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China panel hears first transgender discrimination case

China panel hears first transgender discrimination case

A Chinese arbitration panel held a hearing Monday in what is believed to be the country’s first transgender employment discrimination case, according to the lawyer in the case. A ruling… Read more »

Kamal & Co announce ‘Pak Sarzameen Party’

Kamal & Co announce ‘Pak Sarzameen Party’

Former MQM leader and Karachi mayor says manifesto of new party being drafted by those who are ‘most competent’ Says he and his colleagues ‘don’t want to divide people’s hearts… Read more »

Storks give up migration, eat junk food instead

Storks give up migration, eat junk food instead

Courtesy The Independent The stork’s reputation in folklore for transporting babies to broody households owes much to the lengthy migration it makes each spring from Africa to Europe. But the… Read more »

Afridi’s problem

Afridi’s problem

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‘Among the Believers’: Why sitting on the fence is no longer an option it does look as though Pakistani society is locked in a fight till death with the dark forces of fundamentalism. It is time people stop shifting the blame to USA, India or Israel and start tackling the real grass root problems in our society  March 10, 2016, 11:44 am SHARE :      Aamir Butt     inShare Recently I was fortunate to watch the first screening of Among the Believers at FC College. This documentary has been made by two America based Pakistani filmmakers. Apparently, one of them lost children from his family in the APS massacre. However, it is Professor Hoodbhoy who looks to be the driving force behind the film. The film centres on Red Mosque and its leader Maulana Abdul Aziz. It very clearly outlines the system through which young children are left at one of the 10,000 seminaries run by the Lal Masjid network throughout Pakistan. The children stay there for years with minimum contact with their families and all they do is learn Quran by heart from dawn till 9 pm. The method is rote learning and no meaning of the text is taught. Not only are these children from poor families provided free boarding and lodging, their parents are also told that not only the child who memorises Quran will go to heaven but along with him 10 members of his family will reach paradise as well! The film shows Maulana Aziz declaring that the only way Pakistan can get out of this spiral of violence is by enforcing Quran and Sunnah in the land. He also clearly states that his mission in life is to keep working for enforcement of rule of Quran and Sunnah in Pakistan and beyond and he will not change. “Arrest me, shoot me, but don’t expect me to stop doing what I do” he declares in a chilling scene.  In one sequence we are shown pages from an illustrated qaida used to teach in one such madrassas. A is for Allah, B is for Bandook (gun) H is for Hijab (veil) , T is for Takrao (collusion) with planes showed slamming into World Trade Centre. Z is for Zahof (Sin) and every source of entertainment like music, TV, chess etc is depicted as sin.  The film also runs a parallel story of a young girl, barely in her teens, from a family of 13 who was enrolled in one of such madrassas but escaped as she wanted to go to school. She then went to school for a while and loved it; but the school was closed after receiving threats from the militants and thus her father married her off! I am sure this is a story of thousands of girls across Pakistan.  There are also some encouraging stories of people who are trying to spread modern education in these villages but are intimidated and threatened by the militants. The threats as we know are real. In one scene we are shown schoolgirls making a model of their school, and at its gate they place a guard with a sword in his hand. He is there to protect from the jihadis, their teacher explains, “So why a sword in his hand, why not a gun?’’ he is asked and in a hilarious, extempore response he says:  “Oh because they have a suicide vest and it should explode. With a sword it is just clean decapitation.”  After the film’s screening Professor Hoodbhoy, who deserves the highest praise for his courage and passion, engaged the audience in a question and answers session. Most of the audience were students and they asked typical questions Pakistanis ask on this issue, like:  “If someone kills my child I will kill his child. So while it is sad the children died in APS attack, what about the children who died in drone attacks?’’  To this Professor Hoodbhoy replied:  “Well we love to shift all blame on US drones and while I condemn the loss of innocent lives in drone attacks we need to understand that these deaths are accidental and not intentional. On the other hand, the attacks on APS and Charsada are intentional slaying of innocent men, women and children.’’  Another question was:  “Most of madrassas don’t teach violence, they teach Quran, so how can this make the children into jihadis?’’  Professor Hoodbhoy explained that while they may not be directly encouraging violence (though they often are for Islam) they teach obedience in the name of Allah and so the students can easily be led to violence in the name of Allah.  Now we all know how Maulana Abdul Aziz’s set up is producing foot soldiers for the fundamentalist jihadi militias. But the most important point the film makes can be easily missed and Professor Hoodbhoy made sure that the audience take note of it: that Abdul Aziz and his followers sincerely believe what they are doing is god’s work and will bring betterment for the world. These people are not greedy for money or power, all they seek is to enforce the commands of Quran and Sunnah in the land and how can enforcement of Quran be anything but good for the humanity? As Professor Hoodbhoy pleaded, rather desperately, “This is no laughing matter, this is life and death”. And it does look as though Pakistani society is locked in a fight till death with the dark forces of fundamentalism. It is time people stop shifting the blame to USA, India or Israel and start tackling the real grass root problems in our society. I am afraid it is no longer enough to sit on the fence; the population has to take a stand against religious fundamentalism. And in this those who don’t participate actively will by default become allies of the fundos, even if they don’t agree with them.

