Stories about Ziaul Haq

The year of the judge

Sylvester Stallone is a great actor, especially after he’s had a few punches to his jaw. If you were a kid growing up in the 80s, Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were the primary Hollywood heroes giving young men around the world bodybuilding goals. It was, of course, better to watch them than the flogging of criminals on national television during the Ziaul Haq era. One particularly provocative Stallone film which turned out to be a cult classic over the years was Judge Dredd. The idea that a police officer had the authority to carry out justice on the streets – ...

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From ‘unity, faith, discipline’ to ‘faith, faith, faith’

“O, what a fall was there, my countrymen! Then I, and you, and all of us fell down, whilst bloody treason flourished over us…” These enduring words of Shakespeare describe best the cruel hand dealt to Pakistan, by internal and external forces alike. One is filled with an innate feeling of dejection when one observes how with the passage of time, our societal ethics and standards tumbled in almost all walks of life. Pakistan is amongst the few unfortunate countries that have regressed, not progressed, with time. Let us start with governance. We all have read the bleak history of the ...

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Points Of Entry: Dissecting Pakistan’s ‘real’ history, one page at a time

Nadeem Farooq Paracha, or NFP as he is often called, has been one of the profound influences on my intellectual development. I have been an avid reader of his columns since the early 90s when he started making his mark as a music critic. As a keen reader, besides his regular columns, I have also read all of his three books. Not only that, I also reviewed his first book titled End of the Past for Huffington Post and also had the privilege of interviewing him about his second book for Express Tribune. His third book, which I have recently finished, is linked ...

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Remembering Habib Jalib: the torch-bearer of resistance through poetry

There is no doubt the languages of Pakistan are rich when it comes to resistance poetry. One need not look far; in Urdu alone, names such as Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmad Faraz, Josh Malihabadi, Kishwar Naheed, Fahmida Riaz and Zehra Nigah come right up. Then there are names such as Shaikh Ayaz, Attiya Dawood and Amar Sindhu for Sindhi; Mir Gul Khan Naseer for Balochi; Ustad Daman, Ahmad Rahi, Ahmad Salim, Nasreen Anjum Bhatti, Najm Hosain Syed and Fakhar Zaman for Punjabi; Janbaz Jatoi and Shakir Shuja Abadi  for Seraiki; and Khan Abdul Ghani Khan, Qalandar Momand, Khatir Ghaznavi, Farigh ...

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When giving your child quality education only costed Rs10

During the 1950s, I was studying in a missionary school (St Patrick’s). Many people in position of power have studied from the same school, such as a president, a prime minister, many army officers, government ministers and the famous Indian politician LK Advani. I still remember how the school fee at that time was only Rs10. But one day, in 1956 or thereabouts, the fee structure was changed. For some boys, the fee remained at Rs10, for some (like my brother and I) it was raised to Rs25, while the rest had to pay Rs37. Even though the school was ...

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There could only be one Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s valiant moral compass

Last year, I wrote an article praising a person who I consider to be my most favourite Pakistani, Ms Asma Jahangir. In that article, I wrote how courageous she was and how she had taken principled liberal stances throughout her life. Due to this, her support for any political party or institution was not constant. She supported the judiciary during the lawyers’ movement and was its fiercest critics later on when she found out that judiciary under former Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Chaudhry was overstepping its constitutional authority. She supported Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) point of view ...

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History shows that the rejuvenated ‘right’ will prosper, and Pakistan will be the inevitable sufferer

Pakistan is in a state of utter confusion. Our people are uncertain as to who is running the affairs of the country. Is the government even capable of maintaining its writ over the citizens, or are certain groups powerful enough to challenge the state at will and without repercussion? These questions came to light as a result of the recent sit-ins by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi that virtually brought the entire country to a halt. As far as religious parties go, Pakistani voters have never seen them as serious contenders to represent the people ...

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When a white “terrorist” is awarded a privilege 1.8 billion Muslims are denied

If the world can largely agree on one thing, it is the need to defeat terrorism. However, the frequency of unity seen when condemning terror does not echo beyond that, for every state of the world is employing its own methods (or lack thereof) of tackling this daunting, multi-faceted predicament, and hence achieving varying degrees of success. The first and probably most pivotal step in the fight against terrorism is to clearly define what constitutes as terror and who is actually a terrorist. Failure to reach a singular consensus on this starting point will invariably lead to utter confusion amongst the ...

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Pakistan should become a secular state, but how realistic is that?

In one of my articles last year, I tried to make a normative case for secularism in Muslim countries. I argued that given the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and growing sectarianism, there is a case of secularism in Muslim countries. Since a secular state is religiously neutral, therefore it would allow various sects in Islam, as well as non-Muslim minorities, to practice their faith freely. Moreover, it would delink the religion with legal code and therefore laws would start reflecting contemporary realities. In my opinion, the idea should at least be entertained in our discourse as it merits serious deliberation. My own country, Pakistan, perhaps is ...

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A ‘progressive’ Saudi Arabia that practises moderate Islam – possibility or a sham?

Is Saudi Arabia turning over a new leaf, or are these new policies just an anomaly; perhaps a misdirected confidence of an individual who is trying to change the society in his own image? Only time will tell. The recently appointed crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS), has embarked on an impressive but debatable development plan for the oil-rich country. This plan will see Saudi radically transform from its archaic system of governance and develop an over-the-top modern, high tech city which, according to MBS, is “The first capitalist city in the world… this is the unique thing that will be revolutionary.” This effort, ...

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