Tag Archives: Society

Casteism: alive and well in Pakistan

Raza Rumi writing for The Friday Times, Pakistan (current issue)

It is a cliché now to say that Pakistan is a country in transition – on a highway to somewhere. The direction remains unclear but the speed of transformation is visibly defying its traditionally overbearing, and now cracking postcolonial state. Globalisation, the communications revolution and a growing middle class have altered the contours of a society beset by the baggage and layers of confusing history. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan, Punjabi, Rights, Society, south asia

Members, One of Another:Gender Equality and Justice in Islam

“Members, One of Another:
Gender Equality and Justice in Islam”

By Riffat Hassan

Department of Religious Studies
University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

What I will say may surprise both Muslims who “know” women’s place and non-Muslims who “know” what Islam means for women. It is this: I am a Muslim, a theologian, and a women’s rights activist, and while I am critical in a number of ways of the life that most Muslim societies offer to women, twenty years of theological study, as well as my own deepest faith, convince me that in real Islam, the Islam of the Qur’an, women and men are equals. Liberating ideas lie at the heart of most enduring faiths, and Islam shares in these. Two themes in particular strike me as being of the highest importance. The first is the fundamental equality of humans before God. The other is religion’s revolutionary aim of human liberation. From religion should come freedom to seek understanding of the will of God and life’s purpose, and freedom to honor God’s creation through self-development and striving toward God’s ends.

Unfortunately, most Muslim societies also mirror a fault that has been noted by feminist theologians in cultures shaped by other religions: the gap between rhetoric of equality and the reality of profound inequality between the lives of women and men. While Muslim women continuously hear the refrain that Islam has given women more rights than any other religious tradition, they continue to be subjected to grossly unequal treatment. Continue reading


Filed under Islam, Justice

Lal Masjid of Bradistan

by Dilnawaz

This Lal Masjid (Red mosque), actually a converted old Victorian church, built (originally) in Yorkshire stone is just like the inconspicuous buildings lining the Leeds road Bradford moor, an area famous for posh Asian restaurants competing with wimslow road Manchester for the title of curry capital of the north.
But I am talking about this “red mosque on Bradford moor” ,which looks like any other mosque in Bradford, is no ordinary mosque, certainly not like the RED MOSQUE IN ISLAMABAD. The high security door, wired and reinforced windows are unlike the other mosques in Bradford. Not so long ago, actually just before 9/11 when usama bin laden had not attained his current cult celebrity status, some hot headed young Muslim (born again Tableeghi-read evangelical ) lads used to pump up the music while passing this “Red mosque” their car stereos deafening the street with anthems “ Islam’s hero number one, my leader usa-ma bin laden” just to annoy the gate keeper and the administration of the mosque, but other than that isolated incident this red mosque perfectly integrated into Bradford muslim community, no one can tell the difference between those who visit this “red mosque” or other mainstream mosques in Bradford. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

Honor Killings in Babakot

In Babakot,
And in all those places
We don’t hear, we don’t see
The old tradition lives,
Underneath our skin
Inside our heads
Tarnished and convoluted
In the name of honor
Hangs the fate of women
In ditches, proof of our humanity
Shot, thrown and burnt
In the name of honor
In the name of humanity

Inside there, still unnoticed
Remains of our acts and virtues
We say we are in the 21st century
Far behind we are in time
And the wisdom and logic
Too long a walk, too hard to rectify
These old ways, upon us
Where we kill in the name of honor
Yet still alive those men
As they breathe the empty honor
For you and me, only the bitterness

Those beautiful faces, our daughters
Gone forever, heads sunk in grief
As words betray us, to describe
Heinous crimes and we call ourselves
The followers of prophet and Islam
In us, the old tradition lives
This indifference, not to protest
Not to challenge, not to hear those pleas
The moment their lives came into existence
To the moments thrown and burnt, in hell
The hell we have created, in the name of honor
If this is the honor, then shame a better option
I won’t have to kill, my daughters and mothers
As we betray humanity in the name of honor!



