Entries Tagged 'history' ↓

Oprah, Diddy and Other Goodies at GC

I haven’t written here much lately because I haven’t got much to say these days. The stuff I do have to say I send off to GlobalComment or other such fun places what pay me. So I thought that, in addition to some shameless self-promotion that I’m about to do, I should also promote some other good stuff I’ve been reading. To wit, Joe Sapien’s take on Diddy as the next Bond. We take a break from his usual sarcastic tone to sample some flabbergasted outrage and the foolishness that is Diddy. In addition, there’s a good assessment of Obama’s Change.gov blog thing by Sarah Jaffe that you should take a look at. The piéce de resistance, though, is Renee Martin’s take on the fatness of Oprah and how we should shame her for being ashamed of it (my interpretation – not what she actually actually said) rather than point fingers at her for being fat in the first place. (In fact, she didn’t say at all that we should shame Oprah – I just think that Oprah should be ashamed of her shame. All that wealth, accomplishment and power and her weighing scale can break her heart? Pff. Stupid world.)

And I wrote about Mumbai because I do that kinda thing. This is the part where I’m shamelessly self-promoting, btw.

That’s all, folks.

Yer Mom

I was reading this post on Oppression Olympics by Octogalore just now and something about this comment by Daisy struck me particularly:

And my question, quite seriously: Who do they think those people WERE in the 60s and 70s, having sex in disco bathrooms, engaging in group marriages and Bob-and-Carol-and-Ted-and-Alice type encounters? All of those people are my age and older now. It’s like they have some idea that all old people just retire and instantly become Baptists, or something. I dunno.

Another old woman and I had a long discussion the other day, about how conservative the young seem to be–and does liberalism mark us as “old”? Odd that ‘stylistic’ liberalism (willingness to try new fashions, music, clubs, vacation spots, foods) is popular with the American young, but NOT idealistic or intellectual liberalism.

My mom belongs to that generation, the hippie dippie liberal all-we-need-is-love generation. She was mostly chilling out during that time, more a thinker than a marcher, and her hippie dippie-ness resided in her associations and conversations rather than anything else. Continue reading →

Chay Magazine Call for Submissions

Call for submissions
(Visit http://chaymagazine.org for details)

Deadline: May 15, 2008

Having observed in Pakistani society, a disturbing tendency towards fear and shame around issues of sex and sexuality – that is to say, around a normal human interaction – the founders of Chay Magazine feel that sex and sexuality should enter the public discourse. The taboo and silence around sex and sexuality are oppressive on all of us, irrespective of gender, and lead, at the very least, to unhappiness in our daily lives and, more often, to violence, shame, depression, ill health and general social malaise. We at Chay Magazine endeavor to bring to the Pakistani reading public a place to converse about those things we are most shy of. Our hope is that, through this, we can become braver and stronger, more powerful, self-assured, and just and fair members of society.

Our focus is on Pakistani society and our themes emerge from this context. However, Pakistan is only our starting point. Chay Magazine aims to enter the fray of international feminist discourse and, as such, we invite writers of all nationalities, geographies, stripes to contribute. We are not so much interested in where you come from as in what you have to say.

For the first few issues, we have outlined some broad themes, which are listed below. While we are looking in particular for work around those themes, we are always looking ahead to later issues so, if you have some work kicking around that you’d like to submit, feel free.

Let’s Talk about Sex
o Talking about sex and sexuality – why do it, the taboos around it, the problems with it, the silences
o Sex/Gender, gender roles and gender identity
o Talking about sex and romance
o Standards of “moral” conduct relating to sex

The Politics of Sex
o Sex-positivity
o Sex and feminism in Pakistan
o The politics of shame
o Religion and sex(uality)
o Visions for a new Pakistani Feminism

o Sex: enjoyment, coercion, guilt, force
o Sex and marriage
o Domestic violence and rape
o Virginity

o Saying no and saying yes
o “Sluts” and “whores”
o Sex-work
o Religion and Sex
o Virginity
o Re-appropriating language

We are looking for

– Feature Articles 500-1000 words. These can be analysis, commentary, historical explorations or any other non-fiction on the theme of the issue.
– Poetry and Fiction. There is no real restriction on the subject of the poem or story. If it gives a nod in the direction of the theme, we’re happy. Please send no more than 3 poems or fiction pieces in the vicinity of 1000 words.
– Artwork. Again, there is no particular restriction on artwork. If there is particular work you are interested in submitting, please email in with a query.
– Translations. We accept original translations of thematically relevant works in any genre, from any language.

Send queries and submissions to: chaymagazine AT gmail DOT com . Please attach .rtf or .doc files (we cannot accept .docx files), .jpg or .pdf for images. Please send in a small bio along with your submission as well.

We are an utterly non-profit, non-commercial, money-less concern; therefore we cannot offer any compensation to our writers. In time, we hope to become rich, famous and commercial, at which point we hope to offer you pots of money.

Kyla Pasha and Sarah Suhail
Co-executive editors, Chay Magazine

Go Vote

I’m in Seattle. I wish I wasn’t. Only because, after a long time, we’re having elections in Pakistan again and, regardless of rigging, I wanted to be able to vote.

Why you should vote: I know that there are accusations of rigging and mass rigging and rigging so heinous that you don’t know what to do with yourself. But the more people show up to cast actual votes, the more obvious the ballot stuffing will be. Furthermore, the more people show up, the more eyes there are to witness blatant voter intimidation, repeated voting (where one person votes more than once – illegal) and other more surreptitious activities at the polls. Finally, when you vote, you meet other voters and you get a sense of what people outside of your own class box are interested in for the future of their country.

Vote because if you vote, something might change. Then again, things may stay the same. If you don’t vote, things definitely won’t change. Respect the democratic process and it will inshallah pay off in the end.

That’s all folks.


I’ve been trying to figure out what I think about Benazir Bhutto’s death. I woke up in Austin, TX, to this news and it’s almost all I’ve been doing. “Doing” what, I’m not sure. Just watching and reading the news, I suppose. I really wish I was home.

All I have is a couple of unconnected observations:

  • I have no idea what “the terrorists” would gain from the death of Benazir. I don’t think it was any kind of religion-based concern that killed her.
  • On the other hand, if it was a suicide attack, I don’t know how a non-religious concern recruits someone to kill themselves for a non-religious cause.
  • Related to all this, does anyone know if the suicide bomber of Benazir’s Karachi welcome was ever identified?
  • Mariam pointed out that Benazir was Musharraf best bet, so the idea that he would have engineered this is perhaps something that should be considered with a grain or two of salt.
  • On yet another hand, Benazir goes, elections are stopped, Musharraf declares emergency/martial law again and he doesn’t have to pretend to respect the constitution or do anything for democracy in the country.
  • Any non-Musharraf military motivation is absolutely beyond me to speculate on. I have absolutely no idea about Kiyani doing anything with a different agenda than Musharraf’s. Anyone with insigh, please help me out.

One thing is absolutely undeniable: Killing Pakistanis is not something that anyone has a problem with. Not the military, not the political parties, not various religious concerns. No one. We always complain that American military policy is premised on the notion that an American life is worth more than any other life in the world. Well, we don’t think anything of Pakistani lives either.

I keep trying to think something analytical and rational. But I’m just upset. Anyone else just upset?


ہم نے محمد علی جناح کے نام کے آگے “رحمت اللہ علیہ” لگا کر اپنے ساتھ بہت بڑی زیادتی کی ہےـ

ایک زمانہ تھا ـــ یا شاید میرا من کرتا ہے کہ ایک زمانہ ہوتا ـــ جب انسان انسان کے سائز کا تھاـ نہ وہ کسی کا نوکر، غلام، کمی کمین تھا اور نہ کسی کا آقاـ یقینا جب حضرت آدم اور حضرت حوّا آئے تھے، انکو انکے بچے علیہ السلام علیہ السلام کہہ کر نہیں پکارتے ہونگےـ آخر اُنکا کیا کمال تھا؟ انسان ہونا ہی تھا نا؟ حضرت آدم کے اپنے ذاتی تو کوئی کرشمے نہیں تھےـ بلکہ اگر دیکھا جائے تو ہمیں انکا یہ معلوم ہے کہہ ابلیس نے انکے آگے سجدہ کرنے سے انکار کِیا تھا ـــ جس میں انکا اپنا کوئی کمال نہیں تھا کیونکہ سارا کمال خدا کی دین میں تھاـــ اور پھر یہ کہہ انہوں نے اللہ کا فرمان بھلایا یعنی غلطی کی اور اللہ کے حضور سے محروم ہو گئےـ

تو میرے حساب میں شروع سے انسان کی بڑائی اس میں ہے کہ وہ انسان ہےـ

لیکن انسان کو کہانیوں کا شوق ہےـ اور اسکی جستجو ہمیشہ سا یہ رہی ہے کہ جس عہدہ پر وہ ایک زمانے میں تھا ـــ کہ خدا کہ حضور میں اسکا وجود تھا ـــ وہ کسی طرح وہاں واپس پہنچ جائےـ یہی وجہ ہے کہ جب عام فرمے سے ہٹ کر کوئی بندہ یا بندی نظر آ جائے، ہم اسکے آگے بچھ جاتے ہیں ـ

جناح کے ساتھ بھی یہی ہوا ہےـ اقبال کے ساتھ بھی ـ کسی حد تک فیض کے ساتھ بھی ـ اور جب ہمارے بچے فیض کو پڑھنا شروع کریں گے، تو وہ مکمل طور پر حضرت فیض احمد فیض رحمت اللہ علیہ ہو چکے ہونگےـ

ہم سے عام انسان برداشت نہیں ہوتےـ یا عام انسان کو چھوڑ دو، خاص انسانوں میں ہم خامیاں برداشت نہیں کرتےـ اگر ٘محمد علی جناح قائدِ اعظم ہے تو ہم نہیں سن سکتے کہ قائدِ اعظم خنزیر کا گوشت کھاتے تھے یا شراب پیتے تھےـ اس لیے نہیں کیونکہ ان باتوں کا انکے کام، انکی محنت ، انکے شعور سے کوئی واسطہ نہیں ـــ حالانکہ قطعا کوئی واسطہ نہیں ہے!ـــ مگر اس لیے کہ ہم نے اپنے خیال کے مطابق ایک الگ سی شے بنا دی ہے جس کا نام بھی قائدِاعظم ہے اور اسکو ہمارے معیار پر پورا اترنا ہوگاـ اور اگر نہیں اترا تو ہم اسے بھی اپنے ملک، زندگی، وجود کی داستان سے خارج کر دیں گے اور بے چارے جناح کو بھی ـــ جو پاکستان بناتے بناتے مر گیا اور شاید پورک کھایا کرتا تھاـ

اسی لیے ہم افتخار ٘٘محمد چودھری پر یا جان دیتے ہیں یا اسکو دھتکارتے ہیں ـ کیونکہ یا وہ انسان کے روپ میں بذاتِ خود انصاف ہے یا وہ او نمبر کا چور اچکا ہے جس نے دنیا کی آنکھوں میں دھول جھونک کہ اپنے آپ کو ہیرو بنا دیا ہےـ

میانہ روی ہم سے بہت دور ہےـ ہمیں ابھی بھی رسول اللہ کی تلاش ہےـ کہ ہمیں ہم ہی سے بچا لیں ـ سیدھا راستہ دکھا دیں ـ انصاف سکھا دیں، اسلام سکھا دیں ـ

لیکن رسول اللہ نے نہیں آناـ امام مہدی میں بھی ٹائم ہےـ اس دوران میں اگر ہم حضرتوں کی توقع چھوڑ دیں اور انسانوں سے کام لیں تو کیا پری بات ہو؟

Judges Evicted and Forced to Retire

The judges of the Pakistani superior courts who refused to take oath under the Provisional Constitution Order – the one that abrogates the 1973 constitution and removes fundamental rights like free speech, free movement, freedom from unlawful detention – are now being evicted from their homes and forced to retire.

When they would have retired:

  1. Justice Saair Ali: 2008
  2. Justice M A Shahid Siddiqui: 2008
  3. Justice Muhammad Jehangir Arshad: 2008
  4. Justice Khwaja Muhammad Shareef: 2010
  5. Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry: 2012
  6. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar: 2016
  7. Justice Asif Saeed Khos: 2016
  8. Justice Shaikh Azmat Saeed: 2016
  9. Justice Iqbal Hameedurrahman: 2018
  10. Justice Umer Ata Bandiyal: 2020

Source: BBCUrdu.com.

According to the same article, the new judges, the fake judges who took oath under the PCO, are being assigned housing in the judges colony that has been assigned to the rebellious judges, even though there are empty houses in the colony.

This is a systematic evisceration of the judiciary. I’m not sure how it is that we’re allowing this to happen.

A student of mine sent this around last night. It’s part of a much longer email:

What Musharraf did 8 years ago was overthrow a system of democracy via a coup, and on Nov 3rd he imposed martial law. NOT an emergency, it is a Martial Law. In this one month an 2 days his regime,

  • his dictatorial regime has arrested more than 7000 innocent people: even peaceful elderly foriegn peace activists, whose only acitivity was to cordially converse with students. (Look them up under “US Code Pink” on google)
  • Musharraf has worsened the situation in Swat where now people, thanks to the dimwitted military tactics, face the losing end of economic warfare. Which simply means people are going hungry, starving. Previously, his tactics only agitated the militants when he sat on the lal masjid affair for so long that in the ended it exploded. The militants lost their families in that: now they are retaliating
  • He, Musharraf has physically harmed people from all stratas of society. Lawyers are in critical health conditions, activists are swept away into unknown prisons. Lawyers are such a threat in their committed peaceful stance that even their wives are being threatened!! I guess, Musharaff the progressive can see the potential of women!
  • we are now globally considered more dangerous than Iran: the US considers Iran a threat to its nation. We are considered more dangerous…we could be the next Iraq!
  • we have lost billions of dollars in foreign investment. Oh a high growth rate does not mean everyone in the country can now eat more. Food inflation is somewhere new 12%. The poor are starving more than in the last so many years. Karachi Stock Exchange saw what is known as the blackest day where it lost more than $300 billion
  • In his hopefully well founded fear, the great President Musharraf is threatening to arrest students. Students from elite private universities. Professors. Finally the poor people who study years into oblivion to teach ungrateful students are at least making the news!! Why is Musharraf threatened by the people educated in these institutes, those teaching in these institutes.

The mistake President Musharraf made was to grant civil liberties in the first place. To a generation, mine and those after me, who were not used to freedoms being so openly acknowledged as good, this “emergency”, this PCO, this abrogation of the constitution is a huge disappointment. Those who thought he was a nice enough dictator realize now – myself included – that a dictator is a dictator is a dictator, and that’s all there is to it.

Geo Ordered to Shut Down

At 1:12 a.m. on this Friday night, I’ve just gotten home from a dinner to find on the news that Geo TV’s international broadcast from Dubai is also being shut down. So I turn on the live stream from the channel’s website. And it’s running the same “ad” over and over again: the Geo logo, dramatic newsy music and the repetition of the mantra: “Geo aur jeenay do.”

Live and let live. Continue reading →


There’s a great article about activism in Pakistan from the seventies til now in the Guardian. Check it out:

On November 2, I got together with a group of journalists from separate newspapers to discuss the possibility of Musharraf declaring a State of Emergency. Driving down Zahoor Elahi Road, the road where the Chief Minister of Punjab’s mansion sits, we noticed an abject lack of police, white checkpoints, and armoured cars. We were intrigued. We asked a policeman deputed near a corner of the minister’s house why there were only four police on the entire strip when usually there were upwards of 20. “They are all on holiday,” he lied to us. So we drove down main boulevard, en route to Defence, the borough of Lahore owned by the military, where police are usually stationed at every traffic light. On the way there, we found no white barriers or police.

“It’s like it’s 1947 again and Pakistan has just been freed,” one of my associates joked. In Defence, it was the same scene. We spotted slouching guards outside of the closed shops, asleep at their posts, but no government police. We decided to park our car in the centre of a major intersection, right by Mc Donalds, and wait. No one came.

Article 89

Source: National Reconstruction Bureau of Pakistan

All emphases mine.

1) The President may, except when the National Assembly is in session, if satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action, make and promulgate an Ordinance- as the circumstances may require.
(2) An Ordinance promulgated under this Article shall have the same force and effect as an Act of [79] [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] and shall be subject to like restrictions as the power of [79] [Mailis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] to make law, but every such Ordinance-

(a) shall be laid-

(i) before the National Assembly if it [80] [contains provisions dealing with all or any of the matters specified in clause (2) of Article 73], and shall stand repealed at the expiration of four months from its promulgation or, if before the expiration of that period -a resolution disapproving it is passed by the Assembly, upon the passing of that resolution;
(ii) before both Houses if it [81] [does not contain provisions dealing with any of the matters referred to in sub-paragraph (i)], and shall stand repealed at the expiration of four months from its promulgation or, if before the expiration of that period a resolution disapproving it is passed by either House, upon the passing of that resolution; and
(b) may be withdrawn at any time by the President.
(3) Without prejudice to the provisions of clause (2) an Ordinance laid before the National Assembly, shall be deemed to be a Bill introduced in the National Assembly.

This is in clarification of the Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books registration (Ammendment) Ordinance of 2007.

Riot Gear: Candlelight Vigil

This afternoon, around 70 people were arrested from the headquarters of HRCP in Lahore and taken to Model Town police station. These people are leaders of civil society – lawyers, doctors, professors and such. They were talking about arranging a protest of some kind and not even protesting themselves when they were arrested and carted off to a jail. Their friends and family have been outside the police station ever since.

Now, at 8:40 pm, I’m hearing that there is a candlelight vigil going on in front of the police station. Inside, they’ve been asked to sign some sort of paper saying that they’ll behave from now on, before they’re let go. They have, predictably, refused.

So we’ll see what happens. There’s a protest tomorrow morning as well.

Riot Gear: Cardinal Sins

Ali Eteraz wrote an article for the Guardian a few hours after Emergency/Martial Law was officially imposed. It contained a general survey of the situation and an analysis on a) what was likely and b) what was best for Pakistan. And it was a fairly conservative and cautious analysis.

I don’t mind conservatism. I think caution is good and sensible, especially in a country where getting whooped upside the head for assembling in public is likely and has a long history. The conservative approach – that is to say, the approach that says “do only what is necessary and nothing more, conserve what is established” – has tremendous merit. But the fundamental problem with conservatism in regard to the current Emergency is that the status quo was heading towards further democratization in a somewhat organic fashion. It was organic to the freedom brought about by Musharraf, king of Enlightened Moderation, that the lawyers should come out and protest against the dismissal of the Chief Justice. It was organic to Musharraf’s regime of slow, three-stage democratization that there be freedom of the print and broadcast media. That section 144 has not been in effect in recent months is testament to the fact that Musharraf was, in fact, working towards a democratization, whether he realized it or not. Continue reading →

Riot Gear: State of Emergency and Martial Law

Dear Diary, today we had emergency!, no! martial law, no! emergency! declared on us by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, moderate and enlightened president of Pakistan.

Now this is what’s going on: I’m watching CNN IBN via internet streaming because all the private news channels have been suspended. Musharraf will speak via PTV at 11 pm. But he’s declared that the judiciary has overstepped its bounds and so needed to be dismantled. He was afraid that the Supreme Court would reject his candidacy for president in the upcoming election and so, speculation is and I think it’s true, he declared emergency and removed everyone against him would be out of power.

Interestingly , he did not (or has not yet) cite Swat, Chaman and the general unrest (unrest!) in the Frontier as the reason for the state of emergency. It would seem more credible to do that. Swat has been in an uproar and many Pakistanis have died on both sides. There are perpetual military operations in the Frontier, in Chaman, in Swat, in Waziristan and anywhere in between. Surely, there is a state of emergency in those areas. But instead, there’s a somewhat petulant complaint against the judiciary and an act that is the equivalent of yelling “mein nahi khelta!”, taking your marbles and going home.

Or send your friends home and lobbing their own marbles after them. Grenad-shaped.

For regular updates, I have found no place better than Pakistan Politics. I don’t know who runs it but will attempt to find out. In the meantime, they are my heroes, being so excited about giving news quickly that they misspell half the stuff they’re typing.

I’m at my computer for a good while. If anyone finds an internet link to what Pakistan Politics is calling the performance of “meray azeez hum watanon”, let me know. I don’t have a TV and my radio is having issues too.