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Dynamics of Change in Islamic Law (III): Grundnorm, a cosmological myth

by Aasem Bakhshi Please refer to part 1 and 2 for the background. To effectively address the original Weberian objection i.e. normative pluralism is substantively irrational, it is mandatory to reformulate the problem in concise terms, starting point being that change in Islamic law takes place by means of some interpretive mechanism called Ijtihad. What exactly constitutes it: Is it the interpretation of the textual source ab initio; is it merely a pseudo-clandestine thought experiment to seek out verdicts on issues on which there is no past consensus among jurists; or is it merely a different solution to an old problem, but one which is in sync with contemporary social reality? Irrespective of the particular theoretical inclination favored, there is no doubt that multiple norms will be generated in any interpretive undertaking; a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, Law, Religion, Society

NWFP HISTORY 5: Bacha Khan and his legacy

by Yasser Latif Hamdani Other than Jinnah and to a certain extent Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Abdul Ghaffar Khan aka Bacha Khan is the only politician in Pakistani history to have sustained a following beyond his death. The tall Pushtun – who adopted Non-violence as a creed in a very violent society- is still remembered fondly by the Pushtuns as Fakhr-e-Afghan. In India he is remembered as the Frontier Gandhi for his close association with the Indian leader. In many ways he was more committed (even if at times inconsistently) to the so called Gandhian values of non-violence than Gandhi who was at the end of the day a shrewd politician before a non-violent saint. And yet this is precisely why this great leader of the Pushtuns was not able to achieve … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

A Bangladeshi’s Visit to Pakistan

Fariha  writing on her trip to Pakistan with such heartfelt emotion and sincerity. I must thank my friend AJ for pointing out this excellent piece. “ Apko kia pata, ke humara dil apke liye kitna rota hai. Jab aap logo ko koi taklif hota hai to humain lagta hain k taklif humain ho raha hai. Bohot pyar karte hai hum aap se. alag ho gaye to kya hua. Bhai to bhai hota hai. Bangladeshi to humare bhai hai.” Rafe, 60-something, Bus-driver, Lahore I’ve met people from different parts of the world and traveled to a few places myself. But never, not once, in any of my interactions or travels, have I ever come across a race of people who have made me feel so proud of my nationality: Bangladeshi. But then, I visited … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Invasion of the sound byte snatchers

Khalid Hasan writing for the Friday Times Pakistan’s politicians, sportsmen, actors, VIPs – in short anyone who is anyone, or is likely to be anyone in the coming days – are under attack from a new breed of guerrillas, armed not with automatics but with microphones in various colours and sizes that they use as weapons of attack. They don’t demand, “Your money or your life,” as any self-respecting robber or highwayman would before taking one or the other. They simply thrust the microphone in their quarry’s face, sometimes hitting him or her on the chin and on occasion nearly knocking out his or her teeth, and demand that their question be answered. The waylaid one risks life, limb and reputation if he or she declines to provide the sound byte … Read entire article »

Filed under: Media

NWFP HISTORY 4: Faqir of Ipi's uprising and the Frontier Congress

by Yasser Latif Hamdani In response to the first three articles, an ANP activist who is quite clearly very confused about history attacked me calling me – get this- a Jamaat-e-Islami agent. I have been called many things- indeed I am supposed to be on the payroll of everyone from CIA to Mossad and even Indian RAW but Jamaat-e-Islami was definitely a first and I was caught off guard. Perhaps the poor fellow was not aware of the history of Jamaat-e-Islami’s vociferous opposition to Pakistan and Jinnah. Jamaat-e-Islami believed that Jinnah and Muslim League were of a “Kemalist” bent of mind and therefore too secular and too westernized to lead the Muslims. And Jamaat-e-Islami’s ideologues were not the only one to suggest that- in agreement … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Bravo, Senator Obama

Feisel Naqvi Islam has room for intelligent people in it so it would be nice if the whackos out there would stop trying to take exclusive possession of shared beliefs “The United States always does the right thing,” said Winston Churchill, but only “after exhausting every other possibility.” If the history of the US-Pakistani relationship is anything to go by, the United States certainly seems to have explored every bad option, ranging from supporting dictators to threatening popularly elected leaders to benign neglect. My point though is not to mark all the missed opportunities and all the failed policies, but to note that if Senator Obama is elected, we may finally see a sensible US policy towards Pakistan. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, Obama gave a major … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Loneliness is like Absinthe

Loneliness is like absinthe, The old potion of poets Of Paris and its quarters Only to be captured In words or paint Sour as you walk, Feel these droplets of rain Harder to swallow The indomitable taste When offered The old pain And in presence amongst us Like those wild flowers Scattered in time, In an unmarked islands To witness the old mosaics Survive you may, But remains in place, The old prison … Read entire article »

