In Pakistan, Journalists and Comics Artists Team Up to Fight Terrorism
“On the 12th of February, 2015, after four days in an intensive care unit, Syed Murtaza Shah succumbed to the injuries he had sustained in a boisterous exchange with fellow students and their cohorts. He was 16 years old. He was also a student of mine.”
These three sentences constitute the opening of “Badmash Elite,” an article by international journalist Farhad Mirza about the death of one of his students while he was a teacher at a Pakistani high school. In it, Mirza examines the culture of violence within Pakistan and the rigidity of the Pakistani school system, but he does it through the lens of his own guilt following Murtaza’s death. “I cannot help but regret the fact that us teachers have demonstrated a chronic inability to introduce our students to the most important debates of our times,” he writes.
Vulture.com | 2016
Haider II – Defenders of the Sky
In September patriotism and resolve to stand with our armed forces at every step is always invoked. Commercial sector, artists and even school children express their support in different ways.
The Haider series ingrains in the reader nationalistic and social values by using the exemplary tales of valiance left behind by some of the bravest defenders of our homeland. The graphic novel primarily focuses on the exemplary tale of sacrifice, leadership, and courage that is found in the story of Sarfaraz Rafiqui Shaheed. Adding to the goodness, the comic book takes the reader back to the 1965 Indo-Pak war and features other historical personalities like Air Marshall Noor Khan, M.M. Alam, Yunus Hussain, Imtiaz Bhatti, and Cecil Chaudhry.
The Nation | 2016
How a new Pakistani comic is challenging religious extremism
When Gauher Aftab was 13-years-old, he was singled out, groomed, and recruited into a life of religious extremism by a man he says he did not know was a jihadist. Aftab had only recently moved to Pakistan from his native Saudi Arabia a year prior, and as a young teenager in an unfamiliar place, he felt a deep sense of uncertainty. Language and cultural barriers both fed into a profound loneliness that Gauher now recognizes made him a potential target. The man who first suggested that he take up the militant cause was his Islamic studies teacher.
“The lectures he used to give were less about Islam and more about his propagation and ideology of Islam,” Aftab told The Friday Times. “He followed a very convincing pattern that I feel the extremists have perfected over the span of 30 years. [Their] narrative first delegitimizes the family or societal authority, negates Sufism, encourages followers to think outside the box and then victimizes Muslims.”