Stories about The Guardian

Why does the world continue to ignore these roots of Islamic extremism?

The ghastly terrorist attacks in Paris have once again put Islamic extremism under the microscope. Similarly to all religions, Islam is like a stream of water, available to anyone to drink from. Out of the two billion Muslims in the world, the vast majority draws from this stream uneventfully, living out peaceful lives. There is, however, a corrupt and hateful minority, drinking from an infected portion of the stream because it suits their world view. This infected stream has been allowed to flow for over half a century in the modern era, because confronting it would result in painful and costly soul searching ...

Read Full Post

Dear (ir)responsible Pakistani media, the Mina tragedy needed sensitivity not sensationalism

The tragic stampede in Mina during the recent Hajj and the way it was covered by the media, mainstream as well as social, once again revealed all that is wrong in the way journalism is practiced in Pakistan. Media stirred the pot with the ingredients of sensationalism, conspiracy theories, misinformation, disinformation and deliberate biases. This was all based on a historical baggage, and the offering served was such a mish-mash that it became difficult to sift fact from fiction. Yes, it was a developing story. In fact, it was not just a ‘story’, but it was a tragic human event that demanded sensitive handling, ...

Read Full Post

The filthy culture of bacha bazi in Afghanistan

The Afghans call this revolting act bacha bazi, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Young boys usually ostracised from villages by their families because they were attacked by a paedophile, wearing flowing colourful outfits clad in bells, dancing in seedy places for older turban wearing bearded Afghan men, only to be sexually assaulted after the contemptible night takes a drug and alcohol fuelled turn. The Guardian stated, “Dressed in a flowing shirt and long, red skirt, with sherwal pants beneath and small silver bells fastened to hands and feet, the dancer stepped across the floor, face hidden behind a ...

Read Full Post

1965: You didn’t win the war India, but neither did we, Pakistan

There is no doubt that the 1965 Indo-Pak war over the status of Jammu and Kashmir ended in a United Nations (UN) mandated truce that compelled India to accept the ceasefire on September 21, 1965 while Pakistan agreed to it on September 22, 1965. The Tashkent peace agreement constrained Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistani President Ayub Khan to quit all territorial claims and pull back their armies from the disputed terrain to pre-conflict positions by February 25, 1966. Although it is also evident that the conflict was halted with a truce due to the policies of the US and the Soviet Union – who were engaged in the Cold War at ...

Read Full Post

PCB should ban Amir, Asif and Salman Butt for life

The ban imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the ‘tainted trio’ of Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt, for their involvement in spot fixing was officially lifted on September 2, 2015. Although the ban on the players is lifted, I vehemently oppose the selection of these cricketers for the Pakistani team ever again. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should do what is right and impose a life ban on these players. They have caused immense embarrassment to the national team and the country. As of now, there is no consensus amongst former cricketers regarding the inclusion of these players in the national team. ...

Read Full Post

Why did no one stand up for Tahera Ahmad and the bigotry she faced?

If you have been following the ‘Tahera Ahmad and the Diet Coke’ saga, you know that a United Airlines flight attendant refused to serve a Muslim Chaplain, Ms Ahmad, on the grounds that the can could be used as a weapon, a disagreement followed, and a fellow passenger made profane comments aimed at her religious identity. Soon Ms Ahmad posted on Facebook saying: “I am in tears of humiliation.” Resultantly, Ms Ahmad became a symbol and icon. In an article at The Guardian she says, “This isn’t about me and a soda can, it’s about systemic injustice.” She adds, “They’re basically failing to recognise the humiliation.” The ensuing controversy can ...

Read Full Post

How I came to own the sweater Wasim Akram wore at the 1992 World Cup final

Neatly folded away in a box at the back of my study is a short-sleeved sweater. It is fluorescent lime-green, with red, blue and white stripes across the shoulders. It is undeniably hideous. Whoever was in charge of its design was either having a bad day or a good laugh. It is, though, one of my most treasured sporting possessions. It is the sweater that Wasim Akram wore in the final of the 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia and gave to me in the dressing-room of the Melbourne Cricket Ground just minutes after Pakistan had won the final against England and ...

Read Full Post

Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?

Surely any person going to work outside their country is an expatriate? But no, the word exclusively applies to white people. In the lexicon of human migration there are still hierarchical words, created with the purpose of putting white people above everyone else. One of those remnants is the word “expat”. What is an expat? And who is an expat? According to Wikipedia, “An expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (‘out of’) and patria (‘country, fatherland’).” Defined that way, you ...

Read Full Post

The problem with “collateral damage” in a “surgical air-strike”

The questioning gaze of that drone victim, who lost one of his family members – with eight others injured – on the fateful day of October 24, 2012, in a drone strike at South Waziristan, still haunts my memory every time a new strike occurs. Just today, four more people were killed in North Waziristan; they too shall be termed as “collateral damage” of a “precise air-strike” against “terrorists” hiding in the “safe havens”, and forgotten or not even talked about as individual human beings in the first place. When will this loss of innocent human life stop? Who will make the American government accountable for this ...

Read Full Post

Why Aitchison?

“Don’t you realise this behaviour is unbecoming of an Aitchisonian?” Mr Zafar Ahmad stared at me. Stress on the word Aitchisonian caused extra ripples of guilt. There is a reason Mr Zafar Ahmad, my housemaster, was stressing on the Aitchisonian angle; he knew it would make me feel like a downcast in my own eyes. And it did. Both of us knew I would not repeat that adventure at least. Aitchison College is in the spotlight these days. Pakistani press is not alone this time because The Guardian, one of the leading British dailies, has also covered the latest issue surrounding the institution’s policy regarding ...

Read Full Post