Stories about Zia-ul-Haq

Let us return to March 23, 1940, and start over, Pakistan

On March 23, 1940, the All-India Muslim League adopted a historic resolution in the city of Lahore. This resolution has since come to be known as the Pakistan Resolution as it became the forerunner to the formal demand for an independent nation state for the Muslims of India. The following is an extract that provides the essence of this resolution: “Resolved that it is the considered view of this session of the All-India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principle, namely, that geographically ...

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In defence of Ziaul Haq

Pakistan’s liberal classes revile no other figure as much as Ziaul Haq. To them, he is the embodiment of whatever ails Pakistani society today. They put the onus of Pakistani Taliban on that sole grave under the shade of Faisal Mosque. They are quite virulent in their protests that Pakistani society became intolerant and vastly more Islamist solely due to him. Perhaps they forget that the marde-momin mard-e-haq did not declare Ahmadis non-Muslims: Bhutto did. Sadly, the man cannot even take credit for banning alcohol and gambling: Bhutto did. The Objectives Resolution of 1949, calling for the creation of an Islamic rather than a secular Republic, was passed when Zia was a mere Major in the army, with no ...

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On Frida Deguise ‘nuding’ her fashion line

Being happy in one’s skin is not an easy task. Being happy in one’s clothing is an almost impossible adventure. I have been told that the greatest form of happiness is to be one’s true and natural self. This is not a universal truth that I am preaching but merely a life lesson and something to live by. My good friend, Pramit, a leading journalist, and I were once working on a project together. It so happened that we were both invited for a breakfast meeting at the White House, a key location in our little town of intrigues and ...

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Playing god in the land of the pure

People everywhere look for answers in stark black and white, and love the comfort that gives them the ability to use it as a club against others. For some reason, people keep recreating the very issues in their religions that the founders of those religions sought to eradicate. True spirituality should bring complete humbleness and love. What is common to all of us is how we struggle for an authentic faith without taking refuge in the absolute; that, to my mind, is the classic source of apostasy. There is nothing I ever read about Islam that didn’t pertain equally to other religions’ ...

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This is not what Jinnah wanted for Pakistan

On August 11, 1947, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave a speech at the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan where he mentioned that in this country, there will be no discrimination based on religious grounds. “We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle, that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State… You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place ...

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Going to school during Ziaul Haq’s time

I was born almost a year after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, to an Air Force family. Hence, my entire schooling was done in schools run by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during General Ziaul Haq’s regime. My first school was the PAF school in Sargodha and my English teacher resembled Shaista Zaid, the English news anchor on Pakistan Television (PTV), the only channel aired in the country at the time. Although most people remember General Zia’s regime as oppressive and restrictive, my memories of school years are somewhat different. I studied in a co-education school, where boys and girls ...

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Student unions — not the bigger issue

Should student unions be restored? For half of the students studying in state-run universities, this is an important question. As for the other half, the ‘should’ in the statement ought to be placed after union, making it read ‘student unions ‘should’ be restored, therefore, making it a statement with no ifs, ands or buts. Since Ziaul Haq imposed a ban on student unions, the dynamics of student politics have changed completely. From politically charged students to violence-driven student wings, there has only been one losing party — those students that remain ‘neutral’. One often wonders as a student what platform he ...

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Unity — a vision foresighted

Most of us remember and casually reiterate Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s formula for a better nation: unity, faith and discipline. The three words have been overused (often in the wrong order), and they are slowly losing their meaning. Nevertheless, the patriotic romanticism associated with them only grows stronger. If we evaluate how far we’ve gone in actually implementing the father of the nation’s formula, we cannot help but notice how the three elements of high importance are not being taken as equals. Perhaps, expecting Pakistan to employ anything that has to do with discipline is a vision too foresighted. Faith has boldly overshadowed discipline, but ...

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Uncanny resemblance: Is Balochistan the next Bangladesh?

It has been 41 years today. 41 years ago, Pakistan was broken up into two parts, the former West Pakistan and Bangladesh. Apart from a distance of around 1000 miles separating the two parts of Pakistan, there was enough resentment on part of East Pakistani populace that manifested in a demand for provincial autonomy. East Pakistan supplied so much of revenue to the federation but got little development in response. Moving the capital from Karachi to Islamabad and limited participation of East Pakistanis in the bureaucracy were some other contentious issues. In the national elections held in 1970, Bengali Nationalist ...

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Why ban alcohol when it is consumed openly?

While on one hand we hear declarations like, “sharaab haram hai!” (alcohol is forbidden in Islam) at the mere mention of alcohol, we have MPAs like Saleem Khursheed Khokhar who campaign to make it as easily available as regular soft drinks.   Celebrated Muslim poets like Omar Khayyam and Rumi often wrote about wine and intoxication, while there are claims that Allama Iqbal and Jinnah used to indulge in a little ‘suroor’  (intoxication) themselves. The modern Muslim world isn’t any different; the Middle East experienced a 70% growth in the sales of booze from 2001 to 2011. It has a high Muslim population ...

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