‘Among the Believers’: Why sitting on the fence is no longer an option it does look as though Pakistani society is locked in a fight till death with the dark forces of fundamentalism. It is time people stop shifting the blame to USA, India or Israel and start tackling the real grass root problems in our society March 10, 2016, 11:44 am SHARE : Aamir Butt inShare Recently I was fortunate to watch the first screening of Among the Believers at FC College. This documentary has been made by two America based Pakistani filmmakers. Apparently, one of them lost children from his family in the APS massacre. However, it is Professor Hoodbhoy who looks to be the driving force behind the film. The film centres on Red Mosque and its leader Maulana Abdul Aziz. It very clearly outlines the system through which young children are left at one of the 10,000 seminaries run by the Lal Masjid network throughout Pakistan. The children stay there for years with minimum contact with their families and all they do is learn Quran by heart from dawn till 9 pm. The method is rote learning and no meaning of the text is taught. Not only are these children from poor families provided free boarding and lodging, their parents are also told that not only the child who memorises Quran will go to heaven but along with him 10 members of his family will reach paradise as well! The film shows Maulana Aziz declaring that the only way Pakistan can get out of this spiral of violence is by enforcing Quran and Sunnah in the land. He also clearly states that his mission in life is to keep working for enforcement of rule of Quran and Sunnah in Pakistan and beyond and he will not change. “Arrest me, shoot me, but don’t expect me to stop doing what I do” he declares in a chilling scene. In one sequence we are shown pages from an illustrated qaida used to teach in one such madrassas. A is for Allah, B is for Bandook (gun) H is for Hijab (veil) , T is for Takrao (collusion) with planes showed slamming into World Trade Centre. Z is for Zahof (Sin) and every source of entertainment like music, TV, chess etc is depicted as sin. The film also runs a parallel story of a young girl, barely in her teens, from a family of 13 who was enrolled in one of such madrassas but escaped as she wanted to go to school. She then went to school for a while and loved it; but the school was closed after receiving threats from the militants and thus her father married her off! I am sure this is a story of thousands of girls across Pakistan. There are also some encouraging stories of people who are trying to spread modern education in these villages but are intimidated and threatened by the militants. The threats as we know are real. In one scene we are shown schoolgirls making a model of their school, and at its gate they place a guard with a sword in his hand. He is there to protect from the jihadis, their teacher explains, “So why a sword in his hand, why not a gun?’’ he is asked and in a hilarious, extempore response he says: “Oh because they have a suicide vest and it should explode. With a sword it is just clean decapitation.” After the film’s screening Professor Hoodbhoy, who deserves the highest praise for his courage and passion, engaged the audience in a question and answers session. Most of the audience were students and they asked typical questions Pakistanis ask on this issue, like: “If someone kills my child I will kill his child. So while it is sad the children died in APS attack, what about the children who died in drone attacks?’’ To this Professor Hoodbhoy replied: “Well we love to shift all blame on US drones and while I condemn the loss of innocent lives in drone attacks we need to understand that these deaths are accidental and not intentional. On the other hand, the attacks on APS and Charsada are intentional slaying of innocent men, women and children.’’ Another question was: “Most of madrassas don’t teach violence, they teach Quran, so how can this make the children into jihadis?’’ Professor Hoodbhoy explained that while they may not be directly encouraging violence (though they often are for Islam) they teach obedience in the name of Allah and so the students can easily be led to violence in the name of Allah. Now we all know how Maulana Abdul Aziz’s set up is producing foot soldiers for the fundamentalist jihadi militias. But the most important point the film makes can be easily missed and Professor Hoodbhoy made sure that the audience take note of it: that Abdul Aziz and his followers sincerely believe what they are doing is god’s work and will bring betterment for the world. These people are not greedy for money or power, all they seek is to enforce the commands of Quran and Sunnah in the land and how can enforcement of Quran be anything but good for the humanity? As Professor Hoodbhoy pleaded, rather desperately, “This is no laughing matter, this is life and death”. And it does look as though Pakistani society is locked in a fight till death with the dark forces of fundamentalism. It is time people stop shifting the blame to USA, India or Israel and start tackling the real grass root problems in our society. I am afraid it is no longer enough to sit on the fence; the population has to take a stand against religious fundamentalism. And in this those who don’t participate actively will by default become allies of the fundos, even if they don’t agree with them.

