Stories about minorities

Unity, not uniformity

We tend to accept unity as one of the fundamental guiding principles of Pakistan, without questioning what it means. The oft repeated, and clichéd, political slogan is that we need to unify the country. We all need to come together for Pakistan, but come together to what? Unify to become what? The acceptance of the need for unity as a given truth, without questioning the very meaning of the word itself has led to a perverted understanding of the word. Unity seems to be understood to mean uniformity; a society where dissent is not accepted, any person holding an opinion ...

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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 ...

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An open letter to murderers of minorities

Dear ruthless, relentless and barbaric attackers of the minorities in my country, I‘d like to start by asking you about what happened day before yesterday? With what conscience did you think that it was acceptable to brutally gun down a Sikh teenager and open fire at two other Sikh businessmen in Peshawar? Were you just having a bad day at the Hashtnagri Bazaar, as sources confirm that there was no enmity between them and you? Was the heat too much to bear that Jagmohan Singh, the teenager you shot, had to take the brunt of your barbarism? You critically injured Parimjit and Manmit Singh ...

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Here is how cricket can help the minorities of Pakistan

Cricket fever in Pakistan is remarkable; in fact, the entire subcontinent is quite smitten by this sport. Cricket fans exist in every nook and corner of this region. In the past, we have seen how cricket has been used to create awareness, raise money for different causes and even be utilised to increase diplomatic ties. Because the game is so popular, cricket has helped in bridging many gaps and bringing different people closer together. A recent example of this is the cricket series underway at the Iqbal stadium, Faisalabad, which is aimed at raising funds for the IDPs of North Waziristan. In this ...

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An Indian in Pakistan

A simple white shalwar kameez, a pair of traditional Peshawari shoes and a black jacket. The packed hall of about 900 people exploded into thunderous cheers and a standing ovation. Young boys and girls jumped up with excitement, thumped their tables and filled the air with whistles. The welcome befitted a rock star. The man in white moved to the stage and commenced speaking. He spoke clearly, simply and in elegant Urdu; every member of the audience could understand him. His thoughts were crystal clear; he stood for a multi- cultural and secular framework, believed in a corruption free society, ...

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Palestine cannot agree to a Jewish state

For months, US Secretary of State John Kerry had been involved in the strenuous task of achieving the famous ‘Two State Solution’. This meant the co-existence of a Jewish democratic state alongside a Palestinian state, with Jerusalem being the shared capital between the two. Unfortunately, and quite predictably, this project exceeded its announced deadline, and we were left with another stalemate of a situation with no end to the hostilities and a severe political deadlock. One of the fundamental demands by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) outright rejected ...

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Don’t worry Pakistani immigrant, the West will not treat you the way you treat your minorities

Migrating to a Western country has many perks. Considering Pakistan’s current situation, it’s quite natural for people to look for opportunities elsewhere, and migrating to a more developed country is usually one of the most sought-after solutions. Those who can avail it, almost always take the opportunity as soon as it presents itself. So, it is disheartening to see some of those very people crying wolf on the smallest of issues and basing it on the religion they belong to or the country they originate from. Here is an instance where I experienced such behaviour first-hand. One fine evening, I bumped into an acquaintance ...

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Secular India: An obituary

Dear Friends, With a broken and shattered heart, I have to bring to your notice that the secular India we all loved and admired is no more. It was 67-years-old. Just like secular India’s birth in 1947, its demise was also a tragic one. Verily, it came under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s car and got crushed on May 16, 2014. As expected, Modi felt bad about the incident and expressed his regret by saying, “I feel bad even when a puppy comes under the car. After all, I am also a human being.” Even as I listened to Prime Minister Modi’s magnanimous and heartrending expression of ...

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Don’t tell me to ‘stop being negative’ about Pakistani affairs

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been mocked for raging on the blogosphere about Pakistani matters. And many like myself have been repeatedly prescribed a ‘positive attitude’. These patronising suggestions need to stop. One of the leading complaints against liberal writers and media outlets is that they allegedly ‘focus on the negativity’ and fail to provide sufficient coverage to the saccharine, more palatable details of our country. Such ‘positivity’ is the staple diet of nationalists who are easily irked by information of our national imperfection and the blessed opium of the ignoramuses who cannot conceive the astronomical depths to ...

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I am a Sunni and I married a Shia

It would be safe to say that I never really believed in love, despite having read a million romance novels, watching the necessary romantic comedies and having the requisite number of crushes during my teen years. I guess you could blame my convent education, my formative years being in the influence of feminists. I prescribed to the theory, ‘A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle’. I was a love-cynic at best and mighty proud of it. I could never understand how some girls could fawn over the opposite sex, fall helplessly head-over-heels and tie the knot at times to ...

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