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On Iqbal Geoffrey – Collage of life

PARTHA CHATTERJEE

Pakistani artist Iqbal Geoffrey is much more than a witty collage-maker: his world is, artistically and socially, a cosmopolitan one.

PICTURES: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Image on the rigth: Self-portrait: Man of Steel Massage of Love.

IQBAL GEOFFREY is both a singular artist and a singular character. His work over the past 50 years has been marked by complete integrity and an artistic vision that is uniquely his own. There is no other artist like him in the subcontinent or, for that matter, anywhere else.

His critics may dismiss him as a witty and clever collage-maker but he is, to be sure, much more than that. He is not a hedgehog like the American Abstractionists Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Joseph Albers, Willem de Kooning and Jasper Johns. Of course, the collage is his mainstay, and that makes him as acerbic a social critic as Honore Daumier and Constantine Guy were in 19th century France. Unlike the above-mentioned Abstractionists, who did one thing very well, Geoffrey can be quite versatile when he wants to. This is probably because he has never ceased to draw human figure or landscape or, for that matter, objects, which usually form a part of his collages, though not always. He can, therefore, do many things proficiently. Continue reading

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Restoring the civil rights of Ahmadis

By a Pakistani

The events in Punjab Medical College in Faisalabad recently have brought to the forefront once again a very important and yet neglected issue which continues to blacken our collective conscience as a nation.   The expulsion of 23 students for allegedly preaching their faith underscored the sickness that has crept into the majority in this country bringing bad name to the country and the faith of Islam as well. There is need for serious inquiry as to whether this pathetic state of affairs will be allowed to continue and will the Ahmadis continue to be the victims of Pakistan’s version of Jim Crow Laws aided and abetted by a PC0-ed judiciary passing numerous “Dredd Scott” like decisions.

The persecution of Ahmadis even under the present mangled constitution is patently unconstitutional.  A fair court of law would have noticed and pounced on the Ahmadi-specific legislation that has crept into our statute books for every single one of these laws violate a couple dozen fundamental rights accorded to the citizens of Pakistan not the least Article 20 which gives every citizen the right to practice and propagate his or her religion without any caveats.  The rot however began with Bhutto’s 2nd Amendment which declared Ahmadis Non-Muslim. His law minister, Mr. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, proved himself to be a poor constitutional lawyer when he declared that the National Assembly was sovereign and could take such a step.   The correct legal position was that of Sir Zafrullah Khan, erstwhile Pakistani foreign minister and one of the authors of the Lahore Resolution, who argued that it was beyond the scope of the National Assembly to determine the faith of an individual especially under the Constitution of 1973.  Even the Islamic provisions of the constitution of 1973 were to be interpreted according to each sect’s understanding and Ahmadis being an established Muslim sect in 1973 were entitled to their own interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah. Continue reading

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