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Showing posts from February, 2015

Reclaiming lost space

Lyse Doucet, BBC’s chief international correspondent, wrote a very nice piece on the Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) recently. The headline said: “Book lovers defy the bombers”. While it is literally true that despite real security threats, people still thronged the LLF, it also reminds one of how there are not enough events to celebrate literature, art and culture in Pakistan. Most of us do not like it when people say we are defying bombers or the Taliban by holding such events, or that we are a resilient nation. Yes, it may be literally true, but then again, we also know that we cannot escape bombs and bullets so we may as well make the most of our lives while we are at it. This is why the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) and the LLF are events that people look forward to attending every February.

The organisers of both events must be commended for their dedication and hard work. It is not easy to convince locals, let alone foreigners, to participate in such public events. But, in …

Sunday blues (or greens?)

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain recently used the choicest of derogatory words to describe the women who were part of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI’s) dharna (sit-in). His comments regarding PTI leader Shireen Mazari were exceptionally crude. Hussain later apologised to Dr Mazari; his apology was accepted by the latter.

We often say that the South Asian culture is very respectful towards women but that is not necessarily the case. In fact, mostly it is women politicians or women belonging to a politician’s family who are at the receiving end of offensive remarks. Mr Hussain’s is just a recent example but we have seen countless times in the past how leaders have discredited other politicians by attacking women. It is sad to see that usually when there is a fight between political parties and/or leaders, we see character assassination campaigns are launched instead of objective criticism of their politics or policies. If our political leaders cannot learn to re…