Daily Archives: August 29, 2008


Soniah Kamal

“Everyone has some point at which they think that, all things considered, it’s not that in those circumstances lying isn’t wrong, it’s just that telling the truth would be so much worse. I am the SS. Do you have any Jews in your cellar? Does anyone think the right answer is yes, if it’s true?” Appiah went , “But I do think there is a separate issue with identity questions. If you are asked directly to reveal your deepest sense of who you are, it’s particularly difficult not to tell the truth. This is especially true in the free world, in the modern world, because we have this idea that you have the right to express your identity in the social world. And that one of the things that’s wrong with the situations that force people to pass.”

“Black for white passing first brought the Americanism passing into use…passing looks a lot different in our time than it did in the pre-civil rights days…”

from Passing: When People Can’t Be Who They Are by Brooke Kroeger, 2003
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Obama: What does he mean for the Tech Industry?

One thing I have been wondering about Obama and what he said yesterday is what he means for Silicon Valley and Industry/Tech generally. Specifically, what does it mean to eliminate capital gains for start-ups, and stopping tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and giving them to companies that create jobs in the US of A? To keep the discussion in one place, I’d like–with the indulgence of PTH adminstoration, to invite folks to discuss this on our Wadi Blog in Silicon Valley:


Though for issues specifically related to tech and industry in Pakistan, let’s talk here.

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Bhutto Protegee Tackles Sex Harassment in Pakistan

By Shahzada Irfan Ahmed
WeNews correspondent

A second-term member of the Sindh provincial assembly is pushing Pakistan’s first effort to outlaw sexual harassment in the workplace. Two years ago her draft bill fizzled, but this time she thinks it could become law within a month. 

Humaira Alwani

LAHORE, Pakistan (WOMENSENEWS)–Humera Alwani drafted a workplace sexual harassment bill in 2006 when she was a first-term member of the Sindh provincial assembly. But as a member of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party she didn’t get very far.

This year, after taking her oath of office for a second term on April 5 and with her party now in control, she’s confident the bill has a better future.

Sindh’s chief minister has approved the draft law for presentation to the provincial cabinet, Alwani says. Within a month she expects it to be discussed in the Sindh assembly, where she’s pretty sure it will get passed, since her party is now in power. Continue reading

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Ahmad Faraz – Romance of resistance

by Harris Khalique

As if the recent loss of Prof. Khatir Ghaznavi, a fine poet and scholar, and of Adam Nayyar, an authority on Pakistani cultures and civilisations, was not enough, the hard-up intellectual and literary life in the country became more impoverished with the passing of Ahmed Faraz. His diction, metaphor and similes evenly kneaded in conventional Persian and Urdu ghazal make him one of the most prominent poets in the classical tradition of Urdu poetry after Faiz Ahmed Faiz. This being the most common and popular tradition among poetry lovers, promoted through mushairas, radio and television programmes and literary journals, made Ahmed Faraz a household name across the subcontinent. His style of rendition, handsome looks and a measured indifference is paralleled only by Iftikhar Arif among those poets who appeared some years after him. As a student of literature, I grew closer to the modern strand in Urdu poetry, as it were, which in my view include Noon Meem Rashid, Majeed Amjad, Akhtarul Iman, Munir Niazi, Aziz Hamid Madani, Fahmida Riaz and Saqi Farooqui among others. Continue reading

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Prisoner 650(Grey Ghost of Bagram)

Kashkin’s  poem is dedicated to Dr Aafia Siddiqi and all those innocent people betrayed by their own country.

My name is Prisoner 650,
Known I am as the “Grey Ghost”
Of Bagram, my home, remember me
In years of silence, in moments
Of indifference, created by you
Familiar are those walls and rooms
Of torture, of questions and of abuse
Familiar are those old echoes,
As all ideologies fall away in shame
Of protection of rights and freedom
Familiar I am to these accusations
As I am dragged, naked and blue
As I carry your foul breath, in eternity
Familiar I am to you and your ways
In labyrinth of twisted torture and routines
As my face begins to fade, in its forms
As this life becomes the burden in its disguise Continue reading


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A profile of the ISI (Pakistan’s best known secret)

We are publishing this excellent academic piece by Dr Ishtiaq, a renowned scholar who does not castigate the ISI the way mainstream Western media does. It is a cool, level-headed analysis with some pertinent conclusions.

The Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence: A Profile

Ishtiaq Ahmed[1]

 In the past few weeks, Pakistan has come under intense pressure from the United States, Afghanistan and India to curb alleged involvement of its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in terrorist activities. Such pressure has built rapidly in the aftermath of bomb blasts, some carried out by suicide bombers, in July 2008 in many parts of South Asia. Those outrages caused well over a hundred deaths. Much before the recent attacks, the ISI’s power and influence in politics had gained it the reputation of “a state within a state”, suggesting that Pakistani governments, especially those formed by civilians, have little or no control over its activities. The ISI rejects such accusations, claiming that it is a professional organisation dedicated fully to gathering intelligence that would strengthen Pakistan’s national survival and security.

 Existing literature on spy agencies is replete with data suggesting that acting irregularly and even in illegal ways is not unusual for such organisations. Even in stable and strong democracies, governments are not always fully in control of them and they can set up their agenda rather freely. Charges that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation sometimes act in defiance of United States governments have been made several times, but since such organisations work in great secrecy, it is not easy to find solid corroborative evidence against them that can show that they do act against the will of the government. However, the general assumption underlying the functioning of such entities is that they act under a coherent chain of command, and, in principle, their activities are purported to enhance national security. Continue reading


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