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Current Affairs
Forget the Pope—We Need a New Caliph!
Wajahat Ali and Haroon Moghul

The selection of the new pope made everyone stop, tweet, and stare at St. Peter’s as a non-European was finally chosen to don the papal garb. It made us realize Muslims could also benefit from genuine suspense and good news about their own religious leadership. Ever since secular Turkish general Mustafa Kemal Ataturk undid the Caliphate and ended the Ottoman Empire in 1924, the Muslim world, or at least the Sunni Muslim world, hasn’t had a Caliph; literally a ‘successor’ (to the Prophet Muhammad).....

Confusion Galore: Is India Too Soft On Terror or Too Tough On Terror?
Aakar Patel

For many years now, we have used the same approach with Pakistani musicians and cricketers. This has not been noticed because there is a consensus against Pakistan in our middle class. Our arbitrary you-cannot-play-here order to professionals was fine, as long as it targeted Pakistani players. The Lankan matter has made more people sit up but, as I said, this is not a new thing. When this is so, we necessarily open ourselves up to scrutiny on the charge that we are racists who believe in collective punishment....

 

They screamed hatred at Muslims and denounced countries such as Turkey that want to aid the helpless refugees. Buddhist monks, heroes of the 2007 “saffron revolution” that tried to unseat the old military regime, egg on the crowds and help organise the protests. This is the looking-glass world of the new Myanmar. Now it is only the once-reviled army that stands between minority Muslims and the bloodlust of Buddhist chauvinists...

 

Compromising his lifelong secular vision about Pakistan, the caretaker chief minister Punjab, Najam Sethi, Wednesday vowed under oath that he would strive to preserve the Islamic ideology of Pakistan. He also acknowledged, under oath, that this Islamic ideology was the basis for the creation of Pakistan…..

 

Pakistan May Well Be At the Cusp of A Continued Romance with Democracy
Najeeb Jung

If one were to look at these as elections with a difference, with most voters concerned over national issues traversing regions, castes and sub castes, the inclusion of a large number of young voters, the Imran Khan factor, anti- Americanism, enhanced Islamisation, it seems impossible to say which way they will go. The more important issue, however, is whether this will lead to the establishment of a permanent and sustaining democracy in Pakistan or this path is strewn with uncertainties...

The fact that the media group hosted this lecture session for one of the most wanted terrorists is proof of the fact that the media in Pakistan has been espousing the cause of the terrorist outfits in Pakistan like The Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba while shedding crocodile tears on the demise of Pakistani state. The symposium also laid bare the unholy nexus between a section of the dominant media in Pakistan, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the ISI as during his interrogation about post Mumbai attacks, Dawood Gilani, alias David Coleman Hadley had admitted to have attended several meetings between senior officers of the ISI and senior militants of the Lashkar-e-Taiba who had participated in Mumbai attacks.

Egypt President Mohamed Morsi Looks Eastward
S. Nihal Singh

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s visit to India has broken the mould of more than three decades of a minimal relationship that had relegated the warmth of the Nehru-Nasser intimacy to history together with the Non-Aligned Movement, itself a pale shadow of its former self. His predecessor and long-term ruler, Hosni Mubarak, had administered New Delhi the ultimate snub by taking 18 years to collect a prize....

 

Should Pakistan Talk To The Taliban?
Shahzad Chaudhry

It opens negotiations with the adversary to disengage itself from a futile and unwinnable conflict.  America is in the process of doing exactly the same as it seeks a face-saving exit from Afghanistan. Pakistan also has to decide how it can disengage itself from the costly war against the TTP and move towards a negotiated end, in parallel with the dialogue that the Afghan Taliban will have with the US....

Parween Rahman, Rest in Peace, My Little Sister
Zubeida Mustafa

This little sister of mine — Parween Rahman — was shot dead last Wednesday leaving not just her family and supporters devastated. The whole country — in fact the community of caring social workers the world over — is mourning her loss. There was something about Parween. Anyone who met her was attracted by her cheerful disposition and warm, caring nature....

This Century Will Likely Belong To Africa and Africans
Murtaza Haider

This century will likely belong to Africa and Africans. They may also fail to see the rise of a billion-plus Africans who have made the greatest stride in human development in the recent past. Citing forecasts by 2020, the report notes that “the combined economic output of three leading developing countries alone — Brazil, China and India — will surpass the aggregate production of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.” ...

Within the dramatic rescue motif seems embedded the real motive: to rescue and refurbish the American image from the beating it took through the 444 days of the siege of the embassy under the intense scrutiny of the international media by retrofitting it with the successful initiative of a side plot at a time when Iran is again occupying mind and media space on a regular basis in the U.S....

 

Bhanwari Devi is still waiting for justice. It is almost 21 years since she was gang-raped for opposing the marriage of a nine-month-old girl child in Bhateri, her native village, 55 kilometres from Jaipur. The perpetrators of the crime are yet to be punished and the case drags on in the Rajasthan High Court. Bhanwari Devi has shown great resolve in the protracted legal battle that followed....

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....

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