Abdul Majeed Abid

  • TThe current political dispensation in the United States resembles the last days of Roman Republic in more ways than one. Rome went from being a republic to a dynastic dictatorship within a few decades. Julius Caesar, the first ‘Emperor’ in the dictatorship era, lest we forget, was a ...

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  • TPakistan is a fertile land for conspiracy theories. From ‘Confessions of an economic hitman’ to ‘The Arrivals’, we have got it all covered. To further complicate things, we have people like Zaid Hamid in our midst, a conspiracy theorist of international standards. A few ...

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  • TPen, as the buzz goes in Islamabad, is mightier than the sword. Some might say a ‘hot mic’ or an informant is mightier than established hierarchies. The prize is up for grabs. It could go to Nawaz, to Imran or the Boys could snatch it from under their noses. After all, if history has ...

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  • TPakistan and India have fought three wars over Kashmir. From ‘Raiders in Kashmir’ of 1947-8 to ‘Operation Gibraltar’ in 1965 and the most recent one: Kargil in 1999. Pakistan’s role in the first two conflicts has been discussed over and over in the media and academia ...

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  • TMilk is an essential part of a Pakistani diet. Pakistan is the fourth largest milk-producing country in the world (producing about 48 billion litres of milk each year). The livestock sector contributes 11.3 per cent to Pakistan’s GDP and provides employment to about 10 million farming ...

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  • TMohammad Iqbal delivered the presidential address at All India Muslim League’s (AIML) annual session held in Allahabad on 29 December, 1930. The speech delivered at the session has been given the status of Pakistan’s foundational document (alongside the AIML resolution of March ...

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  • TThe democratic ‘experiment’ in the subcontinent (albeit a limited edition) was introduced more than a century ago by the British. It took almost half a century before people in the Pakistani part of the subcontinent experienced voting based on ‘Adult Franchise’. From 1909 ...

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  • TDuring the recent crackdown on Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Karachi—following an unceremonious speech and attack on media houses by members of the party—one witnessed apathy and hatred towards MQM among many urban middle class Punjabi gentlemen. This sentiment is not a recent ...

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  • TThe concept known as ‘Strategic Depth’ arose out of Soviet Russia when Bolshevik policymakers decided to utilise Russia’s natural width and distance of major cities from borders during time of war. This policy shift was brought about by inglorious defeats of the Russian armies at ...

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  • TIt has been 69 years for Pakistan and the country is still described frequently ‘at crossroads’. The ‘dire situation’ that our country finds itself in, never seems to end. There are multiple structural and ideological issues that plague this land and end up keeping us in a ...

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  • TIt is a tragedy that students in Pakistan grow up reading blatant lies about history in their textbooks. This misery is compounded by the assertion made by textbook writers, journalists, certain writers and politicians, that Pakistan is somehow a uniquely blessed country with more ...

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  • TIt has been a fortnight since coup efforts in Turkey failed and the AK party government—under the command of President Erdogan—strengthened its hold on power. It has become apparent in the last three years (since Gezi Park protests of 2013) that the governance model followed by AK party ...

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  • TDeep in the night of 15th July this year, news came out of Turkey about a possible military coup against the Recep Tayyip Erdogan led-AK party government. Turkey has a history of military coups but a direct push for power has not been attempted in more recent times. News footage of tanks rolling in ...

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  • TThe public healthcare system in Pakistan is premised on the principle of ‘universal healthcare’. It means that any citizen of this country will be treated almost free of cost at hospitals run by the government. In theory, this system is better than the ones in place in countries like ...

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  • TMalcolm X in one of his speeches proclaimed that ‘You are not to be so blind with Patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.’ Nationalism projects around the world promote a particular myth about the origin and history of that state, ...

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  • TKarl Marx wrote in ‘Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’ that “Men make their own history but under the circumstances directly found, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when ...

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  • TThe notion of Pakistani Nationalism is tied to a unified country with a single, distinct voice, one language and a single religion. This idea creates divisions across ethnicities, languages and religions. Most of Pakistani society’s fault lines, across religions, across sects, across ...

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  • TThe practice of a military adventurer taking over the reins of government by overthrowing an elected leader is almost as old as the concept of democracy. In Roman and Greek history, we find examples of military commanders who thought they were more able than the ‘civilians’ to run the ...

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  • TThe origin of the term ‘dictator’ is quite interesting. In early roman period, ‘dictators’ were appointed on a temporary basis, for a period of up to six months, in adverse conditions such as war or internal rebellions. The position was created to bypass the traditional ...

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  • TDuring last week, ‘Breaking News’ caught my attention on a friend’s Facebook feed. The ‘news’ claimed that Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif (God Bless his soul) had been declared ‘The Best military commander General of 2015’ by ...

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  • TGerman playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote a famous play in 1943 titled ‘Life of Galileo’. In one of the most memorable exchanges in the play, Galileo’s student Andrea laments: “Unhappy the land that has no heroes”, to which Galileo replies, “No, unhappy the land ...

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  • TIn the beginning of this month, a chartered plane arrived in Islamabad from Greece. The passengers were illegal immigrants from Pakistan who were deported by the Greek authorities. Our venerable Interior Minister ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to stop the ‘unverified ...

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  • THistory, as they say, is mostly written by the ‘victors’ in any conflict. In the last century, efforts have been made to write history from below: history of the oppressed or the ‘sub-altern’. This initiative has been replicated in many societies including Pakistan. As would ...

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  • TIn August 1947, a country called India was divided into two dominion states and more than 500 princely states were asked to amalgamate with either of the two countries. The moment was a divergence in the history or subcontinent. Never before had territories been divided in such fashion and it was ...

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  • TDuring the first two decades of twentieth century (1900-1920), Russia had fought and lost two wars in different theatres. The first defeat was at the hands of Japan in 1904-5 which culminated in forced ouster of many top officers. The second loss came during the First World War and only the ...

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  • TEver since Pakistan came into being, the ‘idea’ of Pakistan has been discussed ad nauseum. Questions such as ‘What did the founders of the country want it to be?’ and ‘What direction it has taken since then?’ have been asked by historians and social scientists ...

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  • TNationalism arose from the ashes of Renaissance era Europe and spread around the world in the twentieth century. Nationalism requires a national story, a narrative, to which the nation would adhere to. The narrative and story is not usually based entirely on facts and is transmitted to future ...

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  • TMinorities are not treated well in Pakistani society. Apart from religious minorities, ethnic and cultural minorities are also discriminated. One such minority is the ‘Pakistani Liberal’. Like most other things in this country, there is no consensus on what constitutes ...

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  • TThe recent ban on ‘meat’ in India has resulted in a variety of reactions in the Indian and international media. Debates about minority rights, fundamental rights and hegemony of a particular ideology have been raged across print media and the blogosphere. An Indian Muslim recently ...

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  • TSoon after partition, a ticket collector was making the rounds of a train and asked one of the passengers to show him his ticket. The passenger got upset and exclaimed, “Are you out of your mind? Haven’t you heard that we are ‘Free’ now? Why should we buy tickets ...

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