Omar R Quraishi

Omar R Quraishi

The editor of the editorial pages of The Express Tribune.

Murtaza Razvi: A former colleague remembers

As I told probably a dozen people yesterday, I met Murtaza (or ‘Sunny’ to his close friends) the day he came to Dawn – as assistant editor, from an advertising company, where he had been in a senior position. Saleem Asmi was the editor of the paper at that time and asked me if Murtaza could share my room while his was being prepared. I am glad I said ‘yes’ because the next four to five years, while we were both editorial writers at the paper, developed into a mutually cordial and respectful friendship. Murtaza, along with, the now, senior editor ...

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Shariat Court vs Parliament: Who cares about women?

I am not a lawyer but I have been a keen observer of how courts work and how they deliver their verdicts for long enough to make some sense of them. In this regard, without getting into the legal aspects of the judgment delivered by the Federal Shariat Court on December 22, one point does need to be made, and that is that the judgment of the court (now headed by a judge who was seen by some as being a nominee of the president) effectively undermines the sovereignty of parliament and the mandate it has to make new laws ...

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Think-tanks, conferences and more hot air

As a reporter for Dawn in the mid-to-late 1990s, one of the first beats assigned to me was to cover seminars on various issues in the city of Karachi. At first this seemed like an interesting proposition but over time it became a drag – not least because on ended up seeing the same people all the time, discussing the same things over and over again, and giving the same solutions over and over again. Surely, they didn’t need to hold yet another conference on this issue, one would say to oneself, given that the issue had already been done to ...

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December 19, 2010
TOPICS

CIA names: US media’s self-censorship

The media in Pakistan, including the much-vaunted English press, is often accused of indulging in self-censorship. Given that we live in a country plagued by endemic violence and threats to journalists, this may well be true to some extent. However, one thing that caught my attention today was how various newspapers had covered the ousting of America’s CIA station chief in Islamabad and the fact that he had to leave the country because his cover had been blown. The story began with the filing of a complaint with police in Islamabad by a man called Karim Khan who alleged that ...

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WikiLeaks: A missing cable and a dinner for Prince Charles

Here are some interesting nuggets that much of the world press hasn’t reported upon, and isn’t likely to either, because they don’t make for ‘sexy’ reading/content. The case of the missing cable The News – and Jang – of December 9 had a lead story which, quite unbelievably I must say, quoted a cable from the US embassy in Islamabad saying all the things that the establishment in Pakistan would want the world to think about: a) India b) India’s army c) India’s chauvinist Hindu parties and d) Hamid Karzai. The Express Tribune of December 9 also carried a similar story – by Online news agency  ...

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WikiLeaks 2.0: Full marks for Gilani, Shahbaz strikes out

So far a few hundred cables have been released – this is out of approximately 250,000 that WikiLeaks say will be eventually released. Newspapers, television channels, blog sites and other sources of information and media dissemination are having a field day, both in Pakistan as well as overseas with the wealth of information that has come out. The head of Russia’s intelligence service has said that the cables provide a “treasure trove” of information and that his analysts will go through them in detail. Meanwhile Israel is gloating that its stance on many things is the same, both in public ...

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WikiLeaks: Whither Muslim brotherood?

It was never really a secret that Saudi Arabia did not like Iran. Perhaps there may be a sectarian history to this or maybe it is simple old realpolitik with two large states vying for regional power. But Saudi Arabia isn’t the only Muslim country that seems to loathe Iran. There is the UAE and Kuwait as well as, albeit to a lesser extent, Qatar. According to a cable of Feb 9, 2010, from US ambassador to UAE to Admiral Mike Mullen, head of the US armed forces, prior to the latter’s meeting with the UAE crown prince and defence ...

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The horrors of life in Clifton

What is with elitist schools and colleges? Some like Karachi Grammar School (my alma mater and where my son now studies), get all the flak for not being good neighbours, for being elitist (the school’s fees are generally lower than most of its more recent upstart-ish ‘competitors’) and for bringing forth a whole new generation of brats (these people have obviously never met students or alums of L’ecole or Bayview). Now, to the point, for which this is being written. I happen to live close to a venerated Karachi education institution – the Convent of Jesus and Mary. In fact, ...

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A picture and a new magazine

Newsweek Pakistan is about to hit the news-stands – or so its Facebook page, which is the medium through which it communicates in this country, claims. In fact, they are now asking people to send in a picture and telling them that it may appear on the cover. A closer look at the promo has the magazine saying that by sending the picture, the sender is giving Newsweek “the right to publish this photo in its sole discretion and in any format that it chooses”. So are we going to see a map of Pakistan, made up of pictures ...

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Do American soldiers understand Iraq?

The article ‘Culture as a weapon system’ came in Middle East Report and its by Rochelle Davis, an assistant professor of anthropology at the Centre for Contemporary Arab Studies in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. It mentions a kind of pamphlet used by the US military for its soldiers in Iraq, ostensibly so that they can get acquainted with the culture of their area of deployment. A piece worth reading – for instance the following excerpt: Even as these materials set out to inform Americans about Iraqis, the vision of Iraqi culture that they presented ...

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