Daily Archives: July 9, 2010

Multiple Identities 1

By Yasser Latif Hamdani
Muhammad Ali Talpur and Ishtiaq Ahmed, in their articles in Daily Times, have addressed the issue of identity and nationhood in their serial articles in recent weeks which require careful review.  Addressing a very fundamental issue i.e. the interplay of identity with citizenship,  regrettably both gentlemen have turned the facts on their head and equally unfortunate is their appeal to each other’s authority on the subject which is neither here nor there.    Continue reading


Filed under Partition, secular Pakistan

Balochistan – time to wake up

Salman Latif

If today I endeavored to draw a parallel between East Pakistan and modern-day Balochistan, I’m sure it’d be a well-founded one. With the way the central governments have been playing denial to the rightful plights of the Baluchis and continue to do so, it’s not too difficult to discern how similar the situation is to the one on East Pakistan. Whereas all ‘disturbances’ and revolts are attributed to ‘foreign’ hands, the center never ventures to ponder as to what makes Baluchistan a hotbed for such anarchy. A very fleeting look instantly reveals that it has been an acute state of injustice, provincial inequality and continous military repression that has pushed Pakistan’s largest province to the brink of rebellion. Extenstive military establishments throughout the region only affirm the notion that Federation has been using force and coercion rather than incentive and reform to contain local agitation.

The Balochistan issue dates back exactly to the days of Pakistan’s indepedence. For long, the ‘Iron Curtain’ extended by Islamabad over the region prevented the availability of first-hand narratives of the Balochis and their side of the story. All that the masses were ever told by the state machinery was that there was some turmoil in the province and that army had to intervene, times and again, to ‘save’ the people there. However, with an increasing surge of independent media channels, there is now at least an understanding of the fact that something unusual is up with Balochistan. Although such media outlets are still non-existent in Balochistan itself, where an attempt to establish a channel or newspaper often leads to arrest or alleged abduction by intelligence agencies, the Balochis’ plight is slowly being brought forth in limited media circles. And that is indeed a welcome sign. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

Daily Dawn: Failure of dictatorship and democracy

Cross Post from Daily Dawn

By Niaz Murtaza
Friday, 09 Jul, 2010


HOW would you feel if you lived in a poor neighbourhood and your neighbours started getting rich while you became poorer?

Angry, envious, depressed, suspicious? Pakistanis have experienced these emotions collectively as East Asia and the Middle East developed. Now even countries down the road in South Asia are developing.

Dubai and Korea are already rich, India is moving and, to add insult to injury, unconfirmed rumor has it that even Bangladesh is on to something since the familial break-up. Thank God for Afghanistan and Nepal! We can still walk around in the neighbourhood with some semblance of self-respect.

Perceptively concluding that our failure has something to do with governance, we tried both dictatorship and democracy, but neither worked. This calls for an urgent analysis of why what works for swans does not work for us, and developing our own walk.

Sociologists say that political systems derive from social structures. Democracy works best in societies with atomistic families where sub-national identities between national and family levels, e.g., based on community and religion, are weak or do not affect people’s political choices, which are based on policies.

Continue reading


Filed under Democracy, India, Islamabad, Pakistan

Do Muslim Women Get a Fair Deal?

This is an incisive article sent by Ms Taji M which raises several intelligent and debatable points. Right now we are witnessing a debate on need for reform in religion. This article provides a woman’s perspective and argues that due to orthodox and literal interpretation of religion women in our society are not getting a fair deal. We expect healthy debate on this article.

By Taji M

I have a friend, university educated, upper class, stylish and religious but not an extremist way. She is a on the whole a very sensible person. Over the years we have debated religion extensively; I have more reformist thoughts and she is more mainstream. She is of the firm belief that present orthodox version of Islam offers the best position for Muslim women; in one of our debates she said something like this “Look at me, I am much better off than the western women slaving away in offices and then scouting for boyfriends and eventual husbands. Before marriage my father took care of me, he treated me and my brothers equally. During his lifetime he divided the property between me and brothers and I ended up getting a larger share as I got a lot of gold in my jahez also. I got married without going through the humiliating boyfriend search, and now have a loving husband and two cute kids. I am a stay-at-home mom out of choice not due to my husband’s insistence. And the nice house we live in is in my name. I am protected under the safety of Islam which offers the best to all good women”.

She is not alone in coming to that conclusion, a large number of educated class Muslim women share this attitude. They have been convinced that they have gotten best deal possible. I have a problem with this belief though. And I have told her and other similar women, that their experience is not out of the fruits of orthodox version of religion, but of the good luck of being associated with decent men. In case of my friend, her father bypassed the law and divided his estate in his life time so that she won’t get half share later on. Her husband, a really nice guy, ensured her financial security by keeping the house in her name. Otherwise in case of widowhood, the wife gets one of the smallest shares, and if there is a divorce she gets nothing from the family wealth. Of course she gets the Meher, but how many women can survive for long on that amount. Continue reading


Filed under human rights, Islam, Pakistan, Religion, Women