Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Delhi-Lahore bus stopped as a precaution

As Indian Punjab sunk into violence and unrest, a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus enroute to Lahore from Delhi as part of the international service between two historical cities has been stopped as a precaution at Ludhiana Sadar Police Station. The move came as violence errupted in all major cities and towns of the Indian Punjab province after a revered Sikh Guru was killed in a Gurdawara shoot-out at Vienna, Austria. Inflamed protestors burnt tyres, vehicles and a train in cities like Jalandhar.

All passengers of the ‘Dosti Bus’, including both Indians and Pakistanis, are safe and will continue their journey once events die down and safety is ensured for the rest of their journey.

Sister cities of Lahore and Delhi just got transportation links restored a few years back after decades of cut-out; a luxury that again gets threatened by unrest on either side of the border. In 2007, about 65 passengers were burnt alive when the train link between the two cities, termed as ‘Samjhota Express’ was targeted near Panipat in India. Most recently India has expressed its reservation over the security of the bus service within Pakistan borders, a claim which Pakistani authorities say is unnecessary keeping in view the greater loss of Pakistani life on the Indian side resulting from sabotage and lack of proper security.

Terrorists attack Police Training School

In a striking reminder of the insecure times we are living in, about 20 heavily armed terrorists dressed in Police uniforms attacked the Police Training Centre at Manawa, Jallo area near Lahore.

Before entering, the reported gunmen hurled grenades at the security entrance of the centre instantly killing and injuring several guards. It was followed by an indiscriminate firing at the young Police trainees who were doing a parade in the grounds.

Death toll has reached about 20, while more than 50 people have been injured. Most of the dead are Police martyrs. The Manawa Training Centre has more than 800 police officials stationed as trainees, instructors or guards.

Punjab Police, Rangers and Pakistan Army are continuing a massive operation to evict unarmed hostages and to capture or kill the terrorists. The operation, started this early morning after the siege, is continued till now as TV footage shows presence of heavy contingents of security forces surrounding the centre premises.

This attack is strikingly sophisticated, well-planned with heavily armed young terrorists and bears similarity to the Liberty Carnage involving the ambush of the Sri Lankan Cricket Team.

We salute those martyrs who have lost their lives so far and pray that this crisis ends as soon as possible with all the terrorists caught or rightfully executed with as less mercy as possible.

Bird show, anyone?

Young Birds Show is being arranged under the auspices of the Budgerigar Society Of Pakistan at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore today, March 29th, 2009.

Connecting Nation with Nature!

Our first National Bird Show 2006 was organized on September 24, 2006 at Avari Hotel, Lahore. Large number of families and fanciers attended this show from different parts of the country including Sialkot, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Multan, Bahawalpur and other parts of the country.

BSP management believes that these kinds of shows which are organized on international standards & rules so it will have long term effects for improving the image of Pakistan abroad.

I so want to go but, missing a  plan, sadly enough!
Get connected? ;)

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is Reinstated!

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani has just announced to restore all deposed judges including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhrty in a dramatic development. In his address to the nation, Mr. Gillani has promised to reinstate Mr. Chaudhry on 21st of March, the day when the current Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar retires.

The decision came along as the Long March in leadership of Nawaz Sharif and Aitezaz Ahsan was on its way to Islamabad near Gujranwala.

There is wide-spread early morning jubiliation and Pakistanis are celebrating the rise of a new Pakistan…

Pakistan Zindabad!!

Image Source: Pakistaniat.com

Long March as it happens

Police block a street in Lahore ahead of Long March

Police block a street in Lahore ahead of Long March

Photo Courtesy: SeeNReport

The Government has literally let lose all patience in stopping lawyers, political activists, members of the civil society and the common people from reaching Islamabad for the lawyer’s mass sit-in. In Karachi, the launchpad of the march, we saw authorities blocking highways, baton-charging marchers and mass arrests of the participants. Situation may spiral out of control as there are reports of further clashes, protests, arrests and cars being set on fire in the metropolis.

Situation might not be different in Punjab and rest of the Sindh province, where Section 144 was imposed restricing public gatherings and processions of any sorts, as the march proceeds towards Islamabad.

Bloggers around the country are providing hand-on news of the Long March as it happens. Teeth Maestro is doing live coverage of the march by getting updates from people using wide number of sources and means including Twitter.

You can watch further citizen journalism updates on SeeNReport‘s Long March page.

Far from the “maddening” crowd…

Lahore is brimming to its maddening political edge as political parties battle it out in the streets. Loyalists branding party emblems are gathering everywhere. The Mall is a political boulevard where all parties deem it necessary to make their presence felt.

Such a “battle” brought me to an eventful PML-N rally on The Mall on 26 February. Armed with my camera and its bag; I walked hesitantly into the rally, a potential terrorist strike target. I freelance as a photojournalist, an interesting but risky job.

                                                                 The loyalists meet...

Here, the workers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had blocked The Mall for over five hours in their protest against the Supreme Court (SC) verdict that disqualified the Sharif brothers from contesting the general elections.

Unrest prevailed as the protest intensified when aggressive party workers marched towards the Punjab Assembly building to break the locks after PML-N parliamentarians had to sit on the staircase to conduct the session.

Anti-Zardari slogans were chanted, tyres were burnt tyres and banners containing pictures of PPP leaders were brandished. The protesters held placards and banners that condemned the SC and the PPP-led government.

Burning tyres...

During the protest, a worker climbed a streetlight to hoist a PML-N flag.

Flag hoister

Addressing the workers, PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz said the SC had disqualified PML-N leadership on the directives of President Asif Ali Zardari and alleged that “The decision was a raid on democracy”.

Hamza Shahbaz

The other side:

Amid the noise at such ralies, a series of fortunate and misfortunate events also take place. A rally is a world in itself, in addition to the main political activity, there is a lot that goes on.

 

Pickpockets have a field day, robbing unsuspecting spectators of their cell phones, wallets and whatever they can get their hands on. I lost my cellphone as a man smuggled his way into my pocket and disappeared into thin air. 

Hawkers scramble about the gathering, selling water, food and the bare necessities. You’ll find people munching on goodies, browsing lottery tickets and offering free political analysis to everyone around them.

 

Amid  the commotion...

Pushy people:

Amid the commotion, one also gets assaulted by “pushy” people who force their way towards the stage. I was elbowed and my sunglasses fell to the road. Before I could pick them up, a “footful” of people stomped their way through and reduced it into a mere wire mesh! Why was I wearing sunglasses? Well the smoke from the burning tyres can be quite tearful at times!

Shattered shades...

“Zardari chuha”/Zardari Kuta

Animal rights everyone? Protesters hanged a live mouse from a board that read out “Zardaru chuha” (Translated: Zardari is a mouse). I couldn’t help but capture this one. Is this freedom of expression of abuse of expression? The little mouse was trembling and paying with its life for someone else’s crimes.

Zardari Chuha

Zardari Chuha

 

Men wearing horror masks and holding placards inscribed with Zardari Kuta (Translated: Zardari is a dog) are rampant throughout these anti-PPP rallies. These men get a lot of press attention, though such images may not be published, but they remain an irresistible catch for any photographer.

Seems familiar?

Seems familiar?

The ‘acting’ activists:

The political circus brings with it many characters. Activists try to steal the show by using their theatrical abilities to catch everyone’s attention. Here men beat their chests, “mourning” the SC verdict.

PML N-autanki

PML N-autanki

 

 It seems that as things become increasingly complicated in this political turmoil, it is advisable to witness the events from the safety of your house. The Mall shall remain choked and tense until things settle down. Lets hope the anarchy simmers down and Lahore is restored to its glory.

Lahorites respond vehemently

As it is all over in the news now, Supreme Court declared the Sharif brothers ineligible for contesting elections and Mian Shahbaz Sharif, under this verdict, has lost his seat in the provincial assembly and is no longer the chief minister of Punjab.

 

The decision  annoyed most of the people in the country and people in many cities came out to protest against the decision taken by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Like many others, I was also stuck in a blockade near Kalma Chowk. People burnt tyres and raised slogans against the president and the governor. They did not seem to acknowledge the verdict of the Supreme Court.

Protestors blocked Kalma Chowk on Ferozpur Road

Protestors blocked Kalma Chowk on Ferozpur Road

I didn’t hear any news of any one getting injured or ny serious damages due to these protests and I hope all remain safe and calm.

 

Demonstrators lie on the road in protest

Demonstrators lie on the road in protest

 

 

Protestors lying on the road while one supporter is holding a stuffed lion, the electoral symbol of PML(N), to show solidarity with the Sharif brothers.

Protestors lying on the road while one supporter is holding a stuffed lion, the electoral symbol of PML(N), to show solidarity with the Sharif brothers.

 

 

Demonstrators burnt tyres and blocked traffic.

Demonstrators burnt tyres and blocked traffic.

Meet Lorraine Adams

Lorraine Adams – a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist (Washington Post) turned novelist (author of two including Harbor by Knopf) is coming to Lahore. Presently she is working on a novel based in Pakistan. Friends are having a group discussion with her on on THURSDAY FEBRUARY 19 at 6 PM at 49 Mozang Road, Lahore, located close to the British Council. Come and join. It will be a lovely evening; that is a promise.

Please SMS at 03335188663 or email {razarumi{at}gmail.com}  if you plan to attend.

New news

My last blog post is still being debated (read bombed), and so I have delayed the advent of Terrorism Part 2. Which would probably be something that everyone will agree with anyway (I hope), but still, it is wise to defer an extended debate on controversial things.

