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Pakistan's Media – responsibility must anchor freedom

By Raza Rumi  IT is a truism that media freedom in Pakistan today has been earned after a long struggle which will perhaps continue in the years to come. Deepening of democratic traditions and their permeation in society are sine qua non for a free media. Whilst there can be no two opinions on the independence of the media, the need for greater responsibility and professionalism has to be articulated in no uncertain terms. Such is the confusion and chaos triggered by an overgrown executive that the issue of responsibility has been sidelined by the overwhelming noises for media freedom especially since the tinkering with the text and application of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Ordinance. We are now getting used to a television culture that imitates the life of Pakistani tharras, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Citizens, Democracy, Media, Pakistan, public policy

With a billion stars all around

A craven capriccio in watercolour on papier mâché i caught you napping in the office yesterday. You don’t know that i did. (i didn’t want to embarrass you.) You were slumped in your plush recliner — snoring gently — head back — Pert Plus hair a mess — pert nose pointing towards an emulsion sky — sallow cheeks glowing — gloating eyes shut — crow’s feet out for a leisurely stroll in the park. Your nail-bitten hands, ordinarily hotbeds of nervous energy, lay cupped in your lap, palms upward, as if tenderly cradling a pair of soft, warm chickadees. i stood silently at the door to your room, mouth open, loopily drinking in the pleasing scene. Able, for the first time since i think i fell in lust with you, to stare longingly, and for long, at … Read entire article »

Filed under: Love

Picture of the day

This is a beautiful picture taken by Abro of a village famed for its larger than life characters. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Photos

Benazir Bhutto's book, Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West

By Ishtiaq Ahmed Benazir Bhutto’s book, Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West (London: Simon and Schuster, 2008) published posthumously is very different from her Daughter of the East, in which, besides saying some sensible things, she freely boasted, and exaggerated her paternal ancestors’ landed property and high station in Sindhi feudal society. This time round, we meet a woman who is devoted to her idea of reconciliation between Islam, democracy and the West. Many years ago, I presented her my first book (which was also my doctoral dissertation), The Concept of an Islamic State: An Analysis of the Ideological Controversy in Pakistan (Frances Pinter, London, 1987), through her close adviser at that time, Fakhar Zaman, the Punjabi writer and intellectual. There is no doubt she read it thoroughly and carefully, though it is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Benazir Bhutto, Democracy, Islam, Islamism, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Politics, Religion, Society, state, Terrorism, Writers

Crushed K2

by: Hafeez Ur Rehman Pushed against the wall was a load of crushed stone. The homeless in their wait for fresh trash embarked to scale. Every time the youngest came close, the top tumbled and the base swelled to the pain of city government. Should they put their heads together to curb encroachment or go on a hunger strike against the hungry?. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan, poetry

The roots of terrorism

By Adil Zareef AS the incumbent government gears up to meet myriad challenges, Mangal Bagh is becoming the new recurring nightmare in the NWFP. He left a trail of bloodshed, pillage and mayhem when he attacked unarmed villagers in Sheikhan, near Peshawar, and demolished a 16th century shrine. Mangal Bagh later forced the famous Karkhano market shut for days, causing economic losses running into millions of rupees. Recently he attacked another shrine in Khyber Agency and harassed women who traditionally pray there. Traffic in adjoining areas was brought to a halt for a few days as tribals protested against these excesses committed right under the nose of Pakistan’s mammoth security apparatus. For some these incidents produce a sense of déjà vu given what has happed in Waziristan, Bajaur, Swat, Darra Adamkhel and now on the outskirts of Peshawar. The ‘star’ of the story is Mangal Bagh from Bara tehsil … Read entire article »

Filed under: Citizens, North-West Frontier Province, Peshawar, Society, Terrorism

7 Precepts for Life in Pakistan

(Saad Sultan from Lahore has contributed this post for the Pak Tea House. His initiative is welcome; and we are happy to add him to our list of contributors - Raza Rumi) ********************** The author of this article takes no responsibility for the views expressed in it. Dear readers, I regret to have to inform you that one day you will all be dead. For this reason you must never try killing yourselves. Yes, the 1st precept for Life in Pakistan is: Don’t Commit Suicide In fact, you should never try doing anything that something else will, eventually, do for you. And dying lies among the many other menial processes, such as digestion and cleaning the toilet, that, as far as we’re concerned, get done by themselves. And it is up to respectable people such as … Read entire article »

Filed under: musings, Pakistan, Rights, Society

Husain Haqqani on Pakistan and more

Interview with Husain Haqqani  Husain Haqqani is back in Pakistan as well as on our television screens. Contrary to common perception, that he is here to become an advisor to the next government, he likes to be introduced as an academic. “I’m much happier being a Professor at Boston University,” he clarifies at the outset. Director of Center for International Relations at Boston University and a senior fellow at Hudson Institute in Washington DC, Haqqani has worked as a journalist, diplomat and former advisor to Pakistani prime ministers. He has maintained close connections with the Bhutto family for the last ten years; Benazir Bhutto in her recent book ‘Reconciliation’ acknowledges him as a ‘loyal friend.’ So will he be speaking as a PPP spokesperson in this interview? “No, I am not … Read entire article »

