The brutal murders of Shehzad and Shama, a Christian couple in the village of Kot Radha Kishan in Kasur district on 4th November, spawned predictable outrage in the press and social media. The rush of horror, the diagnoses and prescribed course of action against such violence involved the familiar paternalistic discourse of the ‘illiterate masses’ whose ‘ignorance’ evidently leaves them particularly vulnerable to the manipulation of the much maligned mullahs. Such a narrative serves the dual function of reducing religious violence to the faceless masses while at the same time reaffirming the educated urban upper class as the rightful custodian of Islam and Pakistan. This construction conveniently ignores the role played by the state and the elite in producing religious violence and feeds the class-based blind spots that exist in our understanding of what constitutes religious extremism.
Everybody loves Turkey. It’s where Pakistani families go for holidays, where students now go for education, where laborers go for work, where clerics go for counsel, and where both civilian and military officials and dignitaries go to find inspiration. Due to Turkey’s momentous economic and political rise, especially in the last decade, it is being held up to the rest of the Muslim world as a country worth emulating, and experts from everywhere have been referring to the “Turkish model” – an Islamic democracy with a robust economy – as the blueprint for a strong and stable (and still Muslim) country. Continue reading Why Pakistan Loves Turkey: Saim Saeed→
Imran Khan was not the first one to be obsessed with both cricket and politics. Saira and I beat him to it 20 years ago. We spent 50% of our time swooning over him and the other 50% worshipping Mr. Bhutto. 20 years later I believe it was I who got over Imran Khan and Saira who got over Mr. Bhutto. Although I must confess, it was Imran who adorned every inch of wall and closet space in my dressing room, the “shrine” as my brother labelled it. And it was Imran’s picture which popped out of the inside cover of my high school notebook. During moments of boredom and droning lectures I would stare at his picture for an hour straight and muse and sigh over the fact that one could see his house from the balcony of our school and perhaps today might be the day when he would come to pick up his sister from our school. The God, the Adonis, Imran was it for both of us.
I don’t know how Saira became an Imran groupie. I do recall well how I did. I was taken to my first ever live cricket match in 1976. My brother’s best friend pointed toward the field from high up in the spectator stands to what looked to me like white dots, and told me with much seriousness in his voice, “there over there is the most handsome man you’ll ever see…” and then he made his most remarkable claim, “he’s so handsome you’ll forget about Izzy!” Continue reading The Year of the Coup D’état: Fawzia Naqvi→