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Manto: An Author of Tales for Children

By: Josh Shahryar It was with much sorrow that I learned that Saadat Hasan Manto has been posthumously awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s highest civilian honor. Too late? Maybe. However, that news opened too many old wounds in my heart. Wounds that I had to write something about if I was to find some closure. You see, to the rest of the world, Manto is a fearless story-teller, who spoke to adults, aiming to open their eyes to endemic oppression around them. To me, though, he will forever be a writer who spoke to children. The news of the posthumous – and might I add tragically late – recognition he received from the government of Pakistan took me back down memory lane to the moment I first encountered his words that seemed so out of … Read entire article »

Filed under: culture, Literature, Pakistan, Writers

Indian Supreme Court’s poignant footnote in Kasab Judgment

From Indian Kanoon: “[45] It is reported that it was at the Taj Mahal Hotel ballroom that, on February 20, 1918, at her eighteenth birthday party, Ruttie had accepted Mr Jinnah’s hand in marriage while the band was playing the Chopin tune, So Deep is the Night. It is also reported that both Mr. Jinnah, the creator of Pakistan, and Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, the President of the Indian National Congress, often held court at Taj Mahal Hotel. Mr. Jinnah also had an intimate connection with Mazgaon, where the bomb planted by two terrorists in a taxi exploded, killing three (3) and wounding nineteen (19) people. It is reported that Mr. Jinnah devoted Thursday afternoons to visiting the grave of his wife Ruttie at the Khoja Shiite Isna’ashri Cemetry, situated at Mazgaon, Mumbai. One … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Why Muslims Have Such a Mindset

Raza Habib Raja In my previous article titled as “ How Moderate Muslims Reinforce the Problem” I tried to explore the linkage between mindset of moderate Muslims and extremism. I tried to show that due to their denial expressed in the form of weird conspiracy theories and apologetic defense, moderate Muslims end up inadvertently supporting the extremists and the radical elements. But why Muslims are like that? The reasons in my opinion are manifold and some are imbedded in our cognitive framework while rest are the outcome of international events and the actual behaviour of foreign players. First of all, conspiracy theories appeal to our fundamental and deeply held conviction that a Muslim cannot do anything which would bring a bad name to Islam and lead to adverse consequences to the Muslim … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

No more graveyards

by Saad Hafiz: In his recent statement, President Obama, underscoring that disputes between India and Pakistan could only be resolved by the two countries themselves, ruled out any imposed solution from the ‘outside’ on Jammu and Kashmir. Obama’s statement is not inconsistent in that the Kashmir dispute has often been represented primarily as a matter between India and Pakistan and framed around the issues of the legitimacy of Kashmir’s accession to India at independence. The 1972 Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan also recognised Kashmir as a bilateral dispute. What gets less attention is that Kashmir, once described as ‘a heaven on earth’ transformed into ‘a valley of death’, is one of the worst tragedies of international politics. The people of Kashmir have become the unfortunate victims of this tragedy, as … Read entire article »

Filed under: Kashmir

SGS Cotecna, our judicial gods& so called free media

By Amjad Cheema: It is well known fact false cases are framed against politicians solely on the vengeance basis to malign them so that political system may be discredited to pave the way for undemocratic forces. It mostly started during our first military rule under Ayub Khan and subsequently even non-militaryregimes could not remain immune from it. We all know that Sheikh Rashid was punished & jailed for three years & was still able to contest election as even his opponents know that it was a politically motivated case. The recent example is that of SGS Cotecna casewhich has been used to defame the political leadership of PPP for more than a decade. Recently Noah Bokharee posted an article on website in this context. It carried a very informative piece of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics

How Moderate Muslims Reinforce the Problem

Raza Habib Raja In the recent years, there have been growing concerns that Islam’s, and since Islam is one of the major religions of the world, therefore world’s major problem is Islamic radicalization. These concerns are being voiced in various countries and have yielded various reactions ranging from apologetic defense (whereby some of the western liberals interpret it as a “reaction’ to US hegemony) to outright xenophobia. Radicalization is a major problem and there is no question about its lethal potential to inflict harm in the form of religious extremism and terrorism. However, it though present, is not as widespread in the Islamic world as is often projected by the media. If a major section of Muslims was actually radicalized, the situation would have been far worse. Most of the Islamic world, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Sikhs: A Distant Thunder From Wisconsin

Ras H. Siddiqui On August 10th this scribe took the opportunity to attend a vigil in Sacramento at the footsteps of the California State Capitol building to remember the Sikh victims of a recent shooting in Wisconsin. Only the brave had ventured out that day as the mercury had already touched 105 Degrees a few hours earlier than the 7:30 start time. But several hundred were not deterred. Sikhs in their traditional attire, many with long beards and turbans, along with the colorful clothes of the women and children congregated to pay their respects to the victims gunned down at a Gurdwara (Sikh Temple/Place of worship) in Oak Creek near Milwaukee. From the oldest members of the community to young children, they were there to both … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

