Category Archives: Lahore

Asma Jahangir’s victory is a cause for celebration

Raza Rumi

Asma Jahangir’s victory in the Supreme Court Bar Association elections is a major development in the legal and judicial history of Pakistan. She is the first woman to hold this office, and a progressive rights activist as well. Her struggles against injustice, discrimination and oppression have spanned over nearly forty years and are globally acclaimed. PTH wishes her all success and hopes that she is able to fulfil the mandate for which she has been elected: To transform the apex Bar into a professional, neutral and non-partisan body and operating at a healthy distance from the judges. At last some sanity might prevail. This take by lubp is worth a read.

I took the picture on the right after the victory and Asad J with the winnersmore can be found here

We are also posting a well considered view from HRW below:

Pakistan: Prominent Rights Advocate to Lead Supreme Court Bar

Asma Jahangir’s Election an Advance for an Impartial Judiciary

(New York, October 28, 2010)—The election of a prominent human rights activist to the presidency of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan   is a victory for human rights in Pakistan and for the country’s transition to genuine civilian rule, Human Rights Watch said today. The election of Asma Jahangir on October 27, 2010, will make her the first woman to lead the country’s most influential forum for lawyers. Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Judiciary, Justice, Lahore, Law, lawyers movement, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, movements, Pakistan, Rights

Stop Lahore’s Talibanisation

Raza Rumi

The worst has happened. Data Darbar, which defined the contours of peaceful Islam for a millennium, has been desecrated in Lahore. Its markets have been attacked and its minorities live in fear after the Ahmadi massacre. Last year, the petrified traders of Lahore’s Hall Road burnt objectionable CDs after receiving threats from extremists. A year later, low-intensity blasts took place in the crowded Hall Road — a market for electronics and kosher and non-kosher DVDs. This week, two internet cafes were targeted in densely populated areas of Lahore and some time back Peeru’s was also bombed. Reports have suggested that the cafes had received threats from unidentifiable numbers asking them to stop their businesses as they were turning into hubs of ‘immoral activities’. Just because no one died there, media attention has been patchy. A younger female colleague told me how tailors are hesitant to take orders for sleeveless shirts and other designs that may offend the purist dress code. The militants are employing tactics of social control used in Swat. It cannot be brushed under the carpet anymore.

Prior to 1947, Lahore was a cosmopolitan city with a discrete culture of inter-faith harmony, with a reputation for the best education and socio-cultural movements. After its provincialisation, the resilient city re-emerged as a vibrant centre of progressive politics, avant-garde art and extraordinary literature. Since the 1980s, Lahore is a city with formidable infrastructure and boasts of great public spaces, especially parks.  The innate openness and tolerance of this metropolis could not be subjugated by growing extremism. Continue reading

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Filed under Lahore, Pakistan, public policy, Punjab, Taliban, violence

Lahore’s shrine bombed – outrageous, barbaric and unacceptable

Raza Rumi

35 dead and 175 injured – the numbers may increase..

As if the recent acts of violence and an atmosphere of fear was not enough, the butchers have attacked Lahore’s oldest and grandest shrine – also known as Data Saheb. Thursday night is the time when thousands visit this shrine to pray and offer their respects to Hazrat Usman Hajwery, a Sufi who has been known as the protector of the city and the generous guide who is believed to have blessed countless generations.

This is a barbaric attack and should serve as a wake up call. Data Saheb’s shrine is not just another crowded place – it represents a millenia of tolerant Sufi Islam which is directly under attack by the puritans.Last year, there were threats and the government had closed the place for a day or two. This time the worst of nightmares has come true.

How long will we be mere spectators and see our great city blown to bits – culturally and physically. This is time for hard, concrete action and a major crackdown on all terrorist outfits that are operating in the country especially the Punjab wit impunity.

How long shall we remain in a state of denial – as if there is no problem within Pakistan and all acts of terror are perpeterated by the Indians, Jews and the Americans. Continue reading

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Filed under Lahore, Pakistan, Religion, Sufism, Taliban, Terrorism

His call came as he knelt in prayer (May 28th, 2010)

Bint e Mahmood has sent this moving elegy for those who died in Lahore on May 28, 2010. PTH is attempting to provide space to many members of the maligned community – a place that bigotry has squeezed and appropriated.

His call came as he knelt in Prayer

Just an hour ago he had looked and smiled
at his young bride, at his newborn child
taking leave from his aging mother, one last time
he had wished them all goodbye before heading outside

His call came as he knelt in Prayer

Grenades exploded, bullets sprayed,
all this as our brothers prayed
blood, gore, carnage everywhere
yet not a single word of despair

His call came as he knelt in Prayer

The attack so sudden, devastating terror
the calm, the bravery fuelled with prayers
the resilience, the fortitude, the courage
these tales I’m sure will be told for years

His call came as he knelt in Prayer

He called his father, his mother, his wife
I’m hurt he said, I may not survive.
The phone is ringing no one answers…
Oh Allah, oh Lord please, please keep him alive!

His call came as he knelt in Prayer

Brethren seven seas away
pray as they watch in utter dismay
Their fervent midnight cries and woes
for God Almighty to punish the foes

His call came as he knelt in Prayer

Shoes all around, lying unclaimed
The house of Allah is blood stained
The shattered walls tell amazing stories
of unblemished wills and future glories

His call came as he knelt in Prayer

This is my son, I know his hand
said the mother, barely able to stand
From mine to Allah’s lap he goes
Have you ever heard of courage so grand?

His call came as he knelt in Prayer

The only brother of sisters three
the father who fought to keep the nation free
the judge, the general, the doctor was he
taken in a wicked killing spree

His call came as he knelt in Prayer

The wrinkled face smiled
as the well wishers filed
The young widow so composed
as she caressed her unborn child

His call came as he knelt in prayer

The mother weeps, the baby sleeps
the sister sighs, the wife wipes the corners of her eyes
the supplication, the tears, the heart-wrenching prayers
reserved only for the Lord of the earth and the skies

His call came as he knelt in Prayer

Farewell, farewell, our martyrs farewell!
You knelt before Him and in His name you fell
In the Gardens of Heaven you shall dwell
Paradise awaits, for you have served Him well

His call came as he knelt in Prayer

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Filed under Lahore, Pakistan, Rights

Terrible news from Lahore- extremists are back in action

Raza Rumi

Two horrific incidents took place in Lahore today. First, the blasts in the busiest of streets – Hall Road frequented by thousands of people. The moral brigade had been objecting to and threatening the shop-owners against selling CDs, DVDs as they somehow lead to decline in morals and of course challenge puritanical worldview held by the Islamists. Now, a warning was sent through two low intensity blasts which left many injured. Lahore’s Talibanisation nightmare might be turning into a reality.

Second, the famous Shezan brand is under attack – the reason: it is owned by an Ahmedi. After killing them in the villages and their places of worship, their right to engage in commerce (a basic right by the way) is being violated. This persecuted community has never been targetted so badly in the recent years.

Lahore – a peaceful, towering cultural centre of yore is now under direct attack by retrogressive forces while the Punjabis continue to deny the existence of religious extremism in their midst. When will we wake up – once the city is destroyed?

Markets, mosques and roads are becoming unsafe while we sit and watch the reality horror shows in our homes. How long will the homes be safe?

Express-Tribune reports: LAHORE: Twin low intensity bomb blasts hit a music and CD market in Lahore on Saturday evening, injuring 11 people and creating panic in the area, police said. Continue reading

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Filed under Islamism, Lahore, minorities, Taliban, Terrorism, violence

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

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

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Filed under culture, History, Identity, Lahore, Pakistan