Stories about liberty

The system of government in Pakistan: democracy or hypocrisy?

From theocracy to monarchy, from monarchy to imperialism, from imperialism to nation states, the methods of governance have been transformed several times. They have passed multiple stages in an attempt to find the way of governance best suited for the interests of people. However, due to selfishness and the ever-present lust of power, none of these methods proved to be successful. In fact, these systems went from religious to hardliner, monarchy to oligarchy and imperialism to colonialism. After the failure of numerous government systems, nation states emerged. They arose with the slogan of democracy as a global system of government; ...

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The silence that kills us

Perhaps it isn’t the discomfort of the narrow streets which makes liberty unbearable for us, It isn’t the sharp scents of sweat which disgust us, It isn’t the crowd which suffocates us, In fact, it isn’t the noise, the crowd or the obvious lack of quality in products, It’s the silence.   The unsaid hush when I turn to speak up to the unwanted hands up my clothes, The constant background whistles of frustrated middle-aged men, It’s the toxic masculinity which suffocates us, The vulnerability when your body turns into a canvas, Painted by obnoxious stares, Held by unholy hands.   It’s the desensitisation, the normalisation, the silence, The echoes of shameless name ...

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For the US, friends and enemies aren’t important, only interests are

Growing up, we form friendships, alliances and enmities in playgrounds and classrooms. There are clear rules that govern our interactions and attitudes towards those we call friends and those we regard as enemies or our friends’ enemies. It’s mostly cut and dry and there’s very little room for ambiguity. As we grow up, we begin to see shades of grey and the thick dividing lines that existed in our minds begin to blur. However, somewhere that conditioned perception of a clear demarcation between good versus bad and friend versus enemy persists in our psyche. International relations are complex. There are layers and subtexts that ...

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America’s race against itself

The United States has a long history of emphasising the value of personal freedom, liberty, and equality. It has also positioned itself as the champion of these values globally. There’s also good reason why the world largely accepts America as the leader of the free world. The American dream has promised its citizens social mobility, freedom from old world hierarchies, and a climate of innovation, all of which have combined to create tremendous economic opportunity. To say that the US has been a magnet, an El Dorado, for generations would not be an exaggeration. Wave after wave of immigrants have landed on its ...

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A Muslim man stood blindfolded asking for hugs in Paris and this is what happened

Following the attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead and hundreds more injured, the city’s inhabitants have found myriad ways to stand together and show the world that they won’t be divided by terrorism and fear. The latest heart-warming example is this video courtesy of NBC Nightly News. A Muslim man stands blindfolded with open arms at the Place de la République (an area of Paris that has been used for vigils and memorials since the attack) asking for free hugs. His sign reads: “I’m a Muslim and I’m told I’m a terrorist. I trust you. Do you trust me? If yes, hug me.” And one after another, ...

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Sabeen Mahmud, shine on you crazy diamond

When we think about death we often wonder what kind of eulogy we’ll receive. We wonder how we’ll be missed, if at all. How people will remember us, and if we’ve left anything behind that will survive our existence. We hope that we appreciated our friends and family, impacted the world through our work, and inspired someone in some way. Sabeen Mahmud’s work and impact pays the greatest tribute to her beautiful and indomitable spirit. I don’t want to list her many, many accomplishments but instead echo a message I believe she passionately championed. The times we live in have a ...

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Is a Muslim scholar allowed to disrespect a woman?

Wow! That was my first reaction when I came across a certain incident making waves on social media, catching the attention of people globally. A gutsy Lebanese female TV host, Rima Karaki, strong-armed her guest, London-based Muslim scholar Hani Al Seba’I, live on air after he told her that it was beneath him to be interviewed by a woman. Being a TV presenter myself, I am very well aware of the fact that no anchor enjoys giving their guest a shut up call. Talk-show hosts are often bound by respect and obligation for their guests because of personal affiliations. It also takes a lot of ...

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Really Pakistan? Haya Day on Valentine’s Day?

It’s that time of the year again. Women are anxious and men are distraught; the day when every guy and girl sitting together are stared at suspiciously; the day when people are edgier than usual; the day you are confused about how to celebrate this day because it also happen to be the day students fear being seen in public with someone from the opposite gender because of the ‘consequences’. While the world celebrates Valentine’s Day today, the students at the University of Karachi are celebrating something different. These students have given various names to this day, including Hijab Day, Haya Day and ...

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In Malaysia, I visited a mosque – In Pakistan, I can’t

I am a Pakistani, but the first time I visited a mosque comfortably was in Malaysia. I was able to appreciate the house of worship without once feeling like an outsider, something I have never been able to do while living in Pakistan. As a non-Muslim tourist in an Islamic country I felt liberated to reveal my identity to everyone, and I consciously did so just to relive that feeling again and again before I returned home. In Malaysia, however, it is not until one utters ‘Assalamu alaikum’ can you gauge if they are Muslim. Although over 61.3% of the population ...

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6 reasons you should live in a hostel at least once in your life!

Can’t find clean clothes? Forced to wear two different socks? Your bed hasn’t been made in a month and your room looks like a laundromat? There are orange peels all over your study table with the seeds scattered everywhere in the room. There’s no one to scold you about how untidy your room is and you live a happy-go-lucky life with no worries about the next day, hour or moment. When all these things happen to you simultaneously, you know you live in a hostel. I mean, honestly speaking, what else can you expect from a bunch of young adults living together in ...

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