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Modern Poetry of Pakistan: An Introduction

By Waqas Khwaja Modern Poetry of Pakistan offers many offshoots of the classical tradition of Muslim poetry in India. Although Amir Khusrau (1253-1325), considered by some to be the first poet writing in a recognizable Urdu diction (Hindvi, as it was then called), wrote geet (songs), in addition to poems in many classical forms like the Mathnavi, ghazal, rubai, and riddles. Nazm, or an integrated rhymed poem on a single subject, did not become a regular part of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan, poetry

Learn From Pakistan

By C.M. NAIM A rapidly increasing coarseness of feeling and language against Ahmadis does not bode well for Indian Muslims in particular, and for India, in general. The above picture appeared in at least two Urdu newspapers on April 12. I captured it fromHamara Maqsad (New Delhi). Yes, the man sporting a long beard and angelic white robes is waving a sword. No, he is not a Saudi prince ready to launch into their traditional sword dance. He … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

State-Owned Religion Reduces Religious Observance – The Economics of Faith

By A A Khalid Modern economic theory has come to the consensus that private enterprise can best respond to the demands and preferences of the consumer. It is only when enterprise is divorced from absolute State control that firms and businesses can respond to public tastes, aspirations and desires. A centralised State controlled economy reduces enterprise, competition and breeds a bureaucratic apathy which gives rise to inefficiency and yes even a fall in living standards. The fact that the State controlled economy has failed in the modern world not only to guarantee efficiency but also to uphold the goals it upheld for itself such as equality and justice is testament to the fact that when governments are involved and when power is centralised the results are pitiful and ultimately spill over … Read entire article »

Filed under: Religion, state

Overcoming Pakistan’s Demographic Challanges

On July 11, 2010, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani delivered a speech in Islamabad to commemorate World Population Day. He announced that in order to highlight the crucial connection between demographics and economic growth, 2011 would be designated “Population Year” in Pakistan. “All hopes of development and economic prosperity would flounder if we as a nation lose the focus and do not keep [the] population issue in the spotlight,” he declared. Hopefully that spotlight comes with a long shelf life. Pakistan faces acute population challenges. If they are to be overcome, they will need to be illuminated for far more than a year. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan, Yusuf Raza Gillani

Taliban Using CDs for radicalizing Masses

This video from BBC is a real eye opener  as it shows that Taliban are increasingly and unfortunately effectively using  tools of mass media to reach out to masses. The video shows that CDs which advocate Jihad are easily available in the leading markets of the Peshawar city and at dirt cheap prices. Due to persistent military action against the Taliban, their military prowess may have been reduced but they have more than compensated military setbacks with very effective propaganda warfare. The short documentary highlights the importance of stricter action by the Government as these propaganda tools are achieving success in radicalizing the impressionable section population. Taliban do not need mass popularity as they do not aspire to come into power through the ballot box. All they need is a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Taliban, Terrorism

Imran Khan: a Taliban Goebbels?

By Dr Mohammad Taqi The PTI and its leader are perhaps politically insignificant, but conceding space to such Ziaist propaganda has the potential to radicalise the nation, especially our youth. Fortunately, Mr Khan is not perceived as an American stooge — he is seen as a Taliban apologist “The lowest form of popular culture — lack of information, misinformation, disinformation, and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people’s lives — has overrun real journalism. Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage” — Carl Bernstein, US journalist. Perhaps ordinary Pakistanis are not much better off either. But it is not just the journalists embedded with the jihadists who are peddling nonsense. Among the politicians, Mr Imran Khan keeps outdoing himself in the craft of black propaganda. He has been stuffing … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics, Taliban

The day I met Abdul Sattar Edhi, a living saint

Sixty years ago, Abdul Sattar Edhi, 82, gave up everything to devote his life to helping Pakistan’s poorest. Here, Peter Oborne hails a truly selfless spiritual sage Abdul Sattar Edhi, who has established homes across Pakistan for the mentally ill  Photo: GETTY 8:00AM GMT 10 Apr 0011 In the course of my duties as a reporter, I have met presidents, prime ministers and reigning monarchs. Until meeting the Pakistani social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi, I had never met a saint. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Liberal Democratic Pakistan