Recently I was fortunate to watch the first screening of Among the Believers at FC College. This documentary has been made by two America based Pakistani filmmakers. Apparently, one of them lost children… Read more »

Police arrest two IS members in Lahore

Police arrest two IS members in Lahore

Police on late Tuesday night arrested two members of the militant Islamic State (IS) from Awan Town locality of the city. Accused Talha and information technology expert Amjad Rizwan were… Read more »

Bomb explodes outside Greek business federation offices in Athens-police

Bomb explodes outside Greek business federation offices in Athens-police

A bomb exploded outside the offices of a Greek business federation in central Athens early on Tuesday, police officials said, smashing windows but causing no injuries. Attacks against banks, politicians,… Read more »

Honour’ killing: Pakistani man strangles daughter to death in Germany

Honour’ killing: Pakistani man strangles daughter to death in Germany

A Pakistani father in Germany has confessed to strangling his 19-year-old daughter to death. Asadullah Khan, 51, strangled his daughter, Lareeb Khan, after he learnt of her relationship with a… Read more »

Pakistani pilgrim saved wheelchair-bound wife from Mina stampede

Pakistani pilgrim saved wheelchair-bound wife from Mina stampede

A Pakistani teacher has described how he saved his wife from a deadly stampede in Saudi Arabia by pulling her from her wheelchair as fellow Hajj pilgrims were trampled to… Read more »

Afghan forces plan fightback after Taliban overrun key city

Afghan forces plan fightback after Taliban overrun key city

Afghanistan on Tuesday mobilised reinforcements for a counter-offensive to take back Kunduz, a day after Taliban insurgents overran the strategic northern city in their biggest victory since being ousted from… Read more »

Nawaz pledges continued personnel, infantry support to UN peacekeeping missions

Nawaz pledges continued personnel, infantry support to UN peacekeeping missions

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday announced Pakistan’s resolve to continue contributing peacekeeping personnel and infantry to international missions. “We are pledging an infantry battalion, transport, engineering and signals companies,… Read more »

US air strike hits Taliban in captured Afghan city: Nato

US air strike hits Taliban in captured Afghan city: Nato

The US carried out an air strike Tuesday in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, a day after its provincial capital was captured by the Taliban. “US forces conducted an… Read more »

Afghanistan and Pakistan are not brothers, says Ghani

Afghanistan and Pakistan are not brothers, says Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday said that Afghanistan’s relationship with Pakistan was not a brotherly one but a relationship between two states. During an interview with the British Broadcasting… Read more »

Nine killed as tractor-trolley plunges into canal in DI Khan

Nine killed as tractor-trolley plunges into canal in DI Khan

At least nine persons of same family including seven children and two women were killed when a tractor trolley plunged into a canal on Chashma Road in Dera Ismail Khan on Saturday…. Read more »

Same weapons used in attacks on traffic wardens, Geo News van

Same weapons used in attacks on traffic wardens, Geo News van

KARACHI: A forensic test of empty casings of bullets fired on traffic wardens on Mai Kolachi Road suggests involvement of the same group in previous attacks on policemen in Karachi…. Read more »

10 young Pakistanis who have made us proud

10 young Pakistanis who have made us proud

Pakistan is home to a lot of talent. Many children of this nation have gone on to do great things and have made their mark around the globe. One such… Read more »

PPP announces Rs 150 billion development package for Karachi

PPP announces Rs 150 billion development package for Karachi

To improve the state of the metropolis, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has announced a Rs. 150 billion package which covers all important sectors. The package includes improvement of storm… Read more »

Condition of Attock dengue-spray victims worsens

Condition of Attock dengue-spray victims worsens

Condition of over 29 students affected by the anti-dengue spray in Attock worsened again when they reached school today (Monday). The students were shifted to Tehsil headquarters hospital Jand where… Read more »

Taliban commander Habib killed in drone strike near Pak-Afghan border

Taliban commander Habib killed in drone strike near Pak-Afghan border

KHYBER AGENCY  – At least four Taliban workers including commander Habib were killed in a drone strike in Lalpura near Pak-Afghan border today (Sunday). The attack targeted a double cabin car and… Read more »

Srinagar: Kashmiri students once again chant ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ in rally

Srinagar: Kashmiri students once again chant ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ in rally

SRINAGAR  – Indian government and media were once again infuriated on Sunday as Kashmiris raised ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans and hoisted Pakistan flags in a rally led by students in Srinagar. According to… Read more »

Implementing NAP

Implementing NAP

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PFA shuts down Doce, Ganga Ram canteen

PFA shuts down Doce, Ganga Ram canteen

The ongoing operation by Punjab Food Authority (PFA) against eateries and food outlets continued on Thursday as a branch of Doce Sweets and bakers was sealed due to presence of cockroaches in… Read more »

Trial court summons copy of IHC’s order in Ghazi murder case

Trial court summons copy of IHC’s order in Ghazi murder case

ISLAMABAD– Trial court on Thursday has summoned copy of Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) order that nullified former president Pervez Musharraf’s arrest warrant in Ghazi Abdul Rasheed murder case. Acting Sessions… Read more »

What is artificial rain?

What is artificial rain?

LAHORE (Web Desk) – Artificial rain also known as cloud seeding is a technique which is used to create precipitation in the area. There are two methods that can be followed for the… Read more »

Million of smokers may have undiagnosed lung disease

Million of smokers may have undiagnosed lung disease

MIAMI (AFP) – More than half of current and former smokers who can pass basic lung function tests may suffer from lung diseases that have gone undiagnosed, researchers said Monday…. Read more »