Daily Archives: June 1, 2010

Why Reinterpretation of Religon is Needed?

This is a bold article authored by Raza Habib Raja for PTH. He rightly points out the need to reinterpret Islam as the clergy has closed all avenues for ijtiehad. Indeed, many of our contemporary problems are caused by the way, our self styled Mullah-experts have presented and preached particularistic version of a dynamic, peaceful and humanistic faith. Iqbal had also spoken about ijtehad and PTH supports all such voices within Pakistan and abroad. Raza Rumi

It was a day in 1994. I picked up the Daily Jang to have my daily dosage of information and news. In those PTV dominated pre internet days newspapers were the chief source for somewhat objective and independent coverage of the events. The front page was full of news about ongoing political battle between PPP and PML(N). The decade of 1990s was characterized by constant political tussle between the two major political parties. While glancing down, my eyes suddenly caught hold of a two column new article. It described an incidence which had taken place in Gujranwala.

According to the article a mob in Gujranwala , had burnt a Hafiz Quran, Hafiz Sajjad alive on suspicion of desecrating the Holy Quran. According to the details, Hafiz had burnt Quran and as soon as the nearby Mullah got the whiff of it, he issued a fatwa. A mob gathered and dragged the individual out of his home and started beating him. As they were beating him, someone in the mob stopped the others and suggested that the culprit should be meted out proper Islamic punishment of stoning. At that point, police reached the spot and took the individual into what under normal circumstances would have been a protective custody. However, soon an even larger crowd gathered in front of the police station and started to demand that Hafiz should be handed over to them. Due to the huge size of increasingly vociferous mob, the police inspector buckled under pressure and handed over the guy. They started stoning him mercilessly and thereafter set his body on fire. If this were not enough, they tied his corpse to a powerful motor-cycle and dragged it through the streets for two hours. I felt a strange revulsion and just put the newspaper down. After two days, another article appeared which gave details about the initial inquiry. It was established beyond doubt that Hafiz Sajjad was a traditional devout Muslim and while reciting Quran accidently dropped it on the stove. Continue reading


Filed under Islam, Islamism, Pakistan, Politics, state, Terrorism

Pakistan – living in denial?

Bilal Qureshi

It is never easy to write about Pakistan because there is never anything good, positive or even encouraging to discuss.  It is always a bomb attack, which now has turned into a horrific Bombay style shoot out as we witnessed in Lahore, or a terrorist or terrorists trying to blow up something in the world connected to a training camp in Pakistan.
Then, there are protests in the country against power shortage, lack of food commodities (think flour, sugar etc).  To top all this, we see agitation and processions against America, facebook and Youtube (and Israel and India) where people are raging and shouting angry slogans. I can go and on, but you get my point. Now, if this is the backdrop, how anyone can write glowingly about a peaceful and/or prosperous Pakistan? One has to write about Pakistan’s true picture.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that today’s Pakistan is one of the most dangerous places in the world, regardless of what yardstick we use to measure danger. It offers nothing to anyone who might be interested in visiting because of work or family related situation. Otherwise, can you think of anyone or any reason for people to travel to Pakistan? I have tried hard, but can’t come up with any rational or logical explanation to fly there. Those who have family ties are cutting back their annual travel plans. Those who travel to Pakistan for work prepare like they won’t come back. And leisure travel to Pakistan was almost never an options for foreigners, and therefore, there goes the tourism (and with that, a good source of income) option. Continue reading


Filed under Activism, Islamism, Pakistan

Hashtnagar – a land, forgotten

Ammar Aziz, is a Lahore based film-maker, writer and a left-Wing activist. His article raises extremely important issues in this narrative. We wih to revive the debates on peasantry struggles and Ammar’s exclusive post for PTH is more than welcome. We hope that there will be a robust discussion on the issues raised here. Raza Rumi

My film thesis research has recently made me visit a piece of land that, despite its significant historical importance , has been brutally ignored in the pages of history. Surrounded by Afghan border, conservative feudal culture and tribal areas that have been in media attention in the recent past due to Taliban, that area is none other then Hashtnagar which stands as its own example in the history of class struggle in Pakistan . Consisting of a cluster of eight villages, Hashtnagar is  one of the two divisions of Charsadah district in Pakhtoon Khawah (NWFP) and is one of the province’s most fertile lands known for its sugar cane production. The element of militant armed Socialist struggle differentiates Hashtnagar from the rest of the leftist movements in Pakistan.

