Imran Husain

Information fatigue

There appears to be utter confusion around us. At a time when a stable, progressive environment is needed most to overcome the compounded difficulties this country finds itself in.
The media has become a lynch mob. The apex court has assumed the role of the chief investigating authority. The opposition parties are frothing at the mouth hoping to scavenge the spoils. The State of Pakistan is the object of desire. But there is no cohesive response as to the objectives to deliver

Nazir Naji

The Big Bang ideology

A few days ago, I chose to express my opinion in an Urdu column (that I write for another newspaper) about the people who are mortally afraid of the fact that the “nexus of Israel, India and America are out to take our nuclear bomb from us”. I chose to call those people the architects of the “Ideology of Pakistan” (Nazriya-e-Pakistan). This is because this term was unheard of during the Pakistan Movement and none of its leading lights ever employed it. This terminology originated

Rabia Ahmed


A news report few days ago reported that a ‘man masquerading as the Health Secretary’ was arrested at the Sialkot Civil Hospital.
It appears the enterprising gentleman, needing a medical certificate for a friend, arrived at the hospital, made his way to the Medical Officer on duty, and demanded to be issued with the required document. When the doctor refused, he threatened him (the MO) and other medical personnel with ‘dire consequences’, in his capacity as the Health

Dr Faisal Bari

Washed out

The plight of the flood affected is no longer news worthy for the front pages of Pakistani newspapers or suitably sensational material for the many talk shows that provide prime time entertainment on our news channels. But it is not as if these people have been rehabilitated and reconstruction has been completed. We know that reconstruction has not even started fully and in many places people are still dependent of relief being provided. People’s livelihoods need to be restored; some

Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi

Games that states play

The bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United States have become increasingly complex, manifesting convergence and divergence at the same time and reflecting varying degrees of distrust from time to time. Both apply pressure on each other, although the US has more levers to pull to off-balance Pakistan.
The major reason for the games the US and Pakistan play with each other is that they share the goal of elimination of terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan but diverge

Mubasher Lucman

Help needed

Asia Begum is a widow with seven children, five of whom are young girls and are both physically and mentally challenged. They range from age groups between 7 years to mid teens. The two older ones, who are normal, have not been able to complete their formal education and are reduced to taking care of the younger siblings along with their mother. The children must be washed, bathed, fed and cleaned every day. It also means they have to be carried on a back to a toilet each day. The two

Mayank Austen Soofi

Wishful thinking

What will be new about 2011? Can it be possible that for an Indian passport-holder like me, going to Lahore becomes as simple as going to Lucknow? Can you be able to commute easily from Karachi to Kanpur? Can Kashmir… uh, let’s face it: Kashmir won’t be solved in our lifetime. But is India-Pakistan peace possible? Readers, I have a New Year wish. I’m not asking for the impossible. In 2011, I just want to see this report in my favorite daily, The New York Times written by somebody like

Hassaan Ghazali

Lost in Pakistan

The year 2010 will always be remembered as the year in which the hit American TV series “Lost” ended. As the curtain fell on six long years of a sci-fi survivalist extravaganza, the show had attained cult status across the world with critical acclaim and popular success for its spiritual and mythological underpinnings. The series tells the story of various individuals and groups of people after a passenger plane crashes on a mysterious tropical Island. The series finale, simply titled

On the judicial revolution

What was the point of the judicial revolution? Was it to restore one man to office? Or was it to establish the independence of the judiciary? Either way, how would you assess the revolution from today’s perspective?
This was the question posed at a recent roundtable hosted by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. And predictably, it set off a small storm amidst the lawyers gathered.
I don’t intend to summarise the many viewpoints offered but the plurality of opinions

Syed Hassan Belal Zaidi

Counting the ways

Life, as I know it, is very hard. Falling out of bed every morning, stumbling into the shower and then trying to keep your chai stable and your cigarette dry as you drive over pot-holed roads to a dead-end job. Working 10, 12 and sometimes 16 hours at a stretch is bound to tire even the most athletic of us, so imagine what a piece of lard such as myself must go through, day in and day out. Since I work for a TV station, it’s not like I have much recreational time anyway. Even when I

Iqbal Haider

Haj scam unveiled

The letter of the Saudi Prince to the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court is surprising on two accounts. To the best of my knowledge no such letter has ever been written to our Chief Justice or any other Court on any scam by any foreign Government. Secondly, rampant, unchecked corruption in our Ministry of Religious Affairs, like in most other ministries, is nothing new. For the past many years, such blatant corrupt practices have been widespread. Neither the Government of Pakistan nor

Waqqas Mir

Supreme? – Of Parliamentarians and Guiding Principles

Noah Feldman, in his immensely readable ‘The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State’, brings out the tension that exists in Islamic countries between a written constitution and the unwritten abstract legal principles of Islam. The question whether the injunctions of Islam as interpreted by the clergy/Islamic jurists take precedence over a written constitution in Islamic States is one that has been and will continue to be debated for a considerable time. This directly brings into focus the

Kamran Rehmat

Understanding China – Why we need to heed Wen’s all-embracing lesson

We are a nation given to exaggeration. True to form, where we should have had a sense of sobriety about the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and what it really entailed, we whipped up an orgy of celebration as if all we needed was his revered presence in our midst. To the extent that Jiabao was able to unite disparate Pakistani power players even, if for a few hours, it was fine but we could do with a deeper introspection of where we stand in the grand geo-political scheme.

Umair Javed

Challenging discourse – The Balochistan Question in Punjab

A tendency to ignore possible lessons from mistakes made in the past seems to have become a recurring theme in the way this country is governed. 16th of December came and passed, with the general level of unease, suppressed anguish, and awkwardness that we’ve traditionally reserved for all things related to ‘that’ particular chapter in our history. A sense of guilt pervades in certain quarters, while other quarters still hold a grudge, using this particular day to refresh sentiments

Dr Mubarak Ali

Monasteries and khanqahs – The socioeconomics of mysticism

Generally, in every religion there were individuals as well as groups of people who believed that this world was sinful, ugly and corrupt. Therefore, to shun all worldly affairs and adopt an ascetic life was propagated by all religions to a certain extent. Among the Hindus, there were individuals who after leaving their family and property, retired to forests or mountains and spent their time in meditation to gain spiritual ecstasy. The same practice was followed by Buddhism and

Humayun Gauhar

The course of history

Assassinations such as Benazir Bhutto’s alter the course of history. Because it is her third death anniversary doesn’t necessarily explain the sudden surge to find her killers. While some within her party have been questioning why their own government has been dragging its feet, the administration’s troubles have suddenly multiplied too. Is this an attempt to divert public attention? Or are they serious? Given what we are, a vassal state, a perception fortified by WikiLeaks, it’s hard