Saima Baig

  • TMuslim tradition holds that in the early 7th century AD, in a town in Arabia, a slave called Bilal was tortured by his owner. His crime, so says Islamic history, was to walk away from the existing ideological landscape. To embrace a new religious and political order. To dissent. Bilal did not back ...

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  • TOut amongst the Kirthar Mountains, in the eastern side of Kirthar National Park, in the middle of nowhere, lies Rannikot. Also known as the Great Wall of Sindh and the largest fort in the world, Rannikot is actually a 35km (some estimate 45km) wall encircling the Kirthar Mountains and occupying an ...

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  • THere is what has happened this week in the land of the pure. A politician (from PTI) punched another one (from PML-N) for calling his leader a traitor. In response, the first politician stood in front of the media and made allegations against his harasser’s sisters. That’s violence and ...

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  • TA few weeks ago, I took a walk atop Kot Diji Fort, 25 km south of Khairpur, Sindh. We got to our destination after driving through crowded towns and meandering roads, at the edge of the Nara Rajasthan dessert. There it was, suddenly emerging out of a stone rubble hill, after we turned a corner on a ...

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  • TThe young woman looked out of the narrow slit in wall that served as a window in her house. She saw the sun rising over the brick city and the far off fields of wheat and barley, signaling to her to start her day. She stepped out of her brick house and used her favourite earthenware jar to get some ...

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  • TIn 2004, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched a space probe called Rosetta to orbit a comet. In 2014, Rosetta found comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and started orbiting it. Most interestingly, Rosetta also had a lander called Philae, which was to land on the comet and send back data. ...

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  • TIn the rest of the world when a terrorist attack happens, the leaders do their best to empathize with the people of their countries. Their condemnation is always targeted toward those who have perpetrated the attack and they always ensure that the value of human life takes precedence. In Pakistan, ...

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  • TIn December 2015, the Paris Agreement was signed by member countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This historic agreement lays out a global action plan to limit global warming to below 2°C by reducing emissions. While this, a great step in the ...

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  • TApproximately 2,600 years ago, the Greeks, like many humans before them looked up at the night sky and saw dots of light that kept moving from day to day and month to month. They called them 'aster planetes' or wandering stars. In 1610, Galileo Galilei pointed his telescope towards one of these ...

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  • TThe much esteemed (and mostly useless) Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) – an advisory body that provides suggestion to the government on religion and Shariah – has come out with a Women's Protection Bill. Yes, you read this right. After they realised that Islam was in danger and that ...

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  • TIt isn't often that one wakes up in Pakistan to good news. Contrary to expectations, today, February 29, was such a day. For the first time in many many years the Government of Pakistan showed some resolve and the murderer Mumtaz Qadri was hanged. Salmaan Taseer got justice. This is a good ...

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  • T"Matter tells space how to curve, space tells matter how to move", said John Archibald Wheeler describing Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity which he put forth in 1915. The theory states that space and time are intertwined as four dimensional spacetime. This was essentially also a ...

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  • TMicrocephaly is a nuerological disorder, which results due to the abnormal development of the brain inside the womb, or the brain not growing at the expected rate after birth. As a result the heads of infants are signigicantly smaller than their counterparts, which can mean loss of brain tissue, ...

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  • TTwo things happened this week that brought to my mind, a man called Christopher Hitchens. The first was his death anniversary on December 15 and the second was the upcoming canonization of a woman known as Mother Teresa. The first is self explanatory but perhaps the second one requires explanation. ...

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  • TIn 1905, Albert Einstein put forth the theory that E=MC2 . This was his theory of Special Relativity, in which he showed mass-energy equivalence, and that space and time are not independent but in fact are intertwined as four dimensional spacetime. But contrary to popular opinion, E=MC2 is not the ...

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  • TFrance hosts the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Paris. The UNFCCC was formed as a response to the increasingly negative impacts of climate change, and the Coference of the Parties (COP) are held every year to discuss ...

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  • TOn May 5 this year, Nigeria took the historical step of outlawing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and its outgoing President, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the ban as one of his last acts before leaving office. According to the UN, one quarter of Nigerian women and girls have been subjected to FGM, a ...

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  • TI woke up to the news of the Paris attacks yesterday. The day before there had been an attack in Beirut. Both terrible, terrible tragedies that are beyond human understanding. Post Paris, the responses were as per usual. Widespread global condemnation, followed by the usual blame on western foreign ...

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  • TAs children, we all learned of Sputnik, the artificial satellite launched into a low earth orbit on October 4, 1957, by the then USSR, thus beginning the entry of humans into space. The US responded with the launch of Explorer 1 a few months later on January 1, 1958, starting the Cold War Space ...

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  • TImage Courtesy: telecompk.net Samhain was an ancient Celtic harvest festival, celebrated by many pagan cultures, especially in Ireland and other Gaelic lands. It was usually celebrated from sunset on October 31 to sunset on November 1. With the arrival of Christianity, this ancient custom was ...

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  • TMars is the one planet where we, the humans, have sent a wide array of satellites and landing rovers. Currently, it has five spacecrafts orbiting it and two on the surface.  We have been studying our smaller neighbour – the fourth planet from the sun – for decades, hoping to find ...

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  • TIn continuation of my effort to promote science and education in this country and in the hope that we can, for a short time each week, move on from politics, I want to talk about another spacecraft: Kepler. Ever since the dawn of science, human beings have wondered if there are other earthlike ...

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  • TOn July 20, 1969, earthlings visited their closest neighbour, the moon. That day was definitely the start of a new age for science. This curiosity exhibited by upright primates on a non-descript planet in a non-descript galaxy has continued. And this year marks another exciting event in space ...

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  • TAmong the usual gems of wisdom expounded by our leaders the one this week took the cake. The Minister of Climate Change hypothesized that the heat wave in Karachi was due to the hot air from Rajasthani power plants being directed towards the city. This is what happens when you willy-nilly appoint ...

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  • TOnce again this year I read the news that China had banned Muslim civil servants, students and teachers in Xinjiang province from fasting. I do not understand the reasoning behind it and I don't think I ever will. If people want to fast they should be allowed to do so, as long as it is not standing ...

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  • TI made the mistake of going out to run errands at noon today (Friday). I had forgotten what happens on Karachi roads during this time. I had also forgotten that nothing will be open.  I asked when things will get back to normal and was informed "not till after 3 pm." Outside one mall, the ...

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  • TNo one would have been surprised to learn that RAW is behind all that ails the land of the pure. Of course it is! India is jealous of our success and wants to make sure that all the work of ALL the hard working Pakistanis, especially our exalted army, is for naught. After all we are the ...

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  • TApril 22 was Earth Day. This is a day celebrated all over the world since 1970, when  Gaylord Nelson,  a US Senator from Wisconsin, inspired by the anti-war movements in the US, decided to bring environment conservation into the forefront of national policy. Prior to this, in 1969, John ...

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  • TWhen I was young I had the privilege to watch 'Cosmos: A Personal Voyage', a programme hosted and co-written by Carl Sagan, an astrophysicist and astronomer.  The 13 part series highlighted the-then current information of the universe and our place in it, and also gave information about two ...

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  • TA few years ago I decided to return to my motherland after studying and working abroad. While I was never a hyper-nationalist patriot, it was still my home and my family was here. When I shared this idea with my friends there, I was told that my secular and liberal views would not be tolerated. I ...

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