Entries Tagged 'mediaphile' ↓

Firefox 3 and Urdu

I just installed Firefox 3 and it’s all slick and lovely and smooth. I’m a fan of the shashka and the smooth look and whatnot, but when I loaded BBCUrdu.com, it gave me a) an icky Naskh and b) disconnected letters. I don’t know what to do about it. I want it back to the ordinary Geeza Pro goodness a la:

Now this is still not joined letters with the medial hay because, again, Firefox has buggered it. But it’s still more readable than this:

Now this is reidiculous. it would be okay to read, though I prefer the former, if it would join where it’s supposed to.

I installed about a jillion Urdu fonts on my computer (Mac OS 10.5) and when I had Firefox 2.whatever, it eventually starting behaving. Which is to say, first it messed up the medial hay, both the dochashmi and the kunda, then it fixed dochashmi, then it fixed kunda, and then it registered the dash that forms the Urdu fullstop (which it was rendering as a question mark for a while.)

Now: do I have to reinstall my fonts? Are there new fonts? Do I have to wait till Firefox 3 catches up to Urdu? It’s very annoying.

As GlobalComment’s Newest Celebrity Editor…

…or summat, I thought I ought to point out that GlobalComment is in fact one of the most interesting sites in which to find poetry, not just because they publish mine upon occasion, but because poetry resides there in the midst of politics and commentary, which is where it ought to be. So go have a look at GlobalComment’s poetry line-up. And if you find what you like, I shall point you in the direction particularly of their sister site ArabComment’s stuff on and from muslim women because it is consistently intelligent, more interesting than MWU!’s progressive fundamentalism (okay, that might be an exaggeration) but still countering western notions successfully.

Gotta Love It

via Gul Bukhari at Pakistan Politics:

Absar Alam, Bureau Chief of Geo News was summoned by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and asked to apologize for a news ticker broadcasting a meeting between Justice Nawaz Abbasi, a judge of the Supreme Court, and the Secretary Interior.

What ensued was surely, not just a First Ever, but hopefully also the Last Ever event of it’s kind to happen in Pakistan. The first shocking revelation was that Justice Nawaz Abbasi was on the three judge bench of the Supreme Court endeavoring to hear/try the proceedings of this Suo Moto Notice (involving his own complaint). Mr. Alam had to address Justice Abbasi directly to remind the honorable gentleman that he was not qualified to hear the case since he was a party in the case.

Embarrassingly, it doesn’t end here: Mr. Alam refused to apologize to the judge and asked for time to hire a lawyer to represent him. The journalist further proceeded to tell the supreme court judge that he, and the media in general, were doing the most important duty as citizens by protecting, safeguarding and upholding the constitution, by ensuring no one desecrates article 19 of the constitution (which essentially safeguards freedom of speech)!

In a fit of fury, Justice Abbasi wrote out an order banning any programs, mention, clips or coverage of the judiciary by the print and electronic media in toto. At which stage even the counsel from the state advised him to review and rescind his order, as it was very likely to be violated. The Justice in question had, using a ticker announcement, in effect issued a broad based gagging order on all forms of information and news coverage with regard to the judiciary issue. On the 12th of May.

It’s absolutely hilarious. It’s also scary. I don’t want to lionize the Nov. 2 judiciary overly, but their suo moto notices were a little more relevant to actual justice, rather than entirely in the service of the ego of the judges. The only place I disagree with the author, Gul Bukhari, is the assessment that it’s sad that the judges backed down in the face of a protest from Absar Alam. I think it’s great. I think cooler heads eventually prevailed and realized that this was going to become absolutely farcical. I don’t have any particular insight on whether or not there should be a contempt of court law in Pakistan – being not the least bit qualified to have an opinion – but the fact that we don’t worked entirely in the favour of what’s right in this case.

Meanwhile, May 12 came and went, and the judiciary was not restored. Hopelessness may be kufr, but what happens if it is so frequently affirmed?

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

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.

It’s Almost 2 Weeks Now

This blog is wearing black.

Tomorrow, it will be two weeks that we’ve been under “Emergency Plus”, a de facto martial law with no end in sight. I just read an article that says that the US is looking for Musharraf alternative in case he doesn’t survive this emergency situation and has to step down due to internal pressure. Continue reading →

Police, Brute Force and the Question of Rights

Sadaf Aziz has written this article for the Jurist, an online law magazine out of the University of Pittsburgh. She has made some excellent observations about the nature of rights and the function of police in crisis situations created by the state.

The sheer repugnance that memories of the past week awaken should disturb the last vestige of a mutuality of relations between this government and private citizens. We should all rest assured that our relation to the police is no longer what it was before fear of reprisal became the only operative principle dictating compliance with official dictate. It is more than a little ironic that the exemplary adherents of law, lawyers, are the representative group for society in this face-off with the government. Clearly the lawyers are aware that a fundamental condition of their compact with the government has been altered or challenged.

Read the rest.


