Tag Archives: Hall Road

Stop Lahore’s Talibanisation

Raza Rumi

The worst has happened. Data Darbar, which defined the contours of peaceful Islam for a millennium, has been desecrated in Lahore. Its markets have been attacked and its minorities live in fear after the Ahmadi massacre. Last year, the petrified traders of Lahore’s Hall Road burnt objectionable CDs after receiving threats from extremists. A year later, low-intensity blasts took place in the crowded Hall Road — a market for electronics and kosher and non-kosher DVDs. This week, two internet cafes were targeted in densely populated areas of Lahore and some time back Peeru’s was also bombed. Reports have suggested that the cafes had received threats from unidentifiable numbers asking them to stop their businesses as they were turning into hubs of ‘immoral activities’. Just because no one died there, media attention has been patchy. A younger female colleague told me how tailors are hesitant to take orders for sleeveless shirts and other designs that may offend the purist dress code. The militants are employing tactics of social control used in Swat. It cannot be brushed under the carpet anymore. Prior to 1947, Lahore was a cosmopolitan city with a discrete culture of inter-faith harmony, with a reputation for the best education and socio-cultural movements. After its provincialisation, the resilient city re-emerged as a vibrant centre of progressive politics, avant-garde art and extraordinary literature. Since the 1980s, Lahore is a city with formidable infrastructure and boasts of great public spaces, especially parks. The innate openness and tolerance of this metropolis could not be subjugated by growing extremism. Continue reading

Terrible news from Lahore – extremists are back in action

Raza Rumi

Two horrific incidents took place in Lahore today. First, the blasts in the busiest of streets – Hall Road frequented by thousands of people. The moral brigade had been objecting to and threatening the shop-owners against selling CDs, DVDs as they somehow lead to decline in morals and of course challenge the puritanical worldview of the Islamists. Now, a warning was sent through two low intensity blasts. Lahore’s Talibanisation nightmare might be turning into a reality.

Second, the famous Shezan brand is under attack – the reason: it is owned by an Ahmedi. After killing them in the villages and their places of worship, their right to engage in commerce (a basic right by the way) is being violated. This persecuted community has never been targetted so badly in the recent years.

Lahore – a peaceful, towering cultural centre of yore is now under direct attack by retrogressive forces while the Punjabis continue to deny the existence of religious extremism in their midst. When will we wake up – once the city is destroyed?

Markets, mosques and roads are becoming unsafe while we sit and watch the reality horror shows in our homes. How long will the homes be safe?

Express-Tribune reports: LAHORE: Twin low intensity bomb blasts hit a music and CD market in Lahore on Saturday evening, injuring 11 people and creating panic in the area, police said. Continue reading

The beginning of the Talibanization of Lahore?

by Ahmad Rafay Alam

A significant event passed by relatively unnoticed last week when media reported that traders on Lahore’s Hall Road deliberately set alight thousands of pornographic VCDs and DVDs. The Anjuman-e-Tajiran had resolved to weed out the “objectionable” media after vendors in the area reported receiving anonymous letters and phone calls threatening them of dire consequences if the sale of such “obscene” material continued. The event was widely reported, but the obvious undercurrents did not surface. I learnt of the burning when a local TV station carried an interview of a video trader insisting only a handful of the hundreds of outlets at Lahore’s hub of trade in pirated video indulged in selling pornographic material. A study of the undercurrents of this event are quite disturbing.
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