Monthly Archives: April 2009

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra: From Lahore to Oxford by Way of Allahbad

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra: From Lahore to Oxford by Way of Allahbad:

Oxford University is to appoint a Professor of Poetry and the nominations are to close next week. Two poets, Derek Walcott, winner of Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, and Ruth Padel, great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin, are in the running. And both are considered favourites.

The dark horse and a new entrant in the race is Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, born in Lahore and a Professor at Allahabad University. Continue reading

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The challenge from the Taliban is Ideological, not Military

by Asim Salahuddin

The current crisis of militancy gripping Pakistan is the most serious threat to the integrity of the State since the loss of East Pakistan in the war of 1971. Pakistan today is surrounded by hostile neighbours, is crippled economically and is slowly being crushed under the weight of world public opinion that it is a terrorist State, which is being generated by its supposed ally America. With Balouchistan already rumbling with a separatist insurgency which has not yet thankfully gained popular traction, the armed conflict which is being fought with Taliban forces in Swat, Buner and Dir is threatening to roll back the writ of the Pakistani State to just the provinces of Sindh and Punjab. A solution must urgently be found to prevent further bloodshed on both sides of this conflict. The problem however requires a detailed analysis and also a solution that provides a lasting fix and not just another short term truce or treaty that will be broken. Continue reading

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Filed under Identity, Islam, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism

Poem: Waris Shah Vs Aitzaz Ahsan

by Bradistan

Waris Shah Vs. Aitzaz Ahsan

(In the Court of Supreme Judge ALLAH The Almighty)

A Tribute to Late Amrita Pritam

aaj aakhaaN Aitzaz nuuN

aaj aakhaN AITZAZ AHSAN nuuN, kitoN Chamber vichchoN bol,

te aaj kitab-e -Knoon daa koii aglaa varkaa phol

ik Uthyaa sii Wada Kanoon Daan, tuuN likh likh maare Byaan,

aaj SWAT DE Dhiyaan rondiaa, tainuN Aitzaz Ahsan nuN kahen

Jaag dardmandaaN diaa dardiaa, Jaag Pakistani Jaag Continue reading


Filed under Activism, ancient civilisations, Art, Citizens, culture, Democracy, Europe, Fiction, Heritage, History, human rights, Identity, India, Islam, Islamism, journalism, Justice, Languages, lawyers movement, Left, Literature, Love, Media, minorities, movements, Music, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Philosophy, poetry, Politics, Punjabi, Religion, Rights, Rural, Society, south asia, Sufism, Taliban, Terrorism, youth

The unenlightened elite —Nadeem Ul Haque

Excerpt: “Who offers the poor hope? Certainly not the government! Certainly not the donors with their minor employees! The liberal elite made big promises and delivered nothing. The promise of globalisation and liberalisation has rightly lost its lustre in the minds of the poor. Theatre, cinema, or any form of intellectual activity that will offer an alternative vision has been zoned out. Where should the poor look for a vision; who offers them hope; who offers them community; who gives them some opportunity; who gives them the vision of a just society? Think about it. It is the mosque and the maulvi. Mosques remain totally unregulated, need no zoning permission and have been actively encouraged by the state. Not surprisingly, the mosque is the only community centre for the excluded poor; the unregulated maulvi the only visionary. This is the unintended consequence of the greedy, unenlightened behaviour of our elite.” Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

Pakistani media continues to glorify Islamo-fascism

by Abbas Zaidi

On 17 April the entire electronic media brought Abdul Aziz to every household of Pakistan. He was shown coming from an inner room of the notorious Lal Mosque into the prayer hall where he led the Friday prayer as he used to do till he was arrested on terrorism charges in 2007. He was set free on the evening of 16 April which the media beamed across the country as “Breaking News”. After he came out of the jail and settled down into a jeep, he gave a brief interview in which he ominously said, “Pakistan was created in the name of Islam but due to non-implementation of the Islamic sections and law and justice a tension is spreading in religious circles”. Before leaving, Abdul Aziz eulogized the Taliban takeover of Swat and the imposition of Nizam-e-Adal (System of Justice) there. He concluded his interview by saying that the Nizam-e-Adal should be imposed in every part of Pakistan. Continue reading


Filed under Islam, Islamism, Media, Pakistan, Religion

Is Pakistan collapsing? A father and a citizen speaks

by Ali Dayan Hasan

At my daughter’s annual school parent’s day event in Lahore last month, the tension was palpable. Bewildered at the speed with which this innocuous annual event had transformed into a maximum security operation, anxious parents filed in their hundreds past security guards, metal detectors and bag searches into Theatre Number Two of the Alhamra Cultural Complex – a modernist structure that the citizens of Lahore would tell you proudly is amongst the largest public-funded exhibition and theatre complexes in Asia. They were there to see their children, none older than seven, perform the usual amalgam of tableaux on “Peoples and Festivals of the World”, a smattering of Kathak – a North Indian classical dance, a “Chinese dance” performance and, of course, my daughter’s favorite – a Disney-esque version of the Bangles hit – “Walk Like an Egyptian.” The event began, as always, with recitation from the Quran. Tense primary school teachers grappled with security issues and as I walked in; a very public stand-off between a security posse comprising teachers, local police and plain clothes personnel and a random man who was on the premises for “no known reason” was underway. The man was eventually deemed harmless and let go but there was no parent who entered that hall without making note of the exits. Two hours later, as we filed out, I and virtually every relieved parent thought and said the same thing: “One more year like the last one and next year there will be no Parents Day. Another month or two like the previous ones and there might be no school left open.”

Since December 27, 2007 – the dreadful winter’s day when streets across Pakistan fell silent in the aftermath of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistanis have understood and expressed in varying degrees, or disagreed in desperate denial, that the Islamization project unleashed by the United States and implemented by the Pakistani military since 1979 had turned on its creators, snarling at the United States, devouring Pakistan and exposing its army for the megalomaniac but intensely incompetent institution that it is. And the narrative of impending disaster, brutal dispossession and disembodied lives in exile for stateless citizens harking back pathetically to a lost life, hitherto the preserve of Palestinians and Cubans, Afghans, Somalis and the ethnic mosaic of the Balkans, beckons to Pakistanis as well. One could argue that Pakistanis are scared of a future comprising daily doses of floggings, beheadings, daisy cutters and drones. They might be too. But no one has had time to think that far ahead. The truth is more prosaic: After all, if your children cannot go to school, the future has ceased to be. And when societies cannot have a future, they die. Continue reading


Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Sindh, state, Taliban

Hillary says US also responsible for crisis in Pakistan

Shaheryar Azhar, The Forum

Long time coming, but nevertheless good that it came…..

Saturday, April 25, 2009
ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday said the US was also partly responsible for the present conditions in Pakistan as it had virtually abandoned the country after the Soviets left Afghanistan.

“It wasn’t a bad investment to end the Soviet Union, but let’s be careful what we sow, because we will harvest. So we then left Pakistan. We said, okay, fine, you deal with the Stingers that we’ve left all over your country. You deal with the mines that are along the border. And by the way, we don’t want to have anything to do with you,” Clinton said while testifying before a Congressional committee according to a foreign television channel. After the downfall of the Soviet Union, Clinton said the US stopped dealing with the Pakistani military and with the ISI. “We can point fingers at the Pakistanis, but the problems we face now, to some extent, we have to take responsibility for having contributed to,” she said. Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA