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A must-read on rural uplift

By Dr Pervez Tahir, DAWN Is poverty a mere ratio to base poverty reduction strategy papers on to solicit foreign assistance or the never-ending experience of millions losing hope? Day in and day out, the large majority of the poor start their journey to non-fulfilment in rural areas. In terms of public spending, the neglect of agriculture is now being addressed to some extent. Agriculture, however, is only a part of rural development. Recent pronouncements that higher agricultural prices are transferring billions to rural areas echo the trickle-down make-believe of the Musharraf-Aziz period. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Film Theory in Pakistan: Recognizing the Need for Theory

By Zia Ahmad   There are parts of the world where writing meaningfully about films has generally been deemed as a subversive indiscretion; so much so you have to keep looking over your shoulder every two minutes just to make sure nobody’s prying on you. Pakistan finds it effortlessly easy to nudge into the ranks. Films have been consistently and categorically relegated as the most trivial pursuit for any no-nonsense individual to entertain. As an artform, cinema has seldom been seen anything more than means of entertainment in Pakistan. The mere idea that films may have to say anything of importance positively baffles and even offends upholders of our tradition. Hardly a fresh observation, cinema in Pakistan has failed to evolve from its “entertainment for the masses stage. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arts and Crafts, Cinema, culture, Media, Pakistan

In defence of President Zardari

As the minus-one formula gains currency in Pakistan, our writer Bilal Qureshi has authored this post to present a different case. PTH does not necessarily subscribe to these views. RR Every time I write something about Asif Zardari, Pakistan’s current president, I get several e-mails daily condemning me for ‘supporting’ him. So, once again, I have to clarify something from the start. I am not a supporter of Zardari. However, if one looks at the history of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan, Politics, public policy, Zardari

Revisiting Faiz

Coming Back Home: Selected Articles, Editorials and Interviews of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Compiled by Sheema Majeed, Introduction by Khalid Hasan, Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2008, pp 157, Rs 295. ‘Politics and history are interwoven, but not commensurate,’ said Lord Acton (1834-1902) in his inaugural lecture as Regius Professor at Cambridge in 1895. So also politics and prose, and, in the worst of times, politics and poetry. There can be no better example of this axiom in the twentieth century than the writings of the revolutionary Urdu poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. While most readers in South Asia are familiar with his poetry, few would have read his writings in English. Faiz wrote, prolifically and compellingly, on the events that shaped the destiny of the sub-continent. Coming Back Home gives the English reader a sampling … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

The Future Belongs To Jinnah

By Yasser Latif Hamdani Jaswant Singh’s 670-page book on Pakistan’s founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, has reignited the debate on Partition. From an academic point of view, however, he doesn’t seem to have said anything out of the ordinary. Much of this was first stated by Maulana Azad in his “India Wins Freedom”. In the intervening years between Azad and Jaswant Singh, several perceptive historians and authors, many from India, also presented a similar view of history, chief amongst them H M Seervai with his classic “Partition of India: Legend and Reality”. However, there is a new angle in Singh’s biography that is as much an indication of where things are moving in India as much as it is a historical context. … Read entire article »

Filed under: History, India, Jinnah, Pakistan, Partition

The State of the Union

A friend sent this piece to me today via email. I do not know this author but I suppose that it has been published. We are posting it here for our readers. RR Nadia Rahman Khan My impending departure from Pakistan, coupled with the nation’s 62nd independence anniversary is making me feel like a deserter. The past year I spent in my country brought upon me the most fragmented states of mind. It constantly felt like an acid trip that had gone on too long; or a badly scripted film with far too many anti-climaxes. In a severe paradigm shift from when I was studying abroad, I’ve spent the year desperately wishing I could leave the country I didn’t recognize as mine anymore. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

'Two Women', a film from Iran

Soniah Kamal ‘Two Women’ follows the lives of friends Fereshteh (Niki Karimi) and Roya (Marila Zarei) over a decade. As college students, Roya approaches the academically above average Feresteh for tutoring sessions and their friendship develops rapidly in a lovely montage; paradise, however, never lasts. Feresteh is being stalked by a frighteningly violent young man (there is a thoroughly satisfying scene on a bus where she berates him), the university shuts down, and thanks to her small minded father her once promising future takes a downward turn all too real. As such ‘Two Women’ should not conveniently be categorized as a mere film about women’s rights; it is so much more and Tahmineh Milani, the writer and director, has done a beautiful job without resorting to male bashing or melodrama: there are … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Salaam Pakhtunkhwa

