Stories about Ziaul Haq

From Peshawar: A plea to the government

Dear Leaders of Pakistan, I hope you are well and are busy overseeing and planning solutions for the many problems faced by our nation. Since you will, undoubtedly, be caught up with reforms rather than amassing wealth, as you have just stepped into office, I thought I should tell you a little bit about your awaam. As a dutiful child is expected to inform his parents about the changes happening in his life, I want to tell you about how we are living now. We, your children, have finally installed a generator at home. Despite living in a posh area of the capital ...

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Ehteram-e-Ramazan: Don’t forget to beat, backbite and bribe.

It has to be said, nay proclaimed, that we are the proud custodians of Islam and chest thumping leaders of the Ummah. But was there any doubt on that score? Notwithstanding the deafening silence in the land of Al Harmain Al Sharifain, Saudi Arabia, we protested against an American film by a sloppy filmmaker. We so loved setting ablaze our own property and cinemas, because of the resounding impact it had on the life and profession of that sloppy American filmmaker. We keep screaming like banshees at the plight of poor dispossessed Palestinians who have never backed us on ...

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The formula of making a failed state

To make a failed state you can start off by looking for a newly created country. It will help if the state is initially in two parts geographically, separated by a country that has several elements living within it that openly criticise the existence of this state. It will also help if the strategic importance of one wing of this state is immense when it comes to global politics. This will make sure that it remains in the centre of major strategic decisions in the future. Once created, chances are that the leaders who led to its creation will acquire top administrative roles. ...

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Musharraf should not be given a second chance

Pervez Musharraf stirred new controversies and conversations by announcing his return to Pakistan last week. However, the main question remains whether the Pakistani people should give the former dictator-president another chance to run the country or not. An in-depth look at the former army chief’s post 1999 resumé would suggest that he is not fit for assuming the country’s top leadership positions again. Half-hearted approaches to deal with terrorism, organising only cosmetic economic measures and exercising lack of political judgments were some of the key things that Musharraf did during his tenure and the cost of his miscalculations and mistakes are still ...

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Did we really put ‘locals’ into govt system?

When the Sindh Assembly passed the controversial Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance 2012, terms such as “black spot on democracy” and “slap on the face of Sindh’s residents” cropped up in nationalists’ speeches. Interestingly, when the act was repealed, some MPAs used the same terminology to describe the development. This is the first time that a democratically elected government has dabbed at putting together a system of local government. Interestingly, if you carefully examine the local government experiments under the colonial rulers, military regimes and the current democratic set-up, you would notice that at the fundamental level, there doesn’t seem ...

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My father was 1984’s long-forgotten Shahzeb Khan

My father was murdered in Karachi in 1984. He was shot dead. Some 28 years later, Shahzeb Khan met the same fate. Cause of death? They were trying to protect a woman’s honour. My father, Syed Rabbani Zamir, was trying to prevent the harassment of an unknown woman at the hands of a Saudi naval cadet who had come to Pakistan for training and was shot dead. My family pushed long and hard for justice and ultimately it was served. The offender was court-martialled and ended up serving some time in jail as well. Regardless of what happened to the culprit, the end result was the same ...

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Female anchors, wear a dupatta for your own safety!

In a country plagued by many menaces – exploding sectarian violence, common man struggling for food, electricity and gas – the government has once again done an exceptional job of prioritising and combating the nation’s problems. The National Assembly Standing Committee for Information and Broadcasting recently expressed their concerns over the danger of female news anchors not wearing dupattas on air. Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira stated that, “Journalists are in trouble and we are ready to provide them with complete security.” I’m all for journalists’ rights and protection but I highly doubt a dupatta would act like a shield or a bulletproof ...

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Zia ruined us, make no mistake

‘Democracy’ is a Greek word made up of two parts; ‘Demos’ meaning ‘common people’ and ‘Kratos’ meaning ‘rule/strength’. Democracy, by definition, is a system of governance in which the power rests in the common people and their elected representatives. One of the finest definitions of democracy was provided by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, when he said, “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people”. According to political scientists, democracy and the rule of law are primary prerequisites for a prospering country and its society. Almost all the countries considered to be ‘developed ...

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Can democracy still be unfair if everyone votes?

Mirza is a very good friend of mine but sometimes he just talks utter nonsense. Yesterday evening I was extremely blunt when he told me that he didn’t understand democracy. “Are you in your senses, Mirza?” I was shocked. “Absolutely,” he was calm. “Think again, Mirza,” I couldn’t believe what he had said, “Democracy, which is the best political system in the world; the system that offers solutions to all our problems; the system due to which common people like you reach the corridors of power; the system–” “Yes,” he interrupted me, “I don’t understand it.” My voice rising, I said, “So what do you want, dictatorship? ...

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Are we to be blamed for Rimsha?

Qari Khalid Chishti is caught in the same trap that he had initially set for a minor Christian girl — which was intended as a tool against the Christian community in his area. The unexpected backfiring of this case seems to garner hope that Rimsha Masih will receive justice. The widespread reaction of religious scholars against Chishti’s actions is new hope for all citizens and for minorities, in particular, who feel insecure at the hands of such elements that misuse the blasphemy law. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are based on British colonial laws dating from 1860 and were amended in the 1980s ...

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