Stories about protests

I am with Nawaz Sharif on this one

In 2008, at the prime minister’s palace in Baghdad, President George W Bush took the stage when suddenly, a shoe whizzed through the air towards him. Bush ducked (he was good at that at least) and missed the shoe but the world heard the words yelled that accompanied the missile, ‘This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you *&% !’ And then, since normally he who has one shoe also has another, another shoe followed the first with another shout, ‘This is for the widows and orphans, and all those killed in Iraq!’ This person, who had been unable to contain himself, ...

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We should have seen it coming…

In hindsight, I suppose we should have seen it coming. Karachi had been a great city, once called the Queen of the East, but for a long time now it had become unlivable, given the daily killings, terrorist attacks, the rampant looting of pedestrians and motorists by armed gangs. We should have seen it coming. The city was the most highly taxed in the country, but no one knew what happened to the hard-earned money we gave as tax. It was widely believed, though, that our corrupt rulers were siphoning away most of the budget amount into their foreign ...

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Protests in Egypt, Turkey and Brazil for the people, protests in Pakistan for the politician?

Since the past few months, the protests in Cairo and the recent ones in Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro, really made me ponder upon what the real problem in these countries was and why their people were on the streets – all the time. Are these countries worse than Pakistan? Of course not. The economic indicators paint a completely different picture and tell us that countries, like Egypt and in particular Turkey and Brazil, are doing great in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Human Development Index (HDI) and the food index. In terms of peace and national violence, these countries are ...

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PTI walay, ‘kon log o tusi?’

After being beaten in the May 11, 2013 general elections in Punjab, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) came back to the heart of Lahore in their attempt to portray a ‘real opposition’. They carried out a protest rally on Mall Road against rising inflation in the country. Their action left curious political minds wondering why they chose Lahore. Why couldn’t they give a tough time to the government by raising their concerns within the walls of parliament? Or why couldn’t they stage a hunger strike in front of the Parliament? After all, inflation is a federal issue and can be addressed in a legal manner. So, why ...

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Shahzeb Khan: We did win!

So Shahzeb Kahn’s parents have decided to pardon Shahrukh Jatoi and his accomplices “fi sabillillah” (“In the way of God”).   Social and electronic media is in an uproar. TV channels are working themselves into a frenzy reporting on details of an alleged deal (worth Rs30 to Rs80 crores depending on what time you turn the TV on). Footage of a smug Shahrukh Jatoi flashing a victory sign as he leaves the court after being sentenced to death is being aired hundreds of times a day. Articles are being written saying things like “Shahzeb was shot a year ago, but he ...

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Turkish Protests: What I saw at Taksim square

I was a regular tourist, a museum buff, landing in Istanbul with little more than a working knowledge of Turkey’s political past and present. That was until the district I was staying in became engulfed in a battle between the people and the police. Even as a foreigner with no take in Turkey’s socio political course, the air at Taksim square awoke in me a sense of awe and wonder that no exhibit at the Topkapi palace could do.

Photo: Reuters

It all started with a small group of concerned citizens protesting the uprooting of trees at Gezi ...

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This is not a political piece, it is the politics of everything

This will not be a political piece. I stare at the word document as my fingers click to the beat of muted thoughts. No, I will not write about ongoing protests. This will not be another election monologue. People need a break from the prevalent hyperactivity. There has to be something worthy of being written that is not political. A copy of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas sits next to my laptop. Surely, the six narratives that weave the plot of the novel are not related to Pakistan. But part one of the book — Adam Ewing’s journal entries — circles around the ...

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The tale of Karachi: Home is where the shackle was

Karachi gives you so much pain at times, nothing else compares. Sometimes the sun strikes harder on us than usual, almost as if to punish us for our sins from the day before.  We lose teenagers in gunfights, lose women to politics, lose children to violence, all as if we were sheep instead of people. This month we honoured the funerals of a female party worker Zahra Shahid Hussain, and a philanthropist Abdul Waheed. These two are one of the many we have lost. We lose blood on the streets, see it on our television screens and read it in our papers. ...

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Why the Kashmir solidarity day façade?

Since 1990, Pakistan has been observing February 5 as Kashmir Solidarity Day. The 90s was a time in Kashmir when the struggle for freedom perpetuated by the state-sponsored violence against ordinary people took a violent form. As India was preparing to open itself to world markets and usher in an era of new technology and development, many young men in Kashmir crossed over to Pakistan for arms training to get rid of Indian forces occupying their land. While the question of Pakistan’s motives in extending support and expressing solidarity with the people of Kashmir is open to debate, especially in the light ...

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Lighting candles for the Delhi gang rape changes nothing

I’ve been following, yet intentionally trying to ignore this entire circus surrounding me. People have been demanding  justice, in terms of the death penalty, for those six rapists’ for weeks now. Close friends, relatives, acquaintances have been debating, protesting, discussing, showing anger blah dee blah. Amidst all of this, I fail to understand a few very simple things. Have we been completely blind to the endless rape and assault cases that are reported in the paper every single day for decades? Are we oblivious to the slave-like state of Indian women outside the 1% city girls? How does the torture of one girl become ...

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