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Benazir Bhutto’s foreign policy

—Zafar Hilaly How better to demonstrate that Benazir Bhutto truly lives in their hearts than to practice what she preached, namely, to take on and defeat the obscurantist threat facing Pakistan while forging closer and more meaningful cooperation with regional countries and, pre-eminently, India The outcome of the battle against the Taliban, Benazir Bhutto believed, would not only determine Pakistan’s fate but her own. It would be her final battle. Hitherto, everything that had happened in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Revolutionary struggles

From The Friday Times: Altaf Hussain Asad reviews a unique biography of legendary political worker Dr.Hasan Nawaz Gardezi and the Pakistan Study Centre of Karachi University and its director are to be congratulated upon issuing a two volume edition of the memoirs of Dada Amir Haider Khan.(1904-1986) … Read entire article »

Filed under: Activism, Left, Pakistan, Politics

What happened to Jinnah's vision for the civil service?

What happened to Jinnah's vision for the civil service?

Raza Rumi Recent transfers and postings in the Punjab – a usual ritual after a change in the government – reminded me of the clear advice that the founder of Pakistan had furnished immediately after the creation of Pakistan. The extracts below are courtesy a friend who circulated these via email. We have gone adrift. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Jinnah, Pakistan

On Jalib's Birthday: Dastoor

Dastoor can many things – constitution,  custom, customary law, tradition.   This beautiful poem by Habib Jalib is Pakistan’s real national anthem for we have been fighting for our rights forever.  It thrilled a generation when it was recited during Fatima Jinnah’s election campaigns against dictator Ayub.   It then thrilled another generation against Zia and for me personally this was the anthem of protest against General Musharraf’s dictatorship.   Now this is the anthem once again as Pakistan breaks out in spontaneous protest.    Today is Jalib’s 81st Birthday.  Today we celebrate Jalib again and are guided by his immutable poetry.  -Yasser Latif Hamdani … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Iqbal, Bacha Khan and terrorists

—Suroosh Irfani It might well be that the heartless war our homegrown jihadis and Afghan Taliban are waging against Pakistan exemplifies Islam’s dangerous inversion that Iqbal had warned against some three generations ago. Such inversion has virtually displaced Bacha Khan and Iqbal’s spiritual humanism by a jihadi extremism at war with humanity “Muslims are at war with one another, in their hearts they only harbor schism. They cry out if someone else pulls a brick out of a mosque which they themselves shun” — Allama Iqbal, Armaghan e Hijaz (verse translated by Mustansir Mir) … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Punjab power struggles: it is NOT about Ideology

By Yasser Latif Hamdani Those of you who have read my previous articles know that I was a staunch Zardari supporter till recently. In my last article, written a few hours after the disqualification of Sharif brothers, I opined that Zardari was being misled by the establishment.  But as events have unfolded, it has become abundantly clear that Zardari is apparently an equal partner with the establishment in the latest game to befool Pakistan and its people. There is absolutely no constitutional, moral or procedural justification for imposition of Governor’s rule under Article 234 of the Constitution. It is the end of imagination. The conditions simply did not exist. Without going into the merits of the Supreme Court decision though there aren’t many, the proper course of action was for the governor … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics, Punjabi

Celebrating the Body: Sexuality over Spirituality*

Will we not be better off, if we bypass the priest and the therapist,and pray at the altar of the body and stop confusing it? By Saeed Ur Rehman All that gazes, seeks rapture in the other, dances, decorates itself to flaunt its untapped vitality, pulsates, throbs, runs in our veins, and yearns for eternity by multiplying itself is confused with one word: love. Love is an effect of biological vitality not its cause. We do not desire another human being because we feel love but rather we humans have assigned taming metaphors to what our flesh induces in us. By assigning abstract concepts to all that is life-giving, we, the metaphysical animals, have created an elaborate prison of metaphors for our healthy bodies. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan, sex

