Hurmat Ali Shah

  • I am Mashal Khan. I was lynched and killed by my fellow students at a place I thought was a step in fulfilling my dreams. I was there like them, but they were turned into savages by the societal thinking and conditioning of the state. You can consider what happened to me as collateral damage. ...

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  • Reform in Fata is in the news again. Political parties who have any claim to represent Pashtuns are again turning it into a game of petty point-scoring. I am presenting my opinion regarding the reforms in Fata as an outsider and admit at the outset that I have no claim, no right, to either ...

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  • Social media is criticized for being an echo chamber, for being a bubble. Social media at best can provide a semblance of dispassionate discussion, nothing more, goes the popular standpoint. The inability of social media to herald a long-lasting change is something which has to make everyone ...

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  • Like my tears which dried away, my words have also become frail, futile. It has been exactly two years that you, my children, were massacred in broad daylight, and we, we all as a nation, as a state, as people, as humans stood by silently. We let your slaughter happen. And then we had the temerity ...

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  • One day I will leave my tiny little island of isolation. And let the ocean which caresses my shores through tiny but powerful waves inundate my little island, washing away every bit of aloofness. The ocean of pain, of suffering; which is created by the tears of the loved ones and the families of ...

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  • The ultimate tragedy of a people, and a nation who is more obsessed with the past and re-writing its past in a self-serving way, is that its future is lost and its present is gloomy. At some level, it points to the nation’s inability to buckle up and amass the required discipline to envision ...

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  • Quetta happened. The TV screens were all inundated with hollow condemnations and impotent resolves to fight terrorism and high-flying tributes to the fallen ones. It would all have gone well. The repeated violence and perfunctory statements have desensitized us as a nation to the acts of bestiality ...

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  • The charm of magical realism is that it makes reality more enchanting and irrationality is explained away with recourse to the very nature of magical reality i.e. strange things happen for no reason and that it is perfectly fine. In reality one doesn’t have that ...

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  • More than a thousand women being killed last year. People going berserk over a striptease by a social media sensation. An Oscar award winner being ostracized. A Nobel Prize winner being disowned. A girl laying bleeding in a street in Karachi while her brother is busy with her phone. What do these ...

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  • It has been a constant feature these days that after every tragedy of massive human loss, division of opinion ensues; the solidarity is soon replaced by blaming or blame-shifting. One undercurrent to all such narratives often is that why this one? Why this particular tragedy is garnering wide ...

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  • The global political scene witnessed a welcome change. A man was elected to be the mayor of London on the basis of his agenda and program. His personal belief and what he chose to do in his private sphere – i.e. whether he worships the true God or the wrong God – was discounted. And ...

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  • ‘Mardana Kamzori’ and sanitary pads. The former related to men in our society, the latter related to women. One is ignored like signifying nothing special and accepted as a given fact of phenomenon in the society; you can wall-chalk it; pamphlets of ‘Ajmalai Dawakhana’ will ...

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  • There was a ruckus; every one jumped on the bandwagon. Political parties claiming to be defenders of small provinces tied their chariots to the wagon and joined in the symphony of a positive federation. The ruling party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa came to its senses albeit very late and for that matter ...

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  • In the eventful frenzy of social media a seemingly innocuous act of an individual is thrown into the maze of divergent and conflicting ideologies and the contested spaces. Making judgments and passing them is made easy by the arrogance one is blessed by easy access to black-and-white value ...

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  • “An elderly woman took a flower from the shop. When she saw me in shock, she replied, ‘it is for my son’s grave; the mullahs had sent him for jihad’” Imagining that a band of goons and vandals of the extreme-right variety would be coming to this flower-shop on ...

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  • Franz Kafka was a brilliant author. His novel, The Trial, traces the life of a person who has been caught in a huge, opaque, tightly sealed bureaucratic machinery of justice system. There are things about the justice system that are absurd and the law that guides the behavior and workings of the ...

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  • National discourse in Pakistan has that peculiarity where issues are treated with the prism of charged arguments. Combined with this is the dilemma that issues that are matters of survival for the downtrodden and deprived nationalities in Pakistan, find no different treatment than the ...

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  • Pakistan is supposed to be a federation, where the federating units should have judicious share of national resources. Developmental projects are instruments for mobilizing economy and uplifting masses.  They not only provide employment opportunities but can also result in national ...

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  • The history of human civilization can be seen as history of evolving moral percepts of humans. With each epoch in civilization, the moral compass of human morality pointed towards a different North.  That North was displaced with each passing epoch. Even though not to a completely different ...

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  • Ever heard of Marsquake? To scientists it is a phenomenon which jolts the Mars surface, and as a result new structures appear on the Mars surface and the present ones are displaced. Humanity has to agree that such Marsquakes have nothing to do with the tiny little acts of commissions and omissions ...

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  • Reason, logic and science, the three cornerstones of philosophy of Salman Rushdie’s new book ‘Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights’, perhaps find a fitting place in Salman Rushdie’s own struggle to fight forces of religious obscurity and fundamentalism. The fight ...

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  • A few kilometers into Swat, from the main entrance point of Landakay, one can find a human size smiling Buddha statue carved into the hard stone in the mountain. The scene is picturesque. A mountain with Buddha’s statue, and long fields of cultivated rice running in front to the Swat ...

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  • Morality has always been the compass whose north points to the progress of civilization. The notions of good and evil, truth and false, desirable and reprehensible, sacred and profane, flow from an established set of moral and ethical codes. Religion, in one form or the other, controls and directs ...

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  • In Pakistan, it is an established practice to let the preachers of morality be judged by one set of ethical code and the lay people or – in the case of religious preachers – the commoners, by another set of ethical principles. The one at the pedestal and the one sitting on the rug are ...

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  • Machine guns roaring, empty bullet caskets hitting the ground, their sound overcome by shouting and roaring and screaming. Armored vehicles coming to the front, armed men reloading their weapons while standing coverless, armored men taking aim at the opposite front - agony, instead of guilt donning ...

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  • Staring at the immensity of the cosmos and the insignificance of the human in its contrast, caused a sense of helplessness in the human creed. The cave life and the early rudiments of community living, could be molded by human instincts. As the community grew and later shaped into an early form of ...

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  • Vigilante justice has a romantic tinge to it. Many of Hollywood's movies and TV series idealize the notion of a person, thrown into despair by the inefficient justice system of the country, amassing courage and dispensing justice himself.  The motivation behind such thrillers could be to ...

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  • “I disapprove of what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”, this once revolutionary adage has now somewhat become a cultural cliché. This stance has preserved the culture of progress and tolerance of western societies for century now. But ...

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  • In 2013, private charity in Pakistan stood at whooping Rs. 200 billion; an amount larger than what the state was spending on social welfare, education and health, combined. In Pakistan, philanthropy as ratio of GDP is one of the highest in the world. Social scientists claim that despite the ...

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  • Recently I read an article titled “Doosri Shadi ki Mukhalifat kyun?” which in English translates into “Why oppose second marriage?” The article was flawed at multiple levels and showcased multiple fallacies in our thinking. The first one is the complete lack of editorial ...

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