Filed under: poetry, Writers

In Pakistan, a Sex Industry Has Begun to Boom

SEX IN DEPTH In Pakistan, a dark trade comes to light By William Sparrow BANGKOK – Prostitution in the Islamic nation of Pakistan, once relegated to dark alleys and small red-light districts, is now seeping into many neighborhoods of country’s urban centers. Reports indicate that since the period of civilian rule ended in 1977, times have changed and now the sex industry is bustling. Early military governments and religious groups sought to reform areas like the famous “Taxali Gate” district of Lahore by displacing prostitutes and their families in an effort to “reinvent” the neighborhood. While displacing the prostitutes might have temporarily made the once small red-light district a better neighborhood for a time, it did little to stop the now dispersed prostitutes from plying their trade. Reforming a neighborhood, instead of offering … Read entire article »

Filed under: culture, sex, Society



CHAOS: THE FACE OF TODAY’S IDEOLOGY Vijay Sai Born in a remote village in Andhra Pradesh, Gummadi Vitthal Rao, a Dalit student, discontinued his engineering course from Osmania University, took up singing as a career and travelled to remote villages all over India spreading social messages through his songs and writings. What spans as a career of over four decades came to represent the voice of revolution, and thus emerged balladeer comrade GADDAR. Living a life … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

800 years of Buddhism in Pakistan

Emi Foulk writing for The Friday Times Buddhism took root in Pakistan some 2,300 years ago under the Mauryan king Asoka, whom Nehru once called “greater than any king or emperor.” A great proselytiser, Asoka sent missionaries as far away as the Mediterranean and Sri Lanka Ihave every reason to be knowledgeable about Buddhism; I am not. My father is a scholar of Buddhism. My mother is from Japan, a nation that is 80 per cent Buddhist. Generations of my maternal ancestors are buried in the Buddhist cemetery blanketing the steep slope that runs down from the stunning pagoda of Kyoto’s Kiyomizu temple. I spent childhood summers running through the halls of centuries-old temples, playing hide-and-go-seek behind medieval bodhisattvas and tasseled zazen cushions. Hell, I even had a dog named … Read entire article »

Filed under: culture, Heritage, Pakistan

Ahmad Faraz – struggling with his life

Poet Faraz not 100pc well, says physician Poet Ahmad Faraz is breathing on his own without mechanical assistance, his physicians told Dawn on Thursday, contradicting earlier reports that he had died. “He is not 100 per cent well,” said Dr Murtaza Arain who leads a team of eight physicians looking after the poet. “He is not on a ventilator and not on a cardiac assistance device. He is breathing on his own.” Another member of the team, Dr Tahir Rohail, urged Faraz’s well-wishers to pray for him because “his condition is not very promising.” Faraz was brought to the Adventist Hinsdale Hospital near Chicago about 10 days ago with multiple health problems. … Read entire article »

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

Crossed Swords,Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within

-Shuja Nawaz , (Oxford University Press,Pakistan , 2008700 pages; 13 black and white photographs, 6 maps; ISBN13: 978-0-19-547660-6ISBN10: 0-19-547660-3) Book Review by A.H Amin Crossed Swords is the latest addition to the list of books dealing with Pakistan Army . Written with an eye on the Western audience by a Pakistani who has settled in USA the book is a welcome addition to books on Pakistan Army.It contains some new sources and some new information .Unfortunately most of the information is anecdotal and the narrators are extolling their own performance. The author’s viewpoint is somewhat subjective as he is a brother of one of the ex chiefs of Pakistan Army General Asif Nawaz. The book contains some factual errors , some possibly typing errors,expected from Oxford University Press Pakistan which has a reputation of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Army, Pakistan

A Journey Interrupted: Being Indian in Pakistan

BOOK REVIEW A confrontation with stereotypes Story of an “emotional mulatto” A Journey Interrupted: Being Indian in Pakistan Author: Farzana Versey Publisher: Harper Collins India Being a Muslim in India is a tough job. Threatened and terrorised by a growing number of Hindu militant extremists, and constantly looked at with suspicion and treated with a certain degree of caution, the Muslims are believed to harbour a certain desire to separate from the union and create a country of their own a la Pakistan, which a modernist Jinnah created … Read entire article »

Filed under: Books, India, Pakistan

Do not impoverish the National Academy of Performing Arts

Faisal.K writes in the News on the implications of the government slashing NAPA’s grant to one third of what it was Three years ago there were only two countries in our region without an academy for the promotion of performing arts, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. In 2005 the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) happily put an end to this misery in our neck of the woods at least. To put it simply, NAPA represents an effort to take the unpolished raw coal of our society and through hard work, lots and lots of manhours and three whole years turns out glittering jewels of performing arts for us to enjoy as a nation. Yes, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arts and Crafts, culture

Jihad and retribalisation in Pakistan – Ayesha Jalal's new book

Jihad and retribalisation in Pakistan – Ayesha Jalal's new book

This is an important book. We are posting another review by Khaled Ahmed here. This review also cites some revealing passages.. BOOK REVIEW: Jihad and retribalisation in Pakistan Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia By Ayesha Jalal Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore 2008 Pp373: Price Rs 695 Available at bookstores in Pakistan Not far from Balakot, the votaries of the Sayyid are fighting on the side of Al Qaeda against ‘imperialist’ America and its client state, Pakistan, and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Afghanistan, History, Islamism, movements, Religion