"A group of teenagers, en route to attend a rock concert, lose their way when their car runs out of fuel in the dead of night. They find themselves in an unfamiliar rural backwater where they are confronted by flesh-eating zombies and a psychotic cannibalistic killer dressed in a sheet. It could be the plot to a thousand Hollywood horror films but while these teenagers may dress, talk and smoke dope like young Americans they are in fact young Pakistanis, and the film - Zibahkhana or Hell's Ground
- is the first modern horror film to be filmed in Pakistan.
Suicide bomber kills 24 Pakistani soldiers amid fears of holy war
Following the storming
of the Red Mosque
, Islamic militants launched a deadly suicide attack, detonated a roadside bomb and fired rockets in Saturday as thousands of Pakistani troops deployed to the northwestern frontier to thwart the launch of a holy war. A Pakistani blogger writes
about the political situation in Pakistan. A timeline
of the incidents leading up to the storming of the Red Mosque.
Sir Salman Rushdie versus
the Republic of Pakistan
. Rushdie is not one to shy from confrontation (previously
) - he's a grand master of the fine art*
of the literary feud
, sparring with notables including Germaine Greer
, John Updike
, John Le Carre
and (briefly) Martin Amis
The Wagah border
, that separates the countries of Pakistan and India, is the scene of some very eccentric pomp and ceremony
during the lowering of the flags on either side, and the opening and closing of the gates of the opposing forces.
40 lie dead
, as General Pervez Musharraf tries to quash
of Pakistan, before the elections
(pdf) to be held this year.
Aptitude Schmaptitude! While the state of mathematical incompetence in this country has been much lamented, most famously in Paulos's brilliant 1988 book Innumeracy, it is still tacitly accepted . . . Being incompetent in math has become not only acceptable in this widely innumerate culture, it has almost become a matter of pride. No one
goes around showing off that he is illiterate, or has no athletic ability, but declarations of innumeracy are constantly made without any embarrassment or shame.
Pakistani play parodying burkas is banned
A play called Burkavaganza, a satire on the burka
, staged this month by the Ajoka Theatre Group
in the city of Lahore
has been banned
by Musharraf's regime. The director of the Ajoka is vowing to challenge the ban on constitutional grounds.
Murder at the Cricket World Cup.
The world's most civilised game just took a turn for the sinister. Less than 24 hours after Pakistan (rated fourth in the world) was roundly trounced by Ireland
(first appearance at the Cricket World Cup), the almost universally-liked Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was found unconscious in his hotel room and died in hospital
. Jamaican police have just announced that based on the autopsy results they're treating the death as murder by manual asphyxiation.
This isn't the first time in recent history that Pakistan has been embroiled
, nor the first time that Metafilter has discussed it
, but this is in a whole new league. Is it a match-fixing scandal
connected to far-Eastern betting syndicates, or something else?
Regularly marred by casualties,
the two-day Basant festival
in Pakistan leaves 11 dead and more than 100 injured. Kite flyers often use strings made of wire or coated with ground glass to try to cross and cut a rival's string or damage the other kite, often after betting on the outcome. Previously mentioned on mefi
, the practice was banned in 2005 because the sport has become increasingly deadly. The ban on kite running was temporarily lifted for this year's festival. In an obvious flip-side
, the ban proved to be a huge loss to the kite-twine manufacturers.
When will Indians and Pakistanis release such a video
“Maybe, yes, I am a diva.”
Meet Ali Saleem, known on Pakistani TV as Begum Nawazish Ali, hostess of a popular talk show. Mr. Saleem’s portrayal ... a middle-aged widow who, in glamorous saris and glittery diamonds, invites to her drawing room politicians, movie stars and rights advocates from Pakistan and India.
"I" is for "Infidel"
"Associated Press and New Yorker
] writer Kathy Gannon
delivers an intimately observed history of Afghanistan from 1986 to the present. The longest-serving Western journalist in the region, Gannon overturns simplistic understanding of the country's politics in this eye-opening talk."
The age of horrorism. On the eve of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Martin Amis analyses - and abhors - the rise of extreme Islamism. In a penetrating and wide-ranging essay he offers a trenchant critique of the grotesque creed and questions the West's faltering response to this eruption of evil.
ABC News: Osama bin Laden offered sanctuary in Pakistan:
If he is in Pakistan, bin Laden "would not be taken into custody," Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan told ABC News in a telephone interview, "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen." Offer comes as truce is concluded between Pakistan and Al Queada:
The Pakistani military will no longer operate in the area where Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda operatives are believed to be hiding, according to terms of what the Pakistan government calls a "peace deal," signed today with militant tribal groups allied to the Taliban and al Qaeda. San Jose Mercury News reports Bush Administration approved truce, will offer millions in aid:
The Pakistani military is striking truces with Islamic separatists along the country's border with Afghanistan, freeing Pakistani militants and al-Qaida fighters to join Taliban insurgents battling U.S.-led troops and government forces in Afghanistan..... when the military failed to crush the separatists, the Bush administration agreed to support Pakistan's truce-making efforts and pledged millions of dollars in additional aid.
