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A Telefilm on Interfaith Harmony

Pakistan’s first ever film on the subject of interfaith harmony and social cohesion. Titled ‘Aasha – Ik Ummeed’ was telecast n PTV Home on the Easter eve. The telefilm critically comments on our general attitude towards the followers of different faiths in Pakistan. The simple but gripping story depicts our attitude as a society towards non-Muslim countrymen that frustrates them at every level.The writer and director Kashif Nisar through his artistic portrayal and convincing script tries to remind us how our one-sided narrative in school syllabus reinforced by our hateful attitudes has taken our non-Muslim citizens away from Pakistan. Though the story teller Amir Raza has made the issue of education as its peg but the simple symbolism tells a bigger story – story of a Pakistan where much is … Read entire article »

Filed under: minorities, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Reviews, Society

Wearing a Veil is My Right

Wearing a Veil is My Right

By Sana Ahmad     Can you imagine being made to feel like you do not belong? Can you imagine being made to feel that you are inferior because of a piece of clothing? That your ideals are wrong if they are different from the norm? This is something that people face even today. With time, our society is becoming more and more judgmental and narrow minded. Today, we see various campaigns trying to promote diversity, trying to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, Opinion, Religion, secularism, Society, Women

A war of narratives

A war of narratives

By Saad Hafiz Apart from the security challenges, the struggle against jihadi extremism is primarily a ‘war of narratives”. Extremists have been able to cleverly manipulate, promote and reinforce their master narratives, which are largely based on the west’s hegemonic designs in the Muslim world and its crusade against Islam. They have also been able to exploit, to great effect, narratives related to the weak political, social, and historical conditions of Muslims. Jihadi narratives are … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islamism, Pakistan, Religion, Society, Taliban, Terrorism

Good for Nothing

Good for Nothing

By Taj Siddiqui Last week we were invited to our friend’s home, Abdul and his wife Katharine. We have known them for over 30 years. Our children grew up playing together. During the dinner, their daughter Salma asked me, “Uncle I want to marry a boy in my college. His name is Mike. My father tells me that I am not allowed to marry him because he is an infidel”. Instead of answering her, I politely … Read entire article »

Filed under: Education, Egalitarian Pakistan, Islam, minorities, Pakistan

Milaad Events Over, Advertisement Continues!

Milaad Events Over, Advertisement Continues!

By Kasim Osmani Every year the month of Rabiyul Awal comes with streets of my town glittering with iridescent flashing lights hanging down from top of every house like a necklace, while in a few streets, the enthusiasts fix rows of tiny electric bulbs on either sides of the street that looks as if you stand beneath a ceiling decorated with multicolored stars in the night. All these arrangements are made by local Milaad committees comprising volunteers … Read entire article »

Filed under: Anniversery, Blasphemy, Islam, Islamism, Pakistan, Religion, Society

Living with political Islam

Living with political Islam

by Saad Hafiz As secularists and democrats, we do not want religion applied to politics, as we believe that religion is too divisive. We believe that democratic freedoms are strengthened by the separation of religion from politics. We are sceptical of religion playing a constructive role as an agent of stability and predictability. This does not mean, however, that we should support demands to ban political parties having a religious platform, like the Muslim Brotherhood in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Al Qaeda, Citizens, Islam, Islam for Peace, Islamic Holy Book Quran, Islamism, Middle East, minorities, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Politics, Religion, secularism, Society

Idiotic autocrats

Idiotic autocrats

by Saad Hafiz A Turkish government spokesman summarised the reaction to the outcome of the 2007 Turkish parliamentary elections in other Muslim countries as: “What the hell did the Turks do right that we did not do? How come they can manage a predominantly Muslim population, negotiate [for membership] with the EU [European Union], and have a workable democracy while we are stuck with these idiotic autocrats?” The spokesman may have lacked tact but he cut … Read entire article »

Filed under: Citizens, Democracy, Islam, Opinion, Pak Tea House

Peace and tolerance

Peace and tolerance

by Saad Hafiz In yet another manifestation of the hate that appears to be deeply ingrained in Pakistan, four members of the Ahmedi community in Gujranwala were murdered last week by a mob protesting an allegedly blasphemous post on Facebook by an Ahmedi youth. A mob incited by the pulpit, feeding on suspicion and rumour, killed the defenceless for simply being different. These acts ensure that minorities live with murderous intolerance that tarnishes society at large. It … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blasphemy, human rights, Islam, Islamism, minorities, Pakistan, Religion, Rights, violence

Don’t worry Braadir!

by Quratul Ain Haider Zaider I don’t care if Latif Johar is on hunger strike till death! Yeah I know he’s not eating anything from the last 35 days. It’s his choice after all. To hell with those people who are demanding their rights by indulging in novel techniques of protests in Balochistan. You know most of them are involved in anti state activities, and what is happening with them is what they deserve. Our agencies know better about the issue and we should not create any hurdle in their work due to our own naivety. Balochis are basically trying to gain the sympathy by these subterfuge acts. I laugh at the people who try to compare the situation of Balochistan with East Pakistan. They don’t know anything actually. Long Live … Read entire article »

