By John Lancaster
The Taliban would not be amused. On a sunny winter afternoon in Lahore, the local culturati have turned out in force for the annual show at the National College of Arts. In the main courtyard young men and women mingle easily, smoking and sipping from cans of Red Bull. Some of the men sport ponytails, and one has a pierced eyebrow.
Nearby is a life-size sculpture of a couple holding hands on a swing. Inside, the image of a male torso, viewed from one angle, morphs into a female breast. Yet there is no mistaking the stamp of the subcontinent. Women wear traditional thigh-length tunics over their jeans, and some cover their hair. There are also miniature paintings, which traditionally might capture a hunting scene; here they portray other scenes, as in one bold depiction of a bearded cleric reclining on a couch in front of a bombed-out school.
The jumble of styles and influences—the stew of peoples and faiths Rudyard Kipling captured so vividly in his novel Kim—is a hallmark of Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city and capital of Punjab Province. The wealthiest and most populous of the country’s four provinces, Punjab is where East meets West and everything in between. Even the brutal and bloody partition of British India in the mid-20th century could not destroy Punjab’s cosmopolitan brio. Continue reading
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
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
Posted in Art, culture, Events, extremism, Lahore
Tagged artists, arts, Lahore, Music, Taliban, theater, threats
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
Posted in extremism, Lahore, Talibanisation, violence
Tagged extremism, FIA, Lahore, Pakistan, Police, suicide attack, Taliban, terrorism
Pamela Constable, The Washington Post
LAHORE, Pakistan – The modest office where Sarfraz Naeemi kept his library and received visitors seeking spiritual guidance is now a charred hole. The floor is strewn with burned pages, glass shards and ball bearings from a young suicide bomber’s lethal vest. Continue reading
Posted in Islam, Lahore
Tagged anger, Cleric, extremism, Lahore, murder, Naeemi, Pakistan, public, suicide attack, Taliban
By Frederick Kagan, Ahmad Majidyar
(The Critical Threats Project is developing a site focused specifically on the threat from al-Qaeda and Associated Movements (AQAM); until that site reaches production, related pieces will be posted on the IranTracker site.)
A group called Tehrik-e Taliban Punjab (TT Punjab) released a message on May 27 claiming credit for the suicide car-bomb attack in Lahore that killed at least 40 people and injured nearly 150, according to a translation prepared by the SITE Intel Group. The message said that the attackers struck to retaliate for the operations the Pakistani Army has been conducting against the Tehrik-e Nafaz-e Shariat-e Mohammadi (TNSM) in the Swat River Valley and elsewhere in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan. Continue reading
The assault on security force buildings in Lahore that left 27 people dead and more than 250 hurt was carried out by gunmen who fired at police before their explosives-laden van detonated.
By Alex Rodriguez
Reporting from Lahore, Pakistan — Officers guarding Pakistani police and intelligence agencies saw the gunmen jump out of the white van that had stopped at their gate. Continue reading
The horrific tragedy in Lahore has done little to either bring the country together. There is the usual condemnation; people voice their anger, especially if they are in front of the camera or talking to a reporter. The talking heads on television channels repeat the same mantra – India with the help of Israel and America wants to destabilize Pakistan because of its nuclear capabilities, etc. In other words, nothing new in analyzing the causes and no effort to actually examine internal facts that might be a cause of suicide bombings or terrorists acts in the country. Continue reading
* PPP rally welcomes military operation in troubled areas of Swat
* Similar rallies staged in major cities of Punjab
Daily Times Staff Report
LAHORE: The Taliban are the enemy of Pakistan, and we have to save the coming generations from their clutches, said the participants of a rally arranged by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Friday.
The rally, organised to condemn the Taliban insurgency and express support for the army, started from Nasir Bagh and ended at Faisal Chowk in front of the Punjab Assembly building. Several PPP leaders, political workers, and the general public participated in the rally. Continue reading
‘Lahore is a city that has to fight for its cultural survival. The growing influence of the Taliban, although hundreds of kilometres to the north-west, has been mirrored by a more insidious, creeping attack on culture throughout the country. On Jan 2, the bullet-ridden body of Shabana Gul, a dancing girl, was dumped in the centre of Mingora, the north-western district of Swat’s main town.But the growing cultural conservatism has had more subtle reverberations.In December, Lahore’s High Court barred the graceful and elaborate dancing girls, who first developed in the Moghal courts 400 years ago, from performing in public, on the grounds that they were too sexually explicit.
