Stories about West Pakistan

Some wounds only death can heal

I remember it very vividly; I had driven down in my 99 Honda Civic which was a hand-me-down from my dad. The weather was surprisingly brisk considering fall had shot shades of winter in its early days. I walked up to my uncle’s door and found it unlocked, as always, and announced my entrance to the house. Silence was scattered around the house. All I could hear was the dishwasher running in the kitchen. I followed my usual trail up to the top level and towards my grandfather’s room. After three knocks and a slight nudge at the door, I ...

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For some, West Pakistan may be home but East Pakistan will never be forgotten

When people would ask me my ethnicity, I used to proudly declare that I am Bengali. This was before I understood the concepts of nationalism, citizenship and belonging. I learnt in my adolescent years that I am, in fact, not Bengali. I am not even from Bangladesh. I have Gujrati origins, and my great grandfather and his family lived in East Pakistan for 24 years after partition. My father only spent seven or eight years in East Pakistan before moving to West Pakistan during the war. Both, my great grandfather and my grandfather, whom I knew closely, spent an important ...

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Is India going to hold a carnival to celebrate war against Pakistan? Really, Modi?

You may analogise Pakistan-India relations with a roller coaster ride, only if the roller coaster you are referring to is a broken train, on an eroded and unusually bumpy track. These nuclear-armed countries with a volatile history of conflicts have a knack for keeping the world at its toes. Ever since the nuclear face-off began in 1998, it seems not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ the world will sit as an audience to the first nuclear war. Many defence analysts from around the world consider nuclear armament of both sides to be a conflict avoiding factor, but India may ...

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Remembering Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The man who gave life to qawwali

There are some voices which are dependent on words in order to get heard and appreciated, and then there are those, self-sufficing ones, upon which words cease to exist – the unsurpassed ones. Words perish and what remains is the triad of voice, revelation and a standstill universe. Such is the case with Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. His voice has transcended the realm of words. “I am a peddler, wandering and roaming from one village to another, in the lanes of cities, in the countries of the world, offering the message of peace, wishing to continue to do so all ...

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Give Shakeel Afridi a fair trial!

Sometimes I think Pakistan and Pakistanis suffer from a collective national identity crisis. A few days ago, I happened to meet a rock-ribbed writer, known for his patriotic approach. I asked him who he considered to be the biggest enemy of Pakistan. Immediately, he replied, “USA.” I changed the subject and diverted the conversation to different topics, from agricultural science to astronomy and finally I asked, “Do you remember which year we stepped on the moon?” With a smile on his face, he replied,  “Some time in 1969.” “We stepped on the moon?” I exclaimed. Everyone and I mean everyone knows that Apollo 11 was a US ...

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Bangladesh elections 2014: Where democracy is a prisoner of history

It was an election of the ruling party, by the ruling party and for the ruling party. That is how one can describe the recent general elections in Bangladesh. More than half of the candidates won the elections without even contesting and the remaining half, in a parliament of 300, romped home with a token fight between friendly parties. The ruling Awami League, therefore, got a three fourth majority in the national assembly, which was an unprecedented victory. This is a parliament where the largest opposition in the country, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has no representation at all. Political monopoly No doubt, a House ...

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ZA Bhutto was put on trial, why not Musharraf?

There is no doubt that Pakistan has suffered at the hands of corrupt politicians since its very inception. These politicians came and led the state to ruin, forcing/enabling the military to intervene on multiple occasions. This ultimately led to a nation where martial law governed for more than half of its life. However, our history shows that these military coups were never successful for the country. Many wonder if these military dictatorships were more beneficial for Pakistan or for the foreign policies of the US. After all, General Ziaul Haq served the US and that helped the country, or so we thought until much ...

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Uncanny resemblance: Is Balochistan the next Bangladesh?

It has been 41 years today. 41 years ago, Pakistan was broken up into two parts, the former West Pakistan and Bangladesh. Apart from a distance of around 1000 miles separating the two parts of Pakistan, there was enough resentment on part of East Pakistani populace that manifested in a demand for provincial autonomy. East Pakistan supplied so much of revenue to the federation but got little development in response. Moving the capital from Karachi to Islamabad and limited participation of East Pakistanis in the bureaucracy were some other contentious issues. In the national elections held in 1970, Bengali Nationalist ...

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How golden was Ayub Khan’s era?

The numbers do not lie: in terms of economic growth, former President Ayub Khan was not the best ruler Pakistan ever had. Admittedly, he is in second place and beaten only very narrowly by former President Ziaul Haq: Ayub averaged 5.82% growth during his eleven years in office compared to Zia’s 5.88%. Still, the myth of Ayub’s “Decade of Development” persists and so it is worth examining (on what would have been his 105th birthday), what his record was and how he compared to the rest of Pakistan’s rulers. Perhaps the single biggest reason people remember Ayub’s era fondly is because ...

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