Author Archives: Raza Rumi

About Raza Rumi

Pak Tea House is a little corner in the blogosphere that will endeavour to revive the culture of debate, pluralism and tolerance. It represents the motivation of a few people who want to see Pakistan a better place - where ideas need to counter the forces of commercialism, adverse effects of globalisation and extremism. Please join us - through writings, contributions, discussions, and spreading the word…

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Raza Rumi


Filed under Pakistan

WikiLeaks and Pakistan’s dysfunctional state

Raza Rumi

The WikiLeaks saga has reconfirmed the status of Pakistan as a client state. Its leadership — civilian and military — as a matter of routine, involves external actors in matters of domestic policy and power plays. We knew this all along but the semblance of documentary evidence confirms the unfortunate trends embedded in Pakistan governance systems. However, the orthodoxy that it is the West which interferes is not the full story. The inordinate influence exercised by ‘friendly’ Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, is also a sad reminder of how warped Pakistan’s way of living is.

India is the principal enemy; and our Saudi and Gulf friends wish the other neighbour, Iran, to be bombed. We are obsessed with “legitimate” security interests in Afghanistan. This is a dysfunctional state of being and has made us addicted to western aid, leveraging global great games and denying that regional cooperation is in our ultimate self-interest. Such delusional ways of looking at the world has made the state splinter and devolve authority to non-state actors, which can advance its security policies.

What is the picture that emerges from the cable-mess: A president lives in fear of being assassinated; the army chief ‘considers’ options to dismiss the elected president and then changes his mind because he “distrusts” the alternative — Nawaz Sharif — even more! The state benefits from American largesse and hates it at the same time. Civilian leaders regularly reiterate their support to the US — the second A in the power trinity of ‘Allah, America and the Army’. Sadly, nothing new. Yet, deeply disturbing. Continue reading


Filed under lawyers movement, Left, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, movements, Pakistan, Pakistan-India Peace Process, public policy, secularism, south asia, Zardari

The Radia Tapes and our patterns of media consumption

by Pritha Kejriwal

After the expose of the Radia Tapes by Open and Outlook magazines, a lot of debate has followed…many allegations, many defenses, counter-allegations and counter defenses, followed by critiques of all and however much one may keep on dissecting the entire situation, its important to understand, the lessons that the viewer or the reader should learn from all of this? What should be their real debate? And how should this influence their patterns of media consumption?

It should be of minor significance whether, Barkha Dutt’s conversations with Nira Radia, technically amount to lobbying or what Manu Joseph and Vinod Mehta did was a breach of privacy and an unethical, slandering piece of journalism. Let them keep arguing as much as they want to. The audience as media consumers should understand that each one of them acted according to their own politics, their particular brand of journalism, their social consciousness, their concerns as journalists and their particular stance and space as opinion makers. And in doing what they are doing, each one of them becomes a metaphor for what they represent and the audience needs to interpret these metaphors and choose the ones that feel right to them. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

Impossible histories —Edward Said

These excerpts from Said’s articles are being posted due to the torrent of comments posted here by some of our visitors. They tend to take a simplistic view of Islam and Muslims and repeat the same mantra over and over again. Therefore, we hope that Edward Said’s exceptionally nuanced comment will add value to the ill-informed rants posted on PTH. Raza Rumi

As a religious idea, Islam goes back to seventh-century Arabia and to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), God’s Messenger, whose book of divine revelations is collected in the prose-poetic surahs of the Quran. Having said that, however, one is only at the very beginning, and even primitive, level of what Islam is.

Islam is a world of many histories, many peoples, many languages, traditions, schools of interpretation, proliferating developments, disputations, cultures, and countries. A vast world of more than 1.2 billion people stretched out over every continent, north and south, including now the Americas, it cannot adequately be apprehended or understood simply as “Islam”. Continue reading


Filed under Islam

Q&A – Bosnia A Painful Peace

Dil Nawaz

Aki Nawaz (born Haq Nawaz Qureshi) also known as Aki-Stani, Righteous Preacher and Propa-Gandhi, is a British-Pakistani producer and musician. He is the front man of Fun-da-mental, a group that fuses left-wing politics, Sufi Islam, anti-racism and hip hop. His works can bepurchased here.


PTH : Thank you for taking time out for the interview. Painful Peace is a timely reminder of a nearly forgotten conflict.

PTH:  Where are you based at the moment Bradistan (Bradford), London-istan (UK), Pakistan (proper) or Bosnia?

AN: I should really get a frequent flyer card, I am wherever I need to be for work and this has been the case for many years. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

Thinking about Public Reasoning – The Engine of the Democratic Process

AA Khalid

On PTH we were blessed to have a thoroughly engaging and nuanced discussion on the nature and scope of religion in a democratic society thanks to Feroz Khan’s intersting post. I took a lot of points away from the debate and realised that when we are discussing the prospect of faith in society we have to consider a vast array of issues.

There is no one model of secularism, so we must have a separate debate on what type of secularity do we wish to see. In conjunction with a discussion on secularism, we need to debate the prospect of liberalism and what it’s relation to democracy must be.

Linked in with this crucial point there has to be a discussion on what type of ‘’State’’ does Pakistan need. Throughout the debate, a very illuminating point made by poster Krash was that in order to justify the sort of secular model I was proposing I had to logically accept a libertarian State in the classical liberal tradition. But there were other points aswell to be made. But there were other points aswell, such as the notion of what it is to be ‘’modern’’ and is religion necessarily against modernity or can it foster modernity? There were other critical questions raised in that thread aswell such as the history of Muslim political thought and political ethics. We also need a discussion on civic virtue and what does it mean to be a good citizen, in short a wholesale debate on the ethics of citizenship. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

Naturalizing’ Blasphemy Laws

Nadeem A. Butt

If you have wrapped some thing like fruit, samosa or sweet in a newspaper, if you deliver (throw) or print a newspaper which has any Quranic Reference or the names like Ibrahim, Kareem, Wakeel, Shafi, Ismail or even Dera Ismail Khan, Lala Musa, or Fazl-ur-Rehman, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh etc. (because they have direct or attributed holy names in them), or you some how express that Muhammad (SAWW) was a “Bashar” and not “Noor” or otherwise, then you should be worried, very worried, because it may cause you to be put to death or at least death trial which may haunt you for years. This is not just an assumption, this has actually happened to several people, Muslims or Non Muslims alike! Any crooked mind can go to police station and gave the meaning of his choice to the situation and lodge an FIR against you under Blasphemy Laws. Police do not really want to get into any controversy in religious matters so they normally file a case. Like wise local courts do not want to be at any mob’s watch, so either they delay or they normally announce punishment, then the accused has to go to the High or Supreme Court to get relief. This takes years out of someone’s constructive life – without bothering anybody!!!  Is that what is really meant by any Religion of Nature or Laws in Its name? Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan