Stories about Ziaul Haq

To save Pakistan, we have to let go of the idea of Pakistan

“We are fighting a fight for Pakistan.” This is an oft repeated statement from politicians, military personnel, bureaucrats and journalists. Let me tell you unequivocally, we are losing the fight for Pakistan. In our attempts to salvage an archaic idea of Pakistan, an idea relegated to the back shelves of the global landscape, we are losing the Pakistan that we have. We will not win this war in North Waziristan, we will not lose this war in Lahore, we will either win or lose this war in the minds of our countrymen. Yes, that is what they are, our countrymen, and every single ...

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Why LUMS is Pakistan’s leading university

Living abroad, I am extremely conscious about how fortunate I have been to have studied at a prestigious university like LUMS, which guarantees its students the freedom of expression and independence of thought. In fact, when my foreign friends ask me if moving to Germany was a cultural or academic shock, my answer has always been no. Because growing as an individual at an institution like LUMS taught me to foster the tenet of higher education, namely academic freedom; which is also something that is found in educational institutions abroad. However, it is unfortunate that this cherished academic freedom is now under ...

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I stand with Altaf Hussain

I fail to understand the hue and cry against the comparisons of the events of Islamabad to a mujra. If anything Altaf Hussain insulted Heera Mandi with the comparison. At least with Heera Mandi everyone knows how much everyone is getting paid, and who is getting screwed. All Altaf Bhai wants is permission to open a branch of Heera Mandi in Karachi, at least it would be cleaner than the Sabzi Mandi and fewer women would get sexually harassed there compared to the Sabzi Mandi. An event organised by politicians by spending a lot of money to awaken the naujawans is the very definition of ...

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Dear ZAB, this is what you have left behind

Dear Great Leader, I’m writing to you to wish you a happy 87th birthday. Sorry I’m a bit late but, hey, it’s the thought that counts… Right? After all, in these sombre and remorseful times, it’s difficult to keep one’s head straight. Too much in today’s Pakistan is out of sync with the changing realities. It’s a sad situation, one that is testing people’s patience and crushing their souls. You want to know what else is sad? It’s the political party that you created in the 60s that shook the foundations of a terrible dictatorship; the organisation that glued together a broken nation ...

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Seven years after Benazir Bhutto, PPP becomes a ‘Zardari’ party

Today we observe the seventh death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto – Pakistan’s first female prime minister and a woman of extraordinary talent. Since her first tenure as prime minister, we saw how she took charge of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and led it through thick and thin. However, seven years later, if we take a look at her party now, we will see that a lot has changed. For instance, PPP workers are still not sure who their party’s leader is. Even though Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was made party chairman soon after Benazir’s tragic death, he remained away from the political circus because of ...

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The Nawaz Sharif and Model Town Lahore that I remember

The past is another country and my almost dementia-inflicted mind often fails me when faced with challenges of recalling timelines. I think it was back in the late 80s when my family and I moved to Model Town, a Lahore suburb and a remnant of the British Raj. Model Town was a classic, green and well-planned community that took pride in being a self-sustained and resident-funded operation. At the time we moved to Lahore, we were not too familiar with Punjab, its politics or even our surroundings. Across from our house was a nicely paved, lush green, linear patch, informally ...

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Maligning Islam in the name of blasphemy

Charred remains of two human bodies become a question mark on our humanity. Smoke that rises from their ashes is denser than one that clouds our judgment. It will not vanish into the air; it will instead taunt our silence forever. What burnt was not bodies, but the very fabric of our society. In the presence of the rule of law – as demanded by the Holy Quran and our constitution – blasphemy would be dealt with by the aggrieved party registering a case against the accused under relevant sections of the Pakistan Penal Code. A free and fair trial in a ...

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Are all Pakistani women damsels in distress?

It feels really good to be a Pakistani woman these days. It brings a big smile to my face when I see five Pakistani women in the list of BBC’s 100 women of 2014. And no matter how controversial one may call Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize, there is no denying the fact that it has brought Pakistani women at the centre stage again. Yes, the world is often quick to assume that women in our country are weaklings – damsels in perpetual distress. For a very long time the west has considered them little more than slaves of their male counterparts. ...

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Aitzaz Ahsan, I used to believe in you

Dear Sir, I am writing this letter to request you to reconsider your role in the current political crisis and to be on the right side of history. I, being a member of the educated middle class of Pakistan, see you as a man who has always stood up against injustice. I see you as a man whose political life spanning half a century gives testimony that my country still has educated, brave and faithful fighters who would do whatever it takes to defend Pakistan. I know that you were a college student like me when you campaigned against the dictatorship of Ayub Khan. I ...

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Pakistan – In search of the missing patriot

In the latest political upheaval to rock the country, all those involved may appear to be at complete odds but retain one salient feature that unites them all. The government, by the virtue of their status, espouse patriotism which is reflected in an unflinching dedication to democracy on the part of the Sharif brothers; the opposition under the tutelage of Imran Khan continues its elongated quest to reform the electoral process through a long march to the capital under the camouflage of patriotism; and the Canadian chameleon Tahirul Qadri (TuQ) invokes patriotism in his fiery rhetoric to establish the true force of democracy in Pakistan. They ...

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