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The enigma that is Pakistan

By Raza Rumi Anatol Lievens new book is not just a contemporary account of Pakistan, it also attempts to present an alternative narrative of what is often referred to as the worlds most dangerous country. Lieven worked in Pakistan for several years for The Times and is currently a professor of international relations and terrorism at Kings College, London. His approach, therefore, is a curious mix of hard- core research and journalistic reporting. The two intersect, disagree and at times oppose each other. After exhaustive research and speaking to scores of Pakistanis, Lieven is quite clear that Pakistan does not deserve the oft-repeated verdict of being a failed state or the prediction that it is going to is integrate. He focuses on Pakistans robust society fissiparous and troubled as it is practising … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion, Pakistan

The lives of others

The first half of the 20th century witnessed a transformation in Urdu literature with the emergence of the short story as the choicest medium of literary expression, reflecting the shifting contours of Indian society. Urdu was not a communal language then. The Muslims and Hindus of pre-1947 India preferred the language for its subtlety, richness and aesthetic qualities. This was the age of Prem Chand’s realism, the romanticism of Rajinder Singh Bedi and Krishna Chandar, the irony and brutal directness of Ismat Chughtai and Manto and of course the prescient visions of Ghulam Abbas.Click here to read remaining article … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion

HRK and Media hype

By Rai M. Azlan: If days can be remembered with the events that take place on that particular day than 27th July of 2011 can be the HRK day. Yes here with HRK I mean Hina Rabbani Khar, the Federal Foreign Minister of Pakistan. Why I feel that way about this day is the result of the observation. I woke up this morning and what first thing I saw in my twitter timeline was a tweet saying, “I just hope Hina Rabbani Khar return with something more diplomatically tangible than offers for bollywood flicks or Big Boss shows.” As I was not completely awake at that time, it took me some time to recall all the things that could have helped me in understanding the reason behind such tweet. The reason is that Pakistan’s … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics

The tragic story of Urdu

By Raza Rumi What makes translating Urdu literature a rare indulgence has also kept it closeted from global appreciation. Ralph Russell, the legendary British scholar of Urdu literature, whose tireless efforts to explore the Byzantine layers of Urdu will always serve as a reference point for global Urdu-walas, once summed up the eternal dilemma of achieving a perfect translation of Urdu literature into English. He pointed out that the work of Indian and Pakistani translators suffered from a lack of command in either language. “The English-knowing products of what in India and Pakistan are generally called ‘convent schools’ have acquired their nearly (but not quite) perfect English at the cost of losing full command of their mother tongue,” he wrote in 1996. This is not to say that translations of Urdu literature have … Read entire article »

Filed under: Languages, Opinion, Reviews, Urdu

A mouse that roared (unconvincingly)

A mouse that roared (unconvincingly)

by Zia Ahmad An American friend recently sent a youtube clip featuring the uberPakistani sensation with the red beret circa 2007/8 Zaid Hamid/Zaman. The clip appears to have been made around the time of the Osama killing and offers nothing new. Its yet another final warning to India, Amreeka and the zionists. What is more noticeable about this clip is the amateur nature of the video. The often repetitious monologue does not benefit from the uneven audibility of  Mr Zaman’s voice. Keeping the same bland … Read entire article »

Filed under: Media

Regressive governance

By Raza Rumi: Pakistan’s ‘crisis’ in governance has now acquired an axiomatic status. Local and foreign experts have been grappling with the precise nature of how Pakistan has transformed over the past decades. In particular, the state’s inability to turn into a citizen responsive, accountable entity is a major tragedy of our times. Ilhan Niaz’s award-winning book, The Culture Of Power And Governance Of Pakistan 1947-2008, is a significant narrative on the philosophical and historical dimensions of governance or lack thereof. Perhaps the most impressive part of his endeavour is the fact that his is an indigenous analysis, emanating very much from a Pakistani scholar who has chosen to rough it out in a public sector university. The book uses a wide range of declassified records available at the National Documentation Centre in Islamabad and, therefore, posits a fresh perspective on both the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion

Finding my Pakistani identity

Finding my Pakistani identity

By Sonya Rehman When we’re young, nursing an invincible confidence – which stems from a frivolous heart – we only view our lives in accordance with ourselves, our family, our friends…our little support networks. We’re myopic in our outlooks. Restricted. We have our blinkers on. But not for long. Truth be told, I had my blinkers on for a while. Quite a while. But over the past year or two, I’ve begun to question my life, my … Read entire article »

Filed under: culture

Jinnah as a lawyer

From This is a wonderful two part series by an Indian law network website on the life and career of Mahomed Ali Jinnah. Part 1: “No man is more adroit in presenting his case” Part 2: “A brilliant advocate, man of unimpeachable integrity” Mohammad Ali Jinnah evokes strong responses in South Asia, and has been cast in a multitude of roles depending on which side of the political line he is viewed from – a master negotiator, a charismatic leader, a cunning politician, a secular liberal, and a conservative reactionary. Few, however, see him as a lawyer, his primary professional training that helped launch his career in public life and shaped both, his political career, and his ideological vision. Lawyers of course, overwhelmingly dominate the galaxy of political leaders in colonial India. This was … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion

Rebuilding Lives … Charity Gala Dinner with Wasim Akram

Rebuilding Lives … Charity Gala Dinner with Wasim Akram

Sohail Anjum PHOTOGRAPHY Pakistan cricketing legend, Wasim Akram is set to team up with Islamic Relief to help rebuild lives in Pakistan, following last year’s devastating floods. The first bowler to take over 500 wickets in one day internationals will join Islamic Relief for exclusive fundraising dinners in *London on 9th July  and *Bradford on 24th July* As well as an interview and open question and answer session with Wasim Akram, there shall be live entertainment with qawali group, Sufi Touch and lots more! The dinners are … Read entire article »

Filed under: Photos

In Pakistan, drone attack victims pursue criminal charges against US government officials

While the US military continues its campaign in Afghanistan, in neighboring Pakistan, there is continuing opposition to the CIA’s drone strikes. Activists, lawyers and two Pakistani citizens will begin the process of seeking an arrest warrant for former CIA official John Rizzo, who they accuse of overseeing some of the deadly drone strikes. According to the Guardian, the lawyers say the US is violating the laws of war and they want Rizzo and possibly others involved in the drone strikes charged with murder.  For more on this and the implications of the visit this weekend of Pakistan’s spy chief to Washington, we spoke to Raza Rumi in Lahore, editor of the Pak Tea House website.Click here to listen audio and read complete article … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan, USA

Towards a decentralised Pakistan

Without civil service reform, devolution of policy setting will be unachievable and the current reform may just not achieve its intended purposes By Raza Rumi: On July 1, 2011, the third phase of redistribution of federal powers and functions was completed whereby 7 federal ministries now stand devolved. These include Ministries of Health, Food and Agriculture, Labour and Manpower, Environment, Women Development, Sports and Minorities affairs. Earlier, ten ministries were devolved to the provinces with the abolition of concurrent list under the 18th Amendment. Implementing the 18th Amendment: The process has been fraught with political bickering between the Centre and the Provinces and resistance by powerful groups, which are beneficiaries of a centralised Pakistan. However, these political and administrative contests have not undermined the process of devolution. A major factor in negotiating this … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

The most Dangerous Place for Journalists

The most Dangerous Place for Journalists

Recently, the journalist Saleem Shahzad has been killed in Pakistan after he had been reporting on the connections between the Pakistani intelligence agency and al Qaeda. Admiral Mike Mullen, who is the top officer in the US military, has said that the Pakistani government has sanctioned Shahzad’s killing. Even before this Pakistan has been the most dangerous place for journalists. FutureChallenges’ regional editor Farhan Janjua from Pakistan interviews Pakistani journalists asking whether they feel safe any longer in their home … Read entire article »

Filed under: journalism

Karachi on Fire (again): Who Should Be Held Responsible?

This thoughtful write up is contributed by Hasan Haider, a film student at the National College of Arts and a concerned resident of Karachi. I was at a wedding reception when I got a phone call from a relative that I should get home as soon as possible since the city was shutting down. Someone has said something to the MQM Party leader and now the city would experience the same bloodshed it is famous for. My father rushed all of us into the car and we rushed home, only to find sounds of firing on the main road near my house. We slowed the car down and turned into the next street around the corner and tried to avoid all the main roads. As soon as we got home, my father started called other … Read entire article »

Filed under: Karachi

Karachi – games of power

Karachi – games of power

By Rabab Khan Karachi has long been considered the heart of Pakistan; if Islamabad is Pakistan’s administrative capital, Rawalpindi its military stronghold and Lahore its cultural epicentre, then Karachi is Pakistan’s only true financial district. Or at least that is how the story used to be told not too many years ago. Today, Karachi is to Pakistan’s economy what it is to its people: a bleeding city. Steeped in civil strife, in what some may even … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion


By Ghazala Akbar: Are you confused about the recent happenings in Karachi? Just who was killing whom and why? Was it ethnic strife between two groups who speak different languages? Was it the armed activists of the three political parties who claim to ‘control’ our major city? Was it the land- grab Mafia? Were these criminal gangs fighting for their piece of turf. Or was it because a member of the ruling coalition had quarreled with its partners and quit in a huff? As the body count mounted and the score updated hourly like a cricket match, as terrified citizens narrated tales of murder and mayhem, a re-assuring sight appeared on the TV screens: The man for all seasons, all crises: the idefatigable, the honourable Minister for the Interior.The Government he informed us had taken ‘notice’ of events in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Karachi, Languages