Tag Archives: Expression

Who’s afraid of Sherry Rehman?

Raza Rumi

Express Tribune: It has been rather disturbing to witness the way Sherry Rehman has been the latest target of the purists within the ruling PPP. For years, Sherry has represented the intellectual vigour within her party. From drafting of manifestoes to holding the important portfolios, she has been an articulate defender of the PPP and its government. Her decision to resign in the wake of the judges’ saga and media handling of the 2009 Lahore-Gujranwala Long March was a matter of democratic choice.

After her resignation, she did not defame her party leadership and continued to demonstrate her loyalty. She is now a victim of an unwise ban on PPP leaders and legislators preventing them from appearing on a particular television channel. Worse, she has been lumped with the other dissenters — Naheed Khan and Safdar Abbasi — whose politics is altogether different. Continue reading


Filed under Justice, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, Pakistan

ASIA: Wide-ranging restrictions on freedoms of expression must be addressed

This statement by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), shows that we are not the only one keen to curb freedom of expression (Raza Rumi)

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) wishes to highlight a number of restrictions to the freedom of expression ongoing in several countries in the Asian region. There are a number of situations in the region that are cause for concern with regard to this important right, affecting a range of countries with different levels of development, democracy and records concerning human rights.

At one extreme, in Myanmar, the absence of opportunities for free speech is nullifying the prospect for any notion of free and fair elections. The media have been prohibited from analysing the new laws and rules for the planned elections, or from saying anything about parties already registering for the ballot. The ALRC has submitted a separate written submission concerning the issue of the elections in Myanmar to this session of the Human Rights Council (HRC). Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Pakistan

Ijtihad, Freedom of Expression and Contemporary Politics

By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
(Translated by Yoginder Sikand)

Muslims today suffer from a bizarre sense of loss. Perhaps no other community faces this sort of predicament to the same extent. They have failed to make use of the myriad opportunities provided by modernity. One of these valuable opportunities is freedom. The ideologues of the French Revolution claimed that man is born free but everywhere is in chains. This became the slogan of the modern world, and now freedom has been accepted as the basic right of every human being. Everyone has the right to adopt what he or she thinks is right and to act accordingly. There is only one limit to this unfettered freedom: in the exercise of one’s right one should not harm someone else, and in the pursuance of one’s objectives one should seek to use peaceful, not violent, means.

300 years ago, when America won freedom from England, an American man, so the story goes, rushed out into the street to celebrate. He swung his arms up in the air in glee and as he brought them down he hit the nose of a passerby. The latter was, naturally, enraged, and demanded an apology. The first man said to him, ‘Now America is free and so I can do what I want’. The passerby retorted, ‘Undoubtedly you are free, but your freedom ends where my nose begins’. Continue reading


Filed under Islam, Islamism, south asia

Speak, for your lips are yet free (Faiz)

by Raza Rumi

Pak Tea House is grateful to Yasmin Hosain* for sharing her recent translation of Faiz‘s legendary peom “Bol ke lab Azaad Hai Teray“. Continue reading


Filed under Democracy, Literature, Media, Pakistan, poetry, Urdu