Stories about partition

Why has Pakistan forgotten about the 2.5 lakh Pakistani refugees in Bangladesh?

A few years ago, I was travelling to Birmingham from London’s Marylebone Station. I sat with an elderly Asian who happened to be a Bangladeshi. During the course of our discussion, the tirade of the Fall of Dhaka came up. He suddenly became defensive, stating that Pakistan never wanted Bangladesh to be part of it from the get go. He began to justify his stance and he went on to mention Allama Iqbal’s blunt ignorance towards Bengali Muslims, whilst defining the territorial limits of free Muslim States, claiming that they would constitute the north-western frontier parts of India. He added that in 1948 when Jinnah, the father of ...

Read Full Post

Kashmir Day holiday is fine but you have an issue with Holi?

Nothing brings out excessive patriotism in Pakistanis like blatant jingoism and bigotry. The Pakistani government recently agreed to allow the Hindu festival of Holi and the Christian observance of Easter as public holidays. This, however, did not sit well with our patriotic, bleed-green Pakistanis who took to social media to portray their “rage”. In short, all hell broke loose. Photo: AFP I, for one, do not understand the reason behind this uproar. The decision seems absolutely justified as people belonging to minority groups should be able to observe and celebrate their religious events, just like Muslims do. Why is it ...

Read Full Post

Prejudice towards languages and ethnicities other than Punjabi has to end

Textbooks play an important role in building the world view of students. In a country like Pakistan where the reading culture is non-existent, these books serve as primary sources of information for a huge chunk of society. Khursheed Kamal Aziz also known as K K Aziz began his book ‘The Murder of History in Pakistan’ with the following words, “In every country, the textbook is the primary implement of education at the school and pre-university stages of instruction. In Pakistan, it is the only instrument of imparting education on all levels, because the teacher and the lecturer don’t teach or ...

Read Full Post

Nawaz Sharif’s government is great for India

In a rare and candid admission, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, accepted complicity in the Kargil misadventure during a rally addressed by him at Muzzafarabad. It requires real courage and conviction for any leader to admit to their mistakes. Sharif also endorsed former Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s assertion that the Kargil incident was ‘a stab in the back’. His admission comes at a time when the Pathankot incident has derailed the peace process between both the countries. Following Partition and the three wars since then, both countries have adopted an ostrich like approach when it comes to engaging with one another. Strained India-Pakistan relations are ...

Read Full Post

The lost Jewish history of Rawalpindi

While roaming the streets of Babu Mohallah, one singles out this old yellow building with its distinct features. The abundance of old and new buildings of Nishtar Street fails to overshadow the tall, three story building with peculiar texture and strong colonial features. What makes this old yellowish facade even more intriguing is the Star of David’s situated on its top that have survived almost a century despite the predisposed hatred and revulsion. The building, former coal centre and the present Rehman Manzil, is the only intact Jewish architecture in Rawalpindi.  Rawalpindi, a 1000 BC historical city, General Headquarters of Pakistan ...

Read Full Post

You know your state is failing if the poor pay taxes and the rich don’t

Skimming through the newspaper a few days ago, I read a front page news piece which shocked me. The piece stated that the elites are not paying taxes and that our tax system favours the rich. The shock was not at the findings of the Tax Reforms Commission (TRC) rather it was at the fact that it took the TRC a year and a half, and millions of rupees in research, to report something everyone knew from the beginning. When we already live in a system which promotes elitism and rewards it, why are we so surprised at the economic endorsements of this ...

Read Full Post

You know you’re in a Kamila Shamsie Novel when…

Kamila Shamsie is amongst Pakistan’s most celebrated authors as well as the most accomplished ones. Almost every novel in her impressive bibliography is a treat to read. The contents of her books linger on with the reader even after the book is finished.   Kamila Shamsie’s writing style is such that one could identify it without even reading the name of the author. Here are eight examples of how you can tell you are reading a Kamila Shamsie novel: 1) Distressed characters Everyone around you is a philosopher in distress. People have matured so much that they’ve totally done away with the small-talk. No one asks you ...

Read Full Post

Karachi will, for time and memoriam, be divided along lines of caste and ethnicity

I find it rather problematic to fashion a semblance of a concrete structure from the conundrum that is Karachi’s metropolis. The metropolis I speak of comprises not of sky-scrapers and high-rise buildings that brush against the clouds and billboards lit with neon lights. On the contrary, the metropolis that harbours the heart of Pakistan lives and breathes, just like you and I. She breathes with the quivering, ragged gasps of an invalid. She inhales mouthfuls of air contaminated by generations of ignorance and growing dissent, and punctuated by the overpowering stench of rotting human remains. The city that once stood ...

Read Full Post

Nehru and Jinnah had the same problem – their daughters loved men they did not approve of

Nehru and Jinnah had the same problem. Their daughters loved men they did not approve of. Children of ambitious fathers, Indira and Dina, both, carried their fathers’ hopes and lived with their mothers’ pain. They were daughters who were raised in the mould of the young English ladies their fathers had gone to school with. Jinnah’s daughter, Dina was born in Britain and, like Indira, went to school there. What the girls did not know was that it was all fine and dandy to wear modern ideas but you don’t go to bed in them. Both girls crossed the line and ...

Read Full Post

Karachi and the paralysis of imagination

You want to read about a vision of a just Karachi? The contract killer ($50 a hit) ripping up the road behind Disco Bakery on his Honda 200CC and the secret service colonel cracking skulls in a Clifton safe house will both cite one vision: Dubai. This happens to also be the vision of the one-armed Afghan refugee selling Beijing socks off a cart in Saddar bazaar and the unsexed Karachi Port Trust shipping agent waiting for shady clients to cough up cash so he can escape to Phuket. To borrow from an old Urdu election rallying cry, Chalo,chalo, Dubai, chalo (Come, come, let’s go to Dubai). Vision presupposes ...

Read Full Post