Category Archives: Blogging

Our apology to LUBP wallas

Raza Rumi

PTH apologises to LUBP its editors, authors and readers for the indiscretions and thoughtless (and in some cases unacceptable) comments from some of us.

I have been meaning to write this post for the past few days. The delay took place due to my hectic travel schedule as well as the existential shock that came in the wake of the recent exchange of unpleasant and unfortunate words between our blogzine and the fiery LUBP/criticalppp blog. The disagreements and emotional arguments led to bad blood between two internet platforms which are on the same side of the political spectrum. If the disagreement had remained within civility, this unconditional apology would not have been needed. It is being rendered because we at PTH feel that excesses in terms of language have been committed from some of us.

Having said so, we also regret some of the posts and comments at LUBP especially in terms of ascribing motives of all sorts. In general, I avoid reacting to comments about me but some of them were unwarranted. My support for Sherry Rehman is not linked to a person or a motive but an unflinching belief in democratic norms which cannot be compromised due to partisan interests or priorities. My other colleagues here at PTH were shocked at the aspersions that were cast on them. One should refrain from name calling just on the basis of disagreements.

At the same time, we are cognizant of the ugliness of the exchanges and agree that some of the responses were downright inappropriate. We regretfully state that defence of a particular position should be worded in a language that is intellectually engaging and remains within the bounds of civility. Obviously some of us, in their zeal to defend themselves, failed.

PTH takes responsibility and offers an unconditional apology to all but particularly to editor Ms Sarah Khan. As a common friend between the two blogs has rightly pointed out that PTH and LUBP have a lot in common and share a similar vision for a democratic, tolerant and secular Pakistan.

At PTH we are not too well-organised. Perhaps, this is a gap that we need to address. Experience such as this one has taught us a lesson or two. We will surely take corrective steps. Of course, we value and welcome disagreements even amongst us – debate is vital for a plural and democratic culture. But we have to set civilised boundaries of a discourse.

Let’s hope that we bury the hatchet and move on.

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Filed under Blogging, Pak Tea House

Pakistani College Becomes Focus of a Social Struggle

The GT Road Blog

BySteve Inskeep

In Lahore, the University of the Punjab attracts middle- and lower-income Pakistani students hoping to make better lives for themselves. But the school’s campus is also the scene of an ongoing struggle over education and Islam.

Alfred Cooper Woolner May 1878 – January 7, 1936, was a noted Sanskrit scholar and professor as well as the Vice Chancellor of Punjab University, Lahore. He died in Lahore

Many of the 35,000 students wear jeans and T-shirts. Punjab is a state school, like one of those big American universities in the Midwest. Students attend class in brick buildings, and study on lawns cut almost as short as putting greens. But life here is less peaceful than it looks.

A clash over religious traditions recently brought about the beating of a professor in his office — and forced the school to close for about three weeks. Continue reading

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Filed under Blogging, Education, Identity, Islamism, Lahore, Pakistan, Punjab, Religion, Women

Music vs. Militancy

Cross Post from Dawn Blogs

By Salman Siddiqui on January 21, 2010

Even though Pakistan is bleeding from terrorism and suicide bombings, no mainstream , pop music artist has come close to condemning or questioning the spread of militancy through music and lyrics. A recent video from The New York Times highlighted this issue, showing how pop acts such as Ali Azmat and Noori were keeping quiet on the subjects of terror, religious extremism, and the Taliban, while railing against America through their songs. In this context, 25-year-old Daniyal Noorani‘s debut effort ‘Finding Heaven,’ which was released on YouTube a few days ago, is encouraging. The daring single takes the Taliban and religious extremists head on, creating quite a buzz online. Dawn.com speaks with Noorani to find out what prompted him to fill the ideological vacuum in our music scene.

  Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Blogging, culture, Left, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Media, Music, Pakistan, video

A debate derailed

“Oh and please, try to stay a little light hearted about this one”

by Asif Akhtar       cross-post from Dawn Blog, Nov 20th, 2009

Last week, in a blog titled ‘The Convenient Curtain of Myth‘, I tried to show the dangers of viewing international politics through popular mythological conceptions which produce theories like the India-US-Israel triangulation as a conspiracy to destroy Islam and Pakistan. Little did I know this would turn into a hotly debated topic fueled with national pride and egoistic emotions. I figured I should utilise my slot this week to respond to some of the eye-catching comments, while covering different themes of the debate, and at the same time injecting some much needed humor into the situation. Continue reading

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Filed under Blogging, Humour, India, Pakistan