Filed under: Citizens, Democracy, Pakistan, Politics, Society, state, Terrorism

Review of Indian Movie 'Jab We Met'

posted by Soniah Kamal ‘Jab We Met’ (2007) is a prime example of an Indian movie meshing traditional and modern India in its characters but coming off confused. Poor little rich boy Aditya (played perfectly by Shahid Kapoor) and madcap Geet (Kareena Kapoor) meet on a train, the singular motif in the movie and, as such, one which hinges on all the usual cliches: life equals train tracks, decisions equal getting on or off trains and, most banal, because Geet keeps missing her trains she and Aditya are thrown together on a journey which will eventually lead to their…but let me not spoil the hackneyed ending. Karina plays quite well the scatterbrained, chatterbox if slightly irritating Geet, a girl so full of life her words bubble over, her laugh is a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cinema, India, Media, Reviews

my absurd name (an ancient geek)

just another lurid pome by that reprobate kinkminos your name’s absurd too terribly asinine dactyls crashing in on each other like dyspeptic waves engaged in slapsticky bitchfighting over matters of earth-shattering import like what constitutes a fair price for unlovingly crafted prada knockoffs in sunny dooby’s increasingly dubious and depressingly overcrowded backstreets i forgive you your insistence on taking a mulligan and claiming as justification the rough and tumble of life in cities where hardship allowances are under threat and forgive myself my lusting after someone as wholesomely vacuous as you for lust (he said) is brief and briefer still my dextrous exposition of it all if i changed my name to afzal jah or mehmet abdul quddus would you still be willing to introduce me to your superficially tractive friends? minos – march 2008 … Read entire article »

Filed under: poetry

Those are fighting words in Pakistan

Email Picture K.M. Chaudary / Associated Press Prominent Pakistani opposition lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, center, is greeted by lawyers at a rally against President Pervez Musharraf in Lahore. While under house arrest, he did what many of his compatriots do in times of personal and political crisis: He wrote a poem. When restrictions on his freedom were eased, TV crews besieged him and, one after another, beseeched him to recite his verse for a country … Read entire article »

Filed under: Activism, Citizens, Democracy, Law, lawyers movement, Pakistan, Politics

Pakistan's Chief Justice House

A picture that should say it all – though APP has some words for those who might wonder what is happening here… … Read entire article »

Filed under: Activism, Justice, Pakistan, Politics

Three Two Cheers For Democracy*

a typically immature rant by kinkminos Hear, hear. With an absolute lack of cynicism i’d like to wish Mr Gillani and the soon to be formed government of Pakistan a memorable term in office. (Memorable for the people that is, not for them.) Perhaps the best thing that can be said (at this stage, as he has still to prove himself worthy of the post) of Mr Gillani’s election to the office of PM is that his winning means that the other candidate, Ch. Perv. Elahi, is not First Minister (no mere silver lining, imho). Still, the optimism (thank God there is still some vestige of it left in me, i don’t know why or how) is tinged with a sense of oh-no-here-we-go-againism. For while the freshly minted PM … Read entire article »

Filed under: Benazir Bhutto, Democracy, Elections, Parliament, Politics

Yousuf Raza Gilani elected new Prime Minister of Pakistan

 ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Monday elected PPP’s Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani as the new prime minister of the country with thumping majority. Gilani bagged 264 votes. The rival candidate Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, fielded by the Pakistan Muslim League-Q and its allies secured 42 votes. In a maiden speech on the floor of National Assembly after he was elected as Prime Minister, he said, “I request the national assembly as my first job to pass a resolution for UN probe into the assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.” Elaborating the top priorities of the new government, the newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani vowed to take all out efforts for the supremacy of parliament. He also said the National Assembly should pass another resolution to apologize to the nation for hanging of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Benazir Bhutto, Citizens, Democracy, Elections, Pakistan, Parliament, Politics, Society, state

Glimpses into Islamabad's Soul

Book Review by Fiona Torrens-Spence Author: Fauzia Minallah In the past travel writers have been dismissive of Islamabad, passing it off as ‘sterile’ and ‘dull’; somewhere to be got through before visiting the real Pakistan. And the local joke ‘Islamabad, twenty minutes from Pakistan’ also belittles the country’s capital city by implying it is essentially foreign to the rest of Pakistan; a soulless, high rise city full of diplomats and other feather bedded foreigners. As Fauzia Minallah writes, Islamabad and its surrounding villages have both a soul and an immensely long and fascinating story. It is sometimes hard to locate historic sites and harder still to find information about them so I wish that I had been able to read Fauzia Minallah’s book before living in Islamabad as I know I have seen … Read entire article »

Filed under: Architecture, Books, Environment, Heritage, Islamabad, Nature, Pakistan, public policy