Suleman Akhtar

Suleman Akhtar

A mechanical engineer belonging to Gujrat.

Remembering Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The man who gave life to qawwali

There are some voices which are dependent on words in order to get heard and appreciated, and then there are those, self-sufficing ones, upon which words cease to exist – the unsurpassed ones. Words perish and what remains is the triad of voice, revelation and a standstill universe. Such is the case with Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. His voice has transcended the realm of words. “I am a peddler, wandering and roaming from one village to another, in the lanes of cities, in the countries of the world, offering the message of peace, wishing to continue to do so all ...

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A numbness to murder

The murder on a mundane Monday morning was as meaningless as the murder on a tedious Tuesday morning. The details, however, differ in terms of bullet count. Dr Mehdi Ali Qamar, an Ahmadi cardiologist based in the United States was visiting Pakistan to carry out voluntary work at a local hospital. On Monday morning, May 26, 2014, he was shot 11 times while he was visiting a cemetery in the town of Chenab Nagar. On the other hand, Professor Shabbir Hussain Shah was a student service director at the University of Gujrat and a Shia by sect. On Tuesday morning, November 19, 2013, the bullets ...

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ANP’s struggle: ‘Watan Ya Kafan’

Watan Ya Kafan (either the country or the coffin) is a strong slogan – one that can be read on posters next to those of the Awami National Party (ANP). This slogan was born because of our country’s turbulent past and along with Azadi ya Maut (freedom or death), it can be traced back to the Hur resistance movement against British colonialism. The movement was spearheaded by the Pir Pagaras and their followers (Hurs) and it lasted for around a 108 years (1843-1951). It reached its climax when Pir Sibghatullah Shah Rashidi II rose to the title of Pir Pagara in 1922. However, this was short lived as ...

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On dynastic politics and feudalism: A response to Salman Ahmad

Renowned Pakistan musician Salman Ahmad wrote a piece published in The Express Tribune on December 31, 2012. I have tried in the following paragraphs to rebut his argument by pointing out factual inaccuracies in the piece. Mr Ahmad begins with castigating the ‘feudal elite’ of the country while citing the instance of the chilling murder of Shahzeb Khan, gunned down in Karachi by the ‘sons of corrupt feudal elite that Bilawal represents’. Aside from inherent flaws of inductive reasoning employed by Mr Ahmad, feudalism has come to be a whipping boy when it comes to a simplistic explanation of multifaceted problems ...

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From BB to Bilour: Politics in the time of terrorism

“And one morning, all that was burning, One morning the bonfires leapt out of the earth, Devouring human beings, and from then on fire, Gunpowder from then on, and from then on blood.” Thus spoke Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet, on the horrors and ghastliness of war. Gruesome images coming out of war stricken zones from all over the world evoke the same feeling of revulsion irrespective of colour and creed of the dead. Common people, who do not have anything to do with the supposedly bigger scheme of things, come under the axe and bear the brunt of war. A mother crying on ...

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Coke Studio is making a mockery out of our culture

At the risk of sounding judgemental, let me state flat out that “Coke Studio” is the place where a revitalisation of folk culture is endeavoured by slaughtering it. A not-so-thoughtful cogitation, in this case, has led people to believe that through commercialism a win-win situation can be achieved to the benefit and amusement of all the stakeholders, i.e. the producers, the conglomerate and the MTV generation. The idea clicked. The “Coke Studio” fad is running amok. Social media is replete with ‘Naulakha Charkhas’ and ‘Jugni’. Rohail Hayat seems to have acquired the status of ‘god of music’. Rambling on about the latest episode of “Coke Studio”, ...

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Shia killing: Identified, offloaded and shot

Last time it happened they called it the Holocaust. The Nazis did not annihilate the Jews for what they had done or for what they had not done for that matter. They exterminated millions of Jewish men, women and children for what they were – the Jews. That was the identity of those unfortunate souls that led them to ghastly ghettos and horrific concentration camps set up by the Third Reich across Europe. The holocaust was the genocide of one of its own kind, where no territory dispute or any material stakes were involved, but simply the hatred for a ...

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A tribute to Benazir, the eighth queen of Bhittai

Benazir Bhutto was loved as much as she was hated. Unfortunately, those who hated her were victorious on that freezing evening in December four years ago, when she was shot dead. Benazir belonged to the land of Sindhu (River Indus) – the very same land of Bhittai and his seven Queens Marvi, Momal, Sassi, Noori, Sohni, Sorath, and Lila who are valued for their bravery and courage. Benazir is fit to be the eighth queen, the leader of all of these. Opposing the vehement character-assassination campaign against her that was run by the inventors of “Chaadar aur Chaar-deewari” and Hudood, Bhutto chose ...

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Zardari khappay!

Over the past few days, we have witnessed extreme media frenzy over the departure of President Asif Ali Zardari to Dubai owing to medical reasons. The president’s  health has invited a plethora of responses, some of which are listed below: rajennair After putting Pakistan in the ICU, Zardari gets himself admitted in the ICU AB Agha Just going to read Zardari conspiracy theories to cheer me up I guess. Oh I do wish him well in health btw. sufisal If Zardari’s billions can’t buy him a stronger heart, coherence or respect why take revenge on democracy? omarulhaq Well, we certainly got a day’s worth of hope, right? Saad_Haroon Zardari went to Dubai ...

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Arabization of Pakistan: Bringing the desert home

There was a land of cavaliers and cotton fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their ladies fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a civilization gone with the wind. – An introductory foreword to the film Gone with the Wind (1939) Civilizations can never be made up, this is all hitherto history has to tell us, but yes they can be ruined to irretrievable notwithstanding. Societies are ...

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