Right wing backlash against Pak Tea House

Kashifiat has posted an open letter addressed to me. I usually don’t answer such letters but this particular ‘letter’ has to be responded to because if you don’t respond to distorted and mala fide accusations, they come to be accepted as the truth. The superficial reason is that our whiz-writer YLH has used unparliamentary language while commenting but the reasons are far deeper – they have to do with the way we envision Pakistan in light of Quaid – Mr. Jinnah’s ideals and agenda for Pakistan and that we mince no words when exploitation and injustice occur anywhere.We have taken note of the commenting here and fixed the comments on a particular post and hope to have a stricter policy in future. However, we reiterate that we oppose the extremist ideologies which are eating Pakistan from within like termite.  What Kashif and his friends say is their right and we respect that.  Furthermore, I do not blame the young men and women of our age – they have been indoctrinated by the pernicious text-books, Zia’s ideology and the infiltration of Jamaat-i-Islami and jihadis into every nook and corner of Pakistan. This is why PTH, as a voice of reason, faces the dual challenge of tackling the right wing and handling the global stereotyping of Pakistan as a jihadi haven. Not an easy challenge by any account — Raza Rumi

Dear Kashif

I have been constrained to respond to your open letter that not only brings into question my responsibility as the founder-editor of Pak Tea House (PTH) but also distorts what this e-zine stands for.
There is absolutely no article on PakTeaHouse that represents an Ahmadi or any other sectarian view per se. I personally condemn sectarianism of any kind, and my writings testify to that.  Your charge of PTH as a pro-Ahmaddiyat portal is absolutely false unless you feel that speaking of Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan as an inclusive, liberal and secular state is an Ahmadi point of view, in which case  you might as well declare the Quaid-e-Azam an Ahmadi as well.  If PTH authors have spoken about the injustice against Ahmadis for their faith,  and there is considerable injustice against Ahmadis whether you admit it or not.  We have posted many many more articles about the discrimination against Christians.  Does that make us a Christian website as well?  We’ve posted innumerable articles on Pakistani Hindus and their contributions to Pakistani society ?  Do we become a Hindu website? Don’t you think there should be a limit to accusations? Continue reading

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Filed under Blogging, Pakistan

PTH gets flak for Gandhi-bashing

Our occasional contributor and a friend of Pak Tea House (PTH), freethinker has written a piece entitled Gandhi-bashing on Pak Teahouse and has complained about the conservatism of yours truly. I respect freethinker‘s views but two things must be made clear: first of all PTH does not indulge in Gandhi bashing by design. In fact, it gives space to all sorts of opinions as some of the robust discussions here would testify to this un-trumpeted policy. Secondly, in an attempt to engage with the mainstream, PTH also tries to tread carefully. The purpose is not to offend fellow Pakistanis who represent the diversity of views, beliefs and layers of social conditioning found in the country as a whole. If freethinker holds that PTH is conservative, there are many others who view PTH’s  earlier attempt to raise issues of sexuality as an insult to Pakistan and one of our hate-commenter termed us as b****rds hellbent on defaming the country. In fact, I had to delete quite a large number of abusive comments simply because they had more expletives than substance.

In any case, let me state this at the outset that Gandhi was a great leader and politician; however, there can be several views on his politics and religious beliefs. In my personal opinion his death at the hands of a Hindu fundamentalist was a tragic blow to Indian secularism and chances of Indo-Pakistan peace right at the start of our respective and troubled nationhood[s].  PTH has no ‘line’ on Gandhi-ji;  and its contributors and readers are free to make their own assessments. This is why I am posting freethinker’s piece here that deals with the issue at great length.

Comments and opinions are invited. Raza Rumi (ed.)

Gandhi-bashing on Pak Teahouse

The radicals among us who have been following Pak Teahouse for some time know that Raza Rumi toes a somewhat conservative line when it comes to the posts that he decides to put up at PTH. Of course he is not to blame… Continue reading

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Filed under Blogging, History, Society

SAJA Panel Discussion on the South Asian Blogosphere

SAJA BRIEFING: The South Asian Blogosphere and How Its Changing the Media 8:35pm
Website: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saja/2008/09/26/desiblogs

The South Asian Journalists Association presents an online panel discussion among some of the best-known names in the South Asian blogosphere. They will discuss the state of the blogosphere (South Asian and otherwise) and how it is affecting how news and information about South Asia and the diaspora is gathered and shared. Sabahat Ashraf of iFaqeer; Anil Dash of AnilDash.com; Karthik of Uberdesi.com; Maria Giovanna of Filmiholic.com; Arun Venugopal of SAJAforum.org


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Filed under Blogging, journalism, Media, Pakistan, Society, Writers