Stories about sectarian killings

Holier than thou

It seems as if a large portion of the population will have to be decimated so that the adherents of a certain ideology can create an ‘Islamic’ society. The binaries of ‘self’ and the ‘other’ are now frozen, with the ‘other’ being essentially damned and the ‘self’ being essentially blessed – a pompousness which has absolutely no place within a religion which embraces difference, encourages criticism and celebrates diversity. Islamic history boasts of centuries and centuries of coexistence between people of different faiths. Sadly, historical narratives suffer the same fate as religious texts do: they’re either ignored, or are split ...

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G-B massacre: The government is all talk, no action

It was perhaps the first time that an international forum as prestigious as the United Nations took strong exception to sectarian violence, referring to the massacre of passengers belonging to the Shia community at Babusar Top, two days prior to Eidul Fitr. This was not the first incident where passengers were disembarked from a bus, identified and killed on the basis of their religious sect. Such brutal assassinations of innocent commuters in broad daylight, in some cases in front of their families, have occurred on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) and other routes in the country. Secretary General of the United ...

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TTP: Can we reverse the plague of extremism?

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for two well-publicised attacks in the country on Thursday, August 16. The first involved the well-planned attack on the Pakistan Air Force base in Kamra, where nine militants engaged security forces for nearly an hour before they were brought down. In the other incident, militants stopped several buses travelling from Rawalpindi to Gilgit in Mansehra and ordered 19 members of the Shia community to disembark. They were killed at point-blank range. Then, as I wrote this column, I heard channels blaring news about a blast near Safari Park in Karachi, just as a bus ...

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There was a time when I could walk through Quetta

Balochistan, and Quetta in particular, is very close to my heart. I have an emotional attachment to this place since a great part of my childhood was spent travelling though it’s scenic landscape. There was, indeed, once a time when this was possible. It was far removed from any ethnic killings. There were no Baloch Liberation Tigers (BLT) and people were not opened fired on for just passing though the area. The killing of 18 people in Turbat yesterday left me heart-broken and shocked. Was this the same place where I spent some of the happiest moments of my childhood? I ...

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When to use or lose identifiers

Ethnicity, religion, sect and gender. Do we or do we not, as journalists, use these as identifiers in a headline or in the introduction of a story when we are reporting on an incident –  that is perhaps a question that every journalist has to ask and the answer is never clear. When is it right to mention ethnicities or religion? Does it add any news value to a story or can it be the catalyst or inciting possible hatred amongst ethnic or religious groups? The question we journalists often ask is that if we do not mention these identifiers, are ...

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