Tag Archives: nation

No priests needed – search of a Pakistani identity

Raza Rumi wonders why we remain in search of a Pakistani identity

Half-truths are what we love to indulge in. One of the countless crimes committed by President Asif Ali Zardari is that he wears a Sindhi cap instead of a Jinnah cap. That by preferring a Sindhi topi and thundering at the occasion of late Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary, he undermined his Pakistani identity, is truly mystifying. After all, what is a Pakistani identity and why is the Jinnah cap being elevated to the level of an article of national faith?

If anything, Mr Jinnah’s patronage of Muslim identity mark was an afterthought. His usual attire was a well-tailored pucca-sahib-like suit. It was only in the nineteen forties and that too close to India’s independence that Mr Jinnah started donning the Muslim nobility’s attire.

So what is this fuss all about? Constructing Pakistan’s ideology based on theological interpretation of a universal religion like Islam has been a carefully executed project of the Pakistani establishment and its shadows in the non-state domains. Such cliques have grown bigger, mushroomed and are now essential to our lived reality. Therefore lambasting of Zardari on not sporting a Jinnah cap finds public resonance and broad acceptability within the populous Punjab province where the Urdu press flourishes and finds readers and writers aplenty.The opening up of the electronic media has been a liberating experience but it also means that the deep-seated and embedded distortions, cultivated by the state, biased education system and militarisation, have now captured a wider public space. This includes audiences and listeners who are outside the ambit of the ‘literate’. Given the inherent dangers of such a phenomenal change, many independent observers have called for arresting and regulating further corporatization of the media. Advanced countries such as the USA have already experienced the pernicious trend of ‘dumbing down’ and mainstreaming unaccountable political and security agenda[s]. The case of the war on terror is a pertinent example of this unfortunate reality. If we are aware of it should we not undertake pro-active course correction? Continue reading



Filed under History, Identity, Pakistan

World journalists write to the Government of Pakistan

Raza Rumi
Today, world editors have written to the government condemning the way a journalist, Matthew Rosenberg, has been maligned without evidence thereby making him vulnerable to being attacked extremists. True, the western media rarely reports without a slant. But unsubstantiated propaganda is plainly wrong and makes us all ashamed. We must practice what we preach. We hope that foreign correspondents are provided protection and better editorial discretion is introduced. As a writer I support freedom of expression but irresponsible allegations can be dangerous in these insecure times.
TO: Qamar Zaman Kaira,

Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan

4th Floor, Cabinet Block, Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad (16 November 2009)

RE: Nation article about Wall Street Journal reporter

Respected Minister Kaira,
We are writing to register our strong concern at a recent development that has caused alarm among international media organizations working in Pakistan.
On November 5, The Nation newspaper published a front page article accusing Matthew Rosenberg, a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, of working for the C.I.A., Israeli intelligence and the U.S. military contractor Blackwater.
Mr. Rosenberg is a respected journalist of high standing. Not only was the article unsubstantiated, it critically compromised his security and raised questions about whether he can return to Pakistan to work safely in the future. Continue reading


Filed under Media, Pakistan, Urdu

Rethinking National Sovereignty

By Anthony J. Aschettino

The modern world is the world of the nation-state, a world in which every ethnic group lays claim to their own special plot of land under the guise of nationalism and their “historic” rights to that place. Gone are the days of the empires, those polyglot entities encompassing the ethnicities of a dozen or more groups and spreading across the globe with seeming impunity. The trend had begun long before then, but by the end of the Second World War empires were crumbling wherever they were found. It was a long process, tied to the end of colonialism, and as such is generally viewed as a good thing in most circles. Was it really? Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan

Muslim Khan’s is Pakistan’s national trait

Abbas Zaidi

Muslim Khan, the spokesman of Pakistani Taliban, has won unprecedented notoriety for justifying beheading, flogging, and digging up and hanging the dead. He has a personal stake in propagating the kind of education Muslims of the world must have. Or must not have. He has justified the bombing of schools on many pretexts, but one stands out: Muslims must not get “English” education. By which Muslim Khan means that any school which has anything to do with the English language must be demolished. The Taliban have so far demolished hundreds of schools in the name of cleansing education of the Western-infidel influence. Pakistan’s Islamo-fascist Urdu media has always given him a lot of coverage making him a national folk hero who has stood up to the United States and her Pakistani lackeys. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism

This is My Son: A Day of National Humiliation

Shaheryar Ali

Years back when Hindu fascists demolished the historic Babri mosque, many headlines in the Indian press next day were some thing like “A day of National Humiliation”. The same Indian media which every one these days in Pakistan seem to be lecturing on “ethics”,” professionalism”, “peace” etc. This was a true act of patriotism on part of India’s media. They were identifying a great distortion which was emerging in India’s secular democracy, the communal fascism which had the potential to destroy the Indian democracy. No concept of democracy is possible without “critical thought”, it’s the criticism which helps democracy evolve and flourish. All prejudices were once laws enshrined in the constitutions. Most of them represented the “national interests” of the states. Colonialism was one such thing, Slavery was another. Individuals challenged their states, faced persecutions and torture but they brought about a change. The societies which become totally non critical about their rulers and elites perish. As the Bombay tragedy unfolded, Pakistani media, state, political parties and even some liberal and ex progressives adopted a line which consisted of criticism of Indian press, media and government. A policy of continuous denial was adopted, in name of patriotism, in name of “support” of the democratic regime, in name of “peace”. What was forgotten was that India and Pakistani democratic regime effectively are hostages of the same enemy. Benazir Bhutto was shot dead by the same elements on which India is pointing fingers too, whose existence we were denying. Continue reading


Filed under Citizens, Pakistan

Don’t squirrel away the babes!

Feisel Naqvi

I first became involved with journalism in the summer of 1987 as a sub-editor at the Nation. After two weeks I was promoted/kicked out into the reporting room where I spent most of my time learning how to properly structure a Punjabi sentence (i.e., pick a close female family member, state something about her body and/or sexual proclivities, and finally, insert result into whatever it is that you actually wanted to discuss, which could be anything from economics to anthropology).

The reason I mention this ancient history (besides boosting my journo-cred) is because one of my first assignments as the junior-most sub-editor was to edit an APP wire story in which it was alleged that James Bond liked his orange juice shaken not stirred. I was 18 and green back then, but I wasn’t stupid. So, even I knew that James Bond being a true narr da bacha was not prone to drinking orange juice. Ever. However, work options being what they were, I dutifully subbed the piece and it appeared in the next day’s edition. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizens, Society

The First War of Indian Independence 1857-Indian nations and imperialism

The First War of Indian Independence- 1857: reclaiming of the Indian nations’ voluntary unity against imperialism

Contributed by Javed Inayat via email.

A slave nation cannot establish a classless society, abolish exploitation and bring about equality among men (people). For such a nation, the first and foremost task is to break the chains of imperialist domination that bind it. In other words, revolution in a slave country has to be anti-imperialist and anti-colonial. (Collective Works of Bhagat Singh, p.15)

A close examination of anti-imperialist history of India indicates that the First War of Indian Independence – 1857 provided the voluntary bases for the unity of all Indian nations in their struggle against British imperialism. The historical events that followed the First War of Indian Independence testify that both the voluntary bases for the unity of different people and the anti-imperialist struggle in India were lost out to the Indian elite (the present Bharati and Pakistani ruling classes) – the loyal servants and the products of imperialism, and the tools of oppression of the diverse and different nations of India. Consequently, the national question in India remains unresolved and the goal of Indian Independence Movement continues to be unaccomplished. The reclaiming of the Indian nations’ voluntary unity in their contemporary struggle against national oppression and imperialism would, this paper suggests, be a right course to take for bringing the revolutionary struggle in India back on its track. Continue reading


Filed under History, Imperialism, south asia