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What do you Think of Muslims? Challenging Perceptions.

How the son of Pakistani parents is fighting to dispel stereotypes and ‘teach tolerance and integration’ in the UK. In the current climate, the image of Muslims as extremists and zealots stands tall in the public conscience. The unblinking spotlight on the supposed ills of the Islamic world fills the mind with shadowy pictures of militancy and terrorism. But a new initiative in the UK seeks to dispel the darkness and return the image of Muslims back into the light. Media Cultured, a community interest company based in Teeside, England, aims to challenge stereotypes and foster “community cohesion and harmony” through the use of social media and film. The organization was founded by its fresh-faced director, Amjid Khazir, a British born Muslim who used to work in PR and internet marketing. Though … Read entire article »

Filed under: Identity

Rising power?

By Yusra Askari Connecting With the World In Their Own Voice: Bridging the Mainstream Media Gap from PeaceNiche on Vimeo.   I was asked to moderate a panel discussion at the ‘Social Media Mela 2012’. Scheduled for the 14th of July, the debate was titled ‘Connecting with the World In Their Own Voice: Bridging the Mainstream Media Gap’ and focused on the challenges faced by region’s minorities. Among the participants; Smita Choudhary, a rights activist working in Chattisgarh and from Kashmir, Sabbah Haji and Raheel Khursheed. Representing the minorities of Pakistan, Imran Jattala of the Ahmediya Times, Anthony Permal, a Pakistani Christian based in Dubai and rights activist, Irfan Ali, a member of Quetta’s Shia Hazara community. The participants spoke passionately about the threats facing their respective communites. All in attendance agreed, one voice clearly stood … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogging, Opinion, Technology

Messianic solutions

By Saad Hafiz: Societies that twist between negativity and cynicism are fertile ground for would-be saviours — political and military strongmen — with messianic proposals and authoritarian models. These would-be messiahs advocate quick fix solutions and extempore decision-making, which are often easier to sell during times of economic hardship and physical insecurity. Spin-doctors are on hand to convince people that centralised power offers magical political, social and economic solutions. The wonders of centralised power are contrasted with a wasteful, tedious and corrupt democratic system. The tried and failed European fascist models of the 20th century offered comparable hope with an affirmation of ‘traditional values’ of a conventional social ideology, such as ‘machismo’, family values, religious faith, patriotism, social structure, honour, and traditional hard work. Asvero Gravelli, a prominent author on fascism at the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy

In a perpetual state of mourning

By Saad Hafiz: Tens of thousands of people have been killed in extremist violence in Pakistan since the late 1980s. The country has earned a reputation for being a hotbed of extremism and violence. The latest atrocity is the bomb blasts in Quetta targeting the Shia minority, which killed and injured over 200 people. The self-contained killing machines of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) and their acolytes are operating at full capacity and with total impunity, butchering vulnerable communities at will. The Islamic Republic has clearly failed in its primary responsibility to protect the people, particularly the minorities and the weak from the extremist threat. James Madison aptly described this responsibility: “It is of great importance for a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy


by Dr Tariq Khan: Sounds familiar? To me, very much so. I have heard nothing else but, as I grew up from a beardless boy in the 50’s and 60’s, to the present. This is what each set of corrupt and incompetent  “rulers” , whether Military or Civilian, have been telling us by way of a soother, while they picked our pockets with increasing brazenness. And not too much finesse. We seem to have got stuck on this Nazuk Morh, while others have surged on. Our arch enemy India is now way up there rubbing shoulders with the elite nations of this planet. But even Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh et al have all long overtaken us, while we are languishing on the Nazuk Morh with our 1950’s mindset and narrow Military … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

In Memorium: The Bara 15

In Memorium: The Bara 15

by Said Nazir Afridi Pakistan army, once the most respected institution in the government, abandoned Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan and is now losing the sympathy and love of tribesmen. It is not because of the military operation against the militants but for the indiscriminate use of force in the war on terror. The recent killing of 15 innocent tribesmen at the hands of the security forces in Alamgudar area of Bara is one of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Why I do not support Dr Tahir ul Qadri

Tughral Turab Ali One thing that must be said for Dr. Tahir ul Qadri whether one agrees with his agenda or not is that he has caused an immense amount of debate within Pakistan, which has become increasingly divisive the longer his ‘long march’ has worn on. What it really boils down to is this: is Dr. Qadri leading the revolution that Pakistan has been waiting for? His supporters argue that he is and also that he … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

It is about fixing the economy

The recurring message is that Pakistan’s economy is on a very fragile footing and the country needs to get its financial house in order. Barring a few growth blips and positive news, Pakistan’s economic story has been mostly about unsustainable government finances, stagnating growth, steadily deteriorating standard of living and high inflation, widening fiscal and trade deficits, and the free fall of the rupee. The seriously flawed economic policies pursued for decades have ensured state control of the vital organs of the economy, the inflationary printing of money, and the absence of real economic growth and productivity. We can factor in the endemic corruption and domestic terrorism, which scares away business and investment and the heavy dependence on loans and financing, which undermines national sovereignty. In the face of declining … Read entire article »

Filed under: Economy

Jinnah v. Nehru – who was more democratic?

