Stories about Sialkot lynching

What is the difference between dictatorship and democracy in Pakistan?

Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer is often referred to as the butcher of Amritsar who opened indiscriminate firing on the crowd at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, killing hundreds of peaceful protestors. Nearly a century later, when we have evolved into an independent country governed by Muslim leaders, his ghost lives on. In the recent barbaric incident of State brutality, the Punjab police opened fire on the workers of Dr Tahirul Qadri resulting in the death of eleven innocent civilians and over eighty others injured. The dead included two women as well, one of them pregnant. TV footages revealed how the government machinery ...

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Gullu Butt: The ugly face of Pakistani politics

There came the sacred, exalted goon, smashing the cars in an invincibly high spirit. Behind him stood hundreds of baton-loaded policemen, entrusted with the protection of our life and property, silently appreciating the heroics of Gullu Butt. Somehow, those pictures of Butt and the police symbolise the ugly facet of our national politics abscessed with the misuse and abuse of power. The likes of Butt, who has been identified as a PML-N worker, represent the kind of mindset that exists throughout the ranks of conventional political parties; the mindset that considers power a tool to subvert and supersede the law; the mindset ...

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Are you a Pakistani extremist?

Hi everyone, it’s been ages! I was recently looking through my old blog posts and reminiscing about all the fun that was had with my quizzes for Pakistanis: What kind of Pakistani life do you lead? And: The desi-elite political identity quiz Given how 2013 has kicked off with more terrorism and extremism-related incidents than any year I can remember in my short lifespan, I think now would be the right time to find out how infected we each are with the ‘extremism’ virus on a personal level. Take the quiz below! Q1: The Christian neighbourhood next to you has been burnt down to the ground ...

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Sialkot lynching: Hang ’em all

“An eye for an eye makes the world blind…but with so much injustice around us, perhaps blindness is preferable.” [J Haque] After a total of 401 days, the Sialkot lynching case has come to an end with an outcome that is perhaps as grisly as the event that took place – death sentences for seven of those involved, and I for one fully support the verdict. In fact, just to play judge, jury and executioner, (as is our classic Pakistan ka haal) I would also like to know why the other six involved, and particularly the policemen who stood by and ...

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Airblue crash: No answers, no follow-up

Last summer, a commercial plane crashed into Islamabad’s Margalla Hills. This tragic event took the entire country by shock. It was heart breaking to learn that so many people lost their lives. The incident sparked several emotions. The accident  and wounds still open, much discussion took place. Was the bad weather to be blamed for the crash? Was it human error in interpreting the signals from the control tower? Or, was it one of the conspiracy theories that took shape amidst the many debates a year back? As authorities resolved to investigate the matter, some dared to hope. Perhaps the black box sent for “expert ...

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Demand justice for the Sialkot brothers – Manchester did

More than six months ago, two boys in Sialkot were mercilessly beaten to death till their blood was drained from their bodies. I needed to do something about this horrific incident. So, I decided to have a protest in Manchester. This protest was against all the things that attempt to hijack our Pakistani identity. It revealed the reality about the brutal murder and it’s follow up, and raised the issue once again in a society where voices of indignation were silent. Nayyar Khan, the organiser of the protest said: Being a Pakistani means you do not just stand and watch as someone suffers ...

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Is there a Pakistan to go back home to?

Last week, my husband and I finally booked our return tickets to Pakistan. It was a proud moment, happy moment, not just because we had been saving to buy them for months, but because we had not been home in nearly two years. Two years! It seemed like a lifetime. We had missed much: babies, engagements, weddings, new additions to the family and the passing of old, new restaurants and cafés, new TV channels, even the opening of Lahore’s first go-karting park. I could hardly contain my excitement. Yet, my excitement was tainted by a very strange and disquieting thought – ...

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Lynching Salmaan Taseer: Social justice by a ‘pious’ nation

Governor Salmaan Taseer’s murder at the hands of his own bodyguard has certainly rocked the proverbial Pakistani boat. Just four days into a new year – which the astrologers on the television told us would be a good one for Pakistan – a police guard turned his gun on the governor, riddling him with 26 bullets. The assassin was led away, smiling ear to ear at his accomplishment and leaving a trail of utter madness in his wake. Pakistan has had its share of turbulent times, and through the years we’ve found surprising ways of coping with them. We deny involvement, ...

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Media coverage: Shock, sell, forget…

The other day, one of the major TV news channels was doing a story on the two brothers, Mughees and Muneeb who were beaten to death by a frenzied mob in Buttar village, Sialkot. The program did short interviews with residents of Hajipura, where the boys were from, and with their families. This is probably old news and will not “shock” or “sell” but it was encouraging and depressing in the same breath. It was encouraging because television channels do not usually follow-up on their stories. Something horrible happens, someone does something inhuman, there is a hue and cry, “analysts” and ...

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Does our media have attention deficit disorder?

News stories are like bomb blasts in Pakistan. Stories, like bombs, go off at frequent intervals here. People die every day and those who survive get agitated and display their anger at the lack of security. But then another bomb explodes and everyone forgets about the previous one. It seems the media follows a similar path. The biggest story of the year The media told us that the floods were the most devastating catastrophe to have ever been witnessed by Pakistan. Newspaper headlines shouted that more people had been affected than in the Haiti earthquake, tsunami and the 2005 Pakistan earthquake ...

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