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Election in Pakistan Is About Traditional Arithmetic Based On Ethnic and Regional Vote Banks
Najam Sethi

The first elected parliament and government in Pakistan's 66-year history have completed their mandated five-year term and gone home. This is a great achievement. Generally speaking, it means that our political elites have finally recognized the value of setting and playing by the core rules of the game of electoral democracy....

 

In Pakistan, Beards Have Terrorised People Into Silence And In Shahbagh?
Farooq Sulehria

Ironically, both the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan as well as the one in Bangladesh opposed the creation of these countries. In the former it monopolised ideological discourse, while in the latter it became a formidable force. Similarly, the Shahbag uprising has helped shed the fear induced by the Jamaat. Post-Shahbag, people are publicly criticising – in less-than-gentle language – the Jamaat....

 

Pakistan Muslim League (N) in the Dock
Najam Sethi

The PMLN's attitude towards the Christians and Ahmedis is distinctly blameworthy. Worse, its soft, hands-off approach to militant anti-Shia organisations like the SSP and LeJ is condemnable. A bit of fear and some sneaking sympathy for the cause of such groups is all too evident. For a party that plans to rule Pakistan for the third time, this is unforgiveable....

 

The seminar seeks to explore the Sufi culture in present perspective to access its relevance in contemporary times when we boast of being modern but where society is still ridden with caste and communal hostilities and gender imbalances. There is a need to re-look into our own past, revive and rediscover our own culture to ascertain answers to many a biases that have crept into our society. In this regard, one needs to explore the strength of Sufi culture and explore the relevance of its perspectives in contemporary times.....

Hugo Chávez and Me
Tariq Ali

I remember sitting next to an elderly, modestly attired woman at one of his public rallies. She questioned me about him. What did I think? Was he doing well? Did he not speak too much? Was he not too rash at times? I defended him. She was relieved. It was his mother, worried that perhaps she had not brought him up as well as she should have done: "We always made sure that he read books as a child." This passion for reading stayed with him.....

Can Civilization Survive Capitalism?
Noam Chomsky

The fact that the public is influenced by science is deeply troubling to those who dominate the economy and state policy. One current illustration of their concern is the “Environmental Literacy Improvement Act” proposed to state legislatures by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-funded lobby that designs legislation to serve the needs of the corporate sector and extreme wealth.....

Understanding the Anger and Frustration of Muslim Youths in Uttar Pradesh
Vidya Bhushan Rawat, New Age Islam

The political parties can undermine the protest by such tactics but if the government fails to take action against the culprits and ensure free and fair investigation, Muslims will always feel betrayed. Their disgust and disappointment with the system might grow if their representation remains below minimum and their youths are hounded by the police and investigating agencies. The Muslim unrest in India’s largest state is a wakeup call for political parties to treat them equally and address to their real issues....

In Violence-Hit Pakistan, Soft Images Offer Ray of Hope
Sonya Fatah

You can't really be too troubled with creating a soft image when week after week members of a largish minority community are being targeted in such numbers and with such violent means. Some introspection is the actual need of the hour, and some real action, post that. Yet, all is not hopeless. Karachi was shut down in protest the day after the Abbas Town bombings. In the beautiful Astore Valley in northern Pakistan....

Modi’s Followers
Aakar Patel

It shows, depressingly, how Modi chooses to keep the riots alive. In fact, one of Gujarat’s finest police officers, Rahul Sharma, is facing action next week for going after the killers. The other thing the professors referred to was the Indian National Human Rights Commission report, which states there was “a comprehensive failure on the part of the state government to control the persistent violation of rights of life, liberty, equality and dignity of the people of the state”....

Hyderabad Bomb Blasts: What's Next?
Mike Ghouse

We mourn the death of every one killed in this mayhem, and empathize with their families through special Muslim prayers. May their souls rest in peace, Om Shanti, Om Shanti, and Inna Lillahi O Innna Ilaihi ur rajeeoon (From God we come and to God we go). Every life is precious and in this context, every Indian life is sacred. As a Muslim, I am tempted to blame bad guys among Muslims, but what good will it do to India?...

 

Meet Modi's No 1 Fan: Himself..
Aakar Patel

The Gujarat chief minister's most devoted admirer can only be his number 2 fan, because Narendra Modi's number 1 fan will always be Narendra Modi. There is no end to the praise he gives himself. A few years ago, I picked out these from the site: "great dreamer"; "remarkable ability"; "hard taskmaster"; "strict disciplinarian"; "amazing"; "realist"; "idealist"; "clarity of vision, sense of purpose, diligent perseverance"....

Sipah-e-Sahaba helped to make all his opponents withdraw their candidature against Shahbaz Sharif paving his way to the office of the chief minister of Punjab. ....The elections are round the corner and so Shias will be killed in hundreds. No political party will take a hard stand against them because they too are at their mercy. If they antagonise them, they will lose the elections. Till then God save the Shias!.....

I am a Muslim, a very proud Muslim, in fact. I practise my religion. But I keep it to myself. I believe in it wholeheartedly but I do not thrust it on other people. I pray five times a day but I don’t go around exhibiting it. I fast all 30 days of the Ramadan, of which others wouldn’t have the slightest inkling. I believe in beliefs. My beliefs are personal. So are yours....