A battle of ideologies? more on the Punjab crisis

PTH is posting a rather impassioned viewpoint of Shaheryar Ali on the recent developments in the Punjab. This is in line with our policy of giving space to divergent views on politics and society. Something that the corporate media cannot do. Overall the recent developments do not bode well for democratic development – after all it has only been a year but it seems that our political elites have learnt no lesson from history and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics, Punjabi

Daniyal Mueenuddin’s 'In Other Rooms, Other Wonders'

A special contribution by Mayank Austen Soofi As long as Pakistan remains a central stage in America’s continuing antiterrorism campaign, the global interest in it is not going away. Write a book with a setting in Lahore or Karachi and the chances are that it will sell well in New York and New Delhi – lucky you if you are a Pakistani author. Plus, you will never run short of ideas. Fundamentalism, feminism, colonialism, tribalism, feudalism, chauvinism, militarism, terrorism  – you name an ism and Pakistan has it. Even the book titles there sound like New York Times headlines:  The Reluctant Fundamentalist, A Case of Exploding Mangoes, Burnt Shadows. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Sharifs' disqualification – self-created political implosion?

by Shaheryar Azhar, moderator, The Forum There we go again….The seeds of this impending implosion were laid in the very victory of democratic forces on February 18, 2008 when a free and fair elections brought eight-years of General Musharraf’s illegitimate rule to an end. The seeds lay in the split in Pakistan’s civil society and democratic forces that took place at the very moment of their victory. These seeds were: 1. Inability of large part of the ‘lawyers movement’ to realize that a credible election just took place despite their call for its boycott. That the basis of this election was none other than the ‘political deal’ hammered out between PPP and General Musharraf that they had vociferously decried. Instead of realizing this new political reality and reaching out to the other … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics, public policy

The Sharifs Disqualified! What is the Establishment upto?

The Sharifs Disqualified! What is the Establishment upto?

By Yasser Latif Hamdani Former Prime Minister of this Republic,  Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, has been disqualified by the current de facto Supreme Court of Pakistan.   Along with him the axe has fallen on his younger brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, held by many to be the best ruler Punjab has seen since the good ol’ Maharaja Ranjit Singh.   Here in Islamabad,  spontaneous protests have broken out.   This could only mean more political instability for a country … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Can Pakistan's Sufi Tradition Resist the Taliban?

BBC asks whether Pakistan’s Sufi Islamic tradition can save it from the Taliban. By Barbara Plett It’s one o’clock in the morning and the night is pounding with hypnotic rhythms, the air thick with the smoke of incense, laced with dope. I’m squeezed into a corner of the upper courtyard at the shrine of Baba Shah Jamal in Lahore, famous for its Thursday night drumming sessions. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

The Mullahs and their strawmen

By Yasser Latif Hamdani I recently wrote an article on PakTeaHouse about the so called “Sharia” in Malakand and how it was a stab in Pakistan’s heart.  It apparently has upset a lot of right wing Mullah fascist elements who think they own Islam and Pakistan.  In my opinion these people are the worst enemies of Pakistan and Islam. I would not have responded to the article in question but there were certain misrepresentation that needed to be countered and corrected. -YLH       … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, Jinnah, Pakistan

End bonded labour in Sindh

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission: Peasant courts must be established and the Sindh Tenancy Act, 1950 to be amended to end bonded labour Thousands of peasants from different parts of the Sindh province are on a long march demanding amendments in the Sindh Tenancy Act, 1950. The demand is to obtain equal status for the peasants while they share the harvest with the landlords, irrespective of the loan they have availed from … Read entire article »

Filed under: Activism, human rights, Labour, Sindh, Society

What Does Pakistan Mean

Posted by Raza Rumi What Does Pakistan Mean is a fabulous poem by Habib Jalib. Here is a translation that testifies to the relevance of this poem decades after it was written. Bread, clothes and medicine A little house to live in Free education, as may right be seen A Muslim, I, too, have always been What does Pakistan mean There is no God, but God, The Rab-al-alameen … Read entire article »

Filed under: poetry, Uncategorized, Urdu