Stories about Zaid Hamid

5 signs of a lame conspiracy theory

We often find ourselves being buried alive beneath an avalanche of conspiracy theories that are often racist, usually illogical and almost always hilarious. That does not change the fact that conspiracies do sometimes take place. So how do we sift out the handful of sensible theories from a mountain of preposterous hogwash you ask? BSD. BSD (where D stands for detection) is an art quite easy to master. Here are a few things that you should be on the lookout for, as they may help identify a false conspiracy theory. I’ve deliberately refrained from directly naming any conspiracy theories, so as not ...

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‘Bin Laden is not dead’ and other conspiracy theories

During a discussion with some fellow medical students, I was astounded to observe that they thought 9/11 was a Jewish conspiracy and that al Qaeda is just a figment of some people’s imagination. I found it surprising how most of them did not know the origins and genesis of al Qaeda, one of the largest terrorist organizations in the world. The aim of writing this post is not to launch a tirade against the conspiracy theory culture prevalent in our society. It is to discuss a couple of popular controversies and try to provide some answers to the much debated ...

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Zaid Hamid: Treason against reason

Two statements have been circulating in my head for the last few days. The first one is by George Orwell: In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act. The second is a piece of poetry by revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz: Nisar teri galiyo pe ae watan kay jahan, Chali hai Rasm kay koi na sarr utha kay chalay. Jo Koi Chahnay Wala Tawaaf ko Niklay, Nazar Jhuka kay Chalay, Jism o Jaan Bacha Kay Chalay. (My salutations to thy sacred streets, O beloved nation! Where a tradition has been invented- that none shall walk with his head held high, If at all one takes ...

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Why believe conspiracy theorists?

I read an article written in The Express Tribune yesterday by veteran journalist Nadir Hassan, titled “What if the conspiracy theorists are correct?”. In his piece, he said that all anti-US conspiracy theories of recent years have proven to be true. He also expressed the view that it is possible to be both anti-US and anti-Taliban at the same time. I was surprised at the lack of understanding displayed by the esteemed writer. Conspiracy theories, by definition, cannot be proven either right or wrong; as far as anti-US conspiracy theories are concerned, he just glossed over a few of them ...

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Spare me the Zionist conspiracies

“The parts are Jewish!” screams Barry, an ill-tempered white convert to Islam, played to perfection by Nigel Lindsay in the critically acclaimed film, Four Lions. The car has broken down and rather than admit to his friends that he hasn’t had it fixed, he claims, “Jews invented spark plugs to control global traffic.” We’re meant to laugh at outrageous, outlandish accusations such as this, but this scene could be used to portray a sad reality in Pakistan. It highlights what is wrong with a large segment of our society. Many Pakistanis seem to have this unhealthy obsession with conspiracy theories, especially those ...

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How the US will win

It’s not often that you end up on the same table with characters carrying such hefty, esteemed titles as the KarachiKid, TeethMaestro, DiscoMaulvi and US Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs. Not unlike the Mad Hatter’s tea party, the US Consulate General Karachi tossed a motley crew of media folk, bloggers, local Twitterati and ‘youth leaders’ into a quick brunch with US Under Secretary Maria Otero just to mix things up a little for the visiting diplomat. The selection of the guests was geared to create an “interactive session focusing on youth initiatives and blogging” as the invitation read. For independent ...

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Secularism, ‘patriotism’ and Marvi Sirmed

Surfing along my Facebook newsfeed like any other day, today I came across a link a contact of mine had shared. It was titled, “Marvi Sirmed exposed again”. I watched the 10 minute video clip of Miss Sirmed on a current affairs show, making what I thought was perfect sense. The other guests on the show disagreed strongly with what she had to say, but could only support their argument by calling her anti-Islamic. Posted under the link were a flood of comments written in very bad taste against Marvi. Besides those that were too profane to mention, she was ...

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‘Zaid Hamid told me so’

After a hiatus of few months, Zaid Hamid is back in the news and regrettably – though not surprisingly – for all the wrong reasons. Apparently, his labeling of SAFMA as an extension of RAW, didn’t sit too well with the SAFMA people and they have decided to press libel charges against them. A week before this new development, a few friends and I met him at his house: The assistant introduced us and left. The desk, the comfy seat, the black monitor and sheets of papers scattered all over the table were a shock. I was expecting a middle-class ...

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Eight fake Twitterati you need to follow

Twitter seems to have become the next big thing, after Facebook, for Pakistanis, or at least for the 20 million internet users in Pakistan. This is probably because Twitter allows unparalleled access to almost everyone on it – aside from the weirdos who have restricted timelines. Twitter is exciting – almost all the superstars of politics, sports, culture, music and film are on it and you can speak to any of them, or at least, attempt to. Sometimes, they even answer back – nowhere else is this kind of power possible in Pakistan, unless you are a visa officer in the ...

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Conspiracy 101: So what really happened?

Conspiracy theories are the latest addition to the national diet of Pakistan. Nowadays everything has a conspiracy and if you don’t believe it you are part of the cover-up. I have often wondered where all the theories come from. There was a time when people claimed to have heard the original ‘truth’ from some mysterious source in the government or some rogue intelligence agent. But they are called theories for a reason. A theory is based on assumptions which have not been tested. And these opinion leaders are making theirs up as they go along. Funnily, most theories are pure speculation and have no real credibility while ...

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