Month: October 2015

The Peshawar women fighting the Taliban: ‘We cannot trust anyone’

The Guardian The work of the remarkable women known as Aware Girls to counter the extremism of the Taliban would be dangerous even if they weren’t based in Peshawar, a city that feels as if it’s under siege In a hotel room in Peshawar, in secret, Gulalai Ismail is giving a lecture to a group of men and women on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 29-year-old wears a black leather jacket, rather than the customary burqa, and uses a flipchart as she explains the Declaration’s clauses on freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial. The 30 delegates in the room have travelled here from as far afield as Chitral, South Waziristan and Afghanistan. When Ismail has finished, they take turns to talk about the human rights abuses that they’ve witnessed: acts of mob justice and lynchings, or summary executions by Islamist extremists. Four people act out the killing of a journalist by the Taliban. They also share ideas for promoting peace. One man explains how he persuaded shopkeepers to stop …

Google pays homage to the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

DAWN On what would have been his 67th birthday, the Google doodle was an illustration of the musical maestro On what would have been his 67th birthday, the Google doodle was an illustration of the musical maestro —Photo courtesy: kom.net On what would have been Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s 67th birthday, mammoth search engine Google dedicated its doodle to the legendary Sufiqawwal. The Google doodle is an illustration of Khan with the signature hand raised in the air, performing with the rest of his qawwal party in the background. When speaking about Nusrat and his crew back in the day, famous Hollywood singer, Jeff Buckley said: “These men do not play music, they are music itself.” Born in Faisalabad, hailing from a family of qawwals, Khan had his first public performance at age of 16, at his father’s chehlum. In an interview in 1996, the singer said he dreamed of his father placing his hand on his throat, awakening his voice. By 1971, he had become the leader of the family’s party. He kept up …

Institutions of restraint

ISHRAT HUSAIN The writer is dean and director at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi. The apex committees consisting of civil and military leadership represent an innovative model of governance to suit the country’s peculiar needs. This exceptional arrangement has been made because of pervasive weaknesses in the institutions of the rule of law and accountability. Criminals act with impunity because they believe they will be protected by their patrons in influential positions. It is not surprising, therefore, that the public has so heartily welcomed the recent crackdown against terrorists and corrupt elements.

Thomas Jefferson and Mohammed Ali Jinnah: Dreams from two founding fathers

By Akbar Ahmed Sunday, July 4, 2010 “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship. . . . We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state.” These are the words of a founding father — but not one of the founders that America will be celebrating this Fourth of July weekend. They were uttered by Mohammed Ali Jinnah, founder of the state of Pakistan in 1947 and the Muslim world’s answer to Thomas Jefferson. When Americans think of famous leaders from the Muslim world, many picture only those figures who have become archetypes of evil (such as Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden) or corruption (such as Hamid Karzai and Pervez Musharraf). Meanwhile, many in the Muslim world remember American …