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A Not So Festive Season in Pakistan

Ali Dayan Hasan, 30 December 2010 LAHORE— As the world celebrated Christmas, Pakistan’s beleaguered Christians cowered in fear. Baying for the blood of a Christian woman unjustly convicted under the country’s abusive and discriminatory blasphemy law, Islamist extremists held country-wide protests on Christmas Eve and have yet more planned for the New Year and beyond. On November 8, Aasia Bibi, a Christian farmhand from Pakistan’s Punjab province became the first woman in Pakistan to be sentenced to death for blasphemy. Denounced widely, the conviction also horrified key members of the government. President Asif Ali Zardari ordered a ministerial review which concluded that the verdict was legally unsound and sought a presidential pardon for her. The government expressed intention to amend the blasphemy … Read entire article »

Filed under: human rights

Kashmir’s Troubles

While at PTH, we do not indulge in cliched fights over the Kashmir issue, the plight of Kashmiris needs to be mentioned. Below we are reproducing an article from The Economist that we believe does a decent job in highlighting the present state of affairs, as well as the emerging developments in the Indian Administered Kashmir (Admin, PTH). From The Economist Dec 29, 2010 A GROUP of special Indian police barged into a white-painted, single-storey house on the crisp morning of October 27th. They let their lathis do the talking. The wooden batons were first rammed through all the windows, furniture and a television. When the grey-haired owners protested, the rods were turned on them. The police broke the husband’s leg and beat his wife’s flesh a sickly purple. Before leaving, the officers … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy, human rights, India, Islam, Islamabad, Kashmir, Uncategorized

Same as it ever was, indeed!

By Yasser Latif Hamdani An article appeared in the Express Tribune today to which I was alerted early morning by a fellow PTH editor, who also asked me to respond to it. I say this because I did not think it worth it to be responded to.  However on closer examination there are several things that need a rebuttal in the said piece and which is why I am writing this response. The author writes: The Objectives Resolution, if anything, was a more logical step for the nascent state to take than the vision outlined by Jinnah. A politician’s good intentions — and Jinnah, contrary to mythology, was a politician, not a divinely-inspired saint — are always unlikely to trump the structural problems inherent in the state. It is not surprising that a country that has … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Richard Holbrooke batted for Pakistan

By Ahmed Rashid No American has tried to ease the fears, apprehensions, doubts, conspiracy theories, ill informed views and truths of Pakistanis towards the US and its policies than Richard Holbrooke. His death is a tragedy for American diplomacy, but much more so for Pakistan, because whether you liked him or disliked him, there is no denying that in the last two years, he constantly battled for Pakistan. “My job is to improve relations and make friends with Pakistan and Pakistanis,” he had said repeatedly, when he was reminded of Pakistan’s support for the Taliban or its refusal to wipe out terrorists from North Waziristan. The image of Holbrooke wading through floodwater, distributing relief goods to flood victims – not once but repeatedly at the ripe old age of 68 – is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

The Shoeshine Boy

By Dr. Niaz Murtaza A boy born as the seventh child of a poor single mother, who remains illiterate till ten and is driven by poverty to quit school at twelve to work as a shoeshine boy, is unlikely to become President anywhere outside of fairy tales and Bollywood flicks. Defying destiny, one shoeshine boy from small-town Brazil– Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva—did so. Subsequently becoming factory worker, labor union leader, military opponent, political prisoner, and founding member of the Workers’ Party, Lula eventually became President in 2002. Blocked constitutionally from an almost certain third term, he hands over power to his hand-picked successor this month with his approval ratings still skyrocketing above 80%. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

INDIA: Long Shadow

INDIA: Long Shadow

Introductory: This is an extraordinary article from the Time Magazine, because it has almost a Dewey defeats Truman quality to it. Time Magazine’s partiality to Gandhi and the Congress is well known.  For example there is not even a single objectionable quote attributed to Jinnah in this piece that can be verified from any primary source.  This piece came out along with the horrible cover about which Jinnah had to say this: ”As I think the description ‘Mohammed … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Babur, the first Moghul emperor

Courtesy The Economist – Dec 16th 2010 ON A bright winter’s morning lines of plane trees and immaculately tended rose bushes fall away down terraces where men crash out on carpets and sheepish young couples sit as close together as they dare. The plants are fed by a central water channel, the signature feature of a Moghul garden. Below is the brown smog of Kabul; beyond, snowy mountains. The tomb of Babur, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Heritage, History

