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Opinion


Pakistan’s blasphemy laws open to misuse

As the world’s second-largest religion with more than 1.8 billion followers, Islam has spread to all corners of the globe. However, it has come under recurring attacks, more so since the events surrounding the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, in the United States. The religion of peace was wilfully maligned by those non-Muslims who had very little understanding of the true meaning of this Abrahamic faith, and soon the word ‘Islamophobia’ crept into our dictionaries — a term conveying a negative perception and suspicion of anything Islamic.But while non-Muslims can be excused for their ignorance, what excuse do we...

Saudi Arabia is resilient and strong

It has been a rough few weeks for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Millions spent on western public relations firms failed to stave the outpouring of sharp and biting accusations against the kingdom, following the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist living in the United States and writing for the Washington Post. He was in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, formalising some paperwork for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish national when he disappeared.Indeed, Saudi Arabia was not spared seconds or even given an opportunity to state its case before knives were being sharpened and vitriol spent by western...

Israel continues to flout rules with impunity

One has to be indebted to B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, for revealing the sinister Israeli policy of occupying Palestinian land, particularly in the West Bank. At the UN Security Council last week, B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El Ad presented an expose that showed how successive Israeli governments, especially Benjamin Netanyahu’s, have been redrawing the historic map of the Palestinian occupied territories. The most significant and dangerous point of this policy is dealing with occupation as a local rather than a world matter. In a nutshell, B’Tselem accused the Israeli government of turning...

Innocent until proven otherwise

On October 2 this year, a Saudi journalist walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and never came out. His Turkish fiancee who was waiting outside for him alerted authorities a little while later.Almost immediately Saudi Arabia was the subject of fiery condemnation by pundits of the western press. They were immediately joined by political figures in the United States and Europe. Charges of assassination were flowing by the minute in the wee hours of the disappearance. These allegations were picked up by much of the world’s press who reported them in their local media.Before any facts emerged, the frenzied...

Everyone is innocent until proven otherwise

On October 2 of this year, a Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and never came out. His Turkish fiance who was waiting outside for him alerted authorities a little while later.Almost immediately Saudi Arabia was the subject of fiery condemnation by pundits of the western press. They were immediately joined by political figures in the United States and Europe. Charges of assassination were flowing by the minute in the wee hours of the disappearance. These allegations were picked up by much of the world’s press who reported them in their local media.Before any facts...

Will the ICC finally prosecute Israel?

As far as Palestine is concerned, it is fair to ask why the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) initially refused to sign the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute? Why did it return to sign it? What is the ‘secret’ of the Trump administration’s position vis-a-vis this Court, especially with regard to the Palestinian issue?When the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) presented a full case to the court about Israel’s crimes during its war against the Gaza Strip in 2008, the case was rejected on the grounds that Palestine lacks the status of a state. When its status changed from an “observer” to...

3 week 4 day

Why Sabarimala row has captured the imagination of India?

The “Sabarimala controversy” is at a feverish pitch and social media is spewing out such bizarre rants that one is forced to think a peculiar madness has crept into its populace.For India has a multitude of challenges — endemic poverty, glaring inequality, malnutrition and 50 million stunted children — yet its citizenry is engaged in hair splitting arguments on a deity’s celibate status.That having been said, the heat and dust rising from this controversy is ominous.Within a short time the new guidelines issued by India’s Supreme Court will go into effect and that can lead to a serious law and...
3 week 5 day

Why Sabarimala row is a waste of time

The “Sabarimala controversy” is at a feverish pitch and social media is spewing out such bizarre rants that one is forced to think a peculiar madness has crept into its populace.For India has a multitude of challenges — endemic poverty, glaring inequality, malnutrition and 50 million stunted children — yet its citizenry is engaged in hair splitting arguments on a deity’s celibate status.That having been said, the heat and dust rising from this controversy is ominous.Within a short time the new guidelines issued by India’s Supreme Court will go into effect and that can lead to a serious law and...

Turkey and Russia hold the key to Idlib

What’s going to happen over the next few days is probably the most important development in Syria’s eight-year ugly war. Tomorrow is a vital date for peace and war in Syria, in Syria’s Idlib province. If a deal on the suggested demilitarised zone in the province is successfully implemented, it could open the door for a settlement to end the bloodshed in the entire country.At their summit meeting in the Russian city Sochi last September both Russian and Turkish presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, signed an agreement to establish a demilitarised zone in the province along the contact...

Faith must teach us to love, not hate

The exercise of faith and beliefs has often been the impetus to a more serene life. But when distorted shards creep into one’s beliefs, it generates activity that invariably leads to some form of tragedy. In recent times, one’s devotion to their faith has led to more turbulence than serenity. One does not have to go far than the subcontinent of India and Pakistan to understand the vast divide that has crept in between people who once were one and the same, but through the fostering of racial disharmony by unethical political and religious leaders, have now adopted a more...
1 month 4 day

The wild gyrations of India’s Pakistan policy

India-Pakistan relations are like the weathercock. General Mitchener, in Bernard Shaw’s play Press Cuttings, mocks Lady Corinthia, ‘Will you …. blow my brain out, I should prefer it to any further effort to follow the gyrations of the weathercock you no doubt call your mind. To get one’s head around India-Pakistan relations and in specific the recent happenings, is as challenging, as reading Lady Corinthia’s mind.Recently India agreed to talk to Pakistan on the sidelines of the ongoing session at the UN, only to call it off, almost immediately. Why?India’s reasons, though many, are unconvincing. The Burhan Wani stamp release...

Israel’s appetite for Palestinian land is illegal

Almost six decades of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has reduced its people to desperation. These are Palestinian lands controlled by Israel through repression, institutionalised discrimination, and systematic abuses of the population’s rights.The occupation has in recent times been accelerated by massive land theft by the government of Israel to make room for Jewish colonists — a move roundly condemned by many in various parts of the world but surprisingly little is heard in the form of protest from the heads of governments of the United States or the United Kingdom.Recently, the Israeli top court cleared...