Daily Archives: November 24, 2010

Co-ven vol 3: A Review

by Zia Ahmad                                                                                                                                                                             

A bone of contention that rock musicians in Pakistan have from time to time is the dearth of work. The strife is more pronounced when one is adamant to steer clear of corporate endorsements and mindless, populist pandering, and sticking to its own independent point of view. Co-ven has no such qualms and manages to find plentiful of work in the face of growing bland plastic aesthetics and sensibility. Other than the preceding vol 1 & 2, members of the band have been instrumental with Omran Shafique’s  Urdu rock outfit, Mauj. Between handling Co-ven/Mauj chores the band also appeared as session players on Zeb & Hanya’s impressive album Chup. No dearth of work there. Extracurricular activities notwithstanding, Co-ven has a new record out.  Continue reading

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Filed under Music, Reviews

Asiya Bibi- The Water Fetcher

Mother of five and farm worker
To earn her bread and ale
The old routines to fetch water
As await her four angels
The empty stomachs Continue reading


Filed under human rights, minorities

Ideology as ‘false consciousness’

By Khalid Ahmed

Pakistan began describing itself as an ideological state when the word had been made respectable by the Soviet Union through its planned economy and rapid growth. Ideology in the case of Pakistan was its religion.

The state is not supposed to be without a purpose. Our ideology, like most other ideologies, was utopian. It made us different from India. India was more ‘planned’ and ‘socialist’ but was not called ideological because it did not ordain coercion. Today India is de-Nehruising itself. Should we too de-ideologise ourselves?

Ideology means that the state has an idea which it thinks is right, and will punish anyone who doesn’t believe the state. With the passage of time, and despite Section 123-A in the Pakistan Penal Code punishing anyone opposing the ‘ideology of Pakistan’, Pakistan has become relaxed about ideology. It is not like Iran; it is not like the Soviet Union either when it was run by the Communist Party. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

Comparing Pakistan with Korea

Dr. Niaz Murtaza

A most unhelpful occurrence in Pakistan’s history was the visit in the 1950s by South Korean officials to study our economic policies. Western experts then ranked Pakistan higher than Korea. Soon after the visit, Korea started developing astronomically while Pakistan gradually floundered.  Thus, the visit created the illusion that Korea outpaced us by copying our recipes which we failed to utilize ourselves, and its memory still causes an immense sense of unfulfilled national destiny. Popular myth maintains that we could easily have been like Korea if only we had better leadership and/or better ethics, especially unity, honesty and hard work.  Actually, our slower progress is rooted in a broad array of structural factors which include politics and ethics but also anthropology, history, geography, chemistry and economics.  Understanding this complexity will help in reducing our frustration levels and analyzing our future development potential. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

Sugar cartels and corruption

By Taha Kehar

There is a growing consensus that the ongoing sugar crisis could inevitably lead to a crisis of hegemony in Pakistan. Poverty reduction appears to have taken a backseat to the constant profiteering that the PPP-led government is quite brazenly engaging itself in. This has become even more conspicuous after the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has indicated that sugar barons in the sugar industry are swindling consumers by the use of an unfair scheme of cartelisation.

The report presented by the CCP suggests that despite the fact that a sufficient quantity of sugar is available, it is still being sold at a price that is substantially in excess of its production cost. These findings have been re-affirmed by the Information Minister, Mr. Qamar Zamar Kaira, who has recently held the Punjab Government accountable for spearheading the sugar crisis. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

Latest Gem from the Ministry of Tourism: “Taliban are the true followers of Islamic ideology”

 By Raza Habib Raja

Dear readers please see the following excerpt from Dawn

“MANSEHRA: Federal Minister for Tourism Maulana Attaur Rehman has said that Taliban are the true followers of Islamic ideology and the US has been creating hatred against them.

“Ulema and Taliban are the true followers of Islamic ideology and America is the biggest terrorist of the world, which is creating hatred against them,” said the minister while speaking at a public gathering in Allai here on Tuesday.

Mr Rehman said that the ongoing spate of terrorism could not be eliminated until the US and the world gave equal rights and respect to the Muslims.

“It is a misconception that Ulema and Taliban are against coexistence of people with different religions, in fact it is America which is against the interfaith harmony to maintain its hegemony on the world,” said Mr Rehman, who belongs to the JUI-F”.

Now this is a guy who has been appointed as Federal Minister for Tourism by PPP led government. I seriously think that although politics is the art of compromise, but this non sense should not be tolerated.

PPP since it belongs to the liberal side of the political spectrum should take serious notice of such statements as these undermine its liberal credentials. Although Maulana sahib is not from the PPP but his party is a key ally.  Moreover, I vividly remember when Rana Sanaullah, the Law Minister of Punjab, met Sapah Sahaba for an electoral adjustment in Jhang, Salman Taseer actually wrote to Shahbaz Sharif blaming him of supporting Islamic fundamentalists. Likewise his stupid statement requesting Taliban, to stop attacks in Punjab were also construed as some kind of “alliance” of PML N with the hardliners. Some prominent journalists even wrote lengthy articles on that. Whereas I fully agree that criticism on Shabaz Sharif was justified, but fairness demands that PPP should condemn their allies also. Lets for a change show some REAL self introspection!

I think the major problem with both the major parties, PML (N) as well as PPP, is that they stand ready to go for occasional “practical” compromise with the hardliners. They forget that such so called pragmatic compromises have a deteriorating effect on the society’s ideological fabric as more and more ground is ceded to forces of extremism.

And PPP, due to its liberal orientation should be even more careful and therefore merits criticism. However here I have constantly seen that whenever you are critical of PPP, even with sincere intentions, you are branded as pseudo liberal or reminded that other parties have also conducted similar excesses. I think it is for the party supporters to realize that there are areas where criticism is justified and instead of justifying their party leadership, they should pressurize them.

And by the way, what is this guy doing as a Minister of Tourism? I mean what kind of tourism are we trying to promote here? Are we out of our senses? Is this the image of Pakistan we are trying to sell abroad?


Filed under Pakistan

Jinnah as a fashion icon

Jinnah’s taste and sense of style made him one of the most well-dressed and sophisticated men in the world.

Quaid e Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s achievement as the founder of Pakistan has dominated his reputation in a public life spanning 42 years. But his multidimensional personality led him to play several roles with distinction: one of the brightest legal luminaries India, an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, a distinguished parliamentarian and constitutionalist, an indefatigable freedom-fighter, a dynamic Muslim leader, a political strategist and, of course, one of the great nation-builders of modern times.

Little wonder then that so much less has been written about his personal life which is interesting in its own right. His taste and sense of style made him one of the most well-dressed and sophisticated men in the world. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan