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Showing posts from September, 2007

Keep religion out of sports!

What does religion and sports have in common? Apparently nothing. Ever heard of a Christian sport, a Jewish sport, a Buddhist sport, a Hindu sport, a Muslim sport, etc? I have not, have you? Then why did Shoaib Malik thank the Muslims around the world and said he was sorry that the team could not perform for them despite giving its 100 percent in the ICC World Twenty20 final? Malik said, “I want to thank you back home Pakistan and where the Muslims live all over the world. Thank you very much and I am sorry that we did not win, but we did give our 100 percent.”

One of my Indian friends thought that Malik was playing politics and was using the ‘Muslim’ card to show that the Pakistan cricket team had put up a good fight for the Muslims. While another Indian friend thought that Malik blundered and that it was just a slip of the tongue. I think both my Indian friends were wrong.

Having seen many of Malik’s interviews on TV, I can say that he is not someone who would play politics or use the…

The myth of September 6, 1965

Every year we Pakistanis celebrate September 6th with a lot of ‘national fervour’ and laud the armed forces for being ‘victorious’ against the Indian forces back in the 1965 war. The state commemorates the ‘Defence Day’ by holding various ceremonies and special programmes. Milli naghmay (patriotic songs) are aired on the local television channels and radio stations, while the newspapers bring out special supplements to mark the day. This is all very well, but I wonder if our people know that in actuality we are not celebrating a victory. Not only did we lose militarily in 1965 – state propaganda aside – but we also lost our national unity in the process. Forty-two years down the road, ours is a country that is on the verge of dismemberment, again.

August 1947 gave birth to two independent states, India and Pakistan. It also gave birth to territorial disputes that haunt both South Asian neighbours to date. Kashmir is one of the main disputed territories. The two infant states fought a w…

Religious extremism in Pakistan (finale)

General Pervez Musharraf’s military coup on October 12, 1999, was greeted with joy by the general public, who heaved a sigh of relief at the ouster of the autocratic ‘civilian’ ruler Nawaz Sharif. The public sentiment at that time had turned against democratic rule due to the disappointing tenures of both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. Ironically, civil society too supported Musharraf due to his ‘moderate’ outlook and saw him, a military dictator, as a ray of hope for the ‘bright’ future of Pakistan. Militant Islamic groups were also ecstatic at Musharraf’s coming to power. “Abdullah Muntazir, spokesperson for Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (Army of the Pure), a religious-cum-militant group primarily operating in Indian Kashmir, declared that now Pakistan should have an Islamic system on the pattern of Afghanistan’s Taliban. Such elements perhaps were waiting for another General Ziaul Haq, who had fathered them, not knowing that Musharraf was reputed to be cut from a very different cloth” (Abbas…