Weaving red flags at the roof tops, Socialist symbols painted on the walls, portraits of revolutionary figures, left wing cultural activism and, above all, the daily life of the  peasants and workers reflect the liberation that can be felt in the whole ambiance of the area. This liberation is the outcome of the socialist struggle of many decades that has played an important role in shaping the lives and minds of the native people.

To understand this revolutionary change, it is important to have a brief overview of the history of peasant’s struggle in NWFP Continue reading


Filed under Left, Marxism, movements, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Politics, poverty, Society

Hypocrisy Galore: Pakistani Reaction to Israel


Amaar Ahmad has sent his crisp analysis of the ongoing crisis.

On Monday, Pakistanis from religious and political parties tried to
outdo themselves in condemning Israeli assault on the flotilla
carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians. All decent and civilized
people denounce acts of violence against unharmed civilians. There is
indeed a long history of the Palestinian suffering which hurts us all.

But this swift and spontaneous denouncement also demonstrated the
utter hypocrisy and inhumanity of the Pakistani mullah and the
conservative political class. While Pakistan is burning and its
citizens are being murdered in cold blood by fellow citizens, these
people react with indignation to events in a far away land. Do they
lack the eyes to observe the blood bath in their backyard? Are they
deaf to hear the screams of dying and wounded worshipers ? Have they
lost the sanity to check crimes against humanity within their midst? Continue reading


Filed under human rights, Pakistan

Pakistani Style Tram in Melbourne

Vehicles of transport have long been celebrated in Pakistan , adorned with elaborate decorations to keep good spirits with the journey. A fleet of particularly vibrant mini-buses ply the Karachi route called W-11, characterized by stainless-steel panels, brightly colored plastic collages, flashing light patterns, music beats and exuberant conductors.

Recently as part of the Commonwealth Games, a group of Pakistani bus decorators transformed a Melbourne Tram into what you would expect to see on a Karachi bus routes.

Decorated trams are nothing new to the people of Melbourne , but this tram is different “ it’s not about advertising, it’s about celebrating life. As the words written in Urdu and translated in English emblazoned down the side read “ "Love is Life". A ride on this tram is not about getting somewhere; it’s about really being moved. And the people of and visitors to Melbourne can’t get enough of it!

So what does the tram look like?

Based on the decorated buses that traverse the city of Karachi , the tram is covered in brightly colored self-adhesive stickers that have been cut out by hand and make intricate patterns. No part of the tram has been left undecorated “ there are beads hanging from the ceiling and even multi-colored tassels hanging from the rear view mirrors. Each seat also has a cover with a design that incorporates both the Pakistan and Australian flag “ representing the relationship between the two countries.

Responsible for the initiative is Wajid Ali and his team of decorators, who spent four months in Karachi cutting out the stickers and putting together the decorations. They came to Melbourne and spent another six weeks at the Preston Tram Workshops applying the decorations to the 30-year-old Z class tram which is just about to be retire

Here are some pictures of the beautiful art from outside and inside of the tram

Warnings in Urdu and English

A group of Pakistan team members boarded the tram to look at the work. They enjoyed it so much they began dancing to the music as the tram was moving. Great candid moments.

Green text says "Love is Life".

Driver’s side mirror.




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Filed under Pakistan

No respite in Lahore: Gunmen storm Jinnah Hospital, 12 dead

Just as we thought that the government will proceed with investigations, another act of violence has broken out. Ostensibly to save a terrorist under treatment in Jinnah Hospital. This is madness and utter chaos. When will this stop. People have been taken as hostages and reportedly one terorist is on the rooftop of the Hospital. If this is not a failing state and security appratus then what is it? Raza Rumi

: At least 12 people were killed when armed men stormed the emergency ward of Jinnah Hospital here, Medical Superintendent said Monday.

According to Geo correspondent, two gunmen entered the emergency ward and opened indiscriminate fire, killing eight people, and injuring several others.

According to Geo, three to four guards and attendants are among the dead.

The firing is still underway while police have surrounded the hospital.

It may be reminded here that injured of Garhi Shahu and Model Town attacks were under treatment in the Jinnah Hospital.


Filed under Pakistan