Daily Archives: April 23, 2009

Islamic Failure

Pervez Hoodbhoy , Feb 2002. Courtesy Prospect

If the world is to be spared what future historians might call the “century of terror,” we will have to chart a course between US imperial arrogance and Islamic religious fanaticism. Through these waters, we must steer by a distant star toward a democratic, humanistic and secular future. Otherwise, shipwreck is certain. Continue reading


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Jinnah’s Pakistan in Retreat

From The News

By Maleeha Lodhi

An event in the life of a nation sometimes has deeper significance than what appears on the surface. The accord by which the government all but ceded administrative and judicial control to militants and their Taliban affiliates in Swat is such a development. This has profound implications for the country that have been obscured by the facile discussions on many TV talk shows. It may well mark a turning point in the country’s struggle with rising militancy.

The Swat deal signifies several things all at once. First and foremost it represents a retreat for Jinnah’s Pakistan. Whatever the apologists of the deal may claim, it is the very antithesis of the vision and ideals inspired by the country’s founder, the core of which was a modern, unified Muslim state, not one fragmented along obscurantist and sectarian lines. Several times during and after the struggle for freedom, the Quaid-e-Azam emphatically ruled out anything resembling a throwback to obscurantism or any variant of theocracy. His leadership rested on principle and according to one of his biographers, he preferred “political wilderness to playing to the gallery”. Continue reading

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“Pakistani govt is abdicating to the Taliban”: Clinton

More disturbing news as US sec. of state is reported as saying that Pakistani government is abdicating to the Taliban.

From The National

WASHINGTON // Pakistan now poses a “mortal threat” to the world the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said yesterday.

Surging violence across Pakistan and the spread of Taliban influence through its north-west are reviving concerns about the stability of the nuclear-armed country, an important US ally vital to efforts to stabilise neighbouring Afghanistan. Continue reading

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Pakistanis fear for their nation

By Bronwyn Curran from The National

Pakistan’s liberal leadership capitulates to Taliban militants in the Swat Valley, what is often described as the world’s “most dangerous nation” faces the biggest existential struggle of its short life. Continue reading


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by Farrukh Rehan

Every morning I roll out of bed and scan the papers on the net. Today, like most days, I find something distressing about Pakistan. As part of my new routine I call my younger brother in Lahore. The exchange is familiar to both of us: No, he wasn’t near the suicide bombing/commando attack/ mammoth demonstration/drone fired missile. Yes he will be careful and will not visit fancy restaurants where he may be targeted in an attack against “Western” establishments, and yes, he agreed, he will not go to pray at mosques either, which perplexingly also seem to be a favoured target of the radical Islamic extremists who send the suicide bombers.

It is a devastating failure of state for any country when its citizens have to think twice before going to their place of worship. But the biggest failure of all is the utter inability of the leadership of Pakistan, both civilian and military, to unite the Pakistani people against this grave and imminent threat, and to explain to them what is going on, who is attacking the very core of the republic and what needs to be done to defeat this threat. Continue reading


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Bano Apa, I will miss you!

by JZ

On a chilly evening last December I decided to stop by a music store in Clifton known to have the largest stock of classical and semi classical music from both sides of the Wagah border. While browsing through the shelves, I spotted some CDs of Iqbal Bano and had a sudden craving to listen to her. I bought two CDs instantly. From that day onwards, I got hooked to her music that I was listening to after a long time, my favorite being her thumri ab ke sawan ghar aaja. As I got deeper into her music, I had this urge to talk to her for she had been living in the oblivion for long. I called her Garden Town residence but could not speak to her. The next few weeks were spent in an attempt to reach her in vain.

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In Memoriam – The Great Iqbal Bano (1935-2009)

By Fawad Zakariya

Iqbal Bano, one of the great exponents of semi-classical ghazal singing in the sub-continent, passed away in Lahore at the age of 74. I have recounted a reverie precipitated by her beautiful rendition of Faiz’s ghazal “Yeh mausam-e-gul” in a previous post.

The Pakistani newspaper Dawn has a good obituary of Iqbal Bano here and some great photos of the icon in their media gallery. She was born in Delhi in 1935 and was the pupil of Ustad Chaand Khan of the Delhi Gharana. She moved to Pakistan in 1952 at the age of 17 and had her first public concert at the Lahore Art Center in 1957. She was awarded the “Pride of Performance” by the government in 1974. Continue reading

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