Stories about minorities

Krishna Kohli’s appointment is a calculated move by PPP, not an end to caste discrimination

In 1950, Pakistan’s first Minster of Law and Labour, and the second Minister of Commonwealth and Kashmir Affairs, Jogendra Nath Mandal, fled to India after submitting his resignation letter to the then Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan. One major concern that forced him to resign was the dismal future of Dalits in Pakistan. In his resignation letter, he mentioned institutionalised and systematic discrimination against Dalits. Today, there is hardly any mention of him in our books, politics or our media, even though he was a close ally of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The principal objectives that once prompted Mandal to work in co-operation with the Muslim ...

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Pakistan and India have one thing in common – they are both intolerant nations

A few days ago, I watched a video clip of a Hindu MNA from PTI, Lal Chand Malhi, in which he gave a fiery speech, pointing towards the discriminatory, and in fact, derogatory attitude of the Pakistani society towards the Hindu community. He objected to the way in which the Hindu style of worship is mocked. Malhi also lamented about the conflation of Pakistani Hindus with the Indian state by saying, “inko gali deni hoti hai India ko, galian de dete hain Hindu ko.” (They want to abuse India, instead they abuse Hindus). He claimed that Hindus are equal citizens of Pakistan, and complained that ...

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By labelling Muslims as Pakistanis and their localities as mini-Pakistan, BJP is fracturing India’s social fabric

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, poured scorn on the Congress party, blaming its flawed policies and self-indulgence for the Partition of the subcontinent. His over an hour-long speech, amid rising slogans from the opposition, was punctuated with gesticulations and anti-Gandhi family barbs. There was no reference to the contentious Rafale deal, the details of which Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman refused to divulge, for they were “classified”. The prime minister, almost two months after accusing the Congress of conniving with Pakistan “to influence Gujarat elections”, once again attempted to divert the attention. Though still a very popular figure, Modi’s ...

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“Desi Website”– Indulge yourself! There is no shame

Surfing aimlessly late at night, I came across a cool website, Where feeble hearts remain unseen, Modest are few and far between.   Where every topic always leads, An attack on someone else’s creeds. To hurl insult just take a pick: Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Sikh.   You meet chest-thumping fanatics, Old-fashioned mullahs, liberal chicks. Imposing on adversary’s mind, The likes and dislikes of their kind! And all are free to blow their lids, Till wisdom dims, and reason skids.   Most favorite sight? The view of rear, The world revolves around Kashmir. Check out, my dear friends, tonight, With Google search “Desi Website”. Indulge yourself! There is no shame, Just hide behind a ...

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Justin Trudeau celebrating Ramazan in Canada is praiseworthy, but PIA celebrating Christmas in Pakistan is appalling?

Everyone is aware of the fact that Christmas is a festival celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is not only a day of celebration for Christians around the world but over time, it’s celebration has become a global festival, being regarded as a symbol of joy and togetherness, not just religion. It is a day where families and friends get together and give each other gifts, quite similar to Eid, where Muslims get together and give each other Eidis and celebrate over food. However, celebrating Christmas in Pakistan has become a debate over the past decade. Many Pakistanis take offence when a Muslim wishes someone ...

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The Islamabad sit-in is a reminder to Pakistan that you reap what you sow

For the past two weeks, hundreds of right-wing Islamists belonging to various religious parties have been protesting in Islamabad, which has disrupted the capital’s life. The protesters have been demanding the resignation of the federal law minister over a recently omitted reference to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in a constitutional bill. While the law minister has apologised by terming the constitutional amendment a “clerical mistake”, the protesters continue to insist that they will carry on the protest unless the minister resigns. Last week, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered the federal government to ensure that the protesters leave the capital within a day. However, the protesters have not moved an ...

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Pakistan should become a secular state, but how realistic is that?

In one of my articles last year, I tried to make a normative case for secularism in Muslim countries. I argued that given the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and growing sectarianism, there is a case of secularism in Muslim countries. Since a secular state is religiously neutral, therefore it would allow various sects in Islam, as well as non-Muslim minorities, to practice their faith freely. Moreover, it would delink the religion with legal code and therefore laws would start reflecting contemporary realities. In my opinion, the idea should at least be entertained in our discourse as it merits serious deliberation. My own country, Pakistan, perhaps is ...

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Hazaras: The Rohingyas of Pakistan?

Last week, when I was planning a trip to Quetta for training, Mujeeb Hashmi, a friend from work, asked me to wear shalwar kameez, not only to the airport but also whenever I went out and about in the city. Hashmi, being a veteran filmmaker, has been to almost every habitable area of Pakistan – so I had to pay heed. He also warned me to be wary of certain localities within the city such as Hazara Town and Alamdar Road, given the violence witnessed by the city in the past. He was right. Quetta made a great first impression on me – ...

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Donald Trump’s America is awfully racist and discriminatory, but is Pakistan any different?

Q: Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the biggest racist of them all? A: The human race Recently, I came across a video which showed a young Palestinian-American Muslim mother talking about the struggle of handling her young daughters. This was in reference to race and religion in the current political climate raging in the US. Her talk made me ponder about the truth of raising my kids in the US. And for a moment, it made me second guess my decision of moving to the American shores some 20 years ago.  Welcome to the American world of Donald Trump. A world where race is an issue, where ...

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Get Lit vs Donald Trump: When art becomes resistance

“Where does the truth begin?”  he asked, his tone urgent but composed. He went on, demanding honesty, transparency, or at least sanity, from the man of the hour: Donald Trump. The individual in question is a young poet by the name of Gordon Ip. He is one of the many members of Get Lit, a social justice poetry troupe on the rise. For the past six months, they have tirelessly been creating and performing slam poetry, using today’s divisive and highly charged political climate as inspiration for their work. We live in the Trump Era, a time where news comes in at a lightning pace. ...

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