Stories about history

We must have hope, what else is there?

I have come to dread my Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader feeds that feature Pakistan. The news just gets worse and worse. Occurrences in Pakistan give brutality and violence new shapes and forms every day. That human beings are capable of such horrific things is not surprising. After all, we live in the same world that witnessed the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide, the ethnic cleansing of Serbians, Croatians, Palestinians and Bangladeshi’s alike (to name a few). The subcontinent itself had a bloody birth punctuated by massacres of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs alike. In the last few days alone, Pakistan ...

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Mideast peace process: Hampered throughout history

The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal that concluded on April 27, 2011, was a good omen for the stalled Palestine peace process. Both factions displayed commitment to resolve the outstanding issues and reached an agreement on forming an interim government for holding of legislative and presidential elections. But the news of the resignation of George Mitchell as US Envoy in Middle East dashed the hopes of any progress on the peace front. Mitchell enjoyed the reputation of being a “tireless advocate” of peace, but his extraordinary skills failed in the face of Israeli obduracy. A few days ago, US President Barrack ...

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Punished for living near Mangla dam

We learn nothing from history. Our incompetence makes sure of it, and the common man bears the burden. The issue of affectees of the ‘Raising of Mangla Dam Project’ is another such case of incompetency and mismanagement, where state institutions have failed to deliver promised and much-touted respite to the people, not because of its low capacity but due to its lack of foresight and poor institutional coordination. Affectees of the ‘Raising of Mangla Dam Project’ have once again been staging protests against the incomplete and delayed process of compensation. Grievances run deeper than that. A high ranking official in the ...

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Women, war and the world

We have had the war on terror, the war on poverty, the war on racism, the war on drugs, the war on Islam, the war on piracy, the war on war, and finally, fledgling but fierce, the war on Express Tribune blogs. These are all proxy wars, phony wars, smokescreen wars which obscure the real conflict, much like a rant from Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho diverts our attention from his team’s failings after he’s lost a match. There is a real war to be fought. The big war. The only war. The war to usher in eternal peace for humankind. The war ...

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ZAB case: Revisiting history is necessary

The government’s decision to file a judicial review reference to reopen the case of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in which he was convicted of murder and sentenced to hang, has come under much opprobrium from various quarters. There is a view that reopening this 32-year old case is basically just a ploy to divert attention from the various follies that this government has committed, ranging from the fiasco that was the National Reconciliation Ordinance, to the botched-up restoration of the judiciary to the various corruption scandals that have dogged the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) fourth dispensation in power. However, whatever side of ...

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Pakistan ka matlab kya…who cares?

Six odd decades after independence, we are still squabbling over the ideology of Pakistan, what it represents and what it means to be a Pakistani. With the rise of social media and greater access to information, the urban youth are starting to challenge the official narrative of history. And hence, today the battle of the ideology of Pakistan is in full swing. To me, Pakistan is an undeniable truth, much like Israel. Pakistan is a sovereign country – whether one agrees with the original ideology it is based upon is irrelevant. Like Israel, Pakistan is on the map and must ...

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Jazba just wasn’t enough

Pakistan lost the much-hyped match against India, just as they lost on previous four occasions where they came up against India in any World Cup game. They say history never repeats itself, but it did in this case. However, folly always repeats itself. We made the same mistakes that we always do. Pakistan felt they could go into the game and pull off a win even after fielding like they always do, leaking runs and dropping catches. But one can ride luck just so far. Eventually, reality catches up and the men are separated from the boys. Let’s hope Kamran Akmal is ...

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Mohali showdown: Do we put our faith in history?

Can Pakistan win against India in India, that too in a World Cup? If one is to go down the memory lane, the answer would be that it is not likely to happen. After all, history is known to repeat itself, and it has already done so a few times in the 2011 World Cup as well. For instance, Pakistan had never lost to Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa Stadium before, and history played true. The ever-unpredictable Pakistan managed to beat the consistent and highly-talented Sri Lanka once again, and quite easily as it appeared in the end. And how ...

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I’m sorry, but Habib Jalib who?

It was Habib Jalib’s death anniversary a few days ago, and, as expected, when I inquired from my friends if they knew who this revolutionary poet was, they said no. Why would they know Jalib anyway? I didn’t know who he was until I stumbled upon a few videos of his poetry recital when I was in college three years ago. It was then that I was exposed to a man whom I went on to respect. In fact, I made sure I learnt some of his verses, as they seemed very applicable around the year 2007, as they were when ...

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Saeed Book Bank: Another casualty in KP

It’s not that I never anticipated the closure of one of Peshawar’s largest and oldest bookstores, Saeed Book Bank, yet that news still broke my heart. I can’t exactly recall my first visit to the store but I do know it was the best book store in the province. Saeed Book Bank has been regarded as a site worth mentioning to tourists in Peshawar. It has served the literary and educational needs of the people of KP for over five decades. Saeed Book Bank was established in 1955 by Saeed Jan Qureshi. His sons took over the family business in 1985. ...

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