Articles Comments

Pak Tea House » Archive

Hate Destroys

By Saad Hafiz The sectarian schism, which leads to unending violence, is probably the most deadly of Pakistan’s list of self-inflicted problems. The historic manipulation of religion by the state for political purposes has sowed the seeds of hateful intra-religious sectarian division. Sectarian violence is not only pervasive, it also accentuates divisions within Pakistan and underlines the ineptness of the government and security services in stemming this phenomenon. During the last 35 years, thousands of people, mostly from minority sects, have been killed and thousands more maimed in attacks by zealots from rival sects in Pakistan. For hardline Sunni sectarian groups, Ahmedis, Shias and even fellow Sunnis are fair game. Their lethal attacks on Shia ulema (clerics) and professionals have generated a violent Shia backlash. The French political philosopher, Montesquieu said, … Read entire article »

Filed under: violence

The Mullahs are coming!

By Sher Sultan The Mullas are coming! They are coming in all hues and shades. All styles of facial hair are on display. With close cropped beard, to a totally unkempt one, with heavy moustache accompanying a beard, to a solo beard with clean shaven upper lip – these are not just random fashion statements. Every specific facial hair style represents a specific school of thought, commonly known as a FIRQA. The truth of the school is articulated not just through facial hair style, but through the apparel as well. The close cropped bearded one believes in all secular dresses, and partakes of all secular professions, becoming an engineer, a doctor, or a professor. One of them was teaching me at the Executive MBA classes at I.B.A., and never let go … Read entire article »

Filed under: Humor, Islam, Islamism, Taliban

Pakistan versus the Taliban Emirate

By Amaar Ahmad: Imran Khan and similar-minded people are clamoring to stop NATO supply over the drone issue. Their battle cry is: ‘sovereignty’, ‘national honour’ and ‘honour not dollars’. PTI, JI and JUI are okay with the difficulties that arise for Pakistan by this blockade and claim that once the drone attacks stop, the Taliban savages would agree to peace. This mindset is beyond belief. The reality is that Pakistan has as much territorial control of North Waziristan as it has perhaps over Indian Kashmir. Protests against drones thus make no sense. National sovereignty over a geographical area exists if and only if a government can establish its exclusive writ in the land. In Northern Waziristan, Taliban and other outlawed groups have practically declared their own little Emirate and use … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

The Unpatriotic Indian Appeaser

Raza Habib Raja During my last semester at Cornell, I was requested by one of my Indian friends to give a presentation on Pakistan. The topic was “Pakistan and Extremism”. I was required to speak in front of a mixed crowd of various nationalities though South Asians were obviously more prominent. It was an international forum and I was representing Pakistan. Before me, people representing their countries had projected a very positive image of their country. In my opening sentences I said that I was not going to project a positive image. I would just speak my mind. I said that patriotism for me is not getting defensive when my country is under the critical microscope of the outside world but to introspect as to why it is under the critical microscope … Read entire article »

Filed under: India, Pakistan

Understanding Social Capital: Practice and Potential

By Safwan A Khan Over the years, the concept of social capital has evolved greatly in the scientific literature and in practice. While there is a traditional setting that perceives social capital as a network of individuals sharing values, norms, and cultures, and thereby collectively contributing to common causes, the concept has taken a much wider connotation in the highly connected and globalized world of today. Today, social capital encapsulates social networks that go beyond physical interaction of individuals and yet allow collaborative practices for a common cause. Popular social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. provide an excellent example in this regard. The online world also allows for easier expansion of social networks, owing to ease of connectivity offered by a multitude of forums. Diaspora engagement in domestic affairs … Read entire article »

Filed under: Media, Pak Tea House, Society, state

President FPCCI Chairs D-8 FCCI meeting in Tehran

President FPCCI Chairs D-8 FCCI meeting in Tehran

D-8 to emerge as one of world’s most promising trade blocs: Zubair Ahmed Malik Dated: Nov 05 The President FPCCI and President D-8 Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (D-8 FCCI), Zubair Ahmed Malik chaired the first committee meeting on finalization of D-8 FCCI Statute and 8th D-8 FCCI presidents meeting held in Tehran. The meeting was attended by the presidents of chambers of commerce of five member countries including Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Nigeria. The meeting … Read entire article »

Filed under: Economy

Splitting Errors I

Splitting Errors I

By Yasser Latif Hamdani (This article is the first in a series of articles which will address the issues raised by Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed in his eight part series in The Friday Times. This rebuttal series has been written exclusively for the PakTeaHouse. Please credit PTH for any republication.) Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed’s series “Splitting India” was fraught with historical inaccuracies and misconceived straw man fallacies some of which I will attempt to show in a series of … Read entire article »

Filed under: History, India, Jinnah, Pakistan, Partition

Religion & Rationality

by Tipu Salman Makhdoom Education is useless! This applies to the phenomenon we choose to call “Education” in Pakistan. Ignoring what it refers to in the far away meadows of the modern world, we dub literacy based gimmickry as Education. And then wonder why it is not producing same results that it does in other parts of the world. Degrees and the degrees upon degrees offer no help. Thinking is a rare phenomenon in our society. Training to “Think” is simply non-existent in our Education System. By thinking I mean Rational Thinking. Our Educational Institutions are nothing but production houses of career oriented half-baked mechanics. These overly literate mechanics of their fields, be it scientific or social, are good only at earning their daily bread by applying formula solutions they were taught … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, Religion

