Stories about history

A department in ruin, a history forgotten

Punjab’s department of archaeology, recently devolved from the federation under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, has had no operational legislation since April 8, 2011. As a result, no law to arrest any person caught scribbling, drawing or causing harm to a monument of historical importance exists. Similar is the case with the environment protection department. Field officers and inspectors issuing notices, sealing and fining owners of pollution-causing units, have reverted to Punjab Local Government Ordinance (PLGO) of 2001. The Antiquities Act 1975 and the Environment Pakistan Protection Act 1997 are both redundant. Officers of both departments have drafted legislation to replace ...

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A short biography of Mr West Pakistan

Mr West Pakistan turns 64 on Sunday. The retiree has come a long way since his birth. Unfortunately, now deathly ill, Mr Pakistan is desperately seeking a cure for the diseases that ravage his body after years of negligence. Born on a hot August day in 1947, little Pakistan came into the world with his twin brother East, and a completely dysfunctional family. Born prematurely amid severe complications, Mr Pakistan grew up an orphan. Abandoned by his mother, what little he knew of his father, was quickly erased by the abysmal faculty at school. His other brother, Mr India, did remember ...

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Pakistan: ‘We carved a truth out of the game of lies’

Today is August 14, 2011. An overwhelming majority of Pakistan and India whose minds have been indoctrinated by state-sponsored-distorted text books of history are celebrating the day as “the 64th freedom day” but this red letter day stings my heart when I hear the account of history from my elders. These people are not ready to agree with the historical background presented by Chaudhry Mohammad Ali in his book The Emergence of Pakistan. While presenting the logic behind the differences between Hindus and Muslims which led to the severance of India Ch. Mohammad Ali writes: “They have mixed but never fused: they ...

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Parenting the digital generation

It is normal now days to see very young children in Pakistan confidently operating technology, possessing cell phones and using social media. A seventh grader can multi tasking; constantly uses SMS to communicate, spending a lot of time online, staying connected with people through the social media and surfing the net and checks out brainpop.com to get homework help while simultaneously listening to his/her iPod. Many young people have blogs by the age of 13-14 years now. So, even if their essays or stories do not receive a good grade in class, or their ideas and thoughts are not entertained ...

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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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