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Pakistan’s youth: The ideological challenge

Pakistani Leaders have abused religion and Anti-America slogans to achieve political gains for decades. This has created a society where committing barbarities in the name of Religion or using Anti-America sentiment is Kosher. For decades our youth have been in filled with Ideas that Taliban are fighting a “Holy War” against the Imperialist and Anti Islam forces thus their barbarities are overlooked. [View the story "Pakistan’s youth: The ideological challenge" on Storify] … Read entire article »

Filed under: Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, Drones, ISI, Pakistan, public policy, Raza Rumi, Storify, Twitter, violence, war

Pawns in a game

Pawns in a game

by Saad Hafiz It is no exaggeration to state that women have lived under centuries of arbitrary androcentric traditions and religious intolerance. An early illustration is the tale of Hypatia of Alexandria, a female philosopher and mathematician, born in Alexandria, Egypt in 370 CE. Hypatia was the daughter of the mathematician Theon, the last professor at the University of Alexandria, who tutored her in math, astronomy and the philosophy of the day, which, in modern times, … Read entire article »

Filed under: ancient civilisations, History, Honor Killing, human rights, Philosophy, Religion, Revolution, Women

A Rodeo of Political Chaos

A Rodeo of Political Chaos

By Fazal Abbas Tie-down Roping or Calf Roping is a timed rodeo event, particularly famous with American cowboys, which features a calf and a rider mounted on a horse. The goal of this sport is for the rider to lasso the calf, dismount from the horse, run to the calf, and control it by tying three legs together. All of these activities have to be executed in as short a time as possible. Now let’s apply this … Read entire article »

Filed under: Army, Democracy, Islamabad, Lahore, Opinion, Pakistan, Politics, Punjab, Revolution, Taliban, Terrorism

Servants, not masters

by Saad Hafiz In the aftermath to the country’s independence, Mr Jinnah clearly articulated the role of the military: “Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people. You do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.” Other than large-size pictures of the founding father that adorn military institutions, Mr Jinnah’s unambiguous view on civil-military relations was soon buried like the rest of his legacy, to the country’s detriment. With Mr Jinnah’s passing, the military swiftly suborned the political apparatus, becoming the driving force behind the country’s politics, ideology and destiny. It saw fit to manipulate civilian politicians, manage civilian institutions, and invest in a military economy … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy, Egalitarian Pakistan, human rights, Jinnah, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Politics, public policy, Society

It All Started With…

Obaidullah Khan Some of us might have heard the story of the young apprentice who was sent to a renowned healer of that time in a far away village to master the art of healing and could become a source of blessing for his village where no healer was available. The first patient they attended together was suffering from abdominal problem. The healer checked the pulse and while observing the surroundings he saw some grains of chickpeas under the patient’s bed. He asked the patients whether he ate chickpeas last time. His speculation got confirmed and the healer suggested the medicine and the patient became healthy again. While returning the apprentice told him that he had learned a lot during that visit and had already mastered the art of healing enough and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blasphemy, Citizens, Democracy, Egalitarian Pakistan, human rights, Islamism, Justice, Law, liberal Pakistan, minorities, Opinion, Punjab, Religion, Rights, secular Pakistan, Society, violence

Democracy and religion

By Saad Hafiz The theological ethicist Reinhold Niebuhr summed up his arguments on democracy and religion in two powerful sentences: 1) “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary” and 2) “Religion is so frequently a source of confusion in political life, and so frequently dangerous to democracy, precisely because it introduces absolutes into the realm of relative values.” Taking heed of Niebuhr’s concerns, modern secular, mostly western liberal democracies have tended to exclude religious considerations from civil affairs or public education.  These societies actively foster democratic traditions and institutions and discourage strident religious dogma.  Secular institutions ensure equality under the law, human rights, freedom of expression and respect for all religious beliefs.  In the political sphere, a tradition of free and fair elections encourages politicians and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy, Education, History, Islam, Pakistan, Religion, Rights

Crying Over Spilt Milk

Crying Over Spilt Milk

By Obaidullah Khan If you are living in a wooden cottage and see someone setting the very next wooden cottage on fire, what would you do? If you sit quietly and watch silently, thinking that a very next cottage on fire will cause no harm to my wooden cottage then you certainly are none other than a Pakistani. Believe it or not, we Pakistanis have the very same mindset as a whole. We damn care what … Read entire article »

Filed under: Al Qaeda, Citizens, Democracy, human rights, Islam, Islamism, liberal Pakistan, minorities, Pakistan, peace, Punjab, Religion, Rights, Rural, secularism, Sindh, Taliban, Terrorism, violence