I’ve been watching Geo TV’s Capital Talk on Pakistan Politics and they’re saying some important things. I’m going to transcribe the parts I think are important ,but I strongly suggest you go check it ou because it shows, among other things, where in the Frontier province, militants have taken off the flag of Pakistan and put up their own flag!

معملہ یہ ہے کہ دیکھنا یہ چاہیے کہ آخر ساری اگر کابینا فنکشن کر رہی ہے، وزیر اعظم موجود ہے، اسمبلی موجود ہے گورنر موجود ہے ، صوبائی اسمبلی موجود ہے، نگران حکومت جو ہے فرنٹیر میں وہ بھی کام کر رہی ہے ـ اور سارے افسر کام کر رہے ہیں، فوج کام کر رہی ہےـ بیت اللہ محسود اور فضل اللہ بھی کام رہے ہیں، اپنا کام جو ایمرجنسی سے پہلے کر رہے تھے ـ صرف میڈیا اور جوڈشری ٹارگٹ کر رہے ہیں ـ میڈیا اسلیے بنی کہ شروع سے دعوے تو بڑے کیے جاتے ہیں ہم بھی سنتے ہیں آپ نے بھی سنا کہ میڈیا کو ہم نے آزادی دی اتنی آزادی دی کہ وہ خوات ہی نہیں دیکھ سکتے ـ بات debateable یہ ہے کہ وہ آزادی کسطرح ملی کیسے ملی ـ بھائی یہ تو ایک ملک ہے نا 16 کروڑ عوام کا ـ آپ خود کابل گئے ہیں ـ کابل جو ایک ملک بھی نہیں ہے وہاں ۹ چینل ہیں ـ اب یہ نہیں ہے کہ کرزئی صاحب کہیں کہ میرے دور مین ۹ چینل کھلے ہیں ـ معملہ یہ ہے کہ global village ہے ایک وقت آنا ہوتا ہے، تعین ہوتا ہے، mature ہوتی ہیں چیزیں ـ اس وقت یہ ٹی وی چینل آنے ہی تھےـ اسلئے میں سمجھتا ہوں کہ یہ جو ایک بے باکی تھی میڈیا کی اور میڈیا ساری چیزیں قوم کے سامنے دکھا رہا تھا بتا رہا تھا.ـــــ [باقی سجچ نہیں آیا

مکمل پروگرام دیکھیں، بہت دلچسب تجزیے ہیں ـ ایک ایم ایم اے کے سینیٹری، ایک ایم این اے ، راولپنڈی پریس کلب کے صدر ، پی پی پنجاب کے صدر آپس میں بہت عمدہ بحث کر رہے ہیں ـ

آپ سب سے سوال: جس بندے کے پاس نیٹ نہ ہو، اسکو خبریں کسطرح مل رہی ہیں ؟ سنا تھا کچھ چھوٹے شہروں مین تھوڑی تھوڑی دیر کے لئے جیو آج وغیرہ کھلتے ہیں ـ کیا یہ صحیح ہے ؟


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.

SAJA Forum Article

The incomparable Arun Venugopal asked me for a redo of the firsthand account of the protest today. So I gave it to him. Thanks Arun!

News and Analysis

Scathing commentary at the Guardian website:

Gen Musharraf has called Washington and London’s bluff, knowing they have no option but to back him. In launching what is, in effect, his second military coup in eight years, the general has exposed the impotence of the US and Britain to control a key ally with nuclear weapons. With troops on the ground in Afghanistan, and the military situation in Nato’s war against the Taliban and al-Qaida delicately poised, the US cannot make more than faint bleating noises when its key ally across the border buries democracy for the foreseeable future. Condoleezza Rice said last night that Washington was reviewing the aid package to Pakistan, but the options of the US secretary of state are limited – if, that is, she wants Pakistan’s army to continue its costly campaign in Waziristan. The American empire, if there is such a thing, is only just coming to terms with the fact that one of its pro-consuls has gone awol.

On the Lahore High Court protest today:

لاہور سے سینکڑوں وکلاء کی گرفتاری کی اطلاعات ملی ہیں جن میں ضلعی بار ایسوسی ایشن اور ہائی کورٹ بار ایسوسی ایشن کے عہدیدار بھی شامل ہیں۔

ایک پولیس اہلکار نے نام نہ بتانے کی شرط پر بتایا کہ پولیس نے ہائی کورٹ سے تقریباً چار سو سے زیادہ وکیل گرفتار ہوئے ہیں۔ وکلاء کی ایک بڑی تعداد زخمی بھی ہوئی۔ صبح سے دوپہر تک ہائی کورٹ میدان جنگ بنا رہا جہاں ہر طرف آنسو گیس پھیلی ہوئی تھی اور پولیس وکلاء کو پکڑ پکڑ گاڑیوں میں ڈالتی رہی۔


Where To Get News

Geo TV – live audio streaming

Pakistan Politics – which has clips from TV news from Geo, Aaj, ARY among others.

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.