Author Archives: malikfz

TALIBAN THREATS ASIDE, THE SHOW GOES ON IN LAHORE

Despite the threats from Taliban, the show goes on in Lahore. Click on the link below to watch an interesting report about threats and difficulties faced by artists and theater workshops. Must watch:  http://vjmovement.com/truth/542

I’ve gone back to childhood in Lahore: Artist Krishen Khanna

In his new series of works, leading Indian contemporary artist Krishen Khanna has travelled back in time to his days in pre-partition Lahore, which today lies in Pakistan.
“They are mostly a recollection of events that I have seen in my early childhood – when tension between the British rulers and Indian freedom fighters was escalating,” Delhi-based Khanna told IANS in an interview.
The 84-year-old artist is preparing for a retrospective exhibition at the Lalit Kala Akademi Jan 23 to be organised by the Mumbai-based online gallery Saffronart.
Khanna has completed five large format oil compositions in monochrome, which he says are an extension of his memories of Maclagan Road in Lahore, where he lived in a cosmopolitan neighbourhood “with Parsis, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims”. Continue reading

A singing Romanian gypsy falls in love with Lahore

European artist fears terrorism will shatter her dreams

* Jina Rubik says Pakistan cultural heart of subcontinent, suffering because of insecurity

By Afnan Khan

LAHORE: A European artist has found herself trapped between her passion to learn and promote music and performing arts of the subcontinent, and the current downfall of arts and culture due to terrorism in Pakistan. Continue reading

Hundreds of parks now victims of PHA neglect

By Nauman Tasleem

LAHORE: The Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) is neglecting hundreds of small parks in different parts of the city.

The authority has been focusing on 600 parks, including a few main public places, while ignoring the remaining 400 situated in different localities of the city. The PHA was established in 1998 with the objective of making the city “clean and beautiful”. The authority works on the parks and grounds of housing schemes approved by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA). The PHA is neglecting a little under half of around 1,000 parks in the city, leaving most of them in an abysmal state. Continue reading

Say a little a prayer for Lahore

 

By Ahmad Rafay Alam
The only thing as incredulous as the recent announcement by the Government of Punjab — it intention to construct a highway through the heart of Lahore — was the recent statement of the CEO of Fashion Pakistan Week that their glorified display of clothes was a “gesture of defiance towards the Taliban.”
Our fashion industry is as much of an industry as the Holy Roman empire was holy, Roman or an empire. Our designers are talented without doubt; but to suggest that parading scantily clad men and women down a runway behind the bunkers and barricades of a five-star hotel in Karachi is an act of defiance is, well, really stretching the limits to which the “security situation” can make a fool out of us. Continue reading

A HIGHER LOVE

Posted by Nizam-un-Nisa Ayeda Naqvi on November 12, 2009

Not too far from where I live, in Lahore, Pakistan, is a little shrine. It is not the mausoleum of a famous poet or a Sufi saint, but the resting place of two star-crossed lovers who were denied the sanctity of marriage by their society almost five hundred years ago.

And yet this tomb is treated with the same reverence and etiquette as the shrines of any of the great mystics that dot the landscape here. In fact, if the visitors’ emotions are anything to go by, this shrine seems to have unparalleled power, for on any given day, devotees can be seen sitting in corners of the marble mausoleum, sobbing softly as they contemplate the tragic story of the beautiful Heer and the devastated Ranjha. Continue reading

Lahore Coffee House

Raza Rumi (published in The Friday Times)

Before his death in July 2009, KK Aziz had accomplished one mission
that he had set for himself, i.e. to write about the Lahore Coffee
House, the glorious nursery of ideas. Luckily, despite his failing
health, Aziz finished a draft that was meant to be a shining part of
his autobiographical kaleidoscope. “The Coffee House of Lahore: A
Memoir, 1942-57” was published in 2008 and Aziz, in the opening
chapters, tells us about the genesis of his passion to document this
memorable phase of our contemporary history. Continue reading

Lahori malangs shine at SAARC festival in Chandigarh

From Shahzada Irfan

CHANDIGARH, India:  A thunderous applause and endless admiration followed the dhamal performance of malangs from the shrine of sufi poet Shah Husain in Lahore, in the city’s Tagore Hall on Saturday.
The malangs, who came here to participate in the second SAARC Folklore Festival, have become an instant hit and are being requested by the organisers for repeat performances, on public’s request. Continue reading

What’s Not in This Portrait

By MELIK KAYLAN

The overriding question you will likely take into the Asia Society’s show of Pakistani artists is, “What do they think of what’s happening to their country?” How do artists address the Islamist violence in their midst—and if they don’t address it, why not? How freely can they treat such issues without fear of reprisal? What kind of art flourishes in such surroundings? Continue reading

Pakistan police targeted as attacks kill 15

By Mubasher Bukhari

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) – Gunmen attacked police offices in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Thursday and a car bomb exploded outside another in the northwest, killing at least 15 people after a week of violence in which more than 100 people died. Continue reading

Indo-Pak Sikhs mark birth anniversary of fourth Guru

LAHORE: About 500 Sikh pilgrims from neighbouring India and hundreds others from across Pakistan, gathered in the eastern city of Lahore on Friday to mark the 475th birth anniversary of Guru Ram Das, the fourth great Guru (spiritual leader) of Sikhs. Continue reading

Merchant collection nets £653,000, necklace at £55,200

Oct. 8: Indian-born producer-director Ismail Merchant’s personal art collection sold for £653,000 at an auction by Christie’s in London.

The highest price was paid for the painting by Hungarian artist August Theodor Schoefft, entitled The Thugs of India halt at the shrine of Ganesh, which was sold for £91,250 to a private British collector. The unusually large painting was estimated to sell for £70,000-100,000. Continue reading

NECKLACE OWNED BY WIFE OF THE LAST SIKH RULER, THE LION OF THE PUNJAB, FOR SALE AT BONHAMS

An important 19TH Century emerald and seed-pearl Necklace from the Lahore Treasury, reputedly worn by Maharani Jindan Kaur wife of Ranjit Singh, the Lion of the Punjab (1780–1839), is for sale in Bonhams next Indian and Islamic sale on 8th October 2009 in New Bond Street.

The necklace has six polished emerald beads, one later converted to a pendant, each bead gold-mounted and fringed with seed-pearl drop tassels, fastened with a gold clasp. It comes with a fitted cloth covered case, the inside of the lid inscribed: “From the Collection of the Court of Lahore formed by HH The Maharajah Runjeet Singh & lastly worn by Her Highness The Late Maharanee Jeddan Kower” It is estimated to sell for £25,000-35,000. Continue reading

Lahore Arts Council to host international moot

LAHORE: The Lahore Arts Council (LAC) will host an International Literary and Cultural Conference in the second week of November. Addressing a meeting on Tuesday to review administrative arrangements for the conference, LAC Chairman Ataul Haq Qasmi said it was part of the council’s efforts to promote literary and cultural activities. Internationally-acclaimed writers and critics would present their essays in the conference. Indian writers had also been invited, which would help strengthen relations between the two neighbouring countries Continue reading

Shalamar conservation

Dawn Editorial

The news of the completion of some conservation work by Unesco at the historical Shalamar Gardens, Lahore, is nothing short of exhilarating. Continue reading

Lahore Calling

These are prolific, topical times for Pakistani fiction. Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, published in early 2007, was the first of the recent bloom. Hamid’s unnerving novella, about a Princeton grad who grows a beard, quits his fancy New York consulting job and returns home to Lahore after 9/11, was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Mohammed Hanif’s 2008 novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes, based on the 1988 plane crash that killed General Zia ul-Haq, was a finalist for the Guardian first-book award. And Daniyal Mueenuddin’s superb In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, a sage, Chekhovian collection of tales set in rural Punjab, has been wowing critics since publication in February. Ali Sethi’s hefty novel The Wish Maker, set mostly in Lahore during the 1990s and early 2000s, is also certain to keep the critics talking.
Sethi’s engrossing if uneven debut is written in astoundingly assured prose that belies the author’s youth (he is 25), particularly in his throbbing takes of contemporary Lahore, where he grew up and returned to after his undergrad years at Harvard. He describes everything from the “mewl of bargainers” at a fabric shop to card games played by bored guards at gated homes like the one in which middle-class narrator Zaki Shirazi lives. Also in the house are three related women whose lives mirror the tottering arc of recent Pakistani history — from partition to the bruised Bhutto years, caught between purdah and leggy Jane Fonda workout tapes, Suzuki Swifts and donkey carts. They are Zaki’s grasping grandmother Daadi; his widowed mom Zakia, editor of a progressive women’s magazine that criticizes the government and runs interviews with acid-attack victims; and Zaki’s teenage cousin Samar Api, who is on a lame quest to find an Amitabh Bachchan to sweep her off her feet.
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The novel (national epic, family saga and testy teen drama knotted into one) meanders — including an abrupt jaunt to Granada, where Zakia and Zaki vacation just so, it seems, Sethi can make a point about the high potential of Islamic culture. And it’s burdened by clichés: the love of all things Bollywood; mingy mothers-in-law; the kid who escapes to an American university. Still, Sethi’s sharp eye, worthy of being an entomologist’s, makes the book a steadily absorbing read, all 400-plus pages of it. Recollecting his first day at a private boy’s academy, Zaki remembers of a classroom: “A dead wasp lay on its back in a corner of the windowsill with its legs curled up. It had wandered in past the mesh and never found its way out.” It’s a muted metaphor not just for Zaki but for Pakistan as a whole. It’s this kind of nuanced detail in The Wish Maker, moreover, that leaves you wishing for much more from Sethi, whose buzzing talent is unmistakableThese are prolific, topical times for Pakistani fiction. Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, published in early 2007, was the first of the recent bloom. Hamid’s unnerving novella, about a Princeton grad who grows a beard, quits his fancy New York consulting job and returns home to Lahore after 9/11, was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Mohammed Hanif’s 2008 novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes, based on the 1988 plane crash that killed General Zia ul-Haq, was a finalist for the Guardian first-book award. And Daniyal Mueenuddin’s superb In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, a sage, Chekhovian collection of tales set in rural Punjab, has been wowing critics since publication in February. Ali Sethi’s hefty novel The Wish Maker, set mostly in Lahore during the 1990s and early 2000s, is also certain to keep the critics talking.

By TIM KINDSETH

Sethi’s engrossing if uneven debut is written in astoundingly assured prose that belies the author’s youth (he is 25), particularly in his throbbing takes of contemporary Lahore, where he grew up and returned to after his undergrad years at Harvard. He describes everything from the “mewl of bargainers” at a fabric shop to card games played by bored guards at gated homes like the one in which middle-class narrator Zaki Shirazi lives. Continue reading

Pakistan: The lost voices of the middle class

By Tom Hussein

In early June, four of Lahore’s leading medical professionals congregated at the Punjab Club, a recreational retreat for the city’s educated elite, to discuss the future with a former colleague visiting from Australia.

The discussion, held over tea and sandwiches served by waiters in turbans and colonial-style white uniforms, centred on the visitor’s experience of his transition from being one of Lahore’s most fêted doctors, to a respected, but otherwise ordinary member of the Melbourne medical community. Continue reading

Prisoner secures second position in general group

RAWALPINDI: A jail inmate secured second position in Rawalpindi Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education’s (RBISE) Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Annual Examination 2009. Qaisar Nadeem S/o Muhammad Ashraf (Roll No 186251), Barrack No 5/8, Central Jail Adiala, Rawalpindi appeared in general group boys in the examination Continue reading

Pakistan’s Lahore Zoo has more than its share of problems

Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times
At the Lahore Zoo, the largest zoo in Pakistan, the animals are suffering due to mismanagement and inhumane treatment., according to nature lovers and former board members. The zoo hasn’t invested in a pharmacy, sick bay, examination room, X-ray machine, vaccination schedules or ultrasound equipment.
Critics say mismanagement and inhumane treatment jeopardize the animals there. Now, the zoo is also grappling with a smuggling scandal involving white tigers and the aftermath of a suicide attack.
By Mark Magnier
August 2, 2009
Reporting from Lahore, Pakistan — It’s been battered by a suicide attack, residents are traumatized, and officials have been sharply criticized for failing to provide clean water, decent food or basic healthcare.
A community in Pakistan’s troubled frontier area? A camp for displaced people fleeing the fighting in the Swat Valley?
No, the Lahore Zoo.
Nature lovers and former board members say a long history of mismanagement and inhumane treatment at the 137-year-old zoo jeopardizes the animals it’s supposed to protect.
“If all this is not fraud and misuse of office, I don’t know what is,” said Masood Hasan, an advertising executive and former member of the Lahore Zoo Management Committee. “It might not be a bad idea to . . . put all the officials inside cages.”
The latest problem to hit the troubled institution is a smuggling scandal involving two white tigers, which were allegedly imported from Indonesia a few months ago without the permits required to move endangered species internationally.
According to local news reports, the zoo applied for various permits retroactively after agreeing to pay about $47,000 per tiger, a hefty markup from the importer’s cost of $1,250.
An inquiry will try to determine what role the zoo, importer and middlemen played, and whether bribes were paid, but Hasan said he didn’t expect much to come of it.
Zoo-goers didn’t seem particularly surprised by the allegations.
“If there’s corruption, that’s very bad,” said Ayaz Ahmed, 56, a retired businessman, in front of the tiger cage with his grandchildren. “Then again, corruption is everywhere in Pakistan, so why wouldn’t it involve the animals as well?”
The two female white tigers recline listlessly in the 100-degree heat until a keeper pokes at them with a steel rod to get them to look up for the crowd, prompting an angry growl. There’s no air conditioning, only a device that blows air through a wet rag into their cage.
“Tigers became extinct in Pakistan in 1886,” a sign reads.
Although tigers prefer solitude, the two majestic animals are crammed into a 16-foot-by- 20-foot steel-and-concrete cage. Next door, an even more crowded enclosure holds four adult lions.
Until the smuggling investigation wraps up, the two tigers can’t leave their cage even to stretch their legs. “That would require too many approvals,” said Saman Bhatti, the zoo’s lone veterinarian.
Critics say the zoo has a pattern of acquiring exotic animals — which are then neglected — to boost revenue that isn’t well accounted for. Some also question an official policy of auctioning off hides, horns and other body parts from animals that died naturally.
“It’s like a concentration camp,” said Shaista Sonnu, a University of the Punjab professor and former board member. “It’s absolutely criminal, a litany of misery and torture overseen by flunkies.”
A few hundred feet from the tigers, a puma paces, her left eye swollen, sightless and milky blue. A male fought with her before the zoo acquired her, said Bhatti, and the zoo now wants a refund from the seller, a private collector.
Officials have promised for years that the infrastructure would be improved once a $250,000 master plan, first outlined in 2005, was implemented. But the years drag on, as turf wars rage and egos clash over the plan’s structure and design, critics say.
“I wouldn’t mind if they took most of the money, provided some of it went to the animals,” Hasan said. “But almost none does.”
Amusement parks, puppet shows, gift shops, restaurants and cafeterias, night sessions with music and disco-style lighting, a mosque and a multi-story building are among the proposed improvements, most of which would further reduce space for the animals in a zoo where 1,100 animals are packed into 16 acres. In comparison, the Los Angeles Zoo has about the same number of animals on more than 100 acres.
“It’s crazy, very out of place,” said Shoaib Ahmed, wildlife reporter with the newspaper Dawn.
Meanwhile, the zoo hasn’t invested in a pharmacy, sick bay, examination room, X-ray machine, vaccination schedules or ultrasound equipment. Roofs collapse, moats crumble, and the crowded cages foster disease and stress. Basic fixes are put off, the critics say.
Zoo Director Zafar Shah said he took the job only a few months ago and he hopes to improve conditions.
Shah declined to comment on corruption or smuggling allegations, noting that the tiger investigation was underway. “Many of these deaths are an old story,” he said. “Accidents happen.”
Tauqeer Shah, a hunter, wildlife farm owner and longtime zoo board member, said the inquiry in the tiger-smuggling case will show that the zoo is blameless.
The animals are in good health, he said, bigger cages are planned, more veterinarian equipment is expected soon, and the theft of meat and vegetables earmarked for animals has been addressed. “Things have improved a lot,” he said. “No one can take one banana out of the zoo now.”
In a corner of the zoo housing the administration buildings, doors are ajar, windows are blown out and walls battered. Adding to its many challenges, the zoo was hit in late May by a suicide attack targeting Pakistan’s premier spy agency in an adjoining complex.
For more than 30 minutes, veterinarian Bhatti and others cowered as a gun fight raged several feet away. When the militants detonated a car bomb, the blast killed a deer, blew open pens, sent terrified animals fleeing and embedded metal shards in trees.
Less visible but no less significant was the anguish that the animals suffered, Bhatti said. Most didn’t eat for days, with many still showing signs of stress more than a month later.
In a cramped office stuffed with papers, medicine bottles, hypodermics and posters of birds and turtles, Bhatti fielded a stream of requests to look at sick animals, check the shedding horns on one, attend to a newborn.
Before she was hired two years ago, shortly after graduation, the zoo had no trained vet. Bhatti clearly loves the animals, scratching the rhino’s horns and petting the monkeys during a walkabout. But handling so many alone is a lot for one inexperienced veterinarian. “It’s not a one-person job,” she said.
Some wonder why Pakistan should worry about animals when people are dying daily in militant attacks, but they’re missing the point, animal lovers said.
It’s about core values and the soul of a nation, Hasan said, paraphrasing Mohandas Gandhi’s line that a nation’s worth can be judged by how it looks after its animals: “If a society has allowed its people to descend into hell, why must the animals follow suit?”
mark.magnier@latimes.Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

At the Lahore Zoo, the largest zoo in Pakistan, the animals are suffering due to mismanagement and inhumane treatment., according to nature lovers and former board members. The zoo hasn’t invested in a pharmacy, sick bay, examination room, X-ray machine, vaccination schedules or ultrasound equipment. Continue reading

A passage from Bapsi Sidwas book : Beloved City

For, above all, Lahore is a city of poets. Not just giants like Allama Iqbal or Faiz Ahmed Faiz, but a constellation of poets. Given half a chance, the average Lahori breaks into a couplet from an Urdu ghazal, or from Madho Lal Hussain or Bulleh Shah’s mystical Punjabi verse and readily confesses to writing poetry. But if I toss up the word “Lahore” and close my eyes, the city conjures up gardens and fragrances. Continue reading