Stories about Pakistan’s minorities

Terrorist attacks? Sectarian violence? Civil strife? Maybe if we arrest Nasir Khanjan and ban Valentine’s Day everything will be okay…

As a writer of some notoriety, I received a message yesterday including some choice expletives. When pressed about the reason as to why I deserved such “kindness”, I was told that I targeted our Pakistani values with one of my posts. After questioning this person for 20 minutes, my assailant could not name a single value I was targeting.

That is the beauty of blaming somebody over something as intangible as values, honour or image – you do not have to prove anything. You can mask your dislike for something under the pretence of national concerns. My popularity is nothing compared to that of Nasir ...

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Who is committing the worst atrocities against, us, Muslims?

Who is responsible for the greatest numbers of deaths against Muslims today? Who commits the worst atrocities against Muslims? It is not the West that claims the highest headcount nor is it Israel. The sad truth is that today Muslims kill the most Muslims around the world. Since the beginning of the Arab Spring in late 2010, more than 100,000 have been killed. Many of these deaths were in Syria, where thousands more languish in prisons expecting similarly grim fates. And with the rise of ISIS and the threat that it poses to regional stability, many more are expected to ...

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The Noorani attack proves Pakistan will continue being religiously intolerant

A few days ago, a friend of mine (who is a renowned activist) jokingly made a comment on Facebook that no suicide bomber would ever consider detonating in Lasbela, Balochistan because it’s unbelievably hot there; no bomber is mad enough to kill himself in such scorching heat. Alas, he was proven wrong. On Saturday, a young suicide bomber targeted a Sufi shrine near Lasbela, killing around 60 people and injuring more than a 100. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, and right now, I wish – as insensitive as that joke was – that my friend had been right. His words ...

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No, Hamza Ali Abbasi, you cannot shame us for talking about Pakistan’s minorities too!

They say charity begins at home. But for many right-wing Pakistanis, it seems as if home is not Pakistan; it is the Muslim Ummah – just the Sunni-identifying part to be precise. Like the rest of us, these fellow Pakistanis seem to be rightly concerned about the current plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma. However, they don’t seem to bat an eye on the treatment meted out to our own minorities on home soil. Tell them the Rohingya Muslims identify as Shia Muslims or Ahmadi Muslims, and the fury and passion will magically dissipate in an instant. Some might even ...

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Has the Islamophobia network in America taken a new turn?

Since the tragedy of 9/11, Islamophobia has been persistently on the rise in America. The anti-Muslim rhetoric from the far right and the new atheist community continues to serve as fuel for the growing climate of fear, hate and suspicion of Muslims in America. Just this past Friday, a significant anti-Muslim rally was held outside a mosque in Phoenix, Arizona. It was significant, not in terms of numbers, but for the fact that the anti-Muslim protestors came fully armed, some with weapons of military calibre. As they displayed their arms and chanted profanity against the Islamic faith, innocent men, women and children prayed peacefully inside. Here are the ...

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Today, one week later, we still mourn

Never in my wildest thoughts did I ever imagine that my eyes would leak like an open tap of water when writing a story about brutal murder. I was a reporter, after all. I had seen the worst and reported on things people wouldn’t bare to imagine. But this time was different.  When we first start reporting, we are taught to keep our own biases and opinions out of our stories. Under no circumstance are we to get involved. Objectivity is key, they taught us. This time, it was personal. Two days earlier, a friend of mine asked me why I don’t ...

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Is the Zimbabwe tour more important than our minorities?

The Zimbabwean cricket team will be arriving in Pakistan tomorrow night. After much confusion and shaky decision-making, the team will finally play cricket in Pakistan. This is the first Test team to visit Pakistan after six years. The security arrangements for the team entail a fleet of policemen protecting them at all times. Alongside this, 4000 special officers, 30 snipers and four patrol vehicles will keep an eye during the five-match series whilst four security check posts will be made at the main Gulberg entrance. I, like any other cricket fanatic, am ecstatic and charged for the historic event but the guilt of having failed ...

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Forced to sell alcohol: Why is the ‘ummah’ silent over the plight of Chinese Muslims?

Imagine if you are a vegetarian Hindu and hold the cow sacred, that beef is shoved into your mouth. Imagine if you are a staunch Christian, that you are forbidden to baptise your newborn baby. Painful? Yes. Some of us may even say what’s new in this, and Pakistan’s minorities have suffered this and more. And they have. And no minority anywhere in the world should have to go through this. But there is a huge difference in this and what is happening to the Muslims in Xinjiang province in China. In Pakistan, this is done at the hands of extremists. But ...

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Contradicting the Constitution (il)legally

“Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures… Wherein adequate provision shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes… No person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law… All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law… There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex… No child below the age of 14 years shall be engaged in any factory or mine or any other hazardous employment… The State ...

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This is not what Jinnah wanted for Pakistan

On August 11, 1947, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave a speech at the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan where he mentioned that in this country, there will be no discrimination based on religious grounds. “We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle, that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State… You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place ...

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