Stories about Sabeen Mahmud

Ali Raza Abidi – Another sane voice silenced in a city marred with blood

Ali Raza Abidi’s cold blooded murder has left a huge void that will probably take ages to fill. His untimely death has not only taken away a young enterprising politician from us, but has also saddened the culinary world, the blogosphere and the Boston University alumni. Abidi was the father of three beautiful daughters and a handsome young son; he was also a loving husband, an obedient son and a thorough gentleman. His friends and colleagues loved him dearly for his gentle and cultured demeanour. I was also fortunate enough to meet him a couple of times and found ...

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Will the Islamic State flag in Islamabad hinder Pakistan’s progress?

There is the lush screen scenery. There are the picturesque Margalla Hills. There are the curve-friendly roads on these hills that remind one of Vital Signs and Junaid Jamshed. There is the crisp and cool weather. There is a particular calm never found in other major cities of the country. Then there is the Lal Masjid – the antithesis of everything in Islamabad – loud, angry and not at all pretty. It was only a matter of time before this happened then, an Islamic State (IS) flag dangling in Islamabad, even though it may or may not have anything to do with Lal Masjid. Things in Pakistan have generally looked better off late. The military ...

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Our curriculum may be out-dated, but it surely does not brainwash students into committing acts of terrorism

Pakistan is going through an extremely difficult phase concerning its current security situation. In my opinion, what is worrying about this scenario is that the numerous terrorists recently captured by law enforcement agencies are highly qualified individuals and are a part of the country’s prestigious academic institutions. Whenever we hear of students involved in terrorism plots and acts, our politicians and government, instead of finding the reason behind students committing terrorist attacks, start blaming the curriculum of educational institutions. Personally, I feel that our curriculum is perfectly fine. It may be out-dated and may lack discussions about recent scientific issues, but it surely does not glorify terrorists or terrorism. ...

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Gratitude in itself does not honour legacies, and so it is time for Pakistan to give back to Dr Ruth Pfau

This week, Pakistan lost one of its most modest, humble and underappreciated national treasures. Dr Ruth Pfau, after having dedicated her entire life to the service of this country, left us a few days short of the nation’s 70th birthday at the age of 87. In a country where the phenomenon of brain drain is quite common and talented men and women consistently depart in their pursuit for greener pastures, Dr Pfau was a breath of fresh air. At the age of 30, the German doctor was sent by the Order to India, but due to visa issues, she landed in Karachi, Pakistan. Touched by ...

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Karachi, you used to be home

I walk out of the plane and I’m hit with humidity, heat, and a smell that I can’t even describe with words. This is home. The airport is packed as I trudge my way to get my overweight, large suitcases. My eyes are watering, my hair is in a state, and my clothes that seemed so loose back in Rome are suddenly sticking to me as the gaze of almost every male present follows me in a carnal manner.  This is home. I try and relax as I look at the out-dated conveyor belt slowly moving bag after bag until I finally see my own. I push ...

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Bringing happiness to Peshawar, one box at a time

Peshawar. If just the name of this city conjures images of bomb blasts, terrorism and political myopia in your head, know that you are not alone. For Peshawar, this ‘city of flowers’, a gem of a place with a historical past that only a few other cities can match up to – has been caught in the whirlwind of misfortune for quite some time now. But I’ve duly noticed on my trips throughout the country that the people of Lahore and Peshawar have an endearing, almost fierce, sense of belonging and ownership for their cities. Accordingly, for every “Lahore, Lahore hai”, there’s a ...

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Remember this image, O’holy Muslim brethren?

Does anyone remember this image? It’s not that old. But I suppose it has been forgotten. Let me remind you. This image is less than three-years-old. This is March 2013, Lahore. Triumphant and probably feeling much closer to God, this man stands before a burning heap of what was once a Christian colony. In November, three years before that, a Christian woman named Asia Bibi was charged with accusations of blasphemy and she sits in jail to this date. In March 2015, two churches were attacked in Lahore and 14 people were killed. The same year, just a month or two later, a ...

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Beware documentarians: If it shows the truth, the Pakistani government will ban it!

It is said that whenever the gods want to destroy someone they take their intellect or aql as we would call it. If this saying is anything to go by, I can definitely say that the gods are hell bent on destroying our peace loving and pak (pure) nation. They have bestowed us with the most nationalistic bureaucracy and patriotic politicians that can ever be. If there is anything that happens against the motherland, they are there to save it from evil. They will mow down any finger that points, cut out any tongue that wags and gouge out any ...

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As a citizen of Pakistan, I am to blame for the death of Khurram Zaki

I lost my friend on Saturday night. He was sipping tea at a Chaikhana (tea shop) with two colleagues when four men on bikes showed up and showered them with bullets. He received five bullets in his upper body and was shifted to a hospital in critical condition before he was finally moved to the Agha Khan hospital for treatment. Khurram Zaki – the activist, the blogger, the progressive ideologue, the wall of perseverance against the rising tide of sectarian violence, a devoted father and a good friend – was martyred before the clock struck 12 am. One never really ...

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Spare us the crocodile tears. Please stop. Khurram Zaki is dead. Do something.

Khurram Zaki is dead. The ‘unbearable lightness’ of intimidation and murder in Pakistan has manifested once again. The eulogies are pouring in; speculations are rife about who is behind the assassination of yet another liberal social activist and on social media a familiar war of words has commenced. Despite the fact that one bright light after another is being summarily extinguished, it appears that self-righteousness is still the prime mover of the national discourse. For the legion of Google scholars and keyboard Jedis, it’s all or nothing; either faith in its entirety must be indicted or the blame must lie elsewhere. ...

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