Stories about Ziaul Haq

What is the difference between dictatorship and democracy in Pakistan?

Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer is often referred to as the butcher of Amritsar who opened indiscriminate firing on the crowd at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, killing hundreds of peaceful protestors. Nearly a century later, when we have evolved into an independent country governed by Muslim leaders, his ghost lives on. In the recent barbaric incident of State brutality, the Punjab police opened fire on the workers of Dr Tahirul Qadri resulting in the death of eleven innocent civilians and over eighty others injured. The dead included two women as well, one of them pregnant. TV footages revealed how the government machinery ...

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My grandmother: The unwanted martyr

Normally, when my friends would tell me how their grandparents passed away, they would speak of ill-health and chronic pain, which one would expect as consequences of old age. I would, however, always keep that information about my grandparents closed off from the rest of the world. It’s a topic of great sensitivity amongst my family and has always been brushed under the carpet by my mother, as a way of preventing tears from streaming down her otherwise stoic face. After all, it’s not particularly straightforward for me to discuss the fact that my maternal grandmother was blown up by a ...

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Don’t equate the United Baloch Army with the Taliban!

Wednesday April 9, 2014. 8 am. Islamabad I-11’s fruit market. A blast rips through the usually quiet federal capital morning. Over two dozen lives lost. Everyday news in everyday Pakistan. The only difference? The attack was not claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or one of its various splinter groups. It was claimed by the United Baloch Army (UBA). This has been the second attack of its kind carried out by the UBA in the last few days. The first one took place at a train station in Sibi, Balochistan, killing 17 people. While in the last few hours the government has rejected the ...

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Zulfikar Ali Bhutto: ‘Brilliant, arrogant, autocratic and opportunist’

‘Brilliant, arrogant, autocratic, opportunist’ – these are only a few of the words that have been used to describe the ‘father of popular politics’ in Pakistan. A staunch nationalist and the hero of the suppressed for his local supporters, a naive leftist for his foreign detractors, the man who restored Pakistan’s pride before his foreign supporters and an alcohol consuming corrupt statesman for his local critics. Love him or hate him, you cannot ignore it. Today on April 4, 2014 it has been 35 years since he was hanged following a politically motivated sham trial in 1979. Nevertheless, some facts need to be ...

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Don’t tell me to ‘stop being negative’ about Pakistani affairs

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been mocked for raging on the blogosphere about Pakistani matters. And many like myself have been repeatedly prescribed a ‘positive attitude’. These patronising suggestions need to stop. One of the leading complaints against liberal writers and media outlets is that they allegedly ‘focus on the negativity’ and fail to provide sufficient coverage to the saccharine, more palatable details of our country. Such ‘positivity’ is the staple diet of nationalists who are easily irked by information of our national imperfection and the blessed opium of the ignoramuses who cannot conceive the astronomical depths to ...

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Banish the CII

In a more civilised society where progress is equated with innovation, technological advancement and competitiveness, the recent ‘suggestions’ put forth by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and its band of brothers would certainly have been political suicide. This ‘advisory’ body – which has remained dormant until its ineptness surfaced – has proved itself to only serve as a control mechanism as to how people should live and conduct their lives, as is the case with all religiously sanctioned forums. The clerics, who constitute the CII, and many of their kind elsewhere, have served one and one purpose only: societal control for self-fulfilment. Because ...

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Remembering Jalib, remembering his fight against dictatorship

There was a man who audaciously used to say, “Mai nahi Manta” (I refuse to accept) He was neither a bourgeois nor a feudal and surely, he was not patronised by any ‘third force’ (Teesri Quwwat) that has a hand in every incident that takes place in Pakistan. He was an ideologue, charismatic and an eloquent poet. Moreover, he was best known for his revolutionary zeal. He struggled for the restoration of democracy and human rights. His enthralling poetry elucidated the notorious rule of dictators. However, his poesy still befits today’s political setting. That man was none other than the great Habib Ahmed Jalib. Dastoor was ...

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Vital Signs 1: Bringing vitality to Pakistani music since 1987

The generation that grew up listening to Atif has always associated Salman Ahmad with Junoon, completely oblivious to the fact that he was a part of Vital Signs first and had it not been for a bust up with Rohail Hyatt, Junoon might never have come into existence. As pseudo-underground bands cover redundant black and death metal covers in the name of underground music, what most of these bands, and even a large chunk of our biggest musicians remain unaware of is the fact this year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest pop albums released by a ...

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So many Hindu and female doctors! What is happening to Pakistan?

There are some things you can’t help doing – like talking to fundamentalists. I know many of them and almost all of them are convinced that non-Muslims want to harm Muslims. One such person, whom I have known for 25 years and who can’t compose a simple sentence in English (despite having two master’s degrees) thinks that since Pakistan was made for Muslims, those who are not Muslims should not be allowed to have jobs (unless there are no Muslims available, as for instance in jobs like cleaning up lavatories). This man is deeply concerned about the growing number of Hindu doctors in Karachi’s ...

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Pervez Musharraf: Defending a patriot from cowards and liars

Many people like to ask me questions about why I support former president Pervez Musharraf. As part of the questions, they like to pepper in the misinformation that the Pakistani media has presented to the public for consumption. During one such discussion on Facebook, I was asked the following: The question cum comment “According to you, Khalid Muhammad, what were the positives and negatives of Musharraf’s tenure? People consider him to be the reason for drones, missing people (Aafia Siddiqui), Bugti murder case, Lal Masjid, all that happened to Pakistan after 9/11 (and) the current shortfall of electricity and gas. Suicide bombing took ...

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