Monthly Archives: March 2012

School with a heart

By Zubeida Mustafa

IN March 1862, five nuns from the Daughters of the Cross — a Belgium-based congregation — travelled to India and set up a school in Karachi with 10 students on its rolls.

This is how the St Joseph’s Convent School (SJC), one of the finest educational institutions in the city, was founded. Today, 150 years on, the number of its students has grown to over 2,000. Hundreds of thousands have passed through its portals over the years. Continue reading School with a heart

Remembering Naveed Anwar

By Zubeida Mustafa

NOT many may recall Naveed Anwar today because when he slipped into the valley of death 14 years ago he went silently without making a splash in the media.

At a time when the Transplant Society of Pakistan is launching its deceased organ donation campaign we should be paying homage to Naveed and the four others* who followed his pioneering trail. They conclusively established that our society is capable of unbelievable generosity and care, even in the bad times we live in. Continue reading Remembering Naveed Anwar

A teacher on death row

By Zubeida Mustafa

WHEN someone claims to have been denied a fair hearing before the courts due to systemic flaws, I think of the golden “chain of justice” that has earned the Mughal emperor Jahangir a place in history. Outside his castle in Agra a bell had been installed for those who wanted a personal hearing from the emperor. They just had to pull the chain.

There are many prisoners locked up in our prisons today who need such golden chains. In other words, their point of view needs to be heard. One of them is Dr Zulfiqar Ali, an inmate of Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore. I came to know of Zulfiqar’s case way back in 2009, when Justice Project Pakistan , in conjunction with the London-based Reprieve, two legal aid organisations, had filed a mercy petition to the president on his behalf. I had written about him pleading for his life in view of the good work he was doing to educate fellow-prisoners (May 20, 2009).
Continue reading A teacher on death row

Who are the killers?

By Zubeida Mustafa

IN her poignant collection of poetry, Ojagiyal Akhiyun ja Sapna (‘Dreams of Waking Eyes’), Amar Sindhu, a professor of philosophy at the Sindh University, writes of the ‘Ideal Woman’ (aadarshi aurat) and warns her that to move with society she will have to toss away her dreams and idealism like “gand kichre ain faltoo saamaan” (garbage and waste goods).

It is a sad but true observation for International Women’s Day ( March 8 ) that after decades of struggle for emancipation and empowerment, we still have women in Pakistan who are denied their dreams — especially if they don’t conform to society’s mores. Age is no consideration. Even innocent baby girls if they are unwanted have their lives snuffed out at birth. Continue reading Who are the killers?

Some thoughts on the writing of Of Martyrs and Marigolds

By Aquila Ismail

Forty odd years have gone by since those dark days that I spent in the Murapara internment camp in newly created Bangladesh, with my mother and sister, not knowing where my father and brothers were. It still hurts. It still makes me nauseous. How is it that something so beyond one’s control can take over, destroy, and mar life forever? I was never given a chance to say, ‘I was born here, this is my land, do not take it away from me.’
Continue reading Some thoughts on the writing of Of Martyrs and Marigolds