By Ali Dayan Hasan
At my daughter’s annual school parent’s day event in Lahore last month, the tension was palpable. Bewildered at the speed with which this innocuous annual event had transformed into a maximum security operation, anxious parents filed in their hundreds past security guards, metal detectors and bag searches into Theatre Number Two of the Alhamra Cultural Complex – a modernist structure that the citizens of Lahore would tell you proudly is amongst the largest public-funded exhibition and theatre complexes in Asia. They were there to see their children, none older than seven, perform the usual amalgam of tableaux on “Peoples and Festivals of the World”, a smattering of Kathak – a North Indian classical dance, a “Chinese dance” performance and, of course, my daughter’s favorite – a Disney-esque version of the Bangles hit – “Walk Like an Egyptian.” The event began, as always, with recitation from the Quran. Tense primary school teachers grappled with security issues and as I walked in; a very public stand-off between a security posse comprising teachers, local police and plain clothes personnel and a random man who was on the premises for “no known reason” was underway. The man was eventually deemed harmless and let go but there was no parent who entered that hall without making note of the exits. Two hours later, as we filed out, I and virtually every relieved parent thought and said the same thing: “One more year like the last one and next year there will be no Parents Day. Another month or two like the previous ones and there might be no school left open.”
Since December 27, 2007 – the dreadful winter’s day when streets across Pakistan fell silent in the aftermath of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistanis have understood and expressed in varying degrees, or disagreed in desperate denial, that the Islamization project unleashed by the United States and implemented by the Pakistani military since 1979 had turned on its creators, snarling at the United States, devouring Pakistan and exposing its army for the megalomaniac but intensely incompetent institution that it is. And the narrative of impending disaster, brutal dispossession and disembodied lives in exile for stateless citizens harking back pathetically to a lost life, hitherto the preserve of Palestinians and Cubans, Afghans, Somalis and the ethnic mosaic of the Balkans, beckons to Pakistanis as well. One could argue that Pakistanis are scared of a future comprising daily doses of floggings, beheadings, daisy cutters and drones. They might be too. But no one has had time to think that far ahead. The truth is more prosaic: After all, if your children cannot go to school, the future has ceased to be. And when societies cannot have a future, they die. Continue reading
Posted in Education, extremism, Lahore, political, Talibanisation, violence
Tagged Balochistan, child, Education, Karachi, Lahore, Mohammad, Music, NWFP, Pakistan, parent, Punjab, schools, Sindh, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, States, Sufi, Taliban, United, US
Zinda dilaan-e-Lahore say no to Talibanisation, reports Raza Rumi
Never before have we citizens been traumatised with an uncertain future and the knocks of destruction at our door as is the case in the year 2009. The celebrated twenty first century has, if nothing else, blown the contradictions of Pakistani society and state right into our faces. One hundred and eighty million people cannot be spectators to the imperial great games and a callous state that gropes in the dark trying to locate the ‘enemy’ outside, instead of looking into its own crevices and cracks.
Not that Lahore has been a haven of peace in recent years – the inequities, the crime levels have been on the rise. However, March 2009 witnessed two Continue reading
Posted in Lahore
Tagged civil society, extremism, flogging, Lahore, Pakistan, peace, rally, Swat, Taliban, terror, terrorism
Some believe that Pakistan’s mystic, non-violent Islam can be used as a defence against extremism (Photos: Kamil Dayan Khan)
It’s one o’clock in the morning and the night is pounding with hypnotic rhythms, the air thick with the smoke of incense, laced with dope.
I’m squeezed into a corner of the upper courtyard at the shrine of Baba Shah Jamal in Lahore, famous for its Thursday night drumming sessions. Continue reading
Posted in Lahore, shrines, Sufi
Tagged baba, dergah, Islam, Lahore, Punjab, Shah Jamal, shrine, Sufism, Taliban
Patrick Cockburn and Issam Ahmed in Lahore
Friday, 12 December 2008
The dancing girls of Lahore, the cultural capital of Pakistan, are on strike in protest against the tide of Talibanisation that is threatening to destroy an art form that has flourished since the Mughal empire.
The strike, which is supported by the theatres where they perform, was sparked by the decision of Lahore High Court last month to ban the Mujra, the graceful and elaborate dance first developed in the Mughal courts 400 years ago, on the grounds that it is too sexually explicit. Continue reading
Posted in sex, society, Talibanisation, Urban, Walled City, Women
Tagged dancing, girls, Heera, Islam, Lahore, Mandi, mujra, prostitutes, prostitution, sex, Taliban
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.