Tag Archives: unIslamic

In Lahore – No booze, Gulberg restaurants told

rana kashif of the Daily Times reporting:

“The Gulberg Town administration has issued notices to restaurants in Gulberg, ordering them to stop serving alcohol or allow customers to bring alcohol to restaurants. Town Municipal Officer (TMO) Ali Abbas Bukhari told Daily Times on Tuesday that several upscale restaurants in Gulberg were serving alcohol. “This is an un-Islamic practice and illegal activity.” He said that the town administration had witnessed the practice and had also received complaints about alcohol being served or brought into restaurants. He did not give the names of the restaurants, but said that notices had been served to almost all restaurants. “Either stop the practice or be ready to face the law,” he added. The subject of the notice issued states ‘Perseverance of Islamic Laws and Culture’ and ends with the signature of Gulberg Town Nazim Faraz Ahmed Chaudhry. The last paragraph of the notice reads, “It has been noticed that banned drinks are being served with food to the guests in some restaurants. Such a practice is un-Islamic, immoral and causes problems for visiting families. We appreciate your esteemed organisation for cooperating with the town administration by discouraging this practice, otherwise action under the law will be initiated.” The owners and managers of some large restaurants in Gulberg denied receiving the notice, saying that they were running their businesses under the law and were not involved in any such activity. They also said that the delivery of any such notice without proper justification would be illogical. They said that their restaurants were there to serve their customers within a legal framework. “

Heera Mandi – The Dream House of the Whores

Courtesy Mayank Austen Soofi

I felt like a bridegroom who had come to pick out one of the three beautiful sisters. Sitting next to each other on a blue sofa, they blushed and coquettishly glanced at us.

An old woman with a straight back and shining-white hair sat down on the floor and talked of the heat and humidity. She had a firm, commanding voice that sliced and rebuked the air with the sharp tanginess of a most refined form of spoken Urdu.

Unlike the brightly-colored and intricately designed shalwaar kameeze (Shalwar are loose trousers and the kameeze is a long shirt) of the girls, the stern woman stood apart in an off-white dress and a white netted dupatta (a scarf or covering for the head and upper body worn by women), carefully adjusted on her head.

It seemed like a cultured Muslim family, but the girls were not sisters. They were prostitutes. The old lady was not a mother looking for suitable boys for her daughters, but a pleasure-house Madam.

We were in Heera Mandi — ‘a bazaar of diamonds’ — Pakistan’s oldest red light district.

Crossing into the Red Light

Mian Naeem, a soft-spoken Lahore-based sculptor and art-critic, had agreed to take me for an excursion to Heera Mandi, a place I particularly wished to visit especially after reading an excellent book by the British author Louise Brown, The Dancing Girls of Lahore: Selling Love and Saving Dreams in Pakistan’s Ancient Pleasure District.

I was in Pakistan to take part in a conference for a visa-free South Asia and was tied up with a series of seminars and speeches during the day. Night was the time to explore the city and Heera Mandi had to be a necessary pilgrimage. Continue reading