Monthly Archives: January 2010

Is Article 227 indispensable?

 By Naeem Sadiq                The News, January 28, 2010
If the Taliban were to come to power in Pakistan (which is what their struggle is all about), what would they do to the Constitution? The answer is: they would retain Article 227 and discard the rest of the Constitution. This single article of the Constitution would be sufficient for them to run the country. Their interpretation of this Article would be: “All laws to be brought in conformity with the injunctions of Islam – as perceived by the Taliban.”

They could arguably use the article to make laws to kill a barber for a haircut, bomb a school if it was attended by females, gouge the eyes of those who watched television, lash people for wearing shorts and cut off hands for theft, and to slaughter those who differed with the Taliban’s brand of religion – all in the name of Islam. Thanks to Article 227, all this would be well within the ambit of law and the constitution. The Taliban could not have conceived a better, simpler and more accurate one-liner constitution. Continue reading


Filed under Democracy, Islamism, Justice, Law, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, minorities, Pakistan, Parliament, Religion, Rights, secular Pakistan, secularism, state, Taliban

Nahid and the Secretary: Liaison d’Amour

By Pervaiz Munir Alvi

It is London, June 4, 1953. The official delegation of the Dominion of Pakistan, headed by Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Bogra, who also holds the portfolio of Ministry of Defence, is staying at the Claridge’s Hotel. Included in the entourage is the Secretary Ministry of Defence. Only two days earlier the Secretary, as part of the delegation, had attended the pomp and show filled coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II. Today a telegram from the office of Air-Vice Marshal Cannon, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Pakistan Air Force arrives stating that the Secretary has lost his twenty year old son in a tragic plane accident. The Secretary is devastated. Comforting him in this moment of grief are his few close friends and a thirty-nine year old women named Nahid. The Secretary is Colonel Iskander Mirza – future President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

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Filed under civil service, Pakistan, Partition, Politics

The tender tea house

Thanks to our excellent team at PTH, we are being noticed and written about. Above all, without our readers and visitors at PTH, this e-zine would be meaningless (Raza Rumi)

The tender tea house (The National, UAE)
From Partition onward, Nasir Khan writes, a dusty cafe was the centre of Lahore’s literary life.

Pak Tea House sits on Mall Road in Old Anarkali, nestled between tyre suppliers and motorcycle workshops. Before Partition it was the India Tea House, but 1947 and a quick paint job changed that. No one knows why it became – along with several similar shops on the same street – a favourite haunt of so many intellectuals. Maybe it was the cheap but good milky tea, or the extra-sweet biscuits. Perhaps it was the literary sensibility of the first post-Partition owners, two brothers from India. It might have been the radio on the counter that was constantly tuned to Lahore’s call-in request programme. And, for scores of struggling writers and poets, the availability of food on credit certainly had something to do with it. Continue reading


Filed under Pak Tea House, Pakistan

Farewell Haqqani Saheb – forgive your peers and colleagues

Raza Rumi

A personal favourite, Irshad Ahmad Haqqani is dead. This is a huge loss to Urdu journalism as he was the last of sane voices in the vernacular industry. I often disagreed with his centre-right views but his tone was measured and he remained a staunch supporter of democracy. May God bless his soul.

I stumbled on this post at Cafe Piyala that also talks about Haqqani but the best part of it was what Haqqani’s peers and junior collegaues had to say about him. I think some of the comments were so shameful that I could not even laugh with an easy conscience. I am quoting the last part of that post here that also is quite a treat:

Whatever they might say about him, he did invent the modern Urdu column, which is half analytical drivel, half dinner menus. Only during the last week, for example, Jang columnist Haroon-ur-Rashid (according to his column) demanded and got desi murghi from the Azad Kashmir prime minister, and Hamid Mir (according to his column) discovered new insights into judicial activism over a Kashmiri dish. I forget the name of the dish but according to Jang / Geo’s brightest star, it is made of mooli and shaljam and served with rice. The host was the Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khwaja Sharif.


Filed under journalism, Media, Urdu

SMS Dawaa: The Last Hurrah Of Religiosity

I came across this hilarious piece by the great Nadeem Farooq Paracha called the Holy SMS and thought I’d share it with all of you.   The truth is that this SMS trend is indicative of a growing insecurity vis a vis religion.  As society is confronted with modernity and becomes increasingly integrated in the information age,   it creates guilt pangs in people who are otherwise going about their business of living life just like anyone else in the world.   This ladies and gentlemen is the last hurrah of religiosity. -YLH Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

No priests needed – search of a Pakistani identity

Raza Rumi wonders why we remain in search of a Pakistani identity

Half-truths are what we love to indulge in. One of the countless crimes committed by President Asif Ali Zardari is that he wears a Sindhi cap instead of a Jinnah cap. That by preferring a Sindhi topi and thundering at the occasion of late Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary, he undermined his Pakistani identity, is truly mystifying. After all, what is a Pakistani identity and why is the Jinnah cap being elevated to the level of an article of national faith?

If anything, Mr Jinnah’s patronage of Muslim identity mark was an afterthought. His usual attire was a well-tailored pucca-sahib-like suit. It was only in the nineteen forties and that too close to India’s independence that Mr Jinnah started donning the Muslim nobility’s attire.

So what is this fuss all about? Constructing Pakistan’s ideology based on theological interpretation of a universal religion like Islam has been a carefully executed project of the Pakistani establishment and its shadows in the non-state domains. Such cliques have grown bigger, mushroomed and are now essential to our lived reality. Therefore lambasting of Zardari on not sporting a Jinnah cap finds public resonance and broad acceptability within the populous Punjab province where the Urdu press flourishes and finds readers and writers aplenty.The opening up of the electronic media has been a liberating experience but it also means that the deep-seated and embedded distortions, cultivated by the state, biased education system and militarisation, have now captured a wider public space. This includes audiences and listeners who are outside the ambit of the ‘literate’. Given the inherent dangers of such a phenomenal change, many independent observers have called for arresting and regulating further corporatization of the media. Advanced countries such as the USA have already experienced the pernicious trend of ‘dumbing down’ and mainstreaming unaccountable political and security agenda[s]. The case of the war on terror is a pertinent example of this unfortunate reality. If we are aware of it should we not undertake pro-active course correction? Continue reading


Filed under History, Identity, Pakistan

Moving Towards a Global Afghan Taliban Settlement

Stratfor Analysis

January 25, 2010 will be remembered as the day when much of the planet buzzed about diplomatic talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban movement. The chatter comes in the context of a number of conferences that will be held over the course of the next week that focus on dealing with Afghanistan’s jihadist insurgency. The countries being represented at the meetings — including the United States, the Central Asian states, Europe, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, India and China — have a stake in what happens in Afghanistan.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, FATA, Great game, India, Iran, Islam, Islamabad, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, quetta, Religion, strategy, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, War On Terror