Civil Society

Pakistan’s middle class continues to grow at rapid paceBy Salman Siddiqui May 2, 2017 (The Express Tribune)


KARACHI, May 2: The country’s middle class is experiencing a rapid growth, which is evident from the rising demand for consumer durables, education and health, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The central bank, in its latest report on the state of economy, said that the growth in the consumption pattern in the country is indicative of a …

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In Pakistan, Carrying On a Legacy of Answering SOS CallsBy SABA IMTIAZ MARCH 15, 2017 The New York Times


KARACHI, Pakistan — For decades, the sight of Abdul Sattar Edhi pleading for donations was enough to press even the most tightfisted of Pakistanis into reaching for their wallets. Such was the impact of Mr. Edhi, a humanitarian icon in Pakistan who died last summer after a prolonged illness. In a country where many citizens have given up on the …

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Book Readers at Karachi Press Club get International Perspective on Pak PoliticsWhy Pakistan Finally Resolved to `Track the Threat Within'


Karachi, March 10: Journalists, writers, poets and political activists heard Nafisa Hoodbhoy speak about the final updated edition of her book, `Aboard the Democracy Train, Pakistan Tracks the Threat Within,’ at an event held at the Karachi Press Club on Friday. Moderated by senior journalist and anchor person, Mujahid Barelvi, the audience also heard from former assistant editor of Dawn …

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I was handcuffed and tied but it was worth my fight against One Unit

express tribune

50 years ago, 4th March, 1967 marked a watershed event in the post-Partition history of Sindh. It was the day when 207 students were arrested en masse at the G.M. Barrage between Jamshoro and Hyderabad as they staged a rally against the One Unit scheme that had been in place in the country since 1955. The protests were a culmination …

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Piecemeal approach to justiceBy Peter Jacob The News (Feb 18, 2017)

The National Assembly has passed Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2017, a bill that seeks to address the issues of abuse of blasphemy law, sectarian hate speech, forced marriage of non-Muslim women and the crime of lynching. Therefore, the bill now due to be presented in the Senate, introduces changes to sections; 182 (falsification), 298 (hate speech), 498 B (forced marriage) …

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Missing activist: Samar Abbas’ family petitions IHCThe Express Tribune Feb 12, 2017

ISLAMABAD, Feb 12: Over a month after he went missing from the capital, the family of a Karachi-based social activist approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday, urging the court to recover him. The family has also urged the court to protect the missing activist from harassment and torture. Samar Abbas, a resident of Gulshan-e-Iqbal neighbourhood in Karachi, had …

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Blogger Goraya breaks silence on abduction but refuses to identify his kidnappersFeb 10, 2017 Islamabad


An activist abducted last month has broken his silence on his weeks-long disappearance, but is refusing to point fingers at who his abductors were. Ahmad Waqas Goraya was among five activists who vanished in Pakistan in early January. Human Rights Watch, opposition lawmakers and activists have said their near simultaneous abductions pointed to government involvement in a country with a …

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Court Refuses to Reinstate Travel Ban, Dealing Trump Another Legal LossBy ADAM LIPTAK The New York Times Feb 10, 2017

Syrian refugees

WASHINGTON, Feb 9 — A federal appeals panel on Thursday unanimously rejected President Trump’s bid to reinstate his ban on travel into the United States from seven largely Muslim nations, a sweeping rebuke of the administration’s claim that the courts have no role as a check on the president. The three-judge panel, suggesting that the ban did not advance national …

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Trump’s Order Blocks Immigrants at Airports, Stoking Fear Around GlobeBy MICHAEL D. SHEAR and NICHOLAS KULISH The New York Times

WASHINGTON, Jan 28 — President Trump’s executive order on immigration quickly reverberated through the United States and across the globe on Saturday, slamming the border shut for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked for a decade as an interpreter for the United States Army, and a Syrian refugee family headed to a …

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Three weeks on, five missing Pakistani rights activists return homeMubashir Zaidi The Hindu (Jan 28, 2017)


ISLAMABAD: January 28, Five bloggers and rights activists missing since first week of January have returned home in the early hours of Saturday as mysteriously as they disappeared. Police confirmed that they reached home. They did not say who kidnapped them or handed them over to the police. The relatives of the missing had registered cases of their disappearance with …

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Pakistan activist Salman Haider found, returned home Deutsche Welle (AP, AFP, Reuters)