Sadly, Imran Khan is on the wrong side of history

Kashif Ali Karl Marx famously said that history repeats itself “first as tragedy, second as farce”. It seems Imran Khan is proving Marx right. First of all, I am a strong Democrat. I have always detested military dictatorships. Perhaps it’s also the reason why I was so moved by the recent indictment of former President Pervez Musharraf that I even wrote a blog arguing how putting Musharraf on trial for his unlawful acts will strengthen the democratic process in Pakistan that has been hampered by frequent military interventions. However, it’s only recently that I began to realize that it is not just about military but the civilians have also done equal damage to the growth of a democratic tradition in Pakistan. Especially, since 1970’s, with the rise of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto; when politicians … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy, Elections, Marxism, Pakistan, Politics, Punjab, state

A Dysfunctional State

by Saad Hafiz Pakistan’s societal, economic and political travails place it in a category of deeply dysfunctional and nearly ungovernable states. Generally speaking, dysfunctional states exhibit high degrees of institutional inconsistency, social malaise, ideological confusion, political malfunction and national paranoia. As a consequence, such states are unable to leverage their people’s histories and traditions to construct effective formal institutions with wide legitimacy; nor can they draw on the social capital embedded in cohesive groups to facilitate economic, political, and social intercourse; neither are they able to employ the established governing capacities of their citizens to run the affairs of state. Moreover, national development is much dependent upon the quality of a nation’s human capital. Dysfunctional states do not invest in human capital—such as better schools and hospitals. They tend to discourage people … Read entire article »

Filed under: Economy, Egalitarian Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, Pakistan, Society

Good Luck India

Raza Habib Raja I have written before also that for me India holds a special place in my heart and I feel connected to it emotionally. Besides that as a student of politics also, India for me is an enigma with respect to its ability to sustain a balanced combination of democracy, secularism and stability over almost seven decades. It has to be understood that even in relatively homogeneous countries, these factors are difficult to combine and balance. And yet, India despite being so diverse and complex, has so far done well. It has not been a smooth ride but political will has always been there. I sincerely hope, that in the zeal of voting incumbents out of power, the Indian populace does not lose track of what exactly differentiates India from Pakistan. I … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Raza Rumi: I’m Proud of You!

Kasim Osmani It is nothing but a stroke of luck when you happen to meet and start working with your most favorite personality. The very idea that you are going to work with country’s prominent political analyst excites the imagination. It fills you with high spirits and you feel like the luckiest person on planet. I felt so, when I met and started working with Raza Rumi. A day after I shared my profile, I found myself sitting across Raza Rumi, having kehwa and discussing how I could contribute to his bulging workload. Staring at him with almost static eyeballs, I expressed my earnest gratitude and determination for the given responsibilities. Raza Rumi entirely changed my views about a boss and people working in “private sector”. Now, I had a smiling boss who … Read entire article »

Filed under: journalism, Terrorism

Taliban Are Right, We Are Wrong!

by Obaidullah Khan How painful is this fact for those who have not yet abandoned reason that our independent and sovereign state is negotiating with the terrorists. We are down to such a low that we are begging for mercy from those who are vicious barbarians and brazenly attack innocent citizens and the state institutions while our state seems to be helpless against them. Such barbarians must be dealt with an iron fist, is an established principle of politics in any country that claims to be independent and sovereign. Apart from disgracing the martyrs of our nation, whose blood is still of no value to our rulers, are we not disgracing our constitution by surrendering before those who are contemptuously mocking the writ of the state and its constitution and are … Read entire article »

Filed under: Terrorism

Punjab and Army

Punjab and Army

Raza Habib Raja Most of the political developments in Pakistan involve armed forces and also Punjab’s politicians as Punjab is the most populous province. Some or the other, a narrative has developed which links Punjab and armed forces (who mostly hail from Punjab) in a conspiring role.  The phrase “Punjabi Establishment” is often used by the liberal intelligentsia with the intention of not only showing the ethnic makeup of such establishment but also highlight its conspiracy mindset … Read entire article »

Filed under: Army, Punjab

Peace in Our Time

Peace in Our Time

Saad Hafiz Between phase of strident nationalism and armed conflict, India-Pakistan relations have mostly remained in deep freeze from which there still appears to be no hope of recovery. Historically, bilateral ties have been dominated by shrill jingoism, xenophobia and a quest for absolute justice at the expense of national interest and political realism. National leaders, instead of pursuing peace, have generally found it easier to propagate hawkish positions, unwilling to risk charges of appeasement, defeatism and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan, peace

Vying for Allah’s Vote

Vying for Allah’s Vote

Author: Haroon K. Ullah What is driving political extremism in Pakistan? In early 2011, the prominent Pakistani politician SalmaanTaseerwas assassinated by a member of his own security team for insulting Islam by expressing views in support of the rights of women and religious minorities. Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister, was killed by gunfire and explosive devices as she left a campaign event in December 2007; strong evidence links members of extremist organizations to her slaying. These … Read entire article »

Filed under: Books