In 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, young men like me who had posed as ‘Marxists’ across the 80s were overwhelmed by a sense of both sadness and dread. And yet we knew that things in our beloved Soviet Union were not quite like what we had imagined – a socialist Utopia in which the working classes (the proletariat) had risen above economic, religious and social biases to consolidate their own rule according to the noble dictates of Marxist-Leninism. I was 22 in 1988 and about to head out to a university in Moscow on a scholarship. The plan was ...Read Full Post
Benazir Bhutto’s assassination was carefully planned, politically motivated and amply funded – but who did it?
Every movie buff has their favourite action movie star – mine is Mark Wahlberg. He has acted in several high octane, action-packed and successful movies. For our purpose, I’d like to remind my readers of one of his more subdued films, Shooter. The film follows the story of a sniper living in exile who is coaxed back into action to prevent a plot to kill the president of the US. Unbeknownst to him, the people who brought him in to help them are the ones who were involved in the whole conspiracy to begin with. If you haven’t seen the ...Read Full Post
By dressing as a man to make a statement, Ayesha Gulalai has only belittled countless dynamic women of Pakistan
No one said it was easy being a Pakistani woman. We fight misogyny, chauvinism and harassment on a daily basis in our schools, workplaces and for some, even homes. We are daughters, sisters and mothers but those relationships are not unto themselves. We populate the corporate world, lead movements, teach impressionable minds and raise little people. There is very little women cannot achieve and that forms our identities. It is a small mind then, in my opinion, which tries to fight misogyny by fitting into a box shaped like a man. A mind that has no business representing the multi-faceted and peerless entities that ...Read Full Post
In the last 70 years, the Pakistan national song has evolved through various governments, wars and music styles. We trace this evolution by reviewing a plethora of national songs from 1947 till the present. Sar Zameen-e-Pak: The first anthem (1947) Very few know that almost seven years before Hafeez Jalandhari’s Pak Sar Zameen was officially adopted as the country’s national anthem (in 1954), Pakistan already had an anthem. Today, it is all but forgotten, despite the fact that it was the first song played by Radio Pakistan when the station began broadcasting at the stroke of Pakistan’s creation in August 1947. The anthem ...Read Full Post
Dear PML-N supporters, dragging Tyrian White in your battle with PTI reeks of indecency and dirty tactics
When Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was formed in 1996, I quickly became a member. Back then, I was much like the PTI supporters of today – impressionable, emotional and self-righteous. My devotion to Imran Khan was also like that of contemporary PTI supporters – blind, cultish and eulogising. Like millions of PTI supporters, I was also unable to see anything wrong with Imran and would break into passionate debates with anyone who was critical of him. I used to think that only jahils (illiterates) voted for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Thank God, those days are over, and today ...Read Full Post
Bhutto to Bhutto, Sharif to Sharif: This is Pakistan and blood (nepotism) is thicker than water (meritocracy)
“Tum kitnay Bhutto maro ge? Har ghar say Bhutto niklay ga.” (How many Bhuttos will you kill? A Bhutto will come out of every house). Truer words may have never been spoken. After Benazir Bhutto’s untimely demise in 2007, political analysts feared the Bhutto legacy and lineage may be severed for good. But lo and behold, we saw Bilawal Bhutto Zardari emerge from the shadows and pushed to the forefront of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Party stalwarts may never have imagined the English-speaking, Oxford graduate to take up a position which may very well have been better suited for someone more ...Read Full Post
Can Pakistan’s economic stability and businesses survive Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar’s disqualification?
In one of his first public appearances, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was reported to have said the following: “During my tenure, the stock market increased from 19,000 to 52,000.” So, is a rising stock market really a barometer of a strong democracy or just a number game for a selected few? We surely cannot say at the moment. To all the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) sloganeers, Nawaz is gone, but is prosperity, not tabdeeli (change), around the corner? Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was primarily the only major political party that was known for their pro-growth temperament. Despite never being able to complete their full term, businesses cheered on the so-called economic focus ...Read Full Post
Amidst the uproar of the joint investigation team (JIT) findings over the Panama Leaks case, some people began comparing Maryam Nawaz Sharif to Benazir Bhutto. Personally, I was taken aback by such a comparison because Maryam may be the rising star of Pakistani politics but it is too early to compare her to a political icon like Benazir. Efforts made by Fatima Jinnah and Benazir for establishing democracy in Pakistan are unmatched in the annals of Pakistani politics. Fatima, due to her deteriorating health, was unable to fight the vultures that conspired against democracy. However, Benazir was able to fight the dictators of her time and was able to restore democracy in Pakistan, which is an admirable ...Read Full Post
The earliest memory of television I have is Pakistan winning the 1992 Cricket World Cup. I don’t recall what happened on TV afterwards or how things got there, but I vaguely remember Nawaz Sharif’s sombre looking face on the television set in our living room a year later. Nawaz was prime minister. That’s all I was old enough to understand. Then one day he wasn’t. I was in grade three and apparently a new federal election was taking place. I recognised no one except Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz when they were on television or the newspaper. Who was my family voting for? I had no idea, but ...Read Full Post
Ask any schoolboy in Pakistan which political party is the most corrupt and he will reply at once, “Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).” Even before a Swiss court convicted the former president and his wife Benazir Bhutto of money laundering, the leaders of this party have been known to be highly corrupt. It was not for nothing that former President Asif Ali Zardari was known as Mr 10%. So it was highly ironical to see PPP stalwarts such as Aitzaz Ahsan in Parliament demanding accountability of Nawaz Sharif. Either he forgot the rampant corruption in his own party or deliberately chose to ignore it. Mr Ahsan, how can we ever forget ...Read Full Post