Whither all these promises?


  When the coalition introduced the Education White Paper and legislated the Academies Act and Education Bill in 2010 and 2011, respectively, they argued that these reforms would be seen as huge boon for the education sector. The White Paper brought together several elements of the Coalition’s reform agenda; the big society and localism, an […]

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Competing extremes – S Akbar Zaidi


Hoardings all across Karachi, placed by the ‘Citizens of Pakistan’, in both English and Urdu, are asking the question: do we want the Taliban’s Pakistan or Quaid-e-Azam’s. This is a rather poor choice, for neither of these two futures reflect Pakistan’s current reality. Enough has been written by the so-called westernised lifestyle liberals condemning and […]

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Power…


People around the planet are praying for her to open her bright eyes, look around, and speak her fearless mind out again. But for now her eyes remain closed as she breathes from a ventilator, silently. But is she? Most politicians can only dream of such power as she wields without even a twitch of […]

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What’s Wrong With Blasphemy?


In his article in NYT of 9/25, Andrew F. March offers a compelling argument for not regarding the controversy around blasphemy in terms of a conflict between the value of free speech and that of Muslim sensitivity to it . There is no relation-independent wrong in such speech. That is to say, you will only refrain from […]

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ye kahan a gaey hum…


When you find yourself in a situation where you must vigorously defend something, militancy becomes the dominant trope whether you like it or not. In what is being called the war on our speech, folks are being pushed to assume the subject positions of defenders who are defending their values against an aggressor who is hell bent on destroying those […]

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This is not about the Film 02…


Apparently, the societies that made education universal and/or upgraded it to a, sort of, right, did not do it because they somehow suddenly became committed to the moral good inherent in universal education. It was always a political imperative and decisions about what to be taught, how, to whom and by whom were always deeply […]

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This is not about the film…


At the time of writing this post, fourteen people have already been killed in Karachi after the protests turned violent today.  The reports of violent protests have been pouring in from Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar as well.  I say this can’t just be about the anti Islamic film.  Its much more than that. Its much […]

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Powers of Freedom…


Freedom to speak his mind freely wasn’t a thing of this world that Cotton Mather could acquire after defeating his stutters.  Soon he realised that in order to set his speech truly free he had to tame it. In order to use speech to produce the desired effects on his audience, it had to be sharpened, […]

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Free Speech in the Youtube era…


Among other things, the reactions to the offensive movie also signify gaps in mutual understanding of how different societies are organised to deal with the power of offensive speech. In the United States, the ability to restrict speech is restricted by law as the range of the so-called protected speech has greatly expanded over time.  Apart from legalese […]

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Governing the Speech 02


The Supreme Court has also recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence. For more on unprotected and less protected categories of speech see advocacy of illegal action, fighting words, commercial speech and obscenity. The right to free speech includes other mediums of expression that communicate […]

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