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Showing posts from September, 2006

The importance of knowledge

“India’s ‘cash-for-fatwas’ scandal broke out last weekend when a TV channel broadcast a sting operation that showed several Indian Muslim clerics allegedly taking, or demanding, bribes in return for issuing fatwas, or religious edicts.
The bribes, some of which were as low as $ 60, were offered by undercover reporters wearing hidden cameras over a period of six weeks. In return for the cash, the clerics appear to hand out fatwas written in Urdu, the language used by many Muslims in Pakistan and India, on subjects requested by the reporters.
Among the decrees issued by the fatwas: that Muslims are not allowed to use credit cards, double beds, or camera-equipped cell phones, and should not act in films, donate their organs, or teach their children English. One cleric issued a fatwa against watching TV; another issued a fatwa in support of watching TV” — ‘India’s Cash-for-Fatwa Scandal’, Aravind Adiga, Time Magazine, September 21, 2006.

After reading this news, I wondered which fatwas shoul…

Abusing the innocent

While passing by the canal one day when it was raining, the sight of innocent children diving into the canal and enjoying the rain made me think how blissfully unaware these children are of the dangerous times we live in. They have no idea what kind of vultures inhabit the same planet, ready to pounce upon innocent children whenever they get a chance.

“A boy gunned down a man who sodomised him 10 years ago in the suburban area Lehri Potha…” – ‘Sodomy victim kills assailant after 10 years’ (The Post, September 2, 2006). “A father subjected his two-year-old daughter to sexual violence in the suburban area of Korotana…” – ‘Father rapes two-year-old daughter’ (The Post, August 30, 2006). “Accused Malik Arif, a resident of Mohallah Usman Ghani, along with his accomplices kidnapped the 12-year-old girl of the same area with the help of a woman and took her to a house in a deserted place where he subjected her to sexual violence for one year” – ‘Minor kidnapped, raped for one year’ (The Post…

Career women: a matrimonial hazard?

While going through some discussions at an online forum, one topic caught my attention. It was titled ‘Why you should not marry career women’ and it quoted an article that said, “Guys: a word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don’t marry a woman with a career” (‘Why you shouldn’t marry career women’ by Michael Noer, Forbes). The article goes on to state how research has found that the chances of a successful marriage are lower if men marry professional women since they are “…more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it.”

Indeed, this is reflective of a typical chauvinistic mindset. Throughout human history, men have been portrayed as protectors, supporters, financers, caretakers and breadwinners, and therefore it is deemed that a career is a must for them. Most people think that a woman merely works fo…

Fire works?

Recently, the debate related to corruption charges against Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and some of his cabinet colleagues seems to have become so heated that critical documents relevant to it caught fire at the Privatisation Commission (PC) building. According to reports, a mysterious fire broke out Friday on the second floor of the PC building where very important documents related to privatised national entities had been stored. It gutted records, equipment and furniture. It was the second incident of a mysterious fire at the Shaheed-e-Millat Secretariat in five years in which sensitive documents were destroyed. Our government seems to have acquired abilities that would make Stephen King’s horrific Charlie (of Firestarter fame), who could conjure up fires just by thinking about them, seem like a cute Barbie doll. Or maybe the Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) executives with offices on that floor spend too much time gassing. If the presence of Karachi Electric Supply Corporatio…

Bugti's death: 1971 revisited?

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The news of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti’s killing in a military operation sent a chill down my spine as I started to think of all the repercussions this tragedy could unfold. Switching on my television set and watching images of Akbar Bugti flash as news of his death was being broadcast, tears filled my eyes. Although I was sad about Bugti’s death, these tears were not for him solely; they were more for Pakistan’s future. These were not just tears of mourning; they were tears of outrage, as well – outrage at the so-called leaders who have not learned any lessons from the 1971 debacle and are bent on repeating the same mistakes again and again. Worse, they blame ‘foreign hands’ when they themselves are responsible for each and every fiasco in the history of Pakistan.

R.…