Category Archives: Fiction

FICTION: The Solidity of Things

Posted by Raza Rumi

At PTH, we have struggled to retain the balance between politics, history and arts and culture. However, given Pakistan’s turbulent politics and security, it has been an uphill task. We are now inviting new writers to come and express themselves at PTH. Especially since the explosion (pun intended) of Pakistani fiction at a global scale. We are printing a story by Hamza Rehman who is a an Esquire based in Islamabad. Hamza is a practising lawyer who moonlights as DJ for Pakistan Broadcasting Association’s Planet FM 94, where he hosts the Alternative Rock and 80’s shows. He freelances for The Friday Times and pens fiction as much as he can. He primarily writes about characters in Islamabad and experiments heavily with metaphor. The Solidity of Things is his debut short story.

Hope the readers would enjoy this rather bold, avante garde story.

“… but they sprawled from another country, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and the rest.

Islamabad is Pakistan’s first city.”

The billboard outside the Daewoo Bus Station introduced Islamabad as a new sentence to passengers arriving from Lahore. The other cities trailed off from another paragraph – divided India. Yes of course, Ahmed thought, Islamabad was post partition. The 1960’s. Ahmed sat in his jaundiced Suzuki FX that peeled silver rust at places. Through the tempered glass the weather shone warm with grim April yellow. Ahmed tried to make out if his maternal cousin, Haroon, had arrived.

Islamabad was roadblock central now. Blockades were a zipper formation and the ITP an ever vigil martinet on Fridays. Ahmed remembered a conversation with Usman: “Ahmed, solid terrorism, or manifest terrorism, isn’t the Islamabad Marriot burning the fuck down.” Taking a drag of his Gold Leaf, Usman had pithily said, “It’s the insecurity that follows”, in a wisp of solid smoke and truth.  Continue reading

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Linguistics and Islam

Kim Stanley Robinson’s  alternate history novel,”The Years of Rice and Salt” posits a world in which an overwhelming majority of Europeans are decimated by the Black Death in the 14th century thereby Christinaity and the white race never get the chance to shape the world as we know it. History of the world, thus, is informed by dominant cultures of the day; the Islamic world, India and the Far East. One of the qualities that sets this novel apart from other novels of the what-if genre is the  intelligent observations, commentary and inquiries the writer makes into the nature of Islam. The following extract is taken from a book within this book entitled “Mohammed [pbuh] Meets Confucius”.    Zia Ahmad Continue reading

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Another Interview

By Zia Ahmad

 

Making eye contact with words ending with a Y does not make you chinky. Making eye contact with a prospective employer in this pure land of ours doesn’t do you any favors.  At best it only makes the tongue of your mind go flat for some brief period of time. Continue reading

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Filed under Fiction, men, musings, Uncategorized, urban

The White Tiger of Pakistan

The White Tiger of Pakistan

If Billo Halwai Lived in Pakistan

You Chinese are far ahead of us in every respect, except that you don’t have entrepreneurs and our nation- though it has no drinking water, electricity, sewage system, public transportation, sense of hygiene, discipline, courtesy or punctuality- does have entrepreneurs. Thousands and hundreds of thousands of them, especially in the field of technology and these have setup all these outsourcing companies that virtually run America now.

Only three nations have never let themselves be ruled by foreigners: china, Afghanistan and Abyssinia .these are the only three nations I admire.
My country is the kind where it pays to play it both ways. The entrepreneur has to be straight and crooked, mocking and believing, sly and sincere at the same time so I am closing my eyes, folding my hands in a reverence and praying to God/Allah/Ishvar orYahweh and Judah to shine light on my dark story. Continue reading

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Poem: Waris Shah Vs Aitzaz Ahsan

by Bradistan

Waris Shah Vs. Aitzaz Ahsan

(In the Court of Supreme Judge ALLAH The Almighty)

A Tribute to Late Amrita Pritam

aaj aakhaaN Aitzaz nuuN

aaj aakhaN AITZAZ AHSAN nuuN, kitoN Chamber vichchoN bol,

te aaj kitab-e -Knoon daa koii aglaa varkaa phol

ik Uthyaa sii Wada Kanoon Daan, tuuN likh likh maare Byaan,

aaj SWAT DE Dhiyaan rondiaa, tainuN Aitzaz Ahsan nuN kahen

Jaag dardmandaaN diaa dardiaa, Jaag Pakistani Jaag Continue reading

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Interview:British-Pakistani Novelist Tariq Mehmood

UK Political Debate: Q & A with Tariq Mehmood

Tariq Mehmood is a broadcaster, writer and filmmaker. His first two novels are both set in Bradford UK. He has published two illustrated books for children.

Tariq co-directed the award winning documentary Injustice. He is the editor of Sangi, the only magazine in his mother tongue, Pothowari in UK. Tariq and Rock musician Aki Nawaz host the Political Show “The Point” in UK on sky satellite 836. Tariq is visiting Pakistan to cover current  political situation. Continue reading

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The Half-Burnt Cigarette : A Short Story

by Awais Aftab

He took a puff of his cigarette, blew the smoke and observed with purposeless acuteness the amorphous wisps of smoke diffusing into the air, thinning out of existence. His lifted his gaze to a yellow taxi, a few cars ahead of his at the traffic signal, to make sure it was still there. ‘Yellow, yellow like guilt,’ he thought, taking another draw. His eyes fell on the rear-view mirror, and he saw a partial reflection of his own face: black, warm eyes; a handsome charming face in the early thirties. His wife, his former college fellow, had often told him how he used to be the crush of a dozen girls during the college days. He had felt a strange, meaningless pride in that revelation by his wife before, but at that moment, as he recollected this memory, he felt doubt. ‘Could this be a lie too?’ he thought. Doubt— a monster which was engulfing his whole life, his whole mind, robbing him of even a single moment of peace; doubt of his wife, doubt of her fidelity. He looked again at the taxi and saw a brief glimpse of her auburn hair. In the past when he nestled his nose against those silky strands, their pleasant fragrance used to fill to his whole body. But since a few days, after he had become a victim of doubt, that aroma had become a pungent odour, setting his soul on fire.

He had never thought of himself as a jealous, possessive husband. ‘I am an educated, cultured man’, he used to say to himself. But time knows better: that even thousands of years of social evolution is not enough to counter an atavistic impulse that runs in the very blood of one’s veins. He believed that he had always trusted his wife, but everyone can trust when times are cordial. It is only in the clash of suspicion and faith that the strength of trust is revealed; like yanking a sheet off a naked body. And it was only when those silent phone calls and wrong numbers started coming that he came to realize that he had never trusted her, never even for a moment. It was all an illusion. Continue reading

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