Stories about religious

Interfaith marriages: Why the taboo?

Ava and Neil made a great pair. It’s rare to come across a couple so compatible and in tune with each other. They complemented each other perfectly. Spending time with them was always a pleasure; there was never a dull moment with them around. Those two were the life of any gathering they attended. We spent many a year painting the town red, indulging in mischief and being what we were – a group of youngsters living it up and doing the things the young the world over do. Their love blossomed as the years wore on. After settling down in ...

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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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Female anchors, wear a dupatta for your own safety!

In a country plagued by many menaces – exploding sectarian violence, common man struggling for food, electricity and gas – the government has once again done an exceptional job of prioritising and combating the nation’s problems. The National Assembly Standing Committee for Information and Broadcasting recently expressed their concerns over the danger of female news anchors not wearing dupattas on air. Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira stated that, “Journalists are in trouble and we are ready to provide them with complete security.” I’m all for journalists’ rights and protection but I highly doubt a dupatta would act like a shield or a bulletproof ...

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Free the adulterers but charge the brothel owner?

As a morning routine, it wasn’t odd for me to pick up a newspaper and go through the daily news. What was puzzling however was the news of a ruling by the Peshawar High Court, which ordered the owner of a brothel to attend religious lessons at a local mosque. The decision left me baffled. There are essentially hundreds of questions which can be raised at the morality of the decision. First of all, where did respect for the the concept of separation of powers go? The court’s verdict underscores the issue of keeping religion and state separate, which it seems, is not ...

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Zia ruined us, make no mistake

‘Democracy’ is a Greek word made up of two parts; ‘Demos’ meaning ‘common people’ and ‘Kratos’ meaning ‘rule/strength’. Democracy, by definition, is a system of governance in which the power rests in the common people and their elected representatives. One of the finest definitions of democracy was provided by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, when he said, “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people”. According to political scientists, democracy and the rule of law are primary prerequisites for a prospering country and its society. Almost all the countries considered to be ‘developed ...

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Give them a fair trial before you burn them!

Finally, Rimsha Masih received the first step towards justice after being granted bail from a district court. She could be the first such person accused of blasphemy to have been bailed in such a short time. All eyes were focused on her case which gained more prominence after Hafiz Zubair’s evidence against the key accuser. The hearing was closely observed by national and international media, lawyers, civil society and religious scholars. Still, many things remain to be examined in the ongoing investigation. However, Rimsha’s case has opened the society’s eyes by exposing the sensitivity of the blasphemy laws, how they have been ...

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World Hijab Day: Strangely authentic, deeply disturbing?

Scrounge for your scarf; dig out that dupatta – its World Hijab Day! You may have heard of ‘World Health Day’, and certainly of ‘World Population Day’ and perhaps even of ‘World Literacy Day’. But before today you may not have heard of ‘World Hijab Day’. Unlike ‘Earth Day’ or ‘World Cancer Day’, though, ‘World Hijab Day’, has not, as you might initially think, been decreed by the UN, the organisation which earmarks certain days for international observances, designed to further its goals of world peace and social progress. No, World Hijab Day has in fact been declared by Pakistan’s biggest religious political ...

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Confessions of a non-hijabi

As a teen, a couple of years ago, influenced by society and culture, I decided to wear a scarf over my head whenever I went out. Then, as the wheels of maturity turned, I wriggled out of the cocoon of ignorant following and started to question myself. Why exactly did I cover my head? Was it because some of my friends had adopted the practice and many people I knew did the same? I stopped. That was it! Guilty as charged. As expected from any mother who took pride in the fact that her daughter had become a ‘modest little lady’, my ...

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A tribute to Talat Hussain’s ‘supra-liberal’ media

It’s a beautiful morning in supra-liberal Pakistan. I wake up with a broad grin plastered across my pseudo-liberal face, as I head downstairs to the living room. I skim through the headlines on the Urdu newspaper: it’s all about the damage being inflicted upon us by religious radicalism, along with high praise for the United States and its efforts in combating it. I turn on the television. They’re playing a documentary called “Veena Malik: The Pride of Pakistan”, in which various TV personalities take turns commending Ms Malik, the apotheosis of modelling industry, the paragon of courage, and a gleaming ...

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Maya Khan and the barbaric arrogance of fundamentalism

It is apparently not enough anymore to discriminate against religious minorities in our laws or to attack their houses of worship or places of residence in random, unprovoked acts of violence. People like Maya Khan now want to use the few remaining religious minorities in the country for entertainment too. Many publications have rightly pointed out that the televised conversion of a Hindu man named Sunil to Islam was an act that was incredibly insensitive to religious minorities in a country where forced conversions and abductions are far too common. But I have a far deeper problem with just the ...

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