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Showing posts from August, 2006

Red alert?

A wave of terror swept through the entire city of Lahore when a bomb exploded in Gulberg’s busy Liberty Market on Tuesday, injuring four people. Reportedly, the device had been planted between two cars parked outside a shoe store when it went off at about 7:35 pm. According to reports, the device was home-made and was packed with 1.5 kg or 2 kg of explosives. The bomb disposal squad has taken the pieces of the bomb into possession for further investigation. The market, which usually remains open till late night, closed down minutes after the explosion. Understandably, traders whose shops were damaged did not leave the place till late night. This blast is a blatant reminder for the people of Pakistan about the tumultuous situation the country is in today.

Given the circumstances of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti’s death and the outrage it has caused all over the country, especially in Balochistan, the security in all the major cities of Pakistan was set on red alert, including Lahore. But this …

Marriage or fanfare?

“By Allah, it is not poverty that I fear upon you, but I fear that the world (materialistic things) will be spread before you as it was spread before the nations that preceded you, and you will compete with one another (resulting) in the world (materialistic things) destroying you as it destroyed them” — hadith of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Pakistan is a country where the cultural heritage and traditions reflect centuries old patriarchy. The males dominate every field and do not give any public space to women, be it cultural or religious. Wherever the religion suits them, they apply it but when the religion talks about giving rights to women, most of the males cling to the cultural values that obviously support them instead of the women folk. Marriage is one such subject where traditional customs are espoused instead of following the religious ones.

The Islamic wedding procedure is extremely simple and favours both the bride and groom. It makes it easy for both the male and the female to…

Proud to be a Pakistani?

I was out on the road on August 14 this year and I witnessed young boys sporting the Pakistani flag as bandanas, shouting out loud, “Pakistan Zindabad” (Long live Pakistan). For some odd reason, I did not feel like celebrating. In fact, I did not feel anything. Why? I guess it was because these people were celebrating freedom, while I thought to myself, “What freedom?” We are not free people, we should not be celebrating ‘freedom’. And we have no right to celebrate this day because we have not done justice to this country and its ideology. We have let down those who fought for our freedom. The likes of Jinnah and Iqbal must be turning in their graves at the present condition of Pakistan. Jinnah fought to create a democratic, tolerant Muslim nation, while Iqbal wanted the new generation to break free from archaic theological thinking.

In his presidential address to the All India Muslim Conference meeting held in March 1932, Allama Iqbal said, “The grandeur of our Deen [religion] is lyin…

Behind the war…

Even though the Israeli army stepped up its withdrawal from the region and handed over some of its positions to the advancing Lebanese army, ambiguity remains in the air. The Lebanese are not saying anything about Hezbollah’s disarmament, while Israel’s pullout plan is also vague. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said completion of the Israeli pullout depended on the presence of both the Lebanese army and an international force. Meanwhile Hezbollah has said that it will continue to fight Israel so long as the Israeli forces are on Lebanese soil. But it seems this ceasefire is still holding generally despite some Israeli-Hezbollah skirmishes in its early days.

Although US President George Bush has claimed that the month-long Lebanon crisis had ended with Hezbollah’s defeat, the facts on the ground indicate otherwise. The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was obliged to admit “shortcomings” in the month-old operation in Lebanon. His admission was made in a fiery Knesset session, whi…

The myth of a Muslim Ummah

“The primary function of myth is to validate an existing social order. Myth enshrines conservative social values, raising tradition on a pedestal. It expresses and confirms, rather than explains or questions, the sources of cultural attitudes and values. Because myth anchors the present in the past it is a sociological charter for a future society which is an exact replica of the present one” — Ann Oakley.

Indulging in illusions in today’s world is a recipe for disaster. The countries with a Muslim majority are all encircled by the world’s greatest myth, a myth that has been doing the rounds for countless years: the myth of a Muslim Ummah. In a letter published in the Gulf News, a letter writer says, “The soul of the Muslim Ummah is dead. How else can one explain the apathy of the Muslims to the plight of the Palestinians? They are being starved into submission, and we sit idly by marvelling at the next high-rise and ogling the opulence of Dubai” (‘The soul is dead’, A. Zayd, May 13, 2…