Stories about punjab

The sad tale of Delhi: As narrated by its bards – Part 2

Read Part 1 in this series here. ~ Dagh Dehlavi witnessed all this while sitting in some corner of the city, and it is surprising that despite being closely connected to the fort, he was saved from the cruelty of the British. Perhaps to mourn Delhi, today we can say with great pride that despite his comfort-demanding nature, his sensitive heart was affected deeply by this incident. He had wept at the destruction of a once flourishing world. Hence, Dagh’s work is riddled with the cruelties and savageries which the British perpetrated on the residents of Delhi. There is great anger, irritation ...

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Dissecting the political future of PML-N

It is naturally impossible to speculate upon what the future holds for the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) if one is first unable to understand the history of the party. PML-N was founded by Nawaz Sharif, a Punjabi businessman turned politician, who gained popularity in Punjab in the 1980s during the dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq. His loyalty to Zia resulted in Sharif being appointed the chief minister of Punjab after the non-party elections of 1985. After the demise of Zia, Sharif fought in the elections on the platform of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), and in 1990 he managed to become ...

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A tale from a state of COVID-19 emergency

It was the day before our departure from Boston, Massachusetts to Islamabad. Local, regional and national concerns about international travel and COVID-19 had been increased for a few weeks but we were doing our due diligence. Our travel group leader had checked with his contact at the Unites States (US) Department of State and we received the go-ahead. Next, he checked with the US Embassy Islamabad and got the “green light” for our arrival. Lastly, all of our travellers’ immediate family members, while having predictable reservations about long distance travel to what they considered an ‘unstable region’, approved of ...

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Dissecting the political future of JUI-F

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) made waves once again when Maulana Fazalur Rehman threatened to dislodge the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government through a long march and sit-in last year. It seems that Fazal has a knack for ensuring that the JUI-F remains in the headlines, for better or for worse. JUI-F is a faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) which was headed by Shabbir Ahmad Usmani in 1947 after parting ways with the Markazi Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam. Fazal’s party came into existence during the martial law of General Ziaul-Haq, when Fazal split with Maulana Samiul-Haq, who later formed his own faction of the party called Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Sami ...

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Child marriages: coerced adulthood and the loss of innocence

Family has great socio-cultural and economic significance in Pakistan. It acts as a foundation for society from which its members derive protection as well as a sense of identity. Essentially, the primary building block of a family is the institution of marriage. A culturally and legally recognised marriage in Pakistan is a union between a bride and groom that is approved by their parents, sanctioned by their religion, registered by the state and ratified through a ceremony which is witnessed by guests from their concerned social network. A wedding is supposed to be a joyous and important occasion for the ...

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Dissecting the political future of PPP

Democracy in Pakistan has never been allowed to flourish and has always been subject to direct and indirect military interventions. The graves of former prime ministers Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, and those of their family members buried at Garhi Khuda Baksh, are a testament to the price which the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has paid for taking a stand against the powers that be. However, since the demise of Benazir, the PPP, which once enjoyed a strong vote bank in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), is not doing so well there during the recent elections. It seems that PPP has now only been limited to the province ...

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Why Afghanistan should leave Pakistani Pashtuns alone

Successive Afghan governments, since Pakistan’s founding in 1947, have remained self-proclaimed champions of Pakistani Pashtuns’ rights. The basis on which Afghan officials (and part of the public alike) have shown interest in Pakistani Pashtuns is the assumption that Pakistani Pashtuns are an oppressed people. The source of the oppression, the argument goes, is the Punjab province. Bilateral Afghan-Pakistan tensions did not begin after the 1978 communist coup in Kabul or the subsequent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, when Afghan Mujahideen and refugees fled to Pakistan. Afghan-Pak tensions had begun in 1947, when Afghanistan started insisting that Pakistan give ...

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How will Pakistan’s political chessboard shape up in 2020?

We have finally bid adieu to the second decade of the 21st century, a decade that saw the rise of conservatives and nationalist political figures such as incumbent US President Donald Trump, recently elected British Prime Minister Borris Johnson and Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi. Even in Pakistan, we voted in a prime minister who leans heavily towards nationalist principles. While India is facing a political turmoil as a result of Modi’s Hindutva-centric narrative, Pakistan is also facing a self-inflicted political deadlock due to the policies of the federation. The ruling party is busy trying to create an impression that all is ...

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Is Pakistan’s smog epidemic about to get worse?

Environmentalists in Islamabad were aghast this week when precious old trees in the capital were cut in order to make a bridge to connect sector G-7 to G-8 over the Express Highway, a signal free corridor. Despite their pleas that an alternative loop existed nearby which could be used, the Capital Development Authority went ahead to facilitate traffic flows. Islamabad’s activists are ringing alarm bells because this is exactly what happened in Lahore, with all its fancy signal free corridors, over passes and under passes which steadily ate away the old trees and green belts of the city. The ...

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Why has PTI’s proposed plan to help acid attack survivors still not come to fruition?

In the Punjab budget, presented in June earlier this year, it was stated that the government would allocate Rs100 million for the ‘Nai Zindagi’ programme, an initiative which would help victims of acid attacks in the province. It has been reported that the financial aid is intended to help the survivors of acid attacks since it will “cover the cost of surgical procedures and provide technical learning, offer no-interest loans, and fix a monthly stipend of between Rs2,000 ($13) to Rs5,000 ($32) for victims.” The commitment to this programme was reiterated in September by the Chief Minister of Punjab, Usman Buzdar.  However, this proposed plan ...

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