I read so you don’t have to: Outrageous!
This week offered proof, once again, that our politicians wouldn’t be quite so problematic if they just never spoke.
We already knew that the outrageousness of Rehman Malik’s words is matched only by the outrageousness of his ties; that Zulfiqar Mirza vomits out inflammatory speeches as if it’s a medical condition for which there’s no cure; and, that the world would be a happier place if Pervez Musharraf never spoke again.
Still, you’re most likely sitting at home and refusing to go out because of the heat, so you might as well relive their cringe-worthy comments of the last week. That is if you aren’t going through 24 hours of loadshedding.
Best of the week
In the hurly-burly of everyday political news, it can sometimes be difficult to reflect on our past. That’s why we have historian Manan Ahmed. In this delightful essay he tackles Sindh in the colonial era, with a mixture of personal anecdotes and sharp analysis.
You won’t see foreigners writing many travel pieces from Pakistan for the simple reason that very few foreigners actually travel within the country (those that travel simply so they can mention Taliban, guns and bombs don’t count). Just the fact that this piece on Hunza was written is cause for celebration; that it’s actually so well-written is just the icing on the cake.
This succinct blog post manages to explain clearly just why we should be more worried about water security than any other issues facing the country right now. That there is finally a piece available on this topic that doesn’t demonise India makes it even more invaluable.
Although not dealing with Pakistan per se, this interview with author and journalist Gary Yonge makes for interesting reading, particularly the sections where he talks about Muslim identity. Money quote: Let’s say you were a beer-swilling, sexually promiscuous, nominal Muslim American named Ali Aziz on Sept. 10, 2001; on Sept. 12 a whole new set of things came around for you that you didn’t choose.
Worst of the week
The last time Musharraf was interviewed by Jon Stewart, he was riding high as the undisputed dictator of the country and author of a best-selling autobiography. This time the host was less deferent and the former president more halting and uncomfortable. The takeaway from the interview: can you believe we let this guy rule us for nearly a decade?
Our politicians mostly get themselves into trouble by saying stupid, offensive things. Very rarely do they say things that launch a bloodbath. Sure, the MQM needs to realise that there are forms of political protest other than murder. But someone really needs to tell Mirza to keep his trap shut.
The headline really says it all. It is one thing to take a head-in-the-sand approach to the violence in Karachi. It’s quite another to be sexist, misogynist and thoroughly insulting while doing so.
Salmaan Taseer’s estranged son offers up a provocative title but only presents one throwaway tweet as evidence. Realising he then has a few hundred words of column space to fill up, Taseer bolsters his word count with pseudo-history and a distinctly immature analysis.
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