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Drowning In Rage

This is a short story sent to us by D. Asghar Writer’s Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction, all names and places except Lahore and Anarkali are imaginary. Any resemblance to a person, living or dead is merely a coincidence. The story revolves around the recent floods in Pakistan, but does not depict the actual facts surrounding that event. “Idrees, Naajia, Sughra….Idrees, Naajia Sughra.” I yelled and then woke up again. Karam Din came to me and said the same thing; he had repeatedly told me every time I had this nightmare. He murmured, “Brother your family is with GOD Almighty, they are looking for you, as much as you are for them.” He had me drink something and I felt lifeless.  ”Baba….get me the bangles from Anarkali this time, when you … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

The Manhattan Mosque

The Manhattan Mosque

By Yasser Latif Hamdani (Courtesy Daily Times) The mosque in Manhattan has stirred a hornet’s nest. The issue now threatens to test the very ideals of western secular democracy that we admire and cherish and seek to emulate in the rest of the world. It is important, therefore, to weigh in logically and as reasonable people — though reason is hard to come by these days — on the unnecessary provocation in Manhattan created by Imam … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

A letter to the youth of Pakistan

Usama Khilji, a young activist from Islamabad addresses his contemporaries in Pakistan Dear Young Pakistani! I understand how these times are testing of your patriotism, but let me tell you how these times are actually a golden opportunity for you to prove your worth, your love for the country, and desire for a better future. You must have been hearing a lot about how Pakistani society has degenerated into moral chaos, how we as a nation are worthless ‘cockroaches’, and how we as a nation are deserving of calamities such as the catastrophic flood. These are all baseless generalizations that you as the youth should take up as challenges, and rather than accepting such fatalism, prove them wrong instead. For those of you who were disheartened by the beating to death of two brothers … Read entire article »

Filed under: Activism, youth

PAKISTAN’S OWN KATRINA: Be a Difference-Maker

Adnan Shamsi has sent this post for PTH. This is an excellent summary of the grave crisis facing Pakistan. Shamsi has also listed the organisations that can be supported by donations. At this time, millions of displaced Pakistanis need help and goodwill from across the world. We are happy that PTH’s little contribution to floods coverage is attracting more and more contributors and doers like Mr Shamsi. Raza Rumi I just finished reading the book “ZEITOUN” by Dave Eggers, with a vivid accounting of life experienced before, during and after the flooding of a major American city in 2005. As the 5th year anniversary of the decimation of New Orleans arrives, brought on by Hurricane Katrina, Pakistan is experiencing its own version of natural calamity. Flooding resulting from monsoon rains has … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Match fixing: shameful and unacceptable

Raza Rumi The match-fixing allegations are not new for Pakistani cricketers. In the past, such allegations have been proved within the country. The recent scandal with circumstantial evidence broke out by a British tabloid is simply mind-boggling and shameful. We hope that a fair inquiry will remove the mist from the narrative presented by the media. But a thorough inquiry must take place and all the recommendations should be implemented. Even if there is a grain of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cricket, sport

Another Martial Law?

This a piece authored by Mr Omar Ali. We are grateful to Mr Ali Arqam editor LUBP for sending it to us. by Omar Ali Pakistan is in the grip of one of its periodic eruptions of speculation about impending martial law, or at least, it looks like that on TV. For weeks, the largest news channel in the country has been shamelessly promoting the army’s role in flood relief as if the army is an opposition party, bravely stepping in to do work that the “corrupt politicians” who rule the country do not want to do (or cannot do). The fact that the army is an instrument of the state and that its efforts are part and parcel of the sitting government’s response to the emergency has not registered with the anchors … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

A report from Swat Kohistan

Zubair Torwali, stranded in Swat reports on how misleading stories of relief operations are being filed by powerful quarters Since the floods hit Swat and Kohistan, the residents are complaining that the situation has become grim. The media is apathetic and state institutions are conspicuous by their absence. The locals are angry about the fact that their self-help initiatives such as makeshift bridges with wooden planks are being touted by the state institutions as the ‘relief’ given to the area. More than 200,000 people of the valley beyond Madyan up to Utror via Bahrain and Kalam have run out of food. On clear days, helicopters appear and the mainstream media reports that food and medicine are being distributed. One wonders who is generating such news as the media persons thus far have … Read entire article »

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Religious Right in Their Own Words; Apostasy Punishment, Jihad and the Role of Non Muslims in the Land of Infidels

 Part 3 By Adnan Syed This series revisits one of the pivotal events of the early Pakistani history; the riots by the religious right wing parties to get Ahmadis declared as non-Muslims, and the subsequent Munir-Kiyani inquiry commission report into the causes behind the riots. The report went on to interview the religious leaders of the newly formed state of Pakistan regarding their motives and their ideas of Pakistan as a pure Islamic state. As the interviews revealed the incongruous replies of various leaders, they also showed vague but chilling ideas that the right wing parties harboured to turn the newly formed Muslim nation into a politically Islam dominated theocratic nation. The interviews reveal the role of democracy, non Muslims, Jihad and punishments like apostasy that would be practiced in an ideal … Read entire article »