Filed under: baluchistan, Blasphemy, Doctors, human rights, Islam, Islamism, liberal Pakistan, minorities, peace, Religion, Society, Taliban, violence

The bigotry I live with

Ahsan Iftikhar Nagi Over and again, I found myself in the same frustrating situation. I was repeatedly told that I – along with my community – was a non-Muslim. Each time, I tried to defend my position quoting the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad PBUH. I tried to explain why only God could decide one’s faith and I had all right to sincerely believe and consider myself a Muslim. This had become a daily exercise. My own colleagues insist that the Ahmadis are infidels, in my very presence. Some of them knew well that I was one. On a few instances, people even declared the Ahmadis “worthy of death” during routine conversations. Hearing such stuff frequently is not what frustrates me the most. The fact that I cannot respond to such bigotry because … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blasphemy, Citizens, Democracy, human rights, Islam, Islamism, minorities, Pakistan, public policy, Religion, Rights, Society

Mightier than the Keystroke

By KM Khan and Amaar Ahmad: We have often heard that “pen is mightier than the sword” but unfortunately in present Pakistan it seems that “bullet is mightier than the keystroke”. The attack on Raza Rumi back in March proves that our society is becoming intolerant with each passing day. The life of all law-abiding Pakistanis irrespective of their background is at stake. No wonder the country has been stamped by the United Nations as the most dangerous place for the journalists. Unlike any minority member of Pakistan such as Ahmadis, Hindus or Christians, Raza Rumi is like any other regular Muslim according to constitution; his would-be assassins did not want him dead due to religion but because of him being opinionated. It was due to the liberal views of Rumi that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Ali Dayan Hasan Departs Human Rights Watch

(New York, May 3, 2014) – Human Rights Watch regrets to announce the departure of its Pakistan director, Ali Dayan Hasan, after 11 years with the organization. Hasan joined Human Rights Watch in 2003. Over the past decade, he has been a pioneering figure in the organization’s internationalization efforts, providing inspiration to replicate the process more broadly across the international human rights movement. With his background as a journalist, Hasan has shown what a gifted writer, tireless advocate, and constant media presence can accomplish in the most challenging of circumstances. In the face of public threats and at risk to himself, Hasan has been a powerful and relentless voice against abuses by government authorities and militant groups, and against complicity in such abuses by US and British authorities. Hasan’s exemplary body of work – … Read entire article »

Filed under: human rights, journalism, Pakistan

Muslims need to re-evaluate their interpretations and Ulema

By Amaar Ahmad: Chaos and violence in the name of Islam across the Muslim world should make us pause and evaluate the root cause of the problems. Is is not true that some Muslims (i) believe in violent Jihad against non-Muslims, (ii) believe in applying Takfir against fellow Muslims who disagree in interpretation of religion, and (iii) believe that punishment for apostasy or blasphemy is death? We must admit that these very beliefs are the root cause of so many conflicts. We must not deny that these so-called “Islamic” beliefs are used to fuel violence and terrorism today. We must accept that numerous religious scholars throughout history have believed in such violent concepts. Many apologists say that “Jihad” can only be conducted by state and not individuals. That blasphemy … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Does A Veil Define A Muslim Woman’s Character?

Haider Rifaat Fear is the first word that comes to my mind when I hear the phrase “Degradation of Women.” Islam, on every level has given women paramount rights more than any living being on earth. On account of the terrorist activities, millions of lives have been affected in both, rural and urban areas of Pakistan. Children’s mindsets, on the other hand are being brainwashed in some religious institutions, even today. Furthermore, several extremist groups have been using children as military weapons. In many rural areas of Pakistan, women are forcibly thwarted from holding pens in their hands. Similarly, there have been cases of sexual enslavement, castigation and physical ill treatment of women who struggled to receive better education from schools and colleges. One of the reasons as to why such … Read entire article »

Filed under: human rights, Islam, liberal Pakistan, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Religion, Women

What Muslims Should Remember….

Raza Habib Raja It is often claimed by my fellow Muslims that the world is unfair to us and harbors misperceptions about Islam. What Muslims often overlook is that world’s perception about them as well as Islam is shaped by their actions. So this is what they should remember before complaining. If you endorse terrorism, either openly or through apologetic defense, and that too on religious grounds, then please do not expect the world to consider Islam as a religion of peace, because it simply won’t. It is hard to imagine it doing so when some of the followers are ready to blow themselves in the middle of crowded places which contain even little children on the pretext that Israel has been unfair to Palestinians! Or West has been unfair to Islam. It is even … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, minorities