Stories about The Express Tribune

Karachi doesn’t have it anymore

The tour of England last summer might have stepped over the line when it came to the variety of news delivered to people’s doorsteps (shock results, records broken, surprises, resistance and controversies) but it also reignited the hotly-debated or argument that has been in existence for far too long: the rivalry between Karachi and Punjab. The southern city has mostly played second fiddle to its culturally-superior counterpart, the class oozes a tad more in the north and talent has been ever so abundant in Lahore with Karachi feeling left out as a result. Mohsin Khan was recently unhappy with his boss ...

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Bin Laden notwithstanding

How does one relate the three days of discussions on novels, short stories, poetry, music and paintings at the Art Council with the context? It has been open season for terrorism for a while now but Osama bin Laden’s killing was a bolt from the blue. The Lahore Arts Council, however, went ahead with a literary and cultural conference to the delight of many and surprise of many others. I was reminded of the good old days, and some bad old days. There was a time when Justice SA Rehman used to be the chairman and somebody from the art ...

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Two sides of Iqbal

April, on account of his death anniversary, has been Iqbal’s month for us. Too much has been written and published on Iqbal over the decades for me to say something comprehensive about it here. The Iqbal Academy and the Academy of Letters have produced the voluminous Iqbaliat kay sau saal (One hundred years of Iqbal studies), but if you expect it to represent the gist of all that has been written on the subject over the decades you’ll be disappointed. In fact, let me warn you of a failing up front. But first let me mention another anthology that attempts ...

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Kalabagh Dam: A lingering controversy

The construction of proposed Kalabagh dam evokes strong opposition in some parts of the country while it receives support from other sections of our society. The provinces had been at odds with each other on the proposed hydroelectric project conceived decades ago, stipulating building of another dam on the Indus River, having the capacity to generate 3,600 MW electricity, besides serving as a major water reservoir. The debate surrounding the project is wide-ranging, from the very need to build large dams to fair compensation for displaced persons to the adverse environmental and social impacts. A few studies are available on these ...

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I know a secret: Of former handlers

The chief minister announced ahead of the World Cup semi-final match that every member of the national cricket team would get 25-acre agricultural land if they win. After the team lost the match, he announced cash awards. Why is the chief minister so inclined to doling out public funds? A former manager of the cricket team advised his friends against betting on Pakistan winning the semi-final. He claimed that he had seen a bowler with a notorious bookie about four years ago. The former manager claimed that he saw the bookie come out of the player’s room. He also claimed he saw ...

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Karachi: No longer a tourist spot?

It happened a few months ago. I was on a bus, on my way home. Just when the bus reached near Old Sabzi Mandi, no less than twenty people, all belonging to a single family, climbed in. There were many children too, causing a lot of commotion on the bus and making it look like a packed circus ring. I asked who they were and where they were from. One young lady, who said she was hosting all these people said, “They are my neighbours, have travelled all the way from Larkana to see Karachi.” Amazed, I asked, “Why Karachi?” “Oh, they hadn’t ...

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Pakistan Day: What are we celebrating?

March 23 is a tricky day. For years I believed we marked the day to commemorate the Lahore Resolution passed in 1940 at the location where the Minar-e-Pakistan now stands. Friends from Islamabad shared their fascination at attending the impressive military parades at the Constitution Avenue, the ones we woke up early to watch on television. But is March 23 really about the Lahore Resolution? And how did the military take ownership of the day? A fascinating story I learnt only recently (and I’ve received 16 years of schooling) was that March 23 has not always been Pakistan Day. Our first constitution, the ...

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I know a secret: Together at exclusive clubs

The list of people given complimentary, or subsidised, membership of the Royal Palm Golf Club, built on 141 acres of prime real estate owned by Railways, includes members of the intelligentsia, military, media, politicians and bureaucrats. The club keeps organising parties for the people that matter in the country. Only recently it hosted the wedding party of the son of a pir from Multan. Of late, these people have been worried about the fate of the club where they can enjoy meals with juices imported from France safe from the sea of misery and chaos outside. *****   Raymond Davis’s departure was facilitated ...

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Quietly through our cities of quiet

Researchers have always been at home in Lahore. So many of them have made the city proud with their excellent contributions, particularly to the Urdu literature, it is just amazing. Visit the Oriental College even today and you will find one under every proverbial rock. But the researcher I have on my mind today has been hiding at a department that has nothing to do with the College, or with the literary world. The world he has chosen for his efforts too is quite apart if not entirely disconnected from our own. The man is MR Shahid, known best probably to ...

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I know a secret: Loyalties and limousines

Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti may have survived the attempt on his life last weekend, had his pleas for better security, in particular a bullet proof car and a house in the Ministers’ Enclave been heeded. While some cronies of the man on the hill have been given bullet proof cars, without holding any cabinet portfolio. ************************************************ Elections to the Lahore High Court Bar, the biggest associations of lawyers in the country in terms of membership, were held on the last Saturday of February.  The contest was between Muhammad Asghar Gill and Rai Bashir.  Gill won by over 1,562 votes polling 4,172 votes. ...

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