Stories about minority rights

Rawalpindi: Parsi places of worship… still exist!

I was talking to the 70-year-old man, trimming grass at the Parsi place of worship, when he said, “I have been working here for more than 20 years and during this time none of the elders or children have ever spoken harshly to me. I am their employee and they are always polite to their workers.” An old gardener tending to the garden at the Parsi place of worship in Rawalpindi. Photo: Shiraz Hassan I guess the old man noticed my intrigued expression because he continued with a smile, “One day some community leaders visited while I was having my ...

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My Christian house help: Pakistan never wants its minorities to succeed

Pakistan’s fertility rate is likely to drop if women marry at an older age: that argument stands on its own considerable merit, because a young woman is likely to conceive more easily and often at this most fertile time of her life, but other factors also contribute to the high fertility rate. In Pakistan, children are not just a source of joy, but necessary pillars that support parents in the parents’ old age. This is true of all cultures, but it acquires an imperative urgency in societies like ours. Insaan Masih is a young man of no education but an innate sense of ...

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Musharraf trial: Is this really the most pertinent problem for Pakistan?

Musharraf being tried for treason is a shame. It is a shame in much the same way that he wasn’t allowed to contest elections while other ‘leaders’, many of them with criminal charges outstanding against their names, were permitted. It is a shame because we let people accused of corruption become leaders of the country, industrialists become prime ministers and journalists become cricketing board chiefs. I’m not here to pass a judgement on Musharraf. My issue is with the principle at hand. If Musharraf has been tried for treason then there is an extensive list of politicians that also deserve some, if not more, ...

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No place for Ahmadis in Imran Khan’s Naya Pakistan

Imran Khan’s latest video sums up everything that is wrong with our politicians. He has long been bandied about as a saviour and messiah, come to rescue this country and build towards a ‘Naya Pakistan’. On paper, he is educated, courageous and relentless in pursuit of success. His cricket days endeared him to millions in this country and his charity work is exemplary. I do not doubt his honesty and I do not doubt his intentions. Just like any other political candidate, I seek to judge him based on what he says and what he does. His video, however, where ...

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Writing for minorities isn’t easy

Journalism as a whole needs courage, and more often than not, a journalist has to face pressure from the field for rendering his professional duties. But sometimes, a reporter comes across a situation which he never expects to be in. You may think attack, threatening phone calls or encountering indecent attitude from people are unusual but, in fact, they are routine for a journalist in this country. However, I want to share an unusual experience, which had an everlasting effect on me. It was October 2012, when my family and I went to my would-be in-laws with a proposal of marriage. ...

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How do you live in a country that’s killing you?

I’m not in Pakistan at the moment, but whenever I travel I leave my heart behind in its hands for safekeeping. I keep thinking about it, like a woman thinks about her beloved, talking to people about it, looking for news about its well-being. So it was with horror that I learned about the bombing in Quetta on January 10 that killed nearly a hundred Shias as they were at a religious gathering. On the same day, bombs went off in Swat and Karachi, killing yet more innocent people. We lost a wonderful human rights activist, Irfan Ali, who had attended last year’s ...

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Lincoln: Steven Spielberg’s new oscar-contending masterpiece

To get right to the point Lincoln was a great movie. What made it so? Well therein lays the romp. Time and Memorial writers have vainly tried to measure the chalice of greatness from comparisons to Greek mythology to the use of words that are rarely entertained by the common man’s diction. My belief is that the explanation lies in simplicity. What is it that garners tones of reverence and sparks the flame of excitement when an audience sees the “directed by Steven Spielberg” credit flash on a screen? It is his uncanny ability to tell a story. The bedrock of his success ...

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Ethnicity trumps humanity in Quetta

My city paints its streets with red as I attempt to write this blog. Tears trickle down my face as I reminisce over Quetta, once known as the city of peace. There was a time when people would take shelter in this harmonious city. Now people run from it. My head aches from the blasts and my heart longs for home. I still remember when I was a mere six-year-old; this city flourished with love and hospitality. My childhood memories are fresh and alive. I remember frolicking up and down the uneven streets of Quetta accompanied by my Baloch, Pathan, Punjabi ...

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Reconstitution of a secular Pakistan

The past has contradicted the present. In his famous speech of 1947, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said, “Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims – not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual – but in the political sense as citizens of the State.” The excerpt bears witness that Pakistan was destined to be a land where religious identities are subsumed into the fabric of unity, let alone one where religious minorities are discriminated against. “All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law”, is ...

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Ahmadi plight: Dead but not resting in peace

Pakistan is the bastion of Islam, and Muslims in Pakistan the vanguards of the Islamic movement. They will shortly take over the world and govern it with Shariah laws. The only problem is for us to draw a consensus as to who really is a Muslim; the Sunnis or the Shias, sub categorised further into Barelvis, Ithna Asharis, Deobandis, Wahabis, the Ismailis or any other less popular sects? We’re at least a step closer to achieving that end. Ahmadis are non-Muslims, and our constitution corroborates that stand; if people from that sect still decide to be tactless enough, so as ...

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