PTH has been lucky to get new writers. Niaz Murtaza, a distinguished scholar is now our regular here. Please welcome him and also enjoy reading his latest piece exclusively written for this blogzine. Raza Rumi
Pakistan has suffered such an amazing array of villainous leaders for its short history, found otherwise only in Bollywood action-thrillers, that it becomes difficult to identify the lead-villain and to answer the million dollar question of who gets the million lashes award for costing the most millions to Pakistan.I muse about this issue frequently and deeply. Unable to figure out for myself, in frustration, during along sojourn in the quiet room, I turned to the mirror on the wall for the answer.
After much agonizing, my mirror flashed the image of Yahya—3rd President and proud recipient of Sitara-e-Pakistan and Hilal-e-Pakistan. Even though his rule was shorter than other dictators’, he boasts the unparalleled legacy of presiding over dismemberment and bloodshed in East Pakistan. Busy pursuing wine and women (mercifully not wealth), he barely governed. According to his Wikipedia entry, he died from “alcohol over-indulgence”. For these follies, my mirror ranks him highest in the hall of shame. Continue reading
In Pakistan today, very few can genuinely challenge the hateful sermons of self-righteous Mullahs. Voices that call for reason, moderation and universal human fraternity appear weak when confronted with the fire-breathing preaching of these religious parties. The state apparatus seems vulnerable and cautious whenever challenged by any party that uses a religious excuse for street violence or a puritanical argument for a perverted purpose. So sentimental are our sensibilities to religious affiliations and ‘ghairat’ that anyone that calls for a rational discourse can be labeled a traitor or blasphemer. There is no priesthood in Islam yet our masses remain pitifully attached to religious scholars who act as if they have been commissioned by God.
This problem is partly because of the lack of religious understanding both in the wider public and in the intellectual circles. Intellectual surrender of religion has gradually led the society to loose its values and state its authority to vagabonds. As a result, the civil society is unable to collectively confront the religious narrative as presented by our mainstream ‘Islamic’ parties and which holds great sway in the masses. Because the understanding of religion has been left to obscurantists so too have been our wits. If the Ulema can exploit this weakness to arouse base passions to seize Christian property in Gojra and false promises of paradise to turn madrassa students into suicide attackers, why would not the wider public blame ‘outside’ forces for our internal problems? Continue reading
October 30, 2010
Rafay Alam (left, with popped collar) and Raza Rumi (right, in block print) hang out in a Muslim burger and ice cream joint with their Muslim shirts. In the background: very Muslim gory pop art on the walls.
October 25, 2010
Yasser Latif Hamdani sports a serious expression, in the middle of July.
Courtesy Daily Times
We are a strange people. We love to spit on the people who help us. I am not talking about countries, because they help us according to the dictates of international politics, but individuals like Angelina Jolie, who opened up her heart and her purse for this country in a time of need.
Take for example the vomit that one TV anchor produced in his Urdu column for a local newspaper. Most of the claims made by the said anchor turned out to be untrue but that is not the point. The issue is that while Angeline Jolie came here and acted in an entirely respectful manner towards our society and culture, our geniuses are sitting on judgement on her lifestyle. Let me remind you of some of the things Angelina Jolie could have pointed out about Pakistan. Continue reading