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The Wahhabisation of Pakistan

* Manan Ahmed published in the, * Friday June 27, 2008 The migration of thousands of Pakistani men to Gulf states since the 1970s has had a huge impact on the character of the country “Pakistan is in a leaderless drift four months after elections”, concluded Carlotta Gall in the New York Times on June 24. Just two days later, comes news that “Baitullah Mehsud, the head of the Pakistani Taliban” has killed 22 members of an intermediary peace committee between the State of Pakistan and Mehsud. I guess there are some leaders in Pakistan, after all. Pakistan’s “Talibanisation” in the northwestern rural regions and the stalled lawyer’s movement in the major cities appear, at first glance, to reflect a deep chasm within Pakistani society. This division, if one should call it … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, Islamism, Pakistan, Religion, Terrorism

Struggling to dance

By Beena Sarwar An evening of classical dance at the Arts Council Auditorium, Karachi was a moving tribute to young, upcoming dancers — and most of all, to Sheema Kermani Sheema Kermani shines through her students. At an evening of classical dance in Karachi on May 24, she performed and showcased the work of sixteen students, ranging from newcomers to experienced dancers. The end of the over-two hour long ‘Jugalbandi’ that juxtaposed dance styles on one platform, drew sustained applause and a standing ovation from much of the audience filling the Arts Council Auditorium to its 500-strong capacity. It was a moving tribute to young, upcoming dancers — and most of all, to Sheema Kirmani for her lifelong dedication as a teacher, creativity as a choreographer and as a dancer herself. … Read entire article »

Filed under: culture, Dance, Society

Civil Service Is No Longer An Alluring Career for Pakistan's youth

Raza Rumi A little news item that appeared a few weeks ago was ignored by our all-knowing analysts and TV channels. Reportedly, the Federal Public Service Commission failed to recruit all the vacancies that were advertised for the CSS competitive examination held in 2007. Out of 290 available posts, the number of successful candidates in the 2007 CSS competition was merely 190, leaving almost 100 vacancies unoccupied. In the photo above Founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah … Read entire article »

Filed under: Civil Service, Pakistan

The legend of Kasu Ma sati in Pakistan's Sindh

Kasu Ma is said to have immolated herself in the 18th century, after her son died in battle. She took on what was traditionally a wife’s duty because her daughter-in-law refused to die on the pyre – a bad omen which Kasu Ma hoped to negate with her own death Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro An elderly woman leaned against the pillar of Kasu Ma sati, her head bowed down in prayer, oblivious to her surroundings. As I approached her, thinking to ask about the sati, she turned around and signalled for me to sit down. Her name was Shani Bai, she told me, and she was a member of the Meghwar community and a devout devotee of Kasu Ma sati. She had come to the shrine, in Sindh’s Mithi district, from the nearby … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Travels to Pakistan – A Jeddah-based journalist's account

Pak Tea House is grateful for this contribution from Tariq Al-Maeena a journalist based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – his account of travels in Pakistan is engaging. We are publishing the first three parts on his impressions of Islamabad, political intrigues of the Capital and his sojourn to Murree. The interesting bits are his comparisons with Saudi Arabia where Pakistan is viewed as a poor country. The remaining parts will be published later.  (Raza Rumi)   Pakistan Re-Visited – (1) Islamabad   When the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islamabad, musings, Pakistan, Travel, Writers

All Yours Now

Bring you will “the revolution” they said, As my young soul stared into its existence, From those tables where they all ate, Fruits, knowledge and fear of unknown Raise yourself, you have learnt enough Our voices will be there, always Unfold your arms, don’t remain silent The old desks, heavy in their burden As my old friends let me disappear From their world of magic and wisdom … Read entire article »

Filed under: Citizens, Democracy, History, Pakistan, poetry, Politics, Society, Writers

Karachi calling – Mohammad Hanif

posted by Raza Rumi When novelist Mohammed Hanif told friends he was returning to Pakistan after 12 years in Britain, they were aghast. Why would he and his young family swap London for a city with daily power cuts and rampant gun crime? The answer proved surprisingly simple … Mohammed Hanif writing for The Guardian (Tuesday June 24, 2008) Twelve years ago, I arrived in London from Karachi with eight suitcases, a new wife and a three-year job … Read entire article »

Filed under: Books, Karachi, New Writers

Awami Jamhori Forum's new issue

Awami Jamhori Forum’s latest issue 44 (20th June 2008) has been uploaded here. In the current issue AJF magazine, you will find some important articles regarding left, liberal and nationalist politics of Pakistan along with some articles on international issues. Some highlights for those who may be interested are: • An eye opening interview of a Bengali Nationalist, Mr. Kamal Lohani who unfolds weaknesses of Bengali nationalist movement and also throws light on 37 years post freedom Bangladesh. • Two articles on great Mian Iftikhar ud Din (one by Kashif Bukhari and other by Rauf Malik) who was the first Muslim leaguer who opposed Qarar Dade-Maqasad. He was founder of daily Pakistan times, Imroz and weekly Lail lo Nehar. He also was the founder of Azad Pakistan party which later joined National … Read entire article »