Veena Malik does not represent me

Veena Malik does not represent me

By Zainab Imam Much has been made about Veena Malik’s “behaviour” in the Bigg Boss House from the twin flirtations she struck to the short clothes she wore. To me, this spells Veena’s victory. Out of 14 housemates — including a global star, Bollywood actors and Bhojpuri film industry’s Shahrukh Khan — Veena managed to make an impression. While she was busy inside, the world outside was delirious with anger: how dare a Muslim, Pakistani woman conduct … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arts and Crafts, Bollywood, Cinema, Uncategorized, Women

Malaysian and Pakistani theocracies

By Yasser Latif Hamdani (writing in Daily Times) Malaysia is often quoted as a model by some members of our urban middle class, which is impressed with the glitter of that country but are completely ignorant of its constitution and laws. In my view, in so far as constitutions go, the Malaysian constitution is the worst and the least free amongst all the states that emerged from a British colonial system. It is also the most oppressive legal system when it comes to the rights of Muslims. To start with, only the Shafi brand of Sunni Islam is recognised as Islam in Malaysia. Minority sects, especially the Shia Muslims, are persecuted and driven underground. Shia Islam is banned by law and only recently a group of Shia mourners were rounded up … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Remembering Bibi

I am reposting my old piece: sadly, much has not changed - Raza Rumi It was only yesterday that we were mourning for the loss of an icon of our times. The much loved, and passionately hated Benazir Bhutto whose tragic murder in broad daylight was the greatest metaphor of what Pakistan has turned into: a jungle of history, ethnicity and extremism. Little wonder that Bhutto’s worst enemies cried and lamented the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Anniversery, Benazir Bhutto

“A Tribute to Benazir”

By Riaz Ali Toori He loves his country best who strives to make it best! Indeed every citizen loves his country but not everyone endeavors to make it prosperous, best and strong. Some spend their lives for the betterment of their soil but those who sacrifice their lives for the love of their land, are very few. They are the sincere lovers of their land because survival of nations needs blood and by giving it, they guarantee … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Benazir Bhutto and Her Politics: A Critical Evaluation

By Raza Habib Raja I remember that once Nadeem Farooq Paracha wrote that in Pakistan Bhuttos are hated in their lives by the affluent middle class and media (which is mostly the expressive medium of the same class) and then sanctified once they have met a tragic end. In lives they are branded as corrupt and only after death, and that too tragic death, has it been possible for the mainstream media to actually reflect back on them with some appreciation. Of course for the supporters any criticism on her personality, particularly after her death, is equivalent to blasphemy. Cult of personality which has become somewhat of a rarity in the West is an integral part of the political culture here. Such personality cults form around Political leaders, particularly famous ones, in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Anniversery, Benazir Bhutto, Left, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Uncategorized

Benazir Bhutto: an iconic figure

By Tauqeer Abbas The 3rd death anniversary of a blazing fire of truth, a beauteous blossom of love, a soothing balm of peace, highly experienced lecturer, one of the best decision makers, esteemed, much-loved, daughter of the East Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto will be observed with the renewed commitment and pledge to strengthen the democratic institution in line with the vision of one of the greatest leader of this subcontinent. The daughter of Pakistan is no more with us but is a guiding star for the generations to come. It was her unprecedented determination sacrifice for nation. Her commitment towards people was spotless that she did not let her own misfortunes position in her way. Mohtarma Shaheed will always be remembered in world politics due to her political acumen and leadership qualities. History … Read entire article »

Filed under: Al Qaeda, Anniversery, Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism

Do you speak what your great grandfather did?

By Amrita Yasin The General Administration of Press and Publication in China recently banned the use of English words and phrases in publications, for it was “abusing the language’ and putting its “purity” in jeopardy. The names of people and places and commonly used English abbreviations, all have to be translated to Chinese. Anyone can argue for or against this action on technical grounds, but I do salute the display of self-esteem and self-respect this nation has shown. I feel a tinge of guilt writing in support of preservation of mother tongue in a language that isn’t my first language. Or is it? Considering that as far as I can remember, I have been speaking English as much as Urdu and that I can’t carry a casual conversation in Urdu without using English … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

A bloody Xmas day in Pakistan

Raza Rumi As I was thinking of expressing my anguish about today’s sad incident and nothing expresses my anger, sorrow better than this message from a friend: It is a sad day to be a Pakistani. Another carnage in our country in Bajaur on innocent refugees who were killed by a suicide bomber. These 45 men, women, and children were poor displaced people who had gathered at a food centre to collect food. None of them was … Read entire article »

Filed under: Al Qaeda, Taliban, Terrorism