Stories about religious minorities

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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Why should we remember Salmaan Taseer?

January 4 and 5 are two days that every PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) supporter will remember, but for two very different reasons. January 5 is the birthday of their enigmatic party founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. January 4, on the other hand, remains one of the darkest days in our history of political murders – a day that is, surprisingly, not spoken of enough. January 4, 2011, was the day when the serving Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, was shot dead by his guard, because the guard was in disagreement with Taseer’s opposition to the blasphemy law. Salmaan Taseer’s assassin was a man ...

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Support minorities and save St Joseph’s Hospice, they need our help!

I wrote an article on street beggars and how they are more greedy than needy yet we still keep stuffing their pockets by directing our charity to this flourishing business of begging. The comments, numerous ‘likes’ and the feedback I received acknowledged how people agreed with my suggestion of giving charity where it’s deserved – to organisations that truly work for the poorest of the poor. But ironically, we have places like St Joseph’s Hospice in Rawalpindi that tirelessly work for people whose own families are either unwilling or unable to support them due to limited resources. For 50 years, St Joseph’s Hospice has been ...

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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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Pakistan’s official website is an embarrassment!

I tried to be objective; I tried to look at it neutrally, but let’s face it, Pakistan’s official government website is a disgrace. Building a website isn’t really very expensive and we have plenty of talent here, then why is the website in shambles? Well, I think the main reason is because incompetent politicised government employees made it and they are not bothered to put forth something that represents the brilliance Pakistan is capable of. Let me walk you through what happens as you hit www.pakistan.gov.pk  The speed The first thing that hits you is the speed of our official website; the website’s load-time is ...

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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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Holi: Anjali, you are as Pakistani as I am!

Who says all Pakistanis don’t have tolerance? Who says all Pakistanis discriminate against minorities? Do you? Let’s see if this incident changes your mind. It was about 10 pm and I was sitting by the window in my dorm room on the third floor of the girl’s hostel at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) when suddenly the peaceful hum of the night air was broken by the chorus of a song, which I guessed was ‘huqah bar’, resonating in the air. Some 15 girls were seen running around, laughing, dancing and chanting away the name of another girl in ...

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If a Muslim can head India’s Intelligence Bureau, can a Hindu ever be DG ISI?

Salman Khurshid, Altamas Kabir, Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi, Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Syed Asif Ibrahim. The Khan brothers, Imran Hashmi, Saif Ali Khan, the Pathan brothers, Sania Mirza. (The roll call continues…) Though the names on the second line may perhaps be more familiar, the names that shine bright on the first line are of keener interest. Unlike in Pakistan, some of India’s highest political perches are occupied by Muslims. Yes, the God-fearing Musalmans. Take Salman Khurshid, for instance. He was recently appointed to serve as Foreign Minister of India, a position which likens him to the soon-to-be Secretary of State, John Kerry, and on our ...

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