Holi celebrations in Lahore, Pakistan
photographed by Umar Ali
To the most stylish man and founder of Pakistan, happy birthday!
He was a visionary and at that one who had the best taste in suits and shoes. I hope we Pakistanis can remain true to his words:
“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed - that has nothing to do with the business of the State…We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State…I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in due course Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.” (August 11, 1947 address of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, to the members of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly)
Pakistan supernatural beliefs survey: 17% say they have supernatural powers
An online survey of over 500 Pakistanis revealed that 17% of respondents felt they possessed supernatural powers.
The survey conducted by The Express Tribune was completed by 522 people, a majority of whom were males (82%), located in urban Pakistan (74%), between the 18-25 (46%) and 25-40 (40%) age range. (Complete Report)
Young, talented and expressive
There is no need to lose heart. Those who believe Pakistan brims with talent may have a point, at least in the field of fine art. It’s such a heartening experience to witness an exhibition of artworks of the graduating class of 2012 of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture that opened in different sections of the institution on Monday.
The marked feature of the students’ effort, as one would expect, is the diversity of ideas and techniques. The good thing about the ‘diversity’ element is that it seems to be dictated by the heart. There are very few signs of building on pre-determined thoughts. Some students astound the viewer with their concepts and others use techniques that are quite difficult to get a grip on. (complete article)
Malala’s recovering friends
A month after the attack, which sparked a global outcry, young Shazia remained fearless and optimistic.
“Islam gives equal opportunity to males and females to get an education, so we will continue our education. Education is indispensable for both men and women as it gives awareness to mankind. I will become a doctor and serve my nation,” she told The Express Tribune.
Earlier, Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced that he would recommend the Sitara-e-Shujaat for Shazia and Kainat. (complete news)
Asma Jilani Jahangir: Why she kicks ass
- She is a leading Pakistani lawyer, advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, President Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and human rights activist, who works both in Pakistan and internationally to prevent the persecution of religious minorities, women, and exploitation of children.
- She was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief from August 2004 to July 2010 (first attached to the former Commission on Human Rights, now to the Human Rights Council). Previously, she served as the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.
- She is a founding member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and has served as Secretary-General and later Chairperson of the organization.
- Jahangir and her sister, joined with fellow activists and lawyers to form the first law firm established by women in Pakistan.
- In the same year they also helped form the Women’s Action Forum (WAF); a pressure group campaigning against Pakistan’s discriminatory legislation, most notably against the Proposed Law of Evidence, where the value of a woman’s testimony was reduced to half that of a man’s testimony, and the Hadood Ordinances, where victims of rape had to prove their innocence or else face punishment themselves.
- On February 12, 1983, the Punjab Women Lawyers Association in Lahore organised a public protest (one of its leaders was Jahangir) against the Proposed Law of Evidence, during which Jahangir and other participating WAF members were beaten, teargassed, and arrested by police.
- In 1982 Jahangir earned the nickname “little heroine” after leading a protest march in Islamabad against a decision by then-president Zia ul Haq to enforce religious laws and stated: “Family laws [which are religious laws] give women few rights” and that “They have to be reformed because Pakistan cannot live in isolation. We cannot remain shackled while other women progress.”
- In 1986 Jahangir and Hina set up AGHS Legal Aid, the first free legal aid centre in Pakistan. The AGHS Legal Aid Cell in Lahore also runs a shelter for women, called ‘Dastak’.
- She won the Supreme Court Bar Association election by defeating her competitor Ahmed Awais and securing 834 of total votes and became the first ever women President of SCBA in the history of Pakistan.
She has recived; the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders as well as the Ramon Magsaysay Award for “greatness of spirit shown in service of the people”, the Millennium prize, by UNIFEM (the United Nations Development Fund for Women) in collaboration with the non-governmental organisation International Alert, the Freedom of Worship Medal for her human rights and religious freedom activism in a ceremony held in the Nieuwe Kerk in Holland, the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian award of Pakistan and the 2010 UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights, recognizing her efforts as a human rights defender. (via womenwhokickass)
Ancient tombs discovered in Pakistan’s Swat (AFP)
Italian archaeologists say they have discovered a cemetery that reveals complex funeral rites dating back more than 3,000 years in Pakistan’s Swat valley, recently controlled by the Taliban.
The Italian mission began digging in the 1950s at Udegram, a site of Buddhist treasures in Swat, the northwestern district formerly known as the Switzerland of Pakistan for its stunning mountains, valleys and rivers.
Archaeologists were aware of a pre-Buddhist grave site in Udegram, but only recently discovered the collection of almost 30 graves, tightly clustered and partially overlapping.
“Some graves had a stone wall, others were protected by walls and enclosures in beaten clay,” Luca Maria Olivieri, head of the Italian mission, told AFP.
“The cemetery… seems to have been used between the end of the second millennium BCE and the first half of the first millennium BCE,” he added.
Renowned columnist Ardeshir Cowasjee passes away
Indian, Pakistani guards exchange Diwali sweets
Border Security Force (BSF) officials on Tuesday exchanged sweets with Pakistan Rangers at the India-Pakistan land border check post to mark Diwali.
BSF officials went up to the zero line and offered sweets to their counterparts in Pakistan Rangers. The border check post lies around 30 kilometres from Amritsar.
The Pakistani side also offered sweets to the BSF. Officials from both sides shook hands and greeted each other.
“The BSF shared sweets with our Pakistan counterparts on the occasion of Diwali. They also greeted us,” a BSF official said at Attari. (via)
Eid Mubarak, Şeker Bayramı and Hari Raya Aidilfitri to Muslims all around the world. We’d be celebrating Eid tomorrow in Pakistan but as a friend just said, Eid Greetings (+/- few days) to everyone!
Wish you and your family a wonderful time together, and may we can carry this feeling of sacrifice and compassion forward for next 11 months! amen. (via umalik)
*picture above is from Wazir Khan mosque, Lahore.