Why Afghanistan’s Partition May Be Unpreventable
Brahma Chellaney

A partitioned Afghanistan may not be the best outcome. Yet it will be far better than an Afghanistan that dissolves into chaos. And infinitely better than one in which the medieval Taliban returns to power and begins a fresh pogrom. With a partitioned Afghanistan, Pakistani generals, instead of waging proxy war against India and sponsoring Afghan Pashtun militant groups, will be compelled to focus on fending off a potent threat to Pakistan's unity....

 

Comparing Statistics
Aakar Patel

The last full year Atal Behari Vajpayee was in power, 2003, as many Indians were killed in terrorist incidents (3,702) as the total for the last three years under Manmohan Singh. How many times have you heard that said before? This is even more remarkable when we learn that the figures under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) excluded all Maoist violence because that wasn’t compiled under “terrorism” till 2004, when Singh came to power....

 
The Truth about Pakistan
Justice Markandey Katju

The Truth about Pakistan
Justice Markandey Katju

In my opinion, the present violent strifes and disturbances in Pakistan are the logical and inevitable result of creating a theocratic state in this subcontinent and, hence, the only solution is the reunification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh under a strong, secular, modern minded government, which does not tolerate religious extremism and bigotry, whether Hindu or Muslim, and crushes it with an iron hand....

As a distraction mechanism again and again, as when the Ershad military junta instigated fake Ayodhya-retaliation communal riots to distract from the national protests against the military regime. There have been other moments throughout the last 4o+ years.The chess game continues, and we continue to allow Bengali Hindus to be collateral damage, again and again……..

Progressive Leaders Demand Peaceful Solution to Kashmir Issue
Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri

While lamenting the present geo- political scenario of the region, Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri said that due to state sponsorship of the extremist forces in Pakistan the constituency of peace and democracy was under constant threat. The different actors were trying to destabilise the whole region. Whenever both countries come together such forces become active and Pakistani military also aggravates the situation……

Pakistanis, Why Butcher the English Language? Just Speak In Urdu
Sufia Zamir

I was recently proposed to by a young man who was otherwise the perfect eligible bachelor and quite the gentleman. He had been educated at a prestigious business school, with a job in Malaysia, and I was not expecting to hear him use phrases such as “anyways” and “sux”. It took a lot of effort on my part to convince myself that I was not being courted by a teenager still in high school. I constantly found myself mentally correcting his grammar and ultimately I realised that pursuing marriage with him would be nothing but a disaster....

 

A Moment of History in Bangladesh
Vidya Bhushan Rawat

The biggest untruth of partition of India was the division in the name of religion. The fact is that it was impossible for two people who have lived side by side for centuries to be divided by the thin line of religion as interdependency on our work and culture was the most important aspect of Hindu-Muslim relations in India. Even, the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who was a staunch secularist and who Sarojini Naidu once described as Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, always felt that the issue of Pakistan was not religious but political....

 

It is Halal to rape female protestors. You might think that this fatwa was issued by some Talibani or Al Qaida leader out to suppress any voice that criticises them, right? Wrong. The fatwa was issued by an Egyptian Salafist cleric Ahmad Mahmoud Abdullah, ironically known as “Abu Islam” who owns a TV channel Ummah. He had issued the fatwa to silence the female protestors who were against the policies of the Morsi government....

All-Girl Teenage Pop Band Finding Harmony in Music and Islam
Anuja Jaiman

....is music really un-Islamic? He said that if women indulge in indecent, immoral acts such as singing, it would be a step toward their destruction. Is it really that simple in Islam? Of course it isn’t. The music of the Sufi mystics, meanwhile, has been around for centuries, and many celebrated musicians have sung their Ghazals and Quawalis. Whether classical or pop, there is good reason to let people get acquainted with music....

The Pakistan media has not given much coverage to the signing off of the agreement between the two countries. And those who covered it presented only the brighter side of the project. The media only highlighted the benefits Pakistan will gain from the port but did not give much coverage to the apprehensions and complaints of the people of Balochistan in which the port is located. ...

 

Nasheed, an Amnesty prisoner of conscience who spent several years in jail for dissent, has said the prosecution is politically motivated. The purpose, he says, is to ensure he cannot run in the presidential elections scheduled for 7 September. Any sentence will disqualify him from the race. If Nasheed is prevented from running, there will be unrest like the country has never before seen. He is loved by many, more than he is loathed by coup-makers and their supporters....

 

Shamelessly Shooting To Kill
Teesta Setalvad

....Babri Masjid was demolished as 3,000-4,000 men in uniform watched. His reply was a chilling recall of another fateful Sunday 21 years ago: “The video cassette recording by the Intelligence Bureau clearly documents that not more than 3,000-4,000 ‘Kar Sevaks’ were within close proximity of the mosque. In such a scenario, could no effective action have been taken? The reason why no action was taken lies elsewhere. The same cassette shows policemen rejoicing, with their hands held high in victory,....

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