 

We Lahoris are a Lahore-obsessed tribe. There is a whole course in LUMS called “Imagining Lahore” taught by the Dr. Furrukh Khan, one of the experts on the subject and the head of our Literature department. In another course “Food and culture”, the discussion is never far away from the type of food that we Lahoris eat, and what we perceive food as. I should know.

 

But anyway, we are never happier than when something big is happening in our own city, and forget the firecrackers for some time. LUMS has had the recent honor of being selected by prominent Pakistani writers for launching their latest books. Recent, did I say? Well, it has been around for some time; it is a famous story that someone here brought a pirated copy of a Bapsi Sidhwa work to be signed by the author—and the author flipped out! Lol…well…but no, let’s leave my thoughts on piracy fro another time.

 

After ‘A Case of Exploding Mangoes’ was launched last year, now, in less than a week, Kamila Shamsie is launching her new novel “Burnt Shadows” here as well!

Am I happily excited? I don’t know. Her books are beautiful, but….she is amazingly talented but…always a but and I fear I cannot express it as anything but but…

Maybe this one will finally explore the hurts of the common man more than the hurts of the elite, but I’m still excited. Here are the two mails that have been sent to us so far. First, there is her profile, and then the announcement.

 

Writer Kamila Shamsie, 33, is one of Pakistan’s most promising literary talents. First published at the age of 25, she now has four highly acclaimed books to her credit. She also received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literature in Pakistan in 1999.

Kamila’s four published novels – ‘In the City by the Sea’ (1998), ‘Salt and Saffron’ (2000), ‘Kartography’ (2002), and ‘Broken Verses’ (2005) – were written back to back, and each novel has spilled over into the other. She was still in grad school when she was revising the first, writing the second, and had already written the short story that grew into ‘Kartography’. As she worked on one novel, she would think that an idea could be worked on more. That would turn into the next novel. ‘Broken Verses’ coincided with 9/11, and US publishers didn’t want to buy it.

She had fallen into habits of writing – for example, “this generational thing”. In each of her novels, a younger generation figures out the secrets of the older one, but this was really a solution to a technical problem – a novel requires conflict, a secret is a good way to do it.

http://www.boloji.com/wfs5/wfs859.htm

 

Dear All,

The sensational contemporary  English writer Kamila Shamise is coming to LUMS for the launch of her latest book , “Burnt Shadows”. Sweeping in its scope and mesmerizing in its evocation of time and place, Burnt Shadows is an epic narrative of disasters evaded and confronted, loyalties offered and repaid, and loves rewarded and betrayed.

Date: Monday, 9th January 2009
Time: 5pm

Venue : TBA

The launch is open to all (you can invite your non-LUMINITE friends and family )

Best,

LUMS Literary Society

“In a split second, the world turns white. In the next, it explodes with the sound of fire and the horror of realization. In the numbing aftermath of a bomb that obliterates everything she has known, all that remains are the bird-shaped burns on her back, an indelible reminder of the world she has lost. In search of new beginnings, she travels to Delhi ….” ~ an excerpt from the book

BAY RANG: A Documentary So Hot, No One Dares to Air

Some time back, around 2 or three years, I remember reading few books on suggestion from a very close friend of mine. we were discussing diversity at that time. That dear friend not only gave me a reading list but was kind enough to share two books with me. One was Taboo by Dr. Fouzia Saeed and the other was Between Chaddor and the Market by Jasmin Mirza. Book Review here

My first reaction was shock. yes, shock is the word that almost defines what i felt for days after reading those books. During my 8 years in corporate sector, I had an opportunity to live and work with people from different parts of the world. I attended training and seminars on issue of workplace diversity and gender issues. Even then this was too big a cultural shock for me to absorb.

Can people living in the same city  be so different and isolated in their values? Can all of this still be happening in modern times? Questions, questions and more questions I was left with. The adventure boy inside me wanted me to check out the Mohalla first hand. And I did. not once but three times but in none of those trips, I was able to verify the detailed descriptions of the sub-culture as defined in the books.

First trip was during day time and second one was in Moharram, so the bazaar was not open and all i saw was just the shops and ordinary people. I was impressed with the architecture of inner city though.  In the last trip, I got a glimpse of reality. It was at perfect time. 1 A.M. and I saw the same visuals as described in the books and as you will see in the documentary below. Since, I went alone, I did not dare to enter any of the so called “Office”.  Only few friends know what happened that night.

This documentary came as a surprise. It verified the contents of the books above and contains real truth about the people who frequent these tawaifs. the interview of the police office in charge is really interesting. This documentary was originally made for TV One but they did not dare to air it. so some one published it on internet. It is a real eye opener. It shows a face of our society, no one even wants mention. Download and save this as PTA might ban these URLs too. as it contains some politically radioactive content. Here is the excerpt from the blog where I originally found the links to these Youtube.com videos.

These book can be bought from here or here, both books were published by Oxford University Press and thus they should be available at FerozSons on The MALL.

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