In Which Telling Your Real Age is Taboo

By Soniah Kamal: Who has not sat through a movie where a perfectly lovely heroine has been maligned with comments such as ‘boori ho gayee hai, thakhi wee lag rahee hai, uus kee Ma lag rahee hai ‘, she looks aged, she looks tired, she looks like his mother’. I had the pleasure during a recent trip to Pakistan of watching with a group the Indian film ‘Bhoothnath’ starring Amitabh Bachan, Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla. Part way into the movie, the men, all around forty years of age, began confirming with each other that indeed Juhi was looking older, much older, indeed she had become decrepit. She’s looking like Shahrukh’s mother, they remarked to each other, Shahrukh kee Maa lag rahi hai. The women at the gathering are all thirty … Read entire article »

Filed under: Bollywood

The Real Issue Is Not the Controversial Islamic Laws

Raza Habib Raja Right now, the news of a Christian young girl (merely 11 years old) being arrested in Pakistan for desecrating Holy Quran is making headlines ( The liberal segment ( increasingly just restricted to facebook and english print media) is expressing outrage and needless to say that its voice is hardly reaching to segments which really matter. What is most regrettable is the overall virtual absence of large scale condemnation despite the fact that Pakistan’s already tarnished reputation has touched new lows with this news. In that small liberal segment, actually a fringe in our society, the blasphemy law is once again under criticism with calls to repeal it. I would like to point out to all those that they are just targeting a symbolic thing. Culprit is the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

“Death to America?”-Our Obsession with Anti Americanism

“Death to America?”-Our Obsession with Anti Americanism

By Talal Raza: Death to America for all the mess that is all around us! Right? How about death to all the Pakistanis who haven’t been able to decide who are they? Are we an Islamic country or a secular one? Or probably my childhood memory is right when it says:‘Sshhssshh, Text book says we got Pakistan in the name of Islam’. After ruling 1000 years over India and living with all the Hindus and Non-Muslims for centuries, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Identity

Rebuttal to Ishtiaq Ahmed, Shakil Chaudhry and Safdar Mahmood Part 1

Everyone has the right to his own opinion and I would like the counterparties to realise that I too have the right to my opinion about Ishtiaq Ahmed’s work. Nevertheless, I still think that his recent book is a drastic improvement upon his earlier work. It is precisely for this reason the book needs to be highlighted. Coming as it is from a certain one-sided point of view, the content of the book shows that the violence in Punjab was caused by the insistence of Congress to partition Punjab at the insistence of the Sikhs.-YLH By Yasser Latif Hamdani On Ayesha Jalal, H M Seervai and Hamza Alavi I reproduce Ayesha Jalal’s lecture at LUMS which is a corrective and rebuttal to claims made by Ishtiaq Ahmed on the one hand and Safdar … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Important Corrective to distortion of history by Viewpointonline

Important Corrective to distortion of history by Viewpointonline

By Yasser Latif Hamdani Waseem Altaf’s article on Viewpointonline (Jinnah “the Quaid”) made some completely inaccurate claims that need to be addressed.  Almost every claim in the said article is inaccurate when tested on the touchstone of historical facts. Since Viewpointonline is as closeminded in its approach to dissent as Daily Ummat or LUBP, they are unlikely to publish my rebuttal. Mr. Altaf’s first claim is that Jinnah became a Shia to advance his political career. This … Read entire article »

Filed under: History, Jinnah

What Do Arranged Marriages and American Author Holly Goddard Jones Have in Common?

What Do Arranged Marriages and American Author Holly Goddard Jones Have in Common?

By Soniah Kamal Fiction writer Holly Goddard Jones is one of my favorite writers. Her short story collection ‘Girl Trouble’ is easily one of the best I’ve read. Holly has real knack for getting into the minds of the misfits be they a coach who has gotten a student pregnant or a adolescent boy who is going blind. Holly has a piece up at Salon ‘I was a Teenage Bride’ about getting married at age nineteen. Not … Read entire article »

Filed under: Fiction

The 65 years of paranoia: Is there anything to celebrate?

Raza Habib Raja Some say that it was never the founder’s intention and consequently the entity when it materialized had no solid footings to begin. The political entity, which came into being on the fateful day of 1947 was born out of chaos, confusion and bloodshed. All of these constituted the birth environment of the country and resulted in a deep paranoia which has prevailed to this day. This environment was dominated by fear of a breakup and consequently the newly formed country lived its early years in constant insecurity. This insecurity was further enhanced due to lack of any powerful leadership and also due to virtual absence of institutional arrangements which are generally essential for keeping an ethnically diverse state cohesive. Such institutional arrangements were not there for two reasons. First, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Campus corner

Campus corner

Would you like a side of fashion design with that? By Zehra dada   Remember the saying, “When all else fails in life, open up a roti stand”? Well the ladies of Pakistani society have come up with their own version of that which goes something like, “No matter what you may have achieved in life, let’s design clothes!” Warning! This is not an exaggeration. The elite strata of all the major urban cities of Pakistan has been … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion