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- Syed Ahmed on Ageless Beauty: Zubeida Mustafa
- Syed Ahmed on Lessons of May 11
- Salahuddin Kazi on The courage behind the laughter
- khurram shahzad on Lessons of May 11
- arshad durrani on Lessons of May 11
- > Tahir Saleem on Lessons of May 11
- Durriya on Lessons of May 11
- Syed A. Baqar on Ageless Beauty: Zubeida Mustafa
- nasim ahmed on Invisibility of mothers
- Jalal Uddin on Invisibility of mothers
Category Archives: Guest Contributor
By Fozia Qureshi
An extraordinarily talented and dedicated human, Perveen was a friend and a colleague who was unfailingly cheerful, helpful and supportive. I first met her in 1983 when I started working at the AKU and had the amazing good luck to interact with Dr Akhtar Hameed Khan of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) while developing the Primary Health Care field programs for the Department of Community Health Sciences. Continue reading
by Rifaat Hamid Ghani
The government and the Parliament of 2008 completed a full term: a democratic first. But it could be more because interventionists have matured than because politicians demonstrated a reassuring capacity to learn on the job.
If we step outside the trite paradigm of democracy and dictatorship and the polarities of the civil and military public political interest, we might not see any polarities: Both want power and there is a competition for it. For most Pakistanis Pakistan is home, not a cow to be milked dry. They need and want their country. The touchstone for legitimacy then becomes pragmatic for them: How is the power of government being used?
If asked about the 2008-onwards use of democratically mandated power there would be more than carping complaints about law and order and safety in daily life. The common perception is the state itself is increasingly endangered by the vice and folly of the politically empowered. In 2013 despite democratic freedom a question is suppressed: Is it a myth, which local democratic experience exposes each time, that democracy is invariably the better formula? As soon as there was no self-perpetuating incentive in maintaining or reaching a consensus, political rivals needed arbitration on the caretaker PM. When mainstream parties so evidently mistrust each other’s motives and nominees they also need unusually skilled spin masters to tell the electorate why it may place faith in their candidatures and avowals. Continue reading
By Nafisa Hoodbhoy
“Did you find that religious extremism has grown in Pakistan on this trip?” asked Sheema Kirmani, sitting cross-legged in the front of the crowd, after I had finished presenting my book at a session of the Karachi Literary Festival.
“Oh yes,” I responded. “But its not just religious, but also ethnic extremism that’s taken hold of Karachi. I think that the more violence permeates society, it causes individuals to fall back on the groups that give them a sense of identity.”
Sitting in the audience was Parveen Rehman. She had promised to attend after I went to her sister, Aquila Ismail’s presentation of her book “Martyrs and Marigolds,” a couple of hours before my launch. Continue reading
By Steve Inskeep
Several times in Karachi I went to see Perween Rahman. We first met in 2008, as I researched informal settlements where millions of Karachi residents lived. People who knew these vast stretches of concrete-block homes told me to seek out Rahman, who knew more.
We met at her office, the Orangi Pilot Project-Research Training Institute. Someone would lead me across a courtyard to find Perween in one or another of the institute’s cluttered rooms – a dim room, usually, because the power was out. A photo from one of our meetings shows sunlight from a window reflecting off her glasses. Her hand is moving as she talks, and her mouth is bending into a smile. The image suggests her vitality, though I never managed a photo that fully captured the pleasure she took in her work. It was like trying to photograph a bird in flight. Continue reading
By Ghazala Akbar
Hundreds of lives lost, homes destroyed and we are not even in the first quarter of the year. In other countries this would constitute a national emergency. Heads would roll, governments might fall but in Pakistan, it’s just another bad day at the office. We are as they say a very resilient people. Very. There is no other option. When you are down, the only way is up. That’s what an optimist like the late Parveen Rahman might have said. Parveen who? Exactly. In the recent tsunami of violence, it’s easy to forget. Coming hard on the heels of back to back bombings of Shia neighbourhoods in Karachi and Quetta plus the burning of homes belonging to Christian families in Lahore, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep count or remember names.
An impish smile, one that reached her eyes and made them twinkle; the way she’d intertwine her arm with yours, like school girls do; her intelligent conversations; her wry humour that was always interspersed with chortles of laughter – there was a sort of joie de vivre about Parveen Rehman that suggested a new lightness of being. She exuded warmth and a gentleness that is hard to find these days. Continue reading
By Dr Masuma Hasan
Slender, almost frail, with her hair down to her waist, her captivating smile and melodious voice, Parween Rahman was a legend in her lifetime. An assailant’s bullets took her life on Wednesday 13 March, 2013 as she was being driven home from work. The target killer snuffed out her life but the legend that she was will live forever. She was 56 years old.
I am a teacher and being a teacher I am actually a student as the oft repeated story tells us..
So as the story of Malala unfolds, she has become my most influential teacher today..
So what have I learnt? Continue reading
Sips from a Broken Teacup
By Raihana A Hasan
Ushba Publishing International, Pakistan
The rattling narrow-gauge Surma train that carried a young urban bride to a far away and unknown world of tea plantations stopped at the deserted Shamshernagar Railway Station on a dark wintry night of January 1962. Little did the disembarking passenger know that her prolific and perceptive mind was already capturing the first outlines of what was to appear in the form of a book some fifty years later.
Raihana Hasan could not have chosen a more thoughtful, apt and immaculate title for her captivating book, Sips from a Broken Teacup. Each word depicting delicately woven themes that stretch from reminiscence of life as a tea planter’s wife to the traumatic events that preceded the break-up of Pakistan and finally the drama and the ordeal as the author and her family escape from then East to West Pakistan.
Sips from a Broken Teacup shows tell-tale signs of a meticulous and devoted diary writer who has Continue reading
“Each survivor owes it to those who do not survive to account for them.”
For forty years I wanted to write of the one bloody spring day when the land of my birth was no more mine. That soft, misty February morning dawned forty-five days after the sixteenth of December 1971, when East Pakistan, the land my parents had chosen as their home following the great partition of the Indian subcontinent, had become Bangladesh. And all those who had come to this land from India or had, like me, been born to parents who had made the trek to this land in 1947, were no longer of it.
Living in Karachi since August 1972, I willed my mind to only remember the golden land’s offerings of the scent of mango blossoms, of the delicate shefali, of the perfectly formed gardenias, the sweet happiness of childhood, the trembling ecstasy of first love, the smell of the earth when the first slanting monsoon raindrops fell on the waiting plains. But the odor of that spring day! The damned odor! The odor of the brown-red stain on white flowers growing among green grass, the odor of crushed marigold petals, of the damp moss covered walls, the smell of burnt globs of rice and lentil, and the rank smell of rotting hyacinth – all indistinguishable from what was gentle and what was not – always took over my soul and made me not want to remember.