Facts and Fiction on the Frontier: The Haqqanis and the Kurram peace deal

For a few weeks, it looked like the sectarian conflict in Kurram Tribal Agency had been brought to a solution. The years-long siege on Shia residents had been lifted thanks to a much talked about peace agreement, allegedly brokered with the help of Jalaluddin Haqqani. This, however, now looks increasingly doubtful and seems to be more the part of a narrative that wants to paint a favourable picture of the old mujahedin commander’s network. Meanwhile, … Read entire article »

Filed under: FATA, Terrorism

India: A Portrait by Patrick French – review

By Aravind Adiga An unauthorised settlement near the beach in Mumbai, with the city’s financial district looming large across the water. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian The following correction was printed in the Observer’s For the record column, Sunday 23 January 2011 A review of Patrick French’s book India: A Portrait said: “French retells the story of Ramunjan, the brilliant young Tamil mathematician who died in England before he could fulfil his promise.” However, Ramunjan died in Chennai (formerly … Read entire article »

Filed under: Books, India

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula: Challenges and Opportunities in Revolutionary Yemen

By Michael Horton The wave of revolutionary unrest spreading across the Middle East poses a host of new challenges and possibilities for Salafist inspired militant groups like al-Qaeda. The calls for democracy, fair elections, and transparent governments in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen run contrary to Salafist political ideologies that subscribe to ideas like “one vote, one time” and regard democracy as a form of idolatry. [1] While it could be argued that such anti-democratic … Read entire article »

Filed under: Al Qaeda

Imran Khan in Taliban peace spotlight

By Syed Saleem Shahzad Imran Khan, the former Pakistan cricket captain turned politician, is in the spotlight as Pakistan develops a roadmap for reconciliation with the Taliban that aims to close down the war theater inside its borders. Khan, who leads the opposition Tehrik-e-Insaaf party, has emerged as a potential prime minister after the country’s military oligarchs built a consensus that peace is unlikely in the absence of out-of-the-box thinking and that an internationally credible person is needed to lead the process. Serving and retired military officers and academics, businessmen and politicians sense that neither the current Pakistan military and political leadership, norAfghan President Hamid Karzai, has the ability to deliver a result. They believe the best hope lies in a person who can be trusted in all quarters – by the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics, Taliban

Pakistan is a country that still somehow functions

Anatol Lieven’s book review by Alex Von Tunzelmann On August 19, 2008, Anatol Lieven, professor of international relations and terrorism studies at King’s College London, visited a grim, damp, concrete police station house in Peshawar, in what was then known as the North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan. He met the sub-inspector, “a big, very tough-looking middle-aged man with enormous fists – not a good person to be interrogated by”. The day before, Pervez Musharraf had resigned from the presidency of Pakistan. Lieven asked the sub-inspector if he would stop using torture now that the nation was again technically a democracy. “If I had turned into a purple elephant his look could not have been more blank with amazement,” admits Lieven. “I had asked not just a meaningless question, but one with no connection … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Badshah Khan

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, India’s “Frontier Gandhi”, Talks to Kavita Chhibber I had the pleasure of interviewing Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan while visiting Kashmir on vacation. Badhshah Khan or Frontier Gandhi as he was fondly known, was in Kashmir for medical treatment, and was gracious enough to tolerate my feeble attempts at urdu as well as my youth. His deep voice still resonates in my ears, his sweetness and warmth, still fresh in my mind. This interview … Read entire article »

Filed under: Peshawar, Politics, state

ANALYSIS – No early Pakistan action seen on Lashkar-e-Taiba

By Myra MacDonald Pakistani soldiers keep guard on the side of a road in Mingora, Swat on April 23, 2010. Credit: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood (Reuters) – Pakistan is unlikely to take on Lashkar-e-Taiba any time soon, since this could drive it into a dangerous alliance with the Pakistani Taliban and other al-Qaeda linked groups, security officials say. That is a problem for India, which believes LeT not only runs its own sophisticated operations like the 2008 attack on Mumbai but is now encouraging disaffected Indian Muslims in the “Indian Mujahideen” to launch small-scale bomb attacks in Indian cities. … Read entire article »

Filed under: strategy, Terrorism

War Without Footprints

If Pakistan wants fewer U.S. agents on the ground, it should tolerate American drones. By William Saletan A U.S. Predator droneWar is spreading across the Muslim world. U.S. forces are in Iraq. They’re in Afghanistan. They’re helping NATO in Libya. Even the United Nations—the United Nations!—is fighting in the Ivory Coast. But one war has been going on quietly all along. It’s quiet because the Americans fighting it aren’t in the place where it’s being fought. That place … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan, USA, war