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Zinda dilaan-e-Lahore say no to Talibanisation, reports Raza Rumi

Never before have we citizens been traumatised with an uncertain future and the knocks of destruction at our door as is the case in the year 2009. The celebrated twenty first century has, if nothing else, blown the contradictions of Pakistani society and state right into our faces. One hundred and eighty million people cannot be spectators to the imperial great games and a callous state that gropes in the dark trying to locate the ‘enemy’ outside, instead of looking into its own crevices and cracks.

Not that Lahore has been a haven of peace in recent years – the inequities, the crime levels have been on the rise. However, March 2009 witnessed two full-scale terror attacks in the city of gardens, shrines and a centuries-old tolerant culture. Media gurus were quick to involve India, RAW, the Americans, everyone under the sun except the enemy within. First the friends of Pakistan – the Sri Lankans and then the ill-equipped and vulnerable Police Academy at Manawan, were attacked by trained assassins who espouse a version of Islam that no sane Muslim can ever live with.The panic and fear generated by these two incidents had not ended when the brutal video of Chand Bibi getting lashed on the streets of Swat was released. […]

April 14th, 2009|Islam, Personal, Published in The Friday Times, terrorism|4 Comments

Lahore is burning

Raza Rumi

[reportedly] 27 dead and dozens injured – no respite for us.

Once again, in less than a month Lahore has been ravaged by terrorists. Who said that Pakistan was a hub of terrorism – we are now the greatest victim of terror and militancy. The residents of Lahore are scared and the vibrant city seems to be enveloped in a mist of uncertainty and fear.

The Mumbai and later Lahore 3/3 model seems to be in vogue now. Extremely well trained commandos, with sophisticated weapons  and not afraid of death are let loose on the society. The media is hysterical as well and following the Indian media’s cue[s] is now a participant and embedded in the so-called operation. […]

March 30th, 2009|Lahore|10 Comments

Basharat Peer’s Curfewed Night

Book Review by Sumaira Samad

Curfewed Night is the memoir of young Kashmiri journalist Basharat Peer, recounting his youth in the troubled valley during the ’80s and ’90s. A harrowing look at the political strife and armed conflict that has torn Kashmir apart over the last 30 years, Curfewed Night is nothing if not personal. The people, places and events Peer describes are ones he encountered and experienced first hand. They are his parents and neighbours and friends. Yet, despite this intimacy, essential to any good memoir, Peer’s narrative is refreshingly honest, frank and unbiased. His is no polemic, and sentimentality, self-pity and melodrama take a back seat.

Beginning in the years before the struggle, Curfewed Night invites the reader into a beautiful, peaceful mountain paradise where the regular, slow rhythms of village life make up one’s existence. Peer lives a happy, uneventful childhood, surrounded by a loving family and tight knit community. But this apparent serenity, as it turns out, is merely the glassy surface, hiding a quagmire beneath. The shadow of Kashmir’s turbulent history and unresolved conflicts never quite goes […]