Filed under: Constitution, Democracy, History, Identity, India, Islam, Jinnah, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, minorities, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Religion

Sialkot – an abject governance failure

M Jan’s exclusive contribution for PTH. The author makes a good case for institutional overhaul before it is too late. RR The sadistic ritual of beating two youth to death, played out in Sialkot, is a cruel and brutal indictment of our society as a whole, as well as our governance and law enforcement mechanisms. It also is a glimpse of things to come, as well as a symptom of a larger malaise that has now afflicted this country’s governance and its institutions, which has, eaten them hollow, from within. The larger malaise that has rendered our governance ineffective and institutions dysfunctional, are none other than what the Quaid asked us to immediately set about, to eliminate, i.e., corruption, nepotism, jobbery and sifaarish, which have been openly accepted as the norm, and … Read entire article »

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Religion and Sialkot Incidence: Is There Really a Strong Connection?

by Raza Habib Raja Right now the  brutality shown by the mob in Sialkot has taken the country by storm. Everyone is condemning it and various commentators are busy interpreting the causes of the incidence. The causes of the incidence, as touted by the various quarters range from lack of Islam to too much Islam depending whether you are a religious conservative or a liberal. Public lynching is a horrific incidence and if televised is bound to create  severe revulsion. However, one has to be careful while trying to interpret the reasons behind such mob behaviour. Forcefully linking it with either lack of or excess of religion may lead us to wrong conclusions and damage our credibility as well. I have come across a host of articles from both religious and liberal … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Rescuing the Pakistani state

Raza Rumi Three weeks after the floods have broken Pakistan’s back, the international community is yet to show its resolve in helping a drowning country. The reasons for such a slow response are erroneously being understood in the context of the Pakistani government or the current crop of civilians in power. However, this is a narrow twist to the reality. The real angst and distrust being displayed by the world is at the Pakistani ‘state’. The situation is also reflective of the duplicity of international opinion makers and power-centres in labelling Pakistan as a country with an ‘image problem’. One is sick of reading nauseating reports on how the post-earthquake assistance was ‘diverted’ or squandered. The truth is that in 2005 a military dictator was ruling Pakistan and the entire world was … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan, public policy, state

The State Must Go Weeding

Ali Abbas, PTH’s new author has contributed this thoughtful  piece with a sanguine conclusion – “This burden of existence lies on the state’s shoulders, whether we like it or not” For all its shortcomings and its stunted political development, the Pakistani state has been faced with multiple challenges over the last ten years. Each of these challenges have highlighted its weaknesses, wrenched out a response and provided a vital prod in the ‘right’ direction. After the takeover of government, Musharraf’s media reforms not only brought national focus on the lack of an independent media in the country, but triggered a decade of development for the media industry which has been unprecedented in the history of the country. A maturing of this phenomenon is the criticism that this free media is now receiving … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics, state

Religious Right in Their Own Words; What Constitutes a True Muslim

Part 2 By Adnan Syed This series revisits one of the pivotal events of the early Pakistani history; the riots by the religious right wing parties to get Ahmadis declared as non-Muslims, and the subsequent Munir-Kiyani inquiry commission report into the causes behind the riots. The report went on to interview the religious leaders of the newly formed state of Pakistan regarding their motives and their ideas of Pakistan as a pure Islamic state. As the interviews revealed the incongruous replies of various leaders, they also showed vague but chilling ideas that the right wing parties harboured to turn the newly formed Muslim nation into a politically Islam dominated theocratic nation. The interviews reveal the role of democracy, non Muslims, Jihad and punishments like apostasy that would be practiced in an ideal … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, minorities, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Partition, Punjab, Rights

An Extraordinary Group Photograph From 1997

Filed under: Pakistan

Talibanization of the heart

A thought provoking article by Abbas Zaidi By  Abbas Zaidi   In the backdrop of the public lynching and then hanging of brothers Hafiz Mueez Butt and Muneeb Butt in Sialkot on 15 August, a journalist writing in an English language daily asked the following questions about the murderers: (i) Are they human? (ii) Are they Muslim?, and (iii) Are they really Pakistani? (The writers thought they were none.)  These questions are evidence of the lowest depth of misery, hollowness, and dishonesty to which some of Pakistani journalists have taken their profession to. Of course, these murderers are human, Muslim, and Pakistani. The hollowness of the word “really” reminds me of Kurtz’s outburst of “The horror, the horror!” in the Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Why is so much hype about this lynching in both … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan