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Lahore’s shrine bombed – outrageous, barbaric and unacceptable

Raza Rumi

As if the recent acts of violence and an atmosphere of fear was not enough, the butchers have attacked Lahore’s oldest and grandest shrine – also known as Data Saheb. Thursday night is the time when thousands visit this shrine to pray and offer their respects to Hazrat Usman Hajwery, a Sufi who has been known as the protector of the city and the generous guide who is believed to have blessed countless generations.

This is a barbaric attack and should serve as a wake up call. Data Saheb’s shrine is not just another crowded place – it represents a millenia of tolerant Sufi Islam which is directly under attack by the puritans.Last year, there were threats and the government had closed the place for a day or two. This time the worst of nightmares has come true.

How long will we be mere spectators and see our great city blown to bits – culturally and physically. This is time for hard, concrete action and a major crackdown on all terrorist outfits that are operating in the country especially the Punjab wit impunity.

How long shall we remain in a state of denial – as if there is no problem within Pakistan and all acts of terror are perpeterated by the Indians, Jews and the Americans. […]

July 2nd, 2010|Lahore, Pakistan, Sufism, terrorism|39 Comments

In memoriam – Asim Butt (1978-2010)

But it was Asim’s venture into public art and his subsequent adoption of the Stuckist creed that turned him into a major figure at a relatively young age. Unlike his peers, he broke out of the studio and its sensibilities. His murals at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in Karachi were electric, and involved the transitional communities of beggars, prostitutes, and the dregs of society who had been rejected by convention.

Contemporary Pakistani literature in the ‘age of terror’

I am posting the synopsis of my paper entitled Silhouetted Silences – contemporary Pakistani literature in the ‘age of terror’, that I presented at the SAARC writers’ festival held in Agra, India (March 13-17, 2009). The full paper needs to be edited and referenced so that will posted a little later.

Round my neck,
from time to time, there was the hallucination
of a noose, and now and then, the weight
of chains binding my feet.
Then one fine day
love came to drag me, bound and manacled,
into the same cavalcade as the others (Faiz)

Since the invasion of Afghanistan by the United States and the global hysteria about ‘terror’ and ‘terrorism’, Pakistan has faced the greatest of existential challenges after its dismemberment in 1971. As a frontline ally of the US in the war on terror, Pakistani society and polity have been engulfed by growing militancy and acts of violence commonly branded as terrorism. Whilst there is no single definition of ‘terrorism’, the mainstream media and policymakers – in the service of imperial rhetoric aimed to justify and perpetuate the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq – have established terrorism as the major threat to domestic and regional peace in South Asia. Acts of premeditated and organised violence in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have thus assumed a central place in discourse on regional cooperation or its converse: the rivalries between the constructed nation states and their irresponsible power-elites.

In this milieu, the South Asian citizens have been the victims of violence, uncertainty and acrimonies that have only led to exacerbation of poverty, inequality, ascendancy of militarism and war-mantra. All of this is taking place when globalization is relentlessly seeping into domestic economies, cultures and social systems. Where does this leave the writers and poets of the region who grapple with the complex, confusing and fast changing social and political realities? Whilst the community of South Asian writers – traditionally the forbearers of intellectual and political movements – is beleaguered by corporate media industry, it has struggled to respond to challenges that events have created. […]

March 26th, 2009|Pakistani Literature, Personal, South Asian Literature|6 Comments

Islamabad is burning – down with terrorism

What jihad, what Islam and what kind of Muslims these butchers are – they kill innocent people, the underclass outside a posh hotel in Islamabad and think that they are serving some cause. And, this is the month of Ramzan when the Satan is apparently locked up….

The numbers of dead and injured are mounting – there is blood everywhere and a commentator has termed it Pakistan’s 9/11.

About time Pakistani government weeds them out and saves us all from this menace.

Horrific. Barbarity at its worst.

www.chinaview.cn

ISLAMABAD, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) — A blast occurred outside Marriott hotel in the center of Pakistan’s capital Islamabad on Saturday evening, leaving at least 30 dead and scores of people injured, said the Pakistani Adviser to Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik. […]

September 20th, 2008|Personal, Politics|21 Comments

Mustafa Zaidi – A poet remembered

Why would a poet of Mustafa Zaidi’s stature decide to end his life?

Thirty five years ago, Mustafa Zaidi, a poet of notable standing and a dismissed CSP officer, was found dead in Karachi’s Hotel Sumar. The mystery of his death remains unresolved to date but […]