Stories about Sabeen Mahmud

My friend from IBA, an extremist?

I went to school with Saad Aziz. For two years in Lyceum, from 2005 to 2007, I considered him a friend of mine. A shy, lanky young boy always seen with a bag strapped on one of his shoulders – he always looked like he was headed somewhere but had nowhere to be. We lost touch after school. I had forgotten all about him till I was presented with a jolting reminder on May 22nd. When the news broke of him being the alleged mastermind behind one of the terrorist attacks, my initial reaction was one of denial. The story did seem implausible ...

Read Full Post

When the media becomes the judge, the jury and the executioner

“Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was the suspect.”- Steven Wright The chief minister revealed his name as he was arrested as a suspect. Free and fair media pulled out his photographs and life details from social media and the news spread like wild fire. Today, he is the poster child for a new debate and sad reality; the well-educated radicalised extremist. In present day Pakistan, peace and calm refers to the short uneasy intervals between the continual series of horrific terrorist attacks. Uneasy because each incident emphasises our vulnerabilities, dramatically plays out our insecurities and triggers many ...

Read Full Post

7 ways of spotting extremism before it becomes ‘terrorism’

Following recent events, Sabeen Mahmud murder and the Ismaili bus attack cases, a lot of aspects regarding the perceived idea of ‘terrorism’ have come under question. The ‘psychology’ of terrorism has now become open for debate. Earlier myths surrounding terrorism – such as certain madrassas being ‘terrorist’ nurseries and poverty being a fuel for terrorism – now appear to be hilariously absurd over simplification of facts. Extremism that leads to ‘terrorism’ is a solemn and common phenomenon – more than many of us can imagine. Such confusion emerges due to the elusiveness of terrorism. Terrorism is hard to define and so is a ‘terrorist’. One ...

Read Full Post

Are we a nation of Taliban apologists?

During his talk about terror and extremism in Pakistan, Mohammad Jibran Nasir declared, “I am not a cultural ambassador. I am not here to talk about bhangra.” The point was well taken since he was in the middle of a hard-hitting presentation about the terror threat in Pakistan and was not holding back his punches. Clad in a white shalwar kurta with a Pakistani flag pinned to his lapel, Nasir clearly does not equate patriotism with denial. Photo: Jibran Nasir He emphasised that while we are not all Taliban apologists, our society has become a breeding ground for terrorists. He is on an extensive tour of ...

Read Full Post

From APS victims to Sabeen Mahmud: Honouring all who have been taken away from us

I write this from the #IamSabeen vigil at Do Talwar. It has been 17 days since I have been present here daily from 8pm to 9pm. I come to celebrate Sabeen, to grieve her death, to find comfort in fellow protesters and to tell the world that I have not forgotten her. Photo: Nadra Huma Quraishi/Karachi Heart Beats #IamSabeen Facebook page Perhaps all that they gather, the people who stream by, is that I lost someone that meant a great deal to me; enough that myself and others are compelled to come here every day. No, she meant even more than ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan’s Sabeen Mahmud is India’s Narendra Dabholkar

Throughout history, there have been numerous attacks on voices of reason and rationality. The dark ages of Europe led to inquisition and mass persecution of critical thinkers and voices of dissent. One of the greatest laments of the 20th century has been the partition of India in 1947 – which in half a century later led to the formation of three nations. Today, the subcontinent is vetted with stories of hate crimes and savagery attributed to faith. The tradition of collective dialogue and social responsibility has been ripped apart into pieces; the new age youth are hungry for blood. In ...

Read Full Post

Balochistan 1: The nature and extent of State abuse

Sabeen Mahmud, a peace activist and founder of The Second Floor (T2F), was shot dead on Friday, April 25, 2015, after hosting a talk on Balochistan. Her guests included the now infamous Mama Qadeer, who was also the most prominent invitee at an earlier talk at LUMS. That talk was cancelled after intervention by the state. The subject she highlighted right before her death, and the manner of it, suggests unusual bravery. It also puts an onus on the rest of us to discuss it more. Obviously, Balochistan is too complex an issue to encompass in its entirety, especially for outsiders. We ...

Read Full Post

What have we received from the people of Pakistan except neglect and torment?

What concerns me most is a word. It is a simple word that is not heard on the lips of people in most parts of the world, but for me it is a word that desperately needs to be heard more often. Whenever I do hear this word, or say it myself, it stirs emotions that I cannot explain. I cannot do justice to the memories they evoke. That word is Balochistan. I have grown up around politics and in politics. For a daughter of a Baloch tribal leader and activist, politics and life are irreversibly intertwined. The need to understand the ethnic and national tensions ...

Read Full Post

As a citizen of Pakistan, I demand to know more about Balochistan

Back in 1998, while living in Quetta in our cosy cantonment apartment, I had known little about what this province in the southwest of Pakistan is facing. For me, it was more about exploring the rugged mountainous terrain of the largest province of Pakistan, enjoying the juicy apples and cherries, and experiencing the melting of snowflakes on the palm of my hand during winters. Back then I didn’t know that for 60 years this region has been a battleground. Even today many people living in other provinces of Pakistan do not know about the on-going conflict. Mostly because whenever somebody tries to talk ...

Read Full Post

Save the youth from disillusionment, Mr PM – give Sabeen’s cause a voice!

Dear Mr Sharif, There is no doubt that you have heard about the murder of Sabeen Mahmud. Other members of parliament and politicians have extended their grievances. And I’m sure that even as I write this, your PA is vigorously typing out your official response; one that will attempt to soothe the flaring tempers of the people who knew her and those that didn’t. But Sir, haven’t we been here before? Someone beloved and irreplaceable gunned down because they said something that upset someone more powerful than them, and everyone condemns their murder via an official channel. What more will you do Sir, ...

Read Full Post