Blog

Cultural Gap
02/01/2020

FOR the state, NGOs, donor agencies and multilateral institutions, culture is a segregated affair, perceived as a ‘set of things’ requiring sectoral interventions as in music, the arts and literature. Even Unesco, whose mandate it is to raise awareness of the rich and diverse mesh of culture, has invested only in select domains of Pakistan’s cultural heritage. The concept of culture remains limited to heritage, aesthetics and art, and its...

Signs Of The Times
02/01/2020

Informal signage, meant to inform Rawalpindi’s residents and those who may be visiting, offer more than just guidance or instructions: they offer us a window into civic life in the garrison city. One can see where the municipality falls short of its targets and where there is a greater underlying civic problem; but only if you read the signs right. The inscription on the stairs of the Purana Qila Mosque may read ‘Note: Do not put shoes on the...

Disseminating The Importance Of Census
02/01/2020

After a lapse of 19 years, Pakistan’s 9th census began last week, amid controversies.Not only various political parties have petitioned to the courts for rectifying the errors in the census but also civil society organisations have raised concerns about the way the census is being conducted. However, the electronic media and the press are sporadically reporting with arudimentary understanding of the census, whose implications for the country are as...

Rawalpindi By Heart
02/01/2020

Having lived and loved the splendors of the Mughal and British Raj, that adorns the city scape of Lahore, and immersed in the mystique of Lahore the Great, I had shared the wisdom of my peers, that Rawalpindi was merely a garrison town, devoid of any assets of historical or cultural value. Perhaps, its nondescript past is aptly reflected in the shorter version of its name, Pindi, as it is commonly called, translated in Potoharilanguage, as a village....

Schooling Peace
02/01/2020

As part of my professional commitments, I have recently had the pleasure of documenting natural and cultural heritage in Dera Ismail Khan (DIK) district where I also conducted workshops with school teachers. DIK is considered to be one of the most underdeveloped and impoverished districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. A volatile security situation due to the region’s proximity to the restive Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which have...

Hidden Costs Of Orange Line Train
02/01/2020

If the much-awaited decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the Panama Leaks case is being portrayed as a historical verdict that will lead to accountability of the highest public office of the state, then, the decision of the highest court of law in the Orange Line Metro Train case can expected to be a landmark judgment for upholding the fundamental principles of heritage preservation and participatory development in Pakistan. With the start...

A Citizen Led Movement Needed To Fix Society
02/01/2020

The mob lynching of Mashal Khan, a university student in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), on trumped up charges of blasphemy has sent shock waves throughout the country. Pakistani parliament has been quick to pass a unanimous resolution condemning Mashal Khan’s murder and Supreme Court has taken a suo moto notice of the barbaric act. A look at statistics pertaining to blasphemy allegations may be inexplicable with reference only to the received wisdom...

Stop Typecasting Pakistani Artists by Origin
02/01/2020

It is commonly believed that once Taj Mahal was completed, Shah Jehan ordered that the thumbs of the chief builders to be cut off, so that they may not replicate the beauty of the grand mausoleum. The urban folklore confirms a mythical belief that nothing durable and unique can be built without the creator’s self-sacrifice. But the legend also signifies the nature of imperial ambition — to use artists as instruments to glorify the deeds of the...

Debating the Devolution of HEC
02/01/2020

It is popularly believed that the regulation of higher education if devolved to the provinces will lead to slackening of checks and balances in the universities. The devolution of educational governance of the country is hyped up as fragmentation of national standards of higher education. It is also assumed that a centralised system of command and control, with Higher Education Commission (HEC) under the direct administrative control of Prime...