post