By Yasser Latif Hamdani
This is a quick blog to correct a historical fallacy. A false impression persists – thanks to people like Amar Jaleel and the like who in the right royal Urdu press fashion have a hard time sticking to the facts- that Jinnah- who according to Jaleel was drugged or cornered into making the speech in question- somehow told Bengalis to outlaw Bengali language when he declared Urdu to be the state language of Pakistan. This is historically inaccurate. This blog is not to discuss whether Jinnah’s declaration was politically suave or naïve but to set the record straight about what it was that Jinnah said which laid foundations for the Urdu-Bengali discord in Pakistan and led to Pakistan ultimately declaring both Urdu and Bengali the “national languages” of Pakistan. Ironically Jinnah did not even use the term “national language”, drawing the very valid distinction between a state language or lingua franca and a national language. Continue reading
By Brigadier (ret) Simon Samson Sharaf
In an emotional and controversial address to his constituency, the President of Pakistan, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari referred to the country as Sindhu Desh. In his fiery and reactive speech, this was perhaps the only silver lining. Deliberately or otherwise, he had touched a very sensitive issue of nationhood.
The politicians of Sindh unlike the Unionists of Punjab have been more Pakistani in many ways than they are accredited. Jinnah, the Syeds, Qazis, Soomros and Bhuttos are but to name a few. Reviewing the annals of history, we are pleasantly reminded that Pakistan was never the realization of one ethnicity, sect or mindset. It was a struggle based on the aspirations of diverse groups and still remains so. Continue reading
By Shahid Hamid
Given that the creation of new provinces any time soon is not a viable option, Parliament should proceed with all due speed to devolve further powers from the Federation to the Provinces by deleting the Concurrent List of 47 subjects or at least most of this List
The issue of new provinces and provincial autonomy was also crucial and the 1973 Constitution originally envisaged these scenarios.
For instance, Article 1 of the 1973 Constitution envisaged the possible return of East Pakistan on vacation of Indian aggression. The enabling provision in this behalf was done away with by the First Amendment to the Constitution in 1974.
Why the division of Punjab alone should be a topic of national debate? The long due reform of Pakistan’s federal politics is an urgent need and this is a time to act
By Raza Rumi
The elites drunk on the status quo have expressed two major reactions to the proposal of creating another province within the mighty Punjab. First that this is akin to opening a Pandora’s box when we are at war against terrorism. Second, that this is a planted controversy whereby the ruling PPP wants to harm the house of Raiwind; or a conspiracy by those who want to destabilise Pakistan’s political system. Continue reading
By Raza Rumi
On the face of it, the Pakistani state with the clear endorsement of political parties and the majority of its citizenry is fighting a battle against militant Islamism. However, it is not as simple a formulation as it appears to be. The state is also cracking under extreme pressure for having lost its capacities and effectiveness a long time ago. The central tenet of state policy and implementation is adhocism that keeps a mammoth, oversized, under-paid and snail-paced elephant going. With Mughal and pre-industrial social structures reflecting in a colonial organisation, the Pakistani state is an unattended patient lying on an Elliotesque table, waiting for a surgery. Continue reading
By Chris Hayes, Stuka, Majumdar, BonoBashi, Gorki, Shahzad and YLH
A few days ago PTH re-posted an article from “The Liberal” which led to a fascinating exchange between a group of PTH’s regular interactors. Unlike the usual exchange that takes place between Pakistanis and Indians on this very thorny issue, the discussion actually led to a very positive exchange that enriched all concerned. We are re-posting the essential arguments as a dialogue so that it may be available to a larger audience. -PTH Admin Continue reading
Zafar Hilaly (NEWS)
The ongoing auction for votes in the Punjab Provincial Assembly, so soon after the restoration of the judges, is further proof that the federation is dysfunctional.
As the politicians squabble, officials disobey “illegal” orders and soldiers refuse to take on fellow Muslims in the borderlands (curiously, no such hesitancy was evident in East Pakistan). The refusal by some brigadiers to obey orders to fire on an opposition crowd in Lahore in 1977 was a trendsetter; earlier the police strike in Lahore continued this trend and last week’s defiance of the police to arrest or confine opposition politicians, again in Lahore, suggests that what is presently an infection may become a contagion. Politicians should pause to ponder the consequences of promoting indiscipline and brazen flouting of authority. Continue reading