India is worse than Pakistan on gender equality

by Aradhana Sharma

NEW DELHI: Believe it or not when it comes to gender inequities India fares worse than Pakistan. In fact, the country fares lower than all other countries in South Asia save Afghanistan. These are the findings of the 2010 Human Development Report released by the United Nations Development Programme on Thursday as per its Gender Inequality Index.

So while Pakistan may be in the news for its treatment of women and might have become a hot bed for international women’s activism, it certainly seems to know how to take care of its mothers better. On maternal mortality, India — with its abysmal record — trails Pakistan. …
Read more :  The Times of India

“Jinnah became irrelevant after Objectives Resolution” : Interview with Mubarak Ali

“YOU MAY BELONG TO ANY RELIGION OR CASTE OR CREED THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BUSINESS OF THE STATE.” – JINNAH

By Mazhar Khan Jadoon
First published in The News on Sunday, August 29, 2010

The News on Sunday: How do you view secularism as having evolved in the particular case of India where the kings did not run their empires on the clergy’s instructions but according to political exigencies?

Mubarak Ali: Secularism has been in evolution since medieval times and if you go back to the ancient Ashoka period in India, you will find the ruling pattern to be entirely secular. It was a requirement for all the empires in India, including the Mughal Empire, to be secular and tolerant towards different religions under their rule. Ghauris, Mughals, Durranis and all other emperors had to opt for a secular approach to keep their vast dynasties intact. Clergy was not allowed to interfere in state matters and all the decisions were taken according to practical political exigencies. Allauddin Khilji was one of the great rulers of India who did tremendous welfare work for his people. Once he asked the Qazi whether his acts were according to Shariah or not. The Qazi said no. Khilji told Qazi, “I am illiterate and I don’t know whether my acts are according to Shariah or not, but what I am sure of is that I work for the betterment of my people.”

TNS: Does secularism have any place in Muslim history?

MA: Yes. Almost all the rulers in Muslim history applied the model of secularism during their rule. During the Abbasid period, ulema were not allowed to interfere in the political affairs of state and the caliph was not allowed to meddle in religious affairs. The Abbasid came to power with the help of Iranians who wanted the caliph to remain secular while the clergy at that time wanted the caliph to adhere to Islamic laws and impose Shariah. The conflict was resolved with the signing of a pact regarding state and religion being separate. Great historian Ziauddin Burney, in his book Fatwa-e-Jahandari, also emphasises that state and religion should be kept separate.

Continue reading “Jinnah became irrelevant after Objectives Resolution” : Interview with Mubarak Ali

A critical view on animal cruelty and religious dogma in Pakistan – by Shiraz Paracha

Slaughter of cow calves is common in some parts of Pakistan but the society is shockingly insensitive to such cruelty. It seems insane to raise the issue of animal cruelty in a country where violent human deaths are taken casually; however, a recent report from Peshawar has compelled me to write about the growing greed, dishonesty and cruelty in the Pakistani society.

A local daily has reported that hundreds of baby cows and buffalos are killed in Peshawar’s illegal slaughter houses, some calves are only one or two days old. The meat is supplied to posh restaurants in the city where it is sold as lamb. The business is booming due to high demand.
Recently, Peshawar Police raided a slaughter house where they found dozens of cow calves being killed. Reportedly the legs of one calf were cut while it was still alive; the purpose was to sell the calf as a tender piece of lamb meat.

Politicians, businessmen, civil servants, journalists and intellectuals eat at restaurants that sell such meat. While eating tons of young flesh, members of the intelligentsia discuss world problems and talk about rights and responsibilities.

Milkmen around the city of Peshawar sell newly born calves because according to their calculations, every day a baby cow drinks milk worth 100 to 200 Pakistani rupees. Greedy milkmen deprive calves of their mothers’ love and sell them to butchers for rupees 1,500 to 2,000 each. Then cows and buffalos are injected with special chemicals due to which the animals start giving milk.

Interestingly, butchers, milkmen, restaurant owners and meat eaters are all faithful Muslims. Most of them offer five-time prayers, fast during the month of Ramadan and perform the pilgrimage of hajj. …

Read more : criticalppp

Women in fear: Rape cases soar across Pakistan

Every morning when I leave for work, I feel uncomfortable. The constant nagging of recent (and increasing) news items of rapes in Pakistan makes me feel insecure. I fear for the vulnerability of my sisters in different parts of the city, attending lectures in college halls, making rounds in hospital wards, traveling in school vans, waiting at the bus stop or spending an evening with an aunt or uncle.

And my fear is not just confined to my sisters. It expands its ugly claws for every woman, all over the country. It takes the shape of a pitying monster whenever I wonder about the fate of the victims and the consequences that they will have to live with, and in most cases, die for. …

Read more : The Express Tribune