Stories about today

The politicisation of the Ahmadi issue – Part 2

This is the second part of a two part series. Read part one here. ~ On September 7, 1974, Pakistan’s parliament by an overwhelming majority passed what is known as the second amendment stripping Ahmadis off their Muslim status and declaring them to be non-Muslims for “legal and constitutional purposes”. This move was and to this date remains unprecedented as Pakistan remains the only country to do so. But why did it happen? Once again, the matter was politicised by the religious right, but the state response was different. The immediate stimulus for the agitation came from a skirmish between Ahmadis ...

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What has Covid-19 taught us about Pakistan’s education system?

If someone were to ask me to start a school for online learning, I would have asked them to give us a year to draft a plan for it, get the educators on board, conduct professional development workshops, run some pilots and orient the students and their parents before venturing into it. Yet here we were, transitioning into the digital realm with an array of apps, platforms and software over the weekend as if this was a superpower which we had been secretly harbouring all this time. Hence, as an educator, the onset of Covid-19 has made me reflect ...

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How a Pakistani is weathering the COVID-19 lock down in Denmark

It was late January and I had just returned from a packed month of travel across Europe and South Asia. Novel coronavirus cases had just begun to emerge in Wuhan, China, the then epicenter of the virus. Sitting all the way in Scandinavia, the coronavirus at first appeared to be a pneumonia-like disease that would remain limited to China but then it started rapidly spreading to other East Asian countries and penetrated all of Europe courtesy borderless travelling. The seriousness of the situation first struck me when a hotel in Santa Cruz, Spain, was shut down as cases had surged in ...

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Kashmir: Don’t ever call this valley a ‘paradise’

Let me tell you a tale, a story filled with reality. Kashmir destroyed by tyrants and their cruelty. Where women are assaulted and children are not spared. The rulers are the murderers and the ‘security’ men feared. Pellets to blind, tear gas shells to choke you. Jails to languish, bullets to kill you. They’ve empty hearts, their blood is cold. Some among us are theirs, their faith is sold. The children of ours, tormented and in trauma. Then they’ll try to fox you and do all the drama. A little boy, they inserted needles into his eyes. Slapped, tortured him and then came up with lies. India, the most tolerant is what they call themselves. But tales ...

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An open palm

“Are you alright?” “Just had the same nightmare.” His wife shook her head. “Why don’t you see a doctor? I’ve told you a hundred times.” This time he slowly shook his head, “A doctor can’t help with these. Can I tell you what I saw? (And without waiting) I’m sitting awake in this bed. You are next to me, asleep. Everything looks the way it’s looking right now, with the curtains drawn, the room cleaned and spotless except for the two plates on the table, and the dim light of the lamp falling on the bedside.” His wife looked around the room, confirmed the description, wondering ...

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Lahore blast: When will the barbarity end?

February 17, 2015. Two months and one day after the unimaginable tragedy of the Peshawar Attack, Lahore has been targeted today. Today, at 1pm, a suicide bomber blew himself up right outside the Police Lines in Lahore. So far, as reports have suggested, there have been about eight causalities but the number is expected to rise. Emergency has been declared in hospitals and other prominent buildings. The city has been struck by terror by once again. Only yesterday, I came across the video of the attack in the mosque in Hayatabad, Peshawar. The video sent shivers up my spine. Every gunshot ...

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3 Bahadur – Another Lollywood milestone

Rewind 10 or 15 years from today to look at the shape and size of the Pakistani film industry, rather hilariously named as Lollywood, and you will not be able to help but wonder – how on earth did they come such a long way? From the days of dancing actresses trying to seduce their lovers in green fields to ground breaking movies like Bol, Waar, Na Maloom Afraad, Dukhtar, Zinda Bhaag and the likes – the progress and escalation of Lollywood in the right direction is very apparent. There’s a clear improvement in the scripts, the screenplay, direction and every aspect of the movie you would once laugh ...

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The death penalty is justified today

Two recent terrorist attacks have proven to be a watershed in our history.  First, the unfortunate siege at the Karachi airport which resulted in the loss of many innocent lives and thereby, creating a proverbial consensus among many Pakistanis in support of a military operation. Since then, there have been debates on what a successful military operation entails. The commentators have regularly suggested that a military solution must accompany certain policy changes such as terminating the distinction between good Taliban and bad Taliban, reversal in our Afghan policy and developing a counter-terrorism strategy.  However, it failed to mark any seismic shift in our policies. The second is Tuesday’s massacre ...

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Have a heart, PCB, postpone today’s match

My fellow Pakistanis, there is a cricket match scheduled for today. Yes, you read that right. At 4pm, Pakistan time, our nation will take on New Zealand in the fourth cricket ODI in Abu Dhabi. Needless to say, that such an event is taking place a day after one of the blackest days in Pakistan’s history, just doesn’t feel right. If anything, sport is a celebration – a celebration of athleticism where human beings compete in an arena of onlookers to determine who has more skill. We watch them simply because we can’t do what they can do. They can hit harder, bowl faster, and ...

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What if heaven was unprepared for the little souls of Peshawar?

I don’t know what happens to souls when people die, it is believed that they go to a place called heaven, paradise. But what if heaven is unprepared, what if heaven says, “Oh beautiful souls of Peshawar, your time is not yet, you need to live some more, you are young, you are innocent, you are angels in human form, you embody goodness, you are the ambassadors of heaven, your fieldwork on man’s earth is not done yet. God sent you down for a reason, because you are perfect, you have the capacity to do wonders, you are so beautiful, ...

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