Tag Archives: violence

Time Report on Lahore – March 30, 1953

PAKISTAN: The Mad Mullahs

For two days last week, a wild mob ruled the Pakistan city of Lahore (pop. 849,000). Surging through the streets, hungry Moslems stoned and stabbed police, burned buses and automobiles, ripped up railroad tracks, cut telegraph wires, smashed traffic lights and forcibly blackened the faces of anyone caught riding a bicycle or automobile. All shops closed and public officials fled. The city’s 300 police, disarmed by the mob, were withdrawn from the streets. All communication with the outside world was cut off.

It was a minor revolution which swept this capital of the fertile Punjab province—a revolution engineered by fanatical mullahs against the Pakistan government. Five and a half years ago, when millions of frightened refugees were pouring into newly created Pakistan, the mullahs were the people’s leaders. They had a strong voice in the government. But when the country began establishing industries, hospitals, schools and banks, the mullahs protested that these innovations clashed with Islamic law. When Pakistani women shed their veils and emerged from purdah (complete seclusion in the home), the more fanatic mullahs were outraged. When the time came for Pakistan to draw up a constitution, the mullahs demanded that it be based on the Koran. (Result: Pakistan, a nation of 76 million, is still without a constitution.) The government of Prime Minister Kwaja Nazimuddin avoided an open clash with religious leaders, but paid less attention to their counsel. Continue reading

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Third attack in Lahore – terror regime continues unabated

It was the third attack in three months in or near Lahore, the capital of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province. The bomb left a crater eight feet deep and a vista of flattened concrete and destruction. Dozens of vehicles were crumpled like paper and broken glass filled the street. The dark pink brick building of the Rescue 15 ambulance service collapsed and emergency workers dug through the debris to try to find survivors. Continue reading

Lahore is burning

Raza Rumi

[reportedly] 27 dead and dozens injured – no respite for us.

Once again, in less than a month Lahore has been ravaged by terrorists. Who said that Pakistan was a hub of terrorism – we are now the greatest victim of terror and militancy. The residents of Lahore are scared and the vibrant city seems to be enveloped in a mist of uncertainty and fear.

The Mumbai and later Lahore 3/3 model seems to be in vogue now. Extremely well trained commandos, with sophisticated weapons  and not afraid of death are let loose on the society. The media is hysterical as well and following the Indian media’s cue[s] is now a participant and embedded in the so-called operation. Continue reading

A house, Partitioned?

By Ahmad Rafay Alam

I was born into one of those families that presumes one completes their studies in a Western university.  And so it was that I found, like the many other Pakistani law students who read law in the United Kingdom, preparing for my bar qualification as a student barrister at Lincolns’ Inn.  Though the bar was dreadfully boring and, as I later discovered back home, totally irrelevant to the Pakistani legal system, I was lucky to find accommodation in the Goodenough Trust’s William Goodenough House in London’s quiet McLenburgh Square.

Under one of the terms of the trust governing the William Goodenough House, accommodation is open only to post-graduate students from outside the United Kingdom.  This was refreshing because, in place of the drunken undergraduate shenanigans common at other student accommodation, “Willie G” offered an amusing alternative in the drunken shenanigans of international post-graduate students.

Willie G had quite a few Pakistani residents.  United, I suppose, by a shared social and cultural background, we forged the type of deep friendships one forges when they live thousands of miles from home.  Of course our revelry came at the cost of our grades.  I once heard an admissions tutor comment about how it was dangerous to recruit more than a dozen Pakistanis into any academic program: “They form a cricket team and never do any work.”  Though we never formed a cricket team – a good idea, in hindsight – the sentiment echoes true enough.

It was when I was in Willie G that I met and became friends with Martand.  Martand was from India, and for a Pakistani like me he was a great way to get to know about India, the country next door that figured so prominently in defining what my country was.  At the time, I had never been to India.  I had no notion of what India was like or what Indians were like other than the opinions I’d picked up in school text books, novels, television, the press, movies.  You get the picture.  Like anyone else, I suppose, I was coloured by the prejudice of history.  In the case of India and Pakistan, nothing attracts more prejudice than the fractural events of Partition. Continue reading

Pakistan’s cultural capital loses kite festival to violence, political turmoil

LAHORE, Pakistan: Pakistan’s political turmoil and violence have claimed a high-profile cultural victim -a centuries-old kite-flying festival that draws thousands of visitors.

The Basant festival brings a springtime buzz to eastern Pakistan and its regional capital, Lahore. Officials usually relax a ban on the pastime — imposed to prevent abandoned strings that are often covered with crushed glass from slitting people’s throats.

But the festival has been canceled this year amid tensions spawned by terrorist attacks and the country’s rocky return to democracy after years of military rule.

Sohail Janjua, a city government spokesman, said the festival was first postponed due to national mourning for assassinated ex-leader Benazir Bhutto, then because of Feb. 18 parliamentary elections.

Lahore has suffered three suicide attacks since, including two that killed 27 people on March 11, resulting in increased concerns about security.

“How can we ignore the deaths of innocent people to celebrate anything?” Janjua said.

In the past, the city’s youth have sent thousands of brightly colored kites into the sky during the festival, held on a weekend in February or March. Basant means yellow in Hindi, a reference to the mustard flowers that blossom in the region in early spring.

Crowds of Lahoris typically clamber onto rooftops to watch. Well-heeled guests from around the country and beyond pack city hotels for a few days of late-night festivities. Continue reading