It is fashionable amongst Pakistanis to point out how “autocratic” Jinnah was as opposed to Jawaharlal Nehru and somehow it was this autocratic behavior on the part of the father of the nation that is the reason why Pakistan is a dysfunctional democracy at best. The truth of course is that Jinnah’s conduct as His Majesty’s Governor General of Pakistan was far more democratic than that of Nehru as his Majesty’s Prime Minister of India and here is why: 1. Section 93/Article 356:  The power to dismiss provincial assemblies. This was omitted by Jinnah in GOIA 1935’s Pakistani adaptation but was retained by Nehru.  This is significant. Jinnah did not send provincial assemblies packing.  His so called dismissal of Khan Sahib’s ministry was necessitated by the fact that Khan sb had lost … Read entire article »

Filed under: Jinnah

The Dwindling Hope and the Case for Military Action

Raza Habib Raja Terrorism has again struck Shiites in Quetta killing many people. As I write these sentences, the targeted Hazaras who have witnessed massacre over the past many years, are refusing to bury the bodies and demanding direct military rule in Quetta. This is the lowest Pakistan can get where the state has become so dysfunctional that people actually start wanting direct military rule. In the rest of the Pakistan, there have been sporadic protests … Read entire article »

Filed under: Army, Islam, quetta, Religion, Terrorism

The people’s will

By Saad Hafiz: As Pakistanis gear up for elections in the new year amid clarion calls from some elected and self-appointed ‘saviours’  to rediscover clean and true politics, it may be worth examining the state of Pakistan’s democracy. As a start, it is significant that democracy in Pakistan survived at all, as it seemed doomed from the start. The young country had no democratic traditions; in fact, Muslim culture with its ingrained authoritarianism discouraged the creation and nurturing of a democracy. The task of establishing a democratic state was left to the feudal-controlled All Pakistan Muslim League, which had a questionable devotion to democracy. Many leaders to come, including those from the armed forces backed by reactionary elements, some of whom had opposed the creation of the country, actively conspired to overthrow democracy. A key weakness of democracy in Pakistan since its inception has … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy

Playing all sides of the fence

By Saad Hafiz: There is nothing new in the pattern of condemnations and wake up calls after the recent assassination of Bashir Bilour by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Similar views were expressed after the murders of Benazir Bhutto, Salmaan Taseer and other notable terrorism victims. A consensus on a concerted strategy to combat the existential threat posed by terrorism continues to elude the country despite the thousands of military and civilian casualties in the war on terror. The military and the politicians prevaricate comfortably in passing the buck on to the other. The other key social influencers — the clergy, the intelligentsia and the media — seem pleased in obfuscating the terrorism issue. The TTP’s brazen confidence grows as they casually accept responsibility for their various acts of murder and mayhem. Their immediate … Read entire article »

Filed under: Terrorism

What Happened in DHQ Gujranwala Today?

What Happened in DHQ Gujranwala Today?

by Abdul Majeed Today, on 2nd January 2013, there was a scuffle in District Head Quarter Hospital(DHQ), Gujranwala between doctors and Medical Superintendent, the administrative In-charge of the Hospital. Later on, there was a fight between doctors and Media personnel as well. As a result of this brouhaha, Medical Superintendent, Dr Anwar Amanullah got injured. This news has been highlighted throughout the day by Pakistan’s electronic media and some of the twitterati have taken to criticizing … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Thumbs Down Part II

Thumbs Down Part II

by Abdul Majeed (Read Part I Here) I was in the United States for one month on an exchange program for youth leaders from Pakistan. Apart from innumerable things that I liked while I was there, some aspects of American life did not appeal to me as much as the rest of them. Following are some of those snippets of Daily American Life that I noticed and was not too pleased about. Cart food,the other side I discovered on … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Bilawal Bhutto’s speech and why I will Vote for PPP

Raza Habib Raja Let me be clear: I don’t like legacy politics. However, I do understand that in the context of South Asian politics, it is perhaps the only way for the political parties to survive. So when Bilawal was launched, I had mixed feelings. Knowing that PPP has a consistent vote bank and the internal culture of the party is such that if anyone drawing direct lineage from Bhutto is made the leader, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Army, Benazir Bhutto, Democracy, dynasties, Egalitarian Pakistan, Elections, Liberal Democratic Pakistan