Haligoli, (2001), a miniature by Saira Wasim – collection of Robert Roder Peshawar, a city destroyed by terrorism IDPs returning to their homes Wherever I went to eat, there was a meat-fest in waiting. There comes a time in life when you want to give up meat forever and that moment arrived on a dark, load-shedded night in Peshawar Raza Rumi My recent weeks have been consumed by travels to the capital and to the grim frontiers of … Read entire article »

Filed under: North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Peshawar

Dividing India To Save It

Dividing India To Save It

This is an article from an Indian Muslim writer  in response to Jaswant Singh’s book on Jinnah which poses some very interesting questions regarding partition and the role of Nehru and Patel in it.  Should make for interesting debate for scholars of partition on PakTeaHouse-YLH By M J Akbar Jaswant Singh’s Jinnah has certainly provoked much ado about something, but what is that something? Would this biography have made news if the author had not been a senior leader of … Read entire article »

Filed under: History, India, Jinnah, Pakistan, Partition

Indian Supreme Court orders deportation of Pak detenus

This is a welcome decision – a little late but right for sure. About time that both the states resolved such issues that affect common citizens and those accused unfairly of sabotage. Raza Rumi The NEWS reports today – NEW DELHI: A division bench of the Supreme Court of India comprising JJ Altmas Kabir and VS Sirpurkar on Tuesday directed the Union of India to complete the process of deportation of Pakistani prisoners who have completed their respective sentences and are still held in various jails. The Supreme Court asked the Union of India and the State government to provide a status report on the detention of Mohammad Shafiq Malik of Faisalabad, Pakistan, presently held in the Central Jail of Jodhpur, who was acquitted of all charges framed by … Read entire article »

Filed under: India, Justice

Revisiting Jinnah

By Lavpuri In the summer of 2005, I picked up a copy of Stanley Wolpert’s Jinnah of Pakistan from New Delhi’s Khan Market, a market located near Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s former residence, 10 Aurangzeb Road. Along with me, many others in journalistic and academic circles were buying books written on Pakistan’s founding father. Our interest in Jinnah and curiosity about his role in history had been piqued by a statement made by Lal Krishan Advani, the president of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Making Sense Of Pakistan

By Farzana Shaikh The main idea of my book, Making Sense of Pakistan, is that we need first and foremost to make sense of the country’s identity crisis. This crisis, I argue, is rooted in uncertainties over the country’s precise relation to Islam. Although in 1947 Pakistan was created as the first self-professed homeland for Muslims, the contestation over the meaning and role of Islam has continued to resonate to the present day—with significant political, economic and strategic implications, in and beyond Pakistan. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

A letter to Bilawal Bhutto – 'how will you rescue the tumbling boat'

We are posting Pakistan’s eminent writer-poet, Neelum Bashir’s powerful letter to Bilawal Bhutto. We apologies to the readers who cannot read Urdu. I request one of the readers to please translate this. Neelum writes to the young Bilawal as an affectionate mother and tells him how elite politics and precoccupations have brought the country to its current state.  Neelum ruges Bilawal to live like a common Pakistani before he claims to represent them through an … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Sir Christopher Lee talks about Jinnah of Pakistan

Sir Christopher Lee talks about Jinnah of Pakistan

With all the buzz about Jaswant Singh’s book, our regular contributor, Aisha Fayyazi Sarwari, has shared the transcript of a radio show she did some time back. In 2001 I had the opportunity to Interview Sir Christopher Lee for a radio show I produced for Pakistan News Service in California.  – Aisha Aisha Sarwari: Sir Christopher Lee, we are honored to have you here on the show (Previously Pakistan News Service), thank you for your time. Sir Christopher Lee: … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cinema, History, Jinnah

Right wing backlash against Pak Tea House

Kashifiat has posted an open letter addressed to me. I usually don’t answer such letters but this particular ‘letter’ has to be responded to because if you don’t respond to distorted and mala fide accusations, they come to be accepted as the truth. The superficial reason is that our whiz-writer YLH has used unparliamentary language while commenting but the reasons are far deeper – they have to do with the way we envision Pakistan in light of Quaid – Mr. Jinnah’s ideals and agenda for Pakistan and that we mince no words when exploitation and injustice occur anywhere.We have taken note of the commenting here and fixed the comments on a particular post and hope to have a stricter policy in future. However, we reiterate that we oppose the extremist … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogging, Pakistan