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Damned if we do, damned if we don’t…

By Ghazala Akbar Somewhere deep in Last Para lies the HQs of the premier spook outfit, I – espy – eye. The Chief, (codename, Passion) is reading his favourite John Le Carre novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. In walks his super boss, Control. Passion: What’s up Doc? You look worried. Control: Just saw our pal Mike Mellon on TV giving evidence to the US Senate Armed Forces He’s talking about us again. Passion: But I only saw him in DC last week and you saw him in Spain. No complaints. Control:  Yup! That’s just it. He was obviously lulling us into a false sense of security over the margaritas and the paella. Passion: What’s he saying now? Control: Same thing. We’re running with the hares, but hunting with the hounds. Passion: So what’s new! They always say that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Humor

Sleep my darling – chapter 2

Sleep my darling – chapter 2

By  DELILAH It is difficult to do much when one has three children under the age of five. I called up Dr. Baji in the afternoon but I couldn’t explain anything to her on the phone. She said she would speak to Sarmad and set up a time when he could take me to her. Dr. Baji had become a very important person in our lives. She had been our savior once we had migrated to Karachi … Read entire article »

Filed under: Books, culture

No more escape routes

Pakistan’s military should review the Taliban rule in Afghanistan and how they were not always the kind of partners and proxies we had envisioned By Raza Rumi Our Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, has warned the United States that if the accusations against Pakistan continue, the US might lose an ally. This statement comes in the wake of US statements that Pakistan-based Haqqani network has allegedly been involved in recent acts of terrorism in Afghanistan, directly threatening and sabotaging the NATO and US interests. The US blames the Haqqanis for attacks on the US Embassy and NATO Headquarters in Kabul; for attacks on US troops in Wardak province earlier in September. US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen has used unprecedented and strong language against Pakistan’s premier spy agency … Read entire article »

Filed under: Activism, Politics

The novelist – chapter 2

The novelist – chapter 2

“You really cannot be serious” she looked at her husband in a mixture of shock and more than a little bit of nervousness as they sat at the real estate agents office. A dingy mixture of island green artificial carpet and too bright yellowish walls. “Well if you have an idea that wont let go, you might as well follow through no?” Jalal said as he thumbed through some house guides lying next to them on … Read entire article »

Filed under: Books, culture

Pakistan and the United States: Reduced to talking at each other

By Saad Hafiz Based on public pronouncements from both sides in the last few weeks it seems that Pak-U.S. relations are in free fall. It started with tough words from the most senior United States military officer, Admiral Mullen in the aftermath of the recent attack on the US embassy in Kabul blamed on the Haqqani network that “in choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy, the government of Pakistan — and most especially the Pakistani Army and ISI — jeopardizes not only the prospect of our strategic partnership, but also Pakistan’s opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence,”. Pakistan responding tersely that “U.S. could lose Pakistan as an ally” and that “any unilateral US operation or hot pursuit inside Pakistan would result in severe consequences”. But … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion, Reviews

‘Dingi’ (Dengue) Fever in Lahore

‘Dingi’ (Dengue) Fever in Lahore Prof Farakh A Khan According to WHO (1999) 2.5 billion people are at risk of dengue virus infection in 200 countries. Before 1970 only nine countries had dengue fever. The mortality is about 5%, which can be reduced to 1% with proper treatment in the hospital. Dengue viral infection has become the leading public health problem. According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention USA dengue infection places more than 1/3rd population of the world at risk. Every year 100 million people get infected. The first case of dengue virus in Pakistan was reported in 1996 and incidence started to rise in 2003-2004 (Shahid, Jamal. Govt blames lifestyle for dengue spread. Dawn. September 22, 2011). The dengue viral attack reached epidemic proportions in Lahore during the summer of 2011. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Lahore, Pakistan, public policy

We have to be the change, we wish in country

By Riaz Ali Toori (@RiazToori) Terrorism is not a new word for anyone but it is tightening its grip on Pakistan day by day and we seem to be losing this war against terrorists. It’s not the time to chew the cud of hackneyed ideas. Several news items appear daily in newspapers and on the electronic media, reporting merciless killings of men, women and innocent school children. Today a child was killed for no fault of his but no one feels bothered about it. People are slaughtered and murdered on the spot and our lips remain silent. The whole nation seems to be desensitized as if accepting this ongoing tragedy of extinguishing lives. The flames of this fire have engulfed the entire country from Parachinar to Karachi. Report says that parallel to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion, Reviews

Full text: Statement by Human Rights Watch before Syed Saleem Shahzad Inquiry Commission