Pakistan Needs to Tell The Story Right

By Shaheera Syed It is a battle for ideas, narratives and tales. Get your story straight. Get your story right. Even if halfway through you realize that you have chosen the wrong side or perhaps the less profitable one, don’t panic. All is not lost. Get up, brush yourself off and get your act together. Be better prepared and equipped to make a come-back that flashes through the dust of time. Present a story that sticks, a narrative that gels well with the stakeholders, and a tale that grapples the audience. Anything ranging from a heart wrenching confession from the past to an optimistic commitment for the future would work to excuse your behavior. The trick is to make it convincing to a level that the audience is completely and utterly drunk … Read entire article »

Filed under: Drones, FATA, History, Identity, Islamism, Jinnah, liberal Pakistan, Pakistan, secular Pakistan

Diana: A Film Review

Diana: A Film Review

Review by Ras H. Siddiqui Director Oliver Hirschbiegel’s movie “Diana” is an ambitious film, one which might face initial viewer reservations because many in our generation still have vivid memories of the late Lady Diana Spencer.  As Princess of Wales or just Lady Di, she was one member of the British Royalty who touched the hearts and minds of millions around the globe as she became Britain’s most glamorous face to the world. Her controversial life … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cinema, Education, human rights, Media, Reviews, World

It Will Never be the Same Again

It Will Never be the Same Again

Raza Habib Raja As someone who associates very closely with Indian identity and feels a great degree of warmth towards modern political India, I have always made cricket field as an exception in the sense that I have always backed Pakistani cricket team and almost ferociously. In my opinion sports is one place where emotional patriotism is somehow or the other alright. I loved India- Pakistan cricket fixtures and always passionately backed the green shirts. Hence … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cricket

Islam and the West

By Saad Hafiz The Islamic world and the west appear to be caught up in an intensifying phase of political and cultural conflict. Each side views the other with mistrust and suspicion and both have a shopping-list of grievances. Over-zealous punditry on television, in the op-ed pages, on campuses and in strategic studies think tanks reinforce the fear that Islam and the west are on a collision course. Great stress is laid on the political and cultural divide, futility of communication and engagement and cries of hegemony and imperialism. In this cacophony, those who seek dialogue and reconciliation between the faiths struggle to be heard. Muslim self-confidence, which was at its peak some centuries ago, has disappeared. Religious literalism has gained centrality over reason in the Islamic worldview. Long buried is the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, Media, Society, south asia, Terrorism, war, World

In Remembrance of Martyrdom

A translation of the Urdu elegy “Zikr e Shahadat” by Mawlana Hassan Raza Khan By Asif Jehangir Bagh jannat kay hain behr-e-midah-khwaan-e-Ahle Bayt Tum ko mizhdah naar ka ay dushmanaan e Ahle Bayt The gardens of Paradise await the eulogisers of the Ahlul Bayt For you glad tidings of Hellfire O’ enemies of the Ahlul Bayt[i]! Kis zabaan se ho bayaan ‘izz o shaan e Ahle Bayt Madah go-ye Mustafa hai madahkhwaan e Ahle Bayt How can one’s tongue do justice to the glory of the Ahlul Bayt? He actually praises the Prophet—the one who praises the Ahlul Bayt   Unki paaki ka Khuda e Paak karta hai bayaan Aayah e Tat.heer se zahir hai shan e Ahl e Bayt   The Pure God Himself mentions their purity: The Verse of Purification[ii] shows the purity of the Ahlul Bayt   Mustafa izzat badhanay kay liye ta’zim dein Hai … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

A Few Question on the Drone Strikes

A Few Question on the Drone Strikes

By Asifa Ali Undoubtedly, drone attacks that impinge on our sovereignty are condemnable and damaging as they generate sympathy for the militants and breed more. It is also a fact that USA is continuing drone attacks as they serve two purposes; eliminate militant leaders not serving their interests and Pakistan faces the backlash. All this is known and discussed unabated on media. What, we fail to, however, discuss is answers to the following:- TTP has claimed responsibility for … Read entire article »

Filed under: Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Citizens, Drones, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, war

Urban Middle Class’s Steady Descent into Hyper Nationalism and Political Right

Raza Habib Raja Pakistani political landscape is still reeling from Hakimullah Mehsud’s assassination. Hakimullah despite having killed scores of Pakistanis, is being “mourned” as a missed chance for peace. It is pretty clear that the only reason for anger is that USA killed him. The fact that he has murdered many more Pakistanis than US citizens is simply overlooked. Right now instead of an army action, many of our leading politicians are calling the militants as “stakeholders” and many people particularly those who are from urban middleclass are still in denial with respect to the extent of danger that lurks. Much more than the population directly under Taliban, the urban middle class’s behavior is perplexing. They until very recent past have actually been hailing the Talibanisation and have been … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, Media, Taliban