Tag Archives: Aitzaz Ahsan

Pakistan is in pieces

[There is plenty here to stimulate a robust debate; Not that surprising, considering who the author is. PTH does not necessarily agree with the views expressed in this article.]

Belfast Telegraph, Tuesday, 6 April 2010             By Robert Fisk

I tried, in Pakistan, to define the sorrow which so constantly afflicts this country. The massive loss of life, the poverty, the corruption, the internal and external threats to its survival, the existentialism of Islam and the power of the army; perhaps Pakistan’s story can only be told in a novel. It requires, I suspect, a Tolstoy or a Dostoyevsky.

Pakistan ambushes you. The midday heat is also beginning to ambush all who live in Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province. Canyons of fumes grey out the vast ramparts of the Bala Hisar fort.

“Headquarters Frontier Force” is written on the ancient gateway. I notice the old British cannon on the heights – and the spanking new anti-aircraft gun beside it, barrels deflected to point at us, at all who enter this vast metropolis of pain. There are troops at every intersection, bullets draped in belts over their shoulders, machine guns on tripods erected behind piles of sandbags, the sights of AK-47s brushing impersonally across rickshaws, and rubbish trucks and buses with men clinging to the sides. There are beards that reach to the waist. The soldiers have beards, too, sometimes just as long.

I am sitting in a modest downstairs apartment in the old British cantonment. A young Peshawar journalist sits beside me, talking in a subdued but angry way, as if someone is listening to us, about the pilotless American aircraft which now slaughter by the score – or the four score – along the Afghanistan border. “I was in Damadola when the drones came. They killed more than 80 teenagers – all students – and, yes they were learning the Koran, and the madrasah, the Islamic school, was run by a Taliban commander. But 80! Many of them came from Bajaur, which would be attacked later. Their parents came afterwards, all their mothers were there, but the bodies were in pieces. There were so many children, some as young as 12. We didn’t know how to fit them together.” Continue reading


Filed under Army, Colonialism, Democracy, History, Identity, India, Judiciary, Pakistan, Partition

Kal Aaj Aur Kal

Jeet Hamara Mustaqbil Hai.

Pakistan Zindabad


Filed under Jinnah's Pakistan

NRO Debate Continues …

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

Duniya ki tareekh gawah hai,  adl bina jamhoor na hoga  

History bears witness,  there shall be no republic (democracy) without justice

-From Aitzaz Ahsan’s Poem “Kal, Aaj Aur Kal” – the anthem of Pakistan’s Lawyers’ Movement.  

“I am for the Law.  We wish for a republic of laws.”   John Adams- one of the founding fathers of the United States of America.

 “The first observation that I would like to make is this: You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State.”   Mahomed Ali Jinnah- our Quaid-e-Azam.

The decision on NRO was a historic one.   Based on the short order, however, a reasonable apprehension exists that by invoking articles 62-f and 227,  the Court has effectively brought into play dormant Islam-inspired clauses which shall further strengthen rightwing in Pakistan.   This apprehension is obviously not without merit.   Articles 4, 8 and 25 – 8 and 25 being fundamental rights which according to constitutional theory are supreme-  were much stronger clauses and the court did well to invoke these but this is where the court should have stopped.  Ofcourse this is entirely a conjecture without the detailed judgment.   That said the important thing is that the NRO has been reversed and it has strengthened democracy whether nay-sayers accept it or not.  The people need to see that the system works and punishes crooks no matter how powerful they are.  And there is no doubt that the Supreme Court should also take to task those holy cows that have run amok in the country but that will also happen in good time.   Continue reading


Filed under Jinnah's Pakistan, Justice, Pakistan

Rebuttal to a Mullah of Another Kind

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

I am not a Marxist of any kind. Far from it. However I have the greatest respect for Marx and his singular contribution to humanity. I also respect Lenin and the architects of the Bolshevik Revolution. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

Pakistan: Reclaiming the Indus Person


Computer-generated image of what Mohenjodaro must have looked like all those years ago (Courtesy Wiki)

Computer-generated image of what Mohenjodaro must have looked like all those years ago (Courtesy Wiki)

 By Aisha Fayyazi Sarwari

There are so many ways for Americans to find themselves if they are lost: They can read Eyewitness to America, an anthology of people who were there when the US was created; they could go to Gettysburg or heck, just rent the TVC; or they could go to the Metropolitan Museum in New York; or take a course with Professor Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn. Continue reading


Filed under ancient civilisations, Architecture, History, India, Jinnah, lawyers movement, Pakistan, Partition


Originally published in Dawn some 24 years ago.  The author now is a great leader in his own right.  His contribution here was as an historian.  Part of this argument was explored in “Indus Saga and the Making of Pakistan”.

By Aitzaz Ahsan

When the rationalist abdicates his function and the obscurantist holds the field unchallenged, dogma is born. Its scope is narrow; its potential nil; its utility “non est”. Yet it is not a nullity. Dogma is negatory of growth, and recusant of progress. It is another name for stagnation.

To take and maintain its hold upon upon the minds of men, the dogmatist creates a mythological system. Myths become his vehicle. The common denominator between myths and dogma is an absence of reason and logic. Both complement each other.

The origins of Pakistan, the impelling and historical circumstances that brought it into being, and the political necessity of its creation have also been subjected to the onslaught of dogma. The rationalist has stood by and allowed the very obscurantist who opposed the Movement, to dictate, by what is called the Ideology of Pakistan. Of necessity, the mythological support-system of this dogmatic frameword is tailor-made to serve an elite tied up, through their Saudi partons, to the interests of the western world. Being bereft of historica truth these myths tend to distort the national identity, stulting growth and thereby, under the cover of a ‘myth of independence’ keeping us the captives of international imperialism.

Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

Impressions after attending the Laal concert

ZI has sent this interesting account of the recent concert held in Karachi. We support the Laal and its cause and welcome their music with a message for change.  However, we also look for alternative perspectives and this post gives us some insights that often get overlooked in run of the mill reviews. Raza Rumi

Moved by the amazing videos of Umeed-e-Sahar and Musheer (that had played repeatedly on Geo during the Emergency), I was extremely excited at the opportunity to listen to LaaL play live at what Geo has christened “Azaadi Gali” – which is actually the road where their office is located. The dress code was red and many people did indeed follow it. What was unfortunate, however, was that not a lot many people turned up even though it was open to the public for free. Most of those who attended were employees of the media group itself and it seemed as if the publicity that the network had attempted had completely failed. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan