Masood Hasan: A man who represented all that is good and decent

Masood HasanGrieved to have had to write this. Published in The News today.

Columnist, humourist, cricket and jazz buff, advertising doyen and connoisseur of the finer things in life Masood Hasan, 72, passed away in his beloved Lahore on Sunday, June 1.

Sunday was the day of his popular column ‘Over the Top’ in the op-ed page of The News, where it has been published since the launch of weekly The News on Sunday (originally The News on Friday) in 1994. Continue reading

Want to help families displaced by the Badami Bagh attack? Here’s how…

This family refuse a tent so they can squat in front of their home. Photo: Nadia Jamil

This family refuse a tent so they can squat in front of their home. Photo: Nadia Jamil

In the midst of the despair and anger caused by the insane, cold-blooded attack on the Christians of Joseph Colony (also known as Esa Nagri), in Badami Bagh Lahore, it is heartening to see Pakistanis come together not just to unequivocally condemn the attack, but also to help those who have lost everything. Please join this effort. Friends that I trust are working with the Cecil and Iris Chaudhry Foundation, run by Cecil and Michelle, whose father the late Sqdn Ldr Cecil Chaudhry I knew as a wonderful human being, and a dedicated peace activist and educationist (although he was more famous for being a war hero). Please see below for information on how to help, as well as photos and updates. Continue reading

“They looted everything, we have nothing left”

RT @Norbalm: Where are the blasphemy charges now?

@Norbalm: Where are the blasphemy charges now?

“Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:
Had I your tongues and eyes, I’d use them so
That heaven’s vault should crack…”
King Lear

See this brief, heartbreaking video below documenting the damage done by the criminal mob at Joseph Colony, Badami Bagh, Lahore. All efforts must be made to rehabilitate them and provide them with justice. When is enough enough? Or have we still not reached the breaking point? Also see my earlier article on the ‘blasphemy’ laws and the dangers of ignoring malicious intent when accusing someone of this crime.


Joseph Colony Arson Attack from Saad Sarfraz Sheikh on Vimeo.

Planned attack on Christian properties in Lahore; protest demonstrations Sunday

Demonstration in Karachi against the attack on Christians' homes in Lahore. AP Photo/Fareed Khan

Demonstration in Karachi against the attack on Christians’ homes in Lahore. AP Photo/Fareed Khan

Another day, another bout of madness in Pakistan. On Saturday, a mob torched Christian houses in Joseph Colony in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore, after allegations of ‘blasphemy’ against one of its residents. This was clearly no spontaneous ‘riot’ but a well-planned and orchestrated move. Because of the warnings received ahead of time, the residents were evacuated so that there was no loss of life (though the alleged blasphemer’s 65-year old father was beaten up). Small mercies.

Locals say that the land mafia was behind this attack. No surprise. Malafide motives (property, debt, rivalry etc) have been behind all accusations of ‘blasphemy’ investigated so far. Continue reading

A Hundred Years of Manto

Great post by the Indian journalist and blogger Shivam Vij in Kafila.org, compiling information from several articles, interviews and videos:  ‘A Hundred Years of Manto‘. Excerpt:

Where would we be without Manto? He died in 1955 but lives on in the hearts of millions of people in both Pakistan in India because his work has by now helped generations understand, and if I may say so, come to terms with the Partition of 1947 whose ghosts haven’t left us yet. Manto’s centrality in understanding Partition remains despite a growing body of historical research on the subject…

Good news from Pakistan (besides the Oscar award): LUMS to create Abdus Salam Chair

Exciting news from Adil Najam, Vice Chancellor of LUMS – for those who don’t know him, Dr. Adil Najam was the Frederick S. Pardee Professor of Global Public Policy at Boston University and served as a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), work for which the IPCC was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore. He left BU (where his office had the most gorgeous view overlooking the Charles River) to head the Lahore University of Management Sciences. Continue reading

Once more for the Spinal Beetle and Southasia connectivity

Spinal Beetle with its Nepali eyes arrives in Pakistan

Here’s the latest report of the Southasian journey undertaken recently by my friend, civil rights activist, writer and journalist (editor Himal SouthasianKanak Mani Dixit, his wife Shanta (a teacher) and son Eelum (an actor, and yes, his name derives from ‘ilm’ which means knowledge, named by his dada, Kanak’s father who is a prominent writer).

Eelum, Kanak and Shanta Dixit: A great drive

The family started their 1100-mile odyssey in Kathmandu, Nepal, ending in Peshawar, Pakistan, to raise funds and awareness about the need for spinal injury rehabilitation. Those who have been following this issue would know that Kanak injured his spine in a trekking accident a decade ago. He survived, making a near miraculous recovery, and started the Spinal Centre Nepal in 2002, inaugurated by the late Sir Edmund Hillary. The coverage they’ve got on this journey has helped publicize their drive tremendously but the required funds have not arrived, and they are well short of their target. This is a personal appeal. Please donate what you can for this important cause. And do read this riveting account of their journey, includes important insights and information… Continue reading

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