After our earlier post, here is the full text for PTH readers. Yes, it is a PTHleak… Statement by Ali Dayan Hasan, Human Rights Watch, To Syed Saleem Shahzad Inquiry Commission 9 August 2011   I.               Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch is a nongovernmental organization that monitors human rights in more than 80 countries around the world. Human Rights Watch researchers conduct fact-finding investigations into violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, and then publishes those findings in dozens of reports and hundreds of news releases every year, generating extensive coverage in local and international media. This publicity helps to inform the public and hold abusive governments accountable to their international legal obligations. Human Rights Watch meets with government officials to urge changes in policy and practice in countries, at the United Nations, … Read entire article »

Filed under: ISI, journalism, Pakistan

PTH Exclusive: Statement on Saleem Shahzad by Human Rights Watch

An PTH contributor has managed to obtain a copy of the statement given by Human Rights Watch (HRW) statement submitted at the Syed Saleem Shahzad Commission set up by the Government of Pakistan. This statement was made by Ali Dayan, Director Human Rights Watch. We are posting it without prejudice. Pakistan’s journalists and writers need protection and PTH fully supports all efforts to this effect. It should be noted that this statement is one of the many submissions and the final verdict is yet to come. Full statement as a pdf document is here: Ali Dayan Hasan HRW statement to SSS Commission An excerpt from the full statement below: Syed Saleem Shahzad was a reporter for the Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online and for Adnkronos International, the Italian news agency. My dealings with Shahzad were entirely … Read entire article »

Filed under: human rights, journalism, Pakistan

Ayesha Salman: A new literary voice from Pakistan

Ayesha Salman has lovely excerpts from her forthcoming novel. We are posting a few here: Excerpt 1 She dreamt of an old haveli. There is a sweet shuffle, the sitar is playing to the wind, the raj of the Mughals is at its peak, breezy music sweeps the lawns, hinged on an ancestral memory, crackling sounds echo, like a scratched LP with two hundred years of dust to prove its wisdom and worth. Dancing girls dance like birds waiting to be fed, their flat empty bellies moving back and forth to the rhythms of their nawabs’ desires. I can smell their soft, clean dupattas, fluttering in the purple wind carrying them to the edge of reason. I long to touch them even when I know they are buried somewhere where I can’t … Read entire article »

Filed under: Fiction, Literature

Art Auction in London for schools in Swat & South Punjab

Art Auction in London for schools in Swat & South Punjab

      Art lovers everywhere – please support Pakistan Rising and its Charity Auction of Pakistani art.   Pakistan Rising‘s Charity Art Auction at Bonhams, London shall be taking place on Monday 3 October 2011 from 6-8pm. They have 10 beautiful pieces up for auction, all of which have been donated by our leading artists: Rashid Rana, Faiza Butt, Shezad Dawood, Iqbal Hussain, Salman Toor, Nurjan, Shafaq Ahmed, Komail Aijazzudin, Nahid Raza and Waseem Ahmed. In addition they have … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arts and Crafts

Anna Hazare Movement: Why I Do Not Fully Agree With its Criticism

By Raza Habib Raja The euphoria generated from the Anna Hazare movement has been seeping into Pakistan and I can see that some of the newspapers, particularly those belonging to right of the political spectrum are trying to draw some sort of analogy to Pakistan. After all Pakistan too suffers greatly from corruption which is considered one of the top problems by our urban middleclass.  Corruption, whether real or perceived, has also been used in Pakistan as a justification to topple elected regimes by the military establishment.  More than anything else, so called “clean” and disciplined image of the armed forces has enabled it historically to be the “saviour”of the country.  Pakistan’s urban middleclass by and large assumes corruption, or its perception, to be the biggest problem and invariably holds the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

The gentler perspective

The gentler perspective

Each of us in our tiny bubbles By Farahnaz Zahidi Moazzam Farahnaz Zahidi Moazzam is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for writing. Her focus is human rights, gender issues and reproductive health. She loves blogging, traveling, is a chaai person and a wannabe photographer. Her pet peeve is marginalization on any grounds. She lives in Karachi & blogs here. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ As my daughter crossed the milestone called O Levels, the relentless struggle to get her into an … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion

Truth or dare

Truth or dare

From one woman to another By Jasmine   “Dear Jasmine I am a woman like you. I have been married for the last 10 years. My husband is a dull, boring man who is ten years my senior. I got married when I was 20 and had never touched a man. I had dreams; many beautiful gentle and passionate dreams where my husband would whisper sweet words into my ears all night as he took me into the world of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion

The novelist – chapter 1

The novelist – chapter 1

The rain hit the windows with a sound like thousands of little hands beating upon them, threatening to fling them open, to break into the comfort they were protecting. The rain had been the same ever since they had arrived in this tropical paradise, two days had passed and without relent it had continued. It’s not like this was the first journey abroad for zarmina and her husband, as they often took off in the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Books, culture, The novelist