Filed under: Books, Left, magazines, Politics

The end of Taxila

by Salman Rashid With the defeat of the Huns in 528, Taxila attempted to make a comeback. But forsaken by its upper classes, Taxila perhaps became home to rustics from surrounding settlements and began its final journey into the long night Beginning with the annexation of Taxila to the kingdom of Alexander, there began a three hundred year-long period of Taxilan Hellenisation — save of course the century-long hiatus of the Mauryan period. The successors of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Just a Man

Zarah K has contributed this stirring poem – She wrote: “having observed the recent trend on PTH, I thought I should make a “feminist” contribution of my own. I’m no poet so I’m afraid it is amateurish… and also a bit edgy.” Zarah your edginess is most endearing and we will share it here… (Raza Rumi) i am a man not a mensche don’t expect me to see beyond your broken heart, your broken hymen feed me your vulnerability, and the ravages of your vulgarity, i am a vulture i am Vulcan, venerate me, burn for me godless, shameless, you lie naked on my prayer mat tonight, all night, i will call you my hoor tomorrow i will call you a whore because, can’t you see? i have a birthright to this hypocrisy, for your soft secrets to caress only me, for the power to call … Read entire article »

Filed under: men, poetry, psychology, Women

جیو ٹی وی ؟ کڑوا سچ GEO TV: the bitter truth

This is a rather strongly worded piece authored by a concerned Pakistani based abroad. Whilst I do not agree with all the contents of this article, it surely is ‘another’ view of the ongoing GEO TV saga! In light of Pak Tea House’s efforts to promote debate and air unfashionable views, we are posting this piece. (Raza Rumi) نصر ملک۔۔ کوپن ہیگن پاکستان کے اندر اور بیرون پاکستان “ جیو ٹیلیویژن “ کی نشریات پاکستانیوں میں خوب … Read entire article »

Filed under: Media, Pakistan

Wild Orchards

I am the same person Who once existed For your ideology and promise For years In between The two enemies Through the old landscape Haunted and gripped In its old spirit Once it was me, The same person In music and poetry I found myself From travels of past In wild orchards The offerings of youth As the time switched on From present into past As the regions slip into darkness Here I am still, With two enemies Misconceptions and indifference In this most beautiful place I am all alone, Gone those wild orchards As the world unites With new ideology Against us As I travel back For a moment to reside In old wild orchards Heads straight our way The purple wrath In between My life, Unfinished story Lies there a body Charred in its old scent Of my distant time extinguished in split seconds! Kashkin … Read entire article »

Filed under: History, Pakistan, poetry, Politics, Writers

Buddha stories on display at Peshawar Museum

PESHAWAR: There are 74 Buddha stories carved in stone, which are on display in Peshawar Museum, describing all happenings in his life. Prof Fidaullah Sehri, former director of the Museum and ex-chairman of the Archaeology and Fine Arts Department, Peshawar University, told US Ambassador Anne W Patterson during her visit to the museum. NWFP Minister of Culture Syed Aaqil Shah and Director Archaeology and Museums Malik Saleh Muhammad KhanYusufzai, Hazara University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Ihsan Ali Khan and Prof Sehri received Patterson, who was accompanied by her husband. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Goodbye Shahzadi – the controversial book

Raza Rumi We are posting two reviews of the new book on Benazir Bhutto authored by Shyam Bhatia. The first is a critical, crisp impression of M.A. Soofi; and the other is by the legendary Khushwant Singh who discusses wider issues such as corruption comparisons between India and Pakistan and apparently believes whatever Bhatia has written despite the condemnation from late Bhutto’s spokesperson. Enjoy! Mayank Austen Soofi: An Indian journalist’s sleazy biography of Benazir Bhutto. Petty games people play. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Benazir Bhutto, Books, History, India, journalism, Pakistan, Politics

The Urban Frontier: Karachi

Posted by Raza Rumi This is a brilliant series from the NPR on Karachi and its myriad issues and stark inequalities. We are posting the leads and links here for easy reference. Readers should not miss it. Akhtar Soomro for NPR Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, is growing so fast that estimates of its population range from 12 million to 18 million. The country’s financial capital is also a city where about half the population lives in illegal … Read entire article »

Filed under: Citizens, Karachi, Pakistan, Politics, poverty, public policy, urban