Stories about Karachi University

The untold story of what made ‘Among the Believers’ an Emmy-worthy documentary

In the summer of 2014, I was living in New York when I met Hemal Trivedi. She told me she was making a film about Pakistan and wanted me to join her and the other director, Mohammed Ali Naqvi, to help them craft the narrative authentically. I had seen dozens of films about Pakistan that were made by foreign filmmakers and honestly, most of them were horribly inaccurate. I felt it was a story worth telling which is why I decided to take the job. The first step of editing any documentary is to familiarise oneself with the raw footage by ...

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Remembering Dr Wahidur Rehman: Will tender hearts always be easy targets?

The compassionate souls who put eternity to effect; the nurturing spirits whose influence meets no end, yes, it is a tale as old as time. The enlivening faith in the pursuit ‘teachers are healers of the nation’; they preach to humanity the disciplines of wisdom and intellect, and bestow the power to transform hearts. Not only are they the shapers of society, but they also leave behind a legacy of shared love and life. Teachers have always been greatly revered in every society and with this come the heart-clenching bitter reality of the persecution of remarkable teachers, intellectuals and scientists. Those ...

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Why are we allowing the murder of animals?

To anyone who grew up in Pakistan, such as myself, it has always been taken for granted that animals are inherently ‘lower on the food chain’, so to speak. They have never been given much importance, and in the grand scheme of things, no one thinks of their rights. While humans have their own plights, as Pakistan can be a laborious and challenging place to reside in, animals go through the same, and often worse, struggles than we do. They do not have the capability to speak up for themselves, and so their circumstances are often not considered One such animal, ...

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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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Will Uzair Baloch be treated as a political ally or gangster?

After the arrest of Uzair Baloch, numerous questions have arisen which must be answered by those relevant to his political and armed existence in Lyari. I have personally been a part of various meetings which hosted Uzair Baloch as chief guest. These meetings included audiences with the likes of political individuals and renowned journalists. Surprisingly, these individuals have great relations with the gangster from Lyari. In a strange twist of fate, I had a personal encounter with this infamous man. I, along with a few of my friends were attending a Baloch cultural day in Lyari. During the event, I received a ...

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Why were Karachi University girls beaten up for playing cricket?

News of young women playing cricket at Karachi University being beaten by religious thugs is not a great way to start your day. Members of the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) had warned the cricket-playing women days ago, then came and broke up a mixed-gender game, and beat up both the men and women, members of the Punjabi Students Association, with batons. University officials seem to be passing this off as a clash between two student groups, but the IJT outright denies they beat up any of the young women. Campus violence involving political groups and religious groups has long plagued Pakistani universities, especially ...

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Pakistan’s Sabeen Mahmud is India’s Narendra Dabholkar

Throughout history, there have been numerous attacks on voices of reason and rationality. The dark ages of Europe led to inquisition and mass persecution of critical thinkers and voices of dissent. One of the greatest laments of the 20th century has been the partition of India in 1947 – which in half a century later led to the formation of three nations. Today, the subcontinent is vetted with stories of hate crimes and savagery attributed to faith. The tradition of collective dialogue and social responsibility has been ripped apart into pieces; the new age youth are hungry for blood. In ...

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You might be associated with certain religious beliefs, but your organs are not

If you had a chance to help save lives, would you seek the approval of a religious cleric before doing so? Unfortunately, for a considerably large number of people in our society, the answer is yes. In a recent blog, I urged readers to donate their organs to those in need. In response, many people asked if donating organs was allowed in Islam; a few declared it was not. In a country where people vehemently rely on opinions of religious scholars, it would be naive to expect them to choose rationalism over faith. To promote a culture of organ donation in our country, it is necessary to ...

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Why I chose SZABIST over IBA and LUMS

“SZABIST” That’s where I studied. It is also the one word response I am most-likely to give in professional get-togethers because it is the most common question to be posed at me. During grad-school, at dinners, get-togethers, meet-ups, internships, interviews – in fact, wherever I meet new (or even old) people, this word is my go-to response, my safe haven. This one word is my identity. And because of this one word, I have come across many varied responses. For instance, my friends from the University of Karachi (KU) would say: “Ah! That place is just like my nani ka ghar (maternal grandmother’s house). Is it even ...

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Why was Dr Shakil Auj shot?

A year ago, I began working on a small report about various Islamic Studies syllabi at public universities (which, unfortunately, never made it to print owing to some editorial bottlenecks). I rang up Dr Shakil Auj, the dean of the Islamic Learning department of Karachi University, and asked if I could bring some questions to him. “No beta, I am very busy these days, maybe next week.” “Please, it won’t take long.” He agreed. I reached the Karachi University’s Islamic Learning department on a Friday morning. Not many classes are scheduled for Fridays. Girls, most of them heavily veiled, were perched on benches, ...

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