Stories about protests

Innocence of Muslims: No, I will not ‘get over it’

So, this morning I read this piece on Slate.com which advises Muslims to just ‘get over it’, when we see movies denigrating our religion or our Prophet (pbuh) on the Internet. It’s a sensible piece, urging us Muslims not to resort to violence because of a stupid, amateur movie made by a bunch of charlatans. “God is too great to be troubled by the insults of fools. Follow Him.” Well, thanks very much for that advice. I’ll have to put down my Molotov cocktail now and put my feet up. I’ve been told I can just ignore insults to the thing I hold the ...

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PEMRA: Complain today, gone tomorrow?

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), over the years, has maintained an active role over complaints it receives via its website form and email. It maintains a parallel system of independent ‘Council of Complaints’ in each province which redresses public grievances relating to media conduct and directs Pemra to play its regulatory role where necessary. Many small interest groups, have seen in it an opportunity to direct the regulatory body in particular directions and as a way of exerting pressure over broadcasters. The numbers of complaints are thought to represent the extent of public opposition to a particular show. However, ...

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And then there was light, thank you WAPDA

Thank you, WAPDA; thank you for these two hours of continuous electricity. I was about to blow out the candle and go to sleep Santa ─ you like being called Santa, right? Considering you love to shower us with unexpected electricity flow as presents when you feel like it. So, in return for this generosity, I thought I should probably write you a little thank you note. I know I have been a bad boy lately, going to bed as late as eight when it’s already dark by six, but then it’s your laxity that’s to blame. Why supply electricity for two continuous ...

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Please save me, Doctor

So, the doctors are protesting. What else is new in Pakistan? It’s just one endless protest after the other, is it not? Guilty as charged; I have become desensitised to the violence and injustice my poor country sees every single day. However, this particular protest did not go unnoticed by me for one simple reason. Innocent children died. The gravity of the YDA protest really hit me when my driver narrated a story to me this morning on my way to work. Very casually he asked me: Baji agar doctor apney mareez ko chor ke challa jata hai aur woh mar jata hai toh ...

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Lights out in Faisalabad: Protest or civil war?

The loadshedding crisis in Faisalabad which took place last week could have been expected in the wake of unprecedented quota reduction of power supply from the national grid. Over a dozen demonstrations took place in all parts of the city. Even stakeholders took the opportunity to participate in a protest that was initially launched four days ago by powerloom workers and owners. The issue of loadshedding seems to be heading towards political turmoil in the country. The Faisalabad protest took a more serious turn when Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, sensing the volatile emotions of the business community, reassured them ...

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Bloody Karachi, bloody hell

And it has started again. The target killings, the burning buses, the protests, the funerals and the ‘peaceful’ mournings. They seem to stop for a week or two and start again in full fervour. Then the Shia Ulema Council, the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz or the Jamaat-e-Islami will protest – for Dr Aafia, Shia killings, target killings, extortion, Lyari gangsters, Sindh or some other damn thing. Sigh, sometimes it is just so damn exhausting. Sometimes, I wish Karachi had a superhero. Where is Sindh’s answer to Batman or Karachi’s own kryptonite man in red briefs? All we have are target ...

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Use or abuse: How far will social media activism go?

On 26 February 2012, an unarmed African American teenager Trayvon Martin was shot in the chest by George Zimmerman. Minutes before the shooting Zimmerman called 911 and allegedly said – as has been proved by the release of dispatch tapes – that Trayvon “looked suspicious.” He claimed self defense and no charges were filed, however when police arrived on the scene all they found with Trayvon was a can of iced tea and a bag of candy. This incident did not explode on  mainstream American media for a while. But the uproar was loud and clear on social media platforms. It became big on Twitter, Facebook ...

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There is a Muslim in evolution class

Protest is becoming a fanatical obsession within Islamic discourse. In recent news, British Muslim students have been walking out and boycotting biology lectures that focus on the theory of evolution. Before we revert to citing the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism let us remind ourselves these are students that are clearly intelligent enough to study medicine in one of the most competitive universities within the country. Clearly, we must move beyond stereotypical divisions of ‘faith vs. reason’. This is a complex issue because the issue here is clearly not about intelligence, scientific curiosity, hard work or open enquiry. These British Muslim students have enrolled ...

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10 notable protests, political movements of 2011

When a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in late 2010, he ignited a mass protest movement across his country. What Mohamed Bouazizi likely never expected, however, is that the uprising would be followed by many others worldwide. With 2011 drawing to a turbulent close, now is an opportune time to highlight the ten most notable protests and political movements of the last year. Tunisia protests: Removing President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali from power is only part of the story. Remarkably, notwithstanding isolated demonstrations against the new government’s failure to prosecute the ousted president’s supporters, Tunisia has enjoyed a relatively smooth ...

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The significance of Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring

It’s difficult, as a social scientist or otherwise, to recognise when history is in the making. Will the events we’re living through make it to our children’s textbooks? Here is what I mean by “the events we’re living through.” After limiting the notion of revolutions to some staple icons like Che, Lenin, and the storming of the Bastille, it’s difficult to digest that we may be living through the twenty-first century version of events which change the course of history. Before shrugging off the possibility that a ‘few’ people’ occupying’ Wall Street are going to change anything, I say reconsider. It’s ...

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