Filed under Citizens, Islam, Pakistan, poetry, Society

Sex at Pak Tea House – no brothels here

Raza Rumi

Two esteemed bloggers, visitors at the Pak Tea House (PTH) complained that PTH through its laissez faire comment policy was turning into a brothel. A piece from an international publication on the booming sex trade in Pakistan was posted here. Now it is true that the term sex invites attention and clicks by the browsers. Google figures have time and again shown the enormous searches for the term ‘sex’ emanating from the Land of the Pure.

It is therefore an issue that concerns Pakistan at its core: the hypocrisy relating to sexual desires and the frustrations that are part of the baggage. We in no way wanted to invite readers to leave their numbers, email and chat IDs for nocturnal secretive activities.

But it happened. I have removed almost all the comments that were left by men and women where invitations for sexual liaison were made in the comments space. Yet, I am not a prude and most of the authors at this forum are also not inclined towards Victorian sensibilities.

There is a need to therefore invite writings, comments and analyses of this vital issue. Psychologists have been concerned about the results of sexual frustrations in the contemporary society and how damaging it is for the youth.

Readers might be interested in these earlier posts at Lahore Nama, the other blog that I manage, which also invited some insightful comments on how distorted and skewed the understanding and yearning for sex is in the beloved homeland. 

Lahore’s seedy brothels and official hypocrises

Sex, culture and pictures – top 5 searches for Lahore-Nama

Sex, spirituality and history: Searching Lahore?

Hot ’sexy’ Mujras have destroyed Lahore’s commercial theatre

Marginalised male sex workers vulnerable to HIV/AIDS


Filed under culture, Pakistan, sex, Society

The Muffled Rage

PTH author Kashkin wrote this article in October 2007. He believes that it is valid even today and “holds true the message” and “how we portray ourselves as a nation and society”. Hope the readers would enjoy this piece. Raza Rumi (ed.)


There we go again- the arrival of Benazir Bhutto after 8 years of her self-imposed exile, (the exile which meant that all her family with her, no dependency on anything, and enough money in millions, enough homes, etc- if this is exile, then what it means to be in your own homeland, only she can imagine!!!!!), numerous statements from herself on media repeatedly how poorly she had been treated in the past, her concerns on her safety, voicing opinions based on her discussions with the Western governments, displaying sense of arrogance and falsely created euphoria of how things will change when she gets in the government and so forth. This was the day she had been waiting for a long time!!!!

So what happened?

Thousands of people gathered from all parts of Pakistan in a procession to welcome her on these streets of Karachi, to hear these sentimental and vociferous speeches by her and her cronies. The words from those years of isolation and exile to fulfill the expectations of the nation on these streets of Karachi. What a joke!!!!

And then comes the explosions. The carnage.

25, 30. 45. 75, and the count keeps getting higher and higher for the dead and injured. The whole machinery – media with its apparatus, the voices in anger against the government, the people behind these attacks “debate” kicks into action. Nothing new, we are used to seeing this patterns.

Then comes the promise of investigation and lesson learnt drill from the government and all the other party leaders- the usual routine – we will do this and we will do that? Great what happened to the investigation to cover off 12th May incidence, what happened to the investigation on incidences in Peshawar couple of weeks ago? What happened to the red-mosque investigation? What happened to the investigations of the investigation – the accountability of our leaders- past and present. This is not the question they would like us to ask.

The perceived consensus amongst the government is to forget all previous investigations and focus on the current crisis. I guess they will let Supreme Court to initiate this when they have nothing else to do – to keep them occupied and busy for the next couple of months!!! Continue reading

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Filed under Citizens, Democracy, History, Islam, Media, Pakistan, Politics, Society, Writers

Pakistan: What other kind of change?

By Ayesha Siddiqa adding to the debate on the changing Pakistan…

IN a recent article titled ‘Another kind of change’ Akbar Zaidi tried to make us believe in changes occurring in Pakistan without properly contextualising them. According to the writer, Pakistan is no longer feudal, traditional and rural nor is its economy agrarian. Although it is not stated in this fashion, the underlying tone of the article is that the country has moved to become a more modern society. Let us see if the arguments hold.

First, do the changes in the land tenure system and the separation between labour and capital, which is how traditionally feudalism is defined, make Pakistan non-feudal? Besides the economic dimension, there is the socio-political dimension as well. The structures of power remain the same. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizens, Pakistan, Society