Category Archives: culture

Laal Band’s song for the flood vitcims

Laal Band has produced this song for the victims of the recent calamity. Taimur Rehman the lead guitarist has sent this for the readers of PTH. RR


Filed under culture, disaster, Music, Pakistan

Pakistan’s Unfortunate Embrace of the ‘Modern’

This is an interesting article sent to us by Usman Khan

The other day I attended a dawat by a fairly well off middle class Pakistani family. You know your average bi-monthly get-togethers where the chaps sit largely in cold silence while the women pontificate on everything from the best way to control their servants to the latest drone attack in FATA. Anyway I digress. Whilst there, the amiable host tapped into my love for all things sweet and whipped me up into a frenzy about a new ice cream that was to be served for desert. Well who can fail to be excited by ice cream? Not me, that’s for sure. Imagine my dismay then when, instead of being served an ambrosial, delicately crafted desert, I was handed cup of Wall’s ice cream with all the pomp and ceremony of a banquet in the court of Bahadar Shah Zafar. It seems that a local vendor had started selling small scoops from Wall’s various array of premium packaged offerings. It was not exactly what I had in mind. But perhaps that is my fault. If six years in Pakistan have taught me nothing else – then it is that unfortunately Pakistani’s do not have an eye for a good thing.

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Filed under culture

Daily Times – Nationalism: inclusive versus exclusive — I

At PTH, we have argued for the partition as a nuanced set of events that were characterized by extreme mistrust between the two major political forces of that time. These major parties harboured deep distrust against each other. The Muslim League politics increasingly focused on the idea of Pakistan as a bargaining chip to win the rights for the sizeable Muslim majority within the United India. The British hurry to leave the United India, emergence of Muslim League as the sole spokesman for the Muslims, and Congress unwillingness to recognize the Muslim nation demands within the United India resulted in a bloody and messy partition. We still live with the scars of the partition that resulted in one of the largest uprooting and human migration of modern times. Continue reading


Filed under culture, Democracy, Egalitarian Pakistan, History, Identity, Islam, Islamabad, Islamism, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, minorities, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Religion, secular Pakistan

Guardian: Sectarianism has poisoned Pakistan

By Basim Usmani

Cross Post from The Guardian

The violence seen in Lahore last week was aided by a bigoted constitution. How has stock in our nationhood plummeted so?

The recent attacks on a prominent shrine in Lahore demonstrate how the unrest in Pakistan is caused by a minority of few who cannot tolerate the plurality of beliefs in Pakistan. The Tehrik-e-Taliban are lying through their teeth when they claim that they do not attack public places. It’s becoming more and more apparent that these militants aren’t resisting American hegemony; this a war to determine Pakistan’s future and, by proxy, the future of Islam.

Whether the Tehrik-e-Taliban actually arranged the bombers’ suicide belts is irrelevant; they have created a domino effect that’s likely to spread from commercial capitals such as Lahore to cities with historic shrines and Pakistani historical sites, such as Multan, or Taxila.

Unlike Baghdad, where violence between Islamic sects is a product of the war America is waging, the onus of last Thursday’s blasts falls squarely on us, the citizens of Pakistan. We have been complacent about sectarianism for too long.

A good friend who works for a transportation company told me in 2007 that in villages along the highways to Waziristan where the Taliban had seized control were the bodies of butchered Shia Muslims. That year, Lahore’s public was too busy mobilising about the judiciary and President Musharraf to pay the violence any mind.

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Filed under Al Qaeda, Citizens, culture, Islam, Islamabad, Islamism, minorities, Pakistan, Punjab, Taliban

Can an Islamic State be Secular?

Amaar Ahmad has written another thought-provoking and bold post for PTH. His argument and approach needs to be taken seriously if we have to overcome our current predicament and survive as a country. Raza Rumi

It can be argued that the minimum definition of a secular state is one that permits all its citizens to freely practice, profess and propagate their religion (or the lack thereof) and it does not enact laws which discriminates in worldly affairs between citizens on the basis of their faith. Can an Islamic state offer a constitution and an environment which meets this description of secularism?

If you seek an affirmative answer using the orthodox version of Islam as represented by our conservative politico-religious groups then you are going to be disappointed. But if you analyze the mission of Prophet Muhammad (sw) rationally then you are likely to be pleasantly surprised. The more you see into his life the greater the gulf you find between his actions (Sunnah) and that of our so-called Islamic leaders. The following ten arguments would show that the demagogues and self-righteous Mullahs have completely subverted the teachings of Islam:

1. Freedom to practise religion:
As ruler of Arabia, Prophet Muhammad granted a charter to Christians by declaring for them the freedom to freely practice their faith. The pact guaranteed that any Christian can profess his or her faith, that no Christian woman can forcibly be converted by her Muslim husband and that Muslims are supposed to respect and protect churches. This letter, sent to St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, was an unprecedented testament to the magnanimity and liberality of Prophet Muhammad in an era when the world did not know tolerance. It is therefore extremely embarrassing that modern Muslim countries limit the practice of other faiths within their dominions.

2. Freedom of worship:
There were hundreds of idols in the sacred Kaaba that had been built by Abraham and consecrated for the worship of one God. Before he returned as the conqueror (and therefore as a ruler), the Prophet spent fifty years of his life in Mecca but never took the law in his own hands to demolish them. Certain puritanical brands of Islam, however, make it incumbent on themselves to ‘cleanse’ shrines and mosques of any trace of Shirk (polytheism). The hideous attack on Data Darbar in Lahore which is a mausoleum of an Islamic mystic is therefore yet another transgression by these deviants. Continue reading


Filed under culture, Islam, Pakistan, secular Pakistan, secularism

Owner of Hyderabad’s iconic bakery dies

… yet continues to help many live


[Dawn Online] HYDERABAD, June 11: Man is mortal but legend stays. It can truly be said for late Kumar of Hyderabad’s Bombay Bakery, as its cuisine left an everlasting flavour on the taste buds of those lucky, who had the opportunity to relish these.

Kumar Thandani enjoyed seventy and two winters and met his creator on Friday in a Karachi hospital. A bachelor throughout, he left behind a sister and two adopted children. He was cremated in the evening at the crematorium at Hali Road. Continue reading


Filed under culture, Heritage, Pakistan, poverty, Sindh, Society

From A Rooftop Restaurant In Lahore

A View ‘Across Another Century’

The GT Road Blog

By Steve Inskeep

NPR correspondents are on the Grand Trunk Road. The team has undertaken this project to hear from “young people along one of the world’s historic highways.”

Today, we get to go along with the team to a restaurant in Lahore that offers much more than just food.

From Coo Coo’s Cafe, you can look back across time. (John Poole/NPR)

There’s no need to get into what we talked about. There’s time for that later, in a few days. Let me just tell you where we talked about it.

First we drove down Mall Road, a main street in Lahore. We passed gorgeous old colonial buildings from when the British ruled this city as part of India. Looking at the buildings from bottom to top, we could see that many start out stolid and British, with foundations made of stone and built to last. Then, as they climbed, we spied frilly archways and high turrets that seemed ready to float into the sky. Continue reading


Filed under culture, History, Identity, Lahore, Pakistan