Stories about history

Allama Muhammad Asad: The first citizen of Pakistan

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This is an oft repeated quote in relation to our current abysmal situation and it reminds us to look back and analyse our mistakes. Rather than a rhetorical piece about politics, I would like to write about an unsung hero, Allama Muhammad Asad and his ideas. He was the man who was awarded the first Pakistani passport on August 14, 1947. The Government of Pakistan appointed Allama Asad to head the Department of Islamic Reconstruction, a body made to align Pakistani laws, educational system and governance practices in ...

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A tour of Sri Lanka’s history

One can recall Pakistani culture, when standing in front of the National Museum of Sri Lanka – the most beautiful and historic place in Colombo. The visitors always talk about South Asian culture and art, particularly, Buddhist art in Pakistan. Governments of both countries are also fostering a relationship based on the shared cultural heritage. Now, the High Commission of Pakistan in Colombo is taking steps to send replicas of key artefacts that can be kept permanently at the museum in Colombo. Watching the history of the Stone antiquities Gallery of the Colombo National Museum, I was told that it goes ...

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Lahore: Garden of the Mughals

She was my first love, Remnant of a bygone era, Concubine to the king.   They sewed her lips closed, Staining the tomb, Of the poet that lay deep within her bowels.   She roared with a fiery intensity, The blue-eyed daughter, Of an emperor that played the flute, To her siren call.   And then we wrote her name, With the courtesans’ blood, The word taking new forms, With every priests pronunciation.   That was the day, The poets’ darling, The emperors’ daughter, The harem girl, Slaughtered her final hostage, And became, Lahore.   Read more by Mohammad here or follow him on ...

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No, this is not Jinnah’s Pakistan

I am writing this piece with reference to Mr Yaqoob Khan Bangash’s article of March 18 titled “Jinnah’s Pakistan”. Notwithstanding the fact that the writer is a chairperson of the history department of Forman Christian College, I would, like to highlight few contentions that I have with his conclusion: “Jinnah’s Pakistan is an Islamic state, which defines who a Muslim is, excludes those Muslims it does not like and is not very democratic.” Anyone acquainted with history would not disagree with the fact that the struggle for Pakistan was certainly couched in religious terms. A lot of historians have also argued that ...

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Is it democracy you fight for?

In the biting, freezing, numbing cold Men, women and children collect together Fired up with the zeal, energy and adrenaline Coursing through their veins To support….   A vague thought, a very hazy concept. Democracy? Ideals? Hope for a better future? Security? Few know, understand or comprehend themselves   The reason That makes them fervently chant the names Or raise the collective voice That they are chanting and raising. Or the rationale behind why they have put   All their cards on the table, so blindly, Yet again. The leaders, however, merrily play With human emotions, feelings and pride.   For sport, it seems. They gleefully gamble with the frail hopes And fragile confidence That these masses have in these new sailors Who vow ...

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I met with the Mayans; they said the world isn’t ending anytime soon!

I am sorry to disappoint you folks, but the world is not going to end on 21.12.2012 because the Mayans never made an apocalyptic statement alluding to a complete end to this world. It is quite amusing to see people go into bouts of vigour, stocking up on essentials, sharing Facebook statuses and creating panic about this notion. I took matters into my own hands and decided to investigate this rumour further, by travelling to Mexico and meeting the Mayans themselves to gain a better understanding of this situation that has gone viral. Needless to say, it was one of the ...

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Defence Day: Does it really matter who attacked first?

It was September 6 two days ago ─ just another day in London, the country I am currently living in. However, in my home country, this date was marked in red on many calendars. Until around a decade ago, Defence Day used to be a public holiday. However, as the wave of ‘enlightenment’ hit the country and we became workaholics, this date on the calendar was replaced with the usual colour. The only sign of the importance September 6 had in our history is now the special editions of the newspapers and some TV shows, or to some extent, verbal and ...

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Can the PPP actually win the next general elections?

President Zardari, during his visit to interior Sindh, claimed that his party will win the next general elections and will form governments in all the provinces. Political commentators are discussing  several theories to explain this rather surprising statement by the President. Some believe that the outcome of the by-election in NA-151, where Abdul Qadir Gilani defeated Shaukat Bosan, has given President Zardari this confidence. According to others, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson is banking on a divided opposition to win the next elections. Regardless of the basis of his claim, it has triggered a debate in Pakistan and most people seem to ...

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From Sudan: Thank you Pakistan!

This blog is not just based on my interest and respect for Pakistan. It is a personal thank you from a Sudanese person living in the United Arab Emirates for all the things Pakistan has done for my nation. The two countries share a very strong, special bond that I wish would strengthen further over the years to come. For 13 years I have lived in the UAE; a home to over 130 different nationalities, working and living together striving for a better life for themselves and their families back home. South Asians constitute 42 per cent of the population. Of them, ...

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Happy birthday President Asif Ali Zardari!

Back in 2007 as the lawyers’ movement gained momentum, it attracted abrupt attention of a youth brought up in the ‘prosperity bubble’ of a military regime. With little sense of our history and politics, many (including me) got carried away in the sway of events that followed. More in sheer aversion for a uniformed dictator than in admiration of a principled man in robes. Putting out the fire of secessionist sentiments in Sindh after the assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto in the garrison city of Rawalpindi was met with utter disregard by the self righteous urban bourgeoisie and their corporate ...

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