Salman Haider, a rights activist and university lecturer who went missing earlier this month, was returned back to his family late Friday night. Senior authorities and relatives confirmed to local and international media that Haider had returned to his home on the outskirts of the capital, Islamabad. He was said to be safe and well.   “Police sources have confirmed that …

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Pakistan bans religious TV host Aamir Liaquat Hussain over blasphemy allegationsReuters Jan 26, 2017

Pakistan’s television regulator has banned a well-known talkshow host for hate speech, after he hosted shows accusing liberal activists and others of blasphemy, an inflammatory allegation that could put their lives at risk. Blasphemy is a criminal offence in Muslim-majority Pakistan that can result in the death penalty. Even being accused of blasphemy can provoke targeted acts of violence by …

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Bring Pakistan’s Missing Bloggers HomeBy RAZA RUMI JAN. 20, 2017 The New York Times

Since Jan. 4, at least five bloggers and activists have disappeared in Pakistan. Perhaps the best known is Salman Haider, a poet and academic who has been a vocal opponent of religious extremism and the Pakistani authorities’ abuse of opposition activists. The others who have vanished had the courage to critique organized religion, the influence of clerics in Pakistan and …

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Donald Trump protests attract millions across US and world (Jan 21, 2017) Washington DC is leading anti-Trump protests around the world (BBC News)

Millions of protesters have taken to the streets of cities in the US and around the globe to rally against the new US President Donald Trump. Larger numbers of demonstrators than expected turned out for more than 600 rallies worldwide. The aim was principally to highlight women’s rights, which activists believe to be under threat from the new administration. Meanwhile, …

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We Will Set Rules, Not You: US Media Tells Donald Trump In Open Letter

The American Press Corps, White House journalists, in an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump has said that it is the reporters and not him who will set the rules and decide what to serve the readers. “It is, after all, our airtime and column inches that you are seeking to influence. We, not you, decide how best to serve …

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Pakistani right cries ‘blasphemy’ to muzzle progressivesBy AFP

A virulent social media campaign to paint five disappeared Pakistani activists as blasphemers deserving execution has spotlighted how right-wing efforts to muzzle liberal voices using the country’s draconian laws have found a powerful new platform online. The five men had stood against religious intolerance and at times criticised Pakistan’s military, with several of them running progressive Facebook pages. They vanished …

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Four rights activists gone missing this weekAFP Jan 8, 2017

At least four human rights activists known on social media for their leftist views have gone missing this week, relatives and NGO workers told AFP on Sunday, as analysts voiced rights concerns. Two of the men — Waqas Goraya and Asim Saeed — disappeared on January 4, according to a cybersecurity NGO, while Salman Haider vanished on Friday and Ahmed …

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Death threat, warning to media spray-painted on Karachi Jan 5, 2017

The walls of Karachi Press Club — which had recently been painted with colourful murals of several progressive civil society activists and journalists — were vandalised last night allegedly by members of politico-religious parties. The messages left by the vandals were spray-painted over the portraits of nearly all women activists featured on the wall. Though the vandals remain individually unidentified, …

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Islamabad: A large number of civil society activists, organizations and networks have strongly condemned the torture of a minor girl employed by a serving judge and also the so-called “resolution” (sic) of the court case against the judge and his spouse. This case has yet again highlighted the glaring ills of Pakistani society and its justice administration system. We had …

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The Problem With ‘Self-Investigation’ in a Post-Truth EraBy JONATHAN MAHLER The New York Times

No one would argue that Edgar Welch, the 28-year-old North Carolina man who loaded his car with weapons in early December and drove 350 miles to liberate the children he believed were being held in the basement of a Washington pizzeria, was a model citizen or even necessarily sane. But after a tragedy had been averted and he was in …

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    "A powerful and courageous voice that represents the best of Pakistan’s emerging journalism… The first insider view of developments in...

    Shuja Nawaz
    Author and Director South Asia Center

    "It was her fierce independence and commitment to her country that inspired [Hoodbhoy’s] decision to become a newspaper reporter –...

    Frances Stead Sellers
    Deputy National Editor, Health, Science and the Environment, The Washington Post

    "Nafisa Hoodbhoy’s detailed reporting helped me look at the complex world of Pakistani politics differently. Hoodbhoy’s proximity to key players...

    Karen Frillmann
    Managing Editor - Newsroom, New York Public Radio

    "A story of a courageous journalist who defied conventional norms during times when very few other women were in this...

    Hassan Abbas
    Author and Quaid-i-Azam Chair Professor

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