Category Archives: media

Dateline Liberty Chowk Lahore

This article was originally posted on The Nation

salman taseer6

By Marvi Sirmed

If you want to commit suicide, all you have to do is defend a persecuted non-Muslim in a case of alleged blasphemy. The slain Governor of the Punjab decided to stand up for the rights of a downtrodden woman from the persecuted Christian community booked under a case of purported blasphemy. He became liable to be killed.
So told us scores of Barelvi (and some Shia) ‘muftis’ and a TV anchor-lady back in 2009. Taking an informed and brave decision, Taseer chose to go ahead with the cause. Result: he lost his life, left us in obscurity to deal with the madness, the killer became a hero and a large chunk of media and so called intelligentsia busied themselves in justifying what was a brutal broad day-light murder.
Remembering him, and remembering him with reverence has been an act of resistance ever since his guard assassinated him in 2011. Like every year, this year too we planned to hold a quiet vigil in his remembrance and to pay tribute to his struggle on the day of his martyrdom. Already in Lahore for a personal trip, I thought to join fellow activists here while requesting comrades to hold similar events in Karachi and Islamabad.
We were able to pull off tribute-vigils in Mirphur Khas, Multan, Bahawalpur, Larkana and Hyderabad in addition to Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. Everywhere they went well with small chunks of progressive citizenry who have always afforded threats to their lives while standing up for the rights of weaker communities and for democracy and justice. The vigils went smoothly everywhere, even in the restive and unpredictable Karachi. Lahore became the odd-man-out. Continue reading

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Amy Herdy’s Pakistan travel diary

By Amy Herdy 

Editor’s note: Amy Herdy, a former Denver Post and Channel 9 journalist who’s currently the advisor for the University of Colorado at Boulder’sCUIndependent.com online newspaper, is in Pakistan under the auspices of the State Department. Her mission: to give students and professional journalists the tools they need to improve the media in their country. 

I am heading to Pakistan as part of the speaker program for the U.S. State Department. I am to give journalism workshops on the topics of advanced interviewing and trauma journalism.

To say you are going to Pakistan is to suddenly render people hard of hearing.
“Pakistan? PAKISTAN? You’re going to Pakistan?” is the reaction I’ve gotten from various people at least a half-dozen times this past week after being asked if I had any travel plans for the summer. Continue reading

Pakistan’s Media Crucial In Fight Against Extremists

By Madiha Sattar, HuffingtonPost Contributor

“So, it’s not okay for women to be touched by male doctors but male executioners can hold hands and slap bottoms in front of milling crowds?” asked a Lahore-based lawyer in an April 6 op-ed in Pakistan’s English-language daily The News.

“Apparently only girls must be punished for their libido. Boys, after all, become men when they can ‘tap that’.” Continue reading

Attack of the Clichéd byline

Benjamin Franklin once wrote that were only two universal constants: Death & Taxes. In Pakistan, once can safely add a third: the clichéd byline. Ever summer, for instance, you can bet your last Rupee someone will write an article on mangoes called “King of Fruit” in which Ghalib’s famed love of the tasty produce will be mentioned. Another other clichéd byline also comes every summer as a caption to a photograph showing children/women/men/birds drinking water. The caption will read: “Beating the Heat.” Classic.

I now introduce you to the third cliched byline. This one makes its annual appearance every March and is a reference to the unsolicited advice given to one J. Caesar just before some Roman Senators decided to make Swiss Cheese out of him. The award goes to Ikram Sehgal for, wait for it,

“Beware of the ides of March.”

New Lahore bookshop revives reading culture

By Kamila Hyat, for the Gulf News (April 28, 2008) 

Lahore:  For years, book lovers in Lahore, a city reputed for its literary history as well as its architectural inheritance, have mourned the apparent loss of the love of reading.

Many book shops have gradually vanished and in others, magazines have taken the place of more substantial tomes.

Teachers and parents have lamented the fact that in an age of television, DVDs, computer games and numerous other forms of jazzy electronic entertainment, children had turned away from books.

But, a single experimental idea has proved much of this conjecture about the relationship between Lahoris and books to be false.

The large Readings bookstore, which stocks row after row of used books, encyclopaedias and other literary material from the US, has within the two years or so of its existence become one of the most popular spots in the city. Continue reading

Elections 2008 in Lahore – a “money game”?

What a disturbing report from The News authored by Babar Dogar on elections in Lahore:

“THE 2008 general elections will be remembered among other things for lavish spending by affluent candidates to the extent that their rivals find it impossible to compete with them at least in terms of money.

Affluent candidates, majority to whom are of a particular political party, have openly violated the electioneering spending limit of Rs 1.5 million fixed by the Election Commission of Pakistan. Standing in elections seem to be a money game and candidates with a limited budget seem to be running campaigns lacking razzle-dazzle.

A visit to any constituency shows huge billboards of candidates greeting people. Candidates are spending millions of rupees for publicity. They have adopted various meathods such as display of billboards, airing campaign ads on cable television, distribution of pamphlets, stickers, hand bills, banners and party symbols among voters, opening of numerous election offices in each union council, serving food and refreshments to their supporters, hiring vehicles for their election campaigns and finally purchasing votes. Continue reading

Lahore’s Mehreen Syed is the Sunday Face of 2007

 By Hina Farooq

LAHORE: Amidst the pristine plainness of the stage, illumination pierced its way in hues of red, blue, yellow and green. An audience packed hall in Pearl Continental was rendered aglow and Saturday night crowned its Indigo-Sunday Face of the Year (FOTY) 2007 – Mehreen Syed.

The air breathed sophistication and class with applause, as glamorously-clad Mehreen walked on stage to be crowned by Neha, the Sunday FOTY 2006. The heart-stopping announcement was made by Mrs Zohair Khaliq of Mobilink whose words sent Mehreen’s heart apace. “I was not expecting the award,” gasped Mehreen, in her silk, black dress, as she blinked back tears of joy and awe. “I cannot believe this is me!” Continue reading