Two U.S. (not dual) citizens refused entry
into their own country. Backhanded attempt at removing citizenship, or just another foolish way to remove oversight from potential terrorists?
Umpire offers to quit for cash payment.
Cricket has been gripped by a scandal that started at The Oval cricket ground
It started with an accusation of ball tampering
by one of the match umpires, Darryl Hair, during a match between Pakistan and England. Hair awarded England 5 runs and changed the ball, which is the sanction in the laws. Pakistan then refused to play, forfeiting the match.
Ball tampering is an emotive issue
for Pakistan, as is Darryl Hair who has previously been accused of bias against teams from the Indian subcontinent (i.e. racism).
In a bizarre twist, Hair has now offered to resign as an umpire
, in return for a massive cash payment. It shows the regard in which he is held, that his bosses decided to publicise this. It seems unlikely he will ever stand in a test match again.
Legend has it the people of Nuristan
are descended from deserters who stayed behind after Greek Emperor Alexander the Great’s army passed through
the area more than 2,000 years ago, and for centuries they lived in splendid
isolation. It was in this region that the first images of the Buddha
were created. [more inside]
Hijra, demi femmes du Pakistan
, the Hijras of Pakistan
, Eunuchs in Mumbai
, and the stories of Neela
: Various portraits of the third sex
in the third world. (some NSFW) [more]
Afghanistan: On the Brink
- Ahmed Rashid on Afghanistan's precarious situation. Around three thousand of the 23,000 US troops now deployed in Afghanistan are scheduled to return home this summer and Western intelligence officials say several thousand more may depart before November. The start of an American withdrawal in the midst of a vicious Taliban resurgence naturally infuriates Karzai and his government; it is particularly disillusioning for millions of Afghans who, unlike their Iraqi counterparts, still equate a sizable US military presence with security, continued international funding, and reconstruction. In Iraq practically the entire population wants the Americans to leave, however pleased they are about the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. But the survival of the new Afghan government has depended upon the leadership of the US and its ability to convince the rest of the world to rebuild the country. The US needs to contribute money to carry out its promises and show it is willing to stay the course. It is doing neither. Barnett Rubin
. International Crisis Group
Kite Running Banned.
For those who read The Kite Runner
and who may be waiting for the movie
, a bit of info from "real-life." Pakistan has banned the practice
because it's too dangerous.
- central aim ... is to convey the richness and complexity of links
between Britain and South Asia, through the story of plants and people
Osama bin Laden, littérateur and new-media star
. A thought-provoking analysis of bin Laden's adept use of Koranic language and the Internet by Bruce B. Lawrence, an Islamic scholar at Duke who edited a new anthology of bin Laden's public statements called Messages to the World
. The Western media -- says the millionaire mass-murderer formerly trained as a useful ally by the CIA
via Pakistan's ISI
-- "implants fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media are doing!" Know thy enemy. [via Arts and Letters Daily.]
the Pakistani woman raped by village order, is now in Madison, Wisconsin, at the invitation of Glamour Magazine, to receive an award honoring her struggle for women's rights. Nicholas Kristof, of the New York Times, broke her story to the world, calling her "one of the gutsiest people on Earth."
She is in the United States despite an attempt by President Pervez Musharraf to bar her from traveling,
because the visit might tarnish the country's image. Her "crime" was previously discussed on MetaFilter.
Upar Di Gur Gur
Thinking about August Fifteenth
, of course, leads us to thinking about the rest of the month.
Coincidentally, the one man
who arguably gave partition it's most enduring image was also as sure a victim of it
as anyone else. And I'm sure he would have a very definate reaction to this.
(A more exhaustive and bilingual edition here.
Who else has Khan worked with?
As far back as 2003, there have been strong indications
of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia building a strategic alliance based upon an exchange of nuclear technology, funding and natural resources, after a worsening post-9/11 relationship
between the United States and the Saud family. Concerns deepened
after Saudi Arabia requested a change in its relationship with the IAEA in May.
The atom bomb
is 60. It's very popular now
and becoming more so daily
. The most recent nuclear nation to threaten to use theirs is China
. The U.S, Europe, and the U.S.S.R. got through a half century Cold War
without immolating themselves. Will South
and East Asia
be as successful and/or lucky in the near future?
Raped, Kidnapped and Silenced.
"Indeed, on Friday, just as all this was happening, President Bush received Pakistan's foreign minister
in the White House and praised President Musharraf's "bold leadership."" [an update to a previous MeFi thread
"It wouldn't surprise me if we paid rewards"
--As part of the AP's receipt of transcripts of the millitary tribunals in Guantanamo, multiple reports of our allies using money the US gave them to buy "terrorists" for shipment there. ..."When I was in jail, they said I needed to pay them money and if I didn't pay them, they'd make up wrong accusations about me and sell me to the Americans and I'd definitely go to Cuba," he told the tribunal. "After that I was held for two months and 20 days in their detention, so they could make wrong accusations about me and my (censored), so they could sell us to you."
Another prisoner said he was on his way to Germany in 2001 when he was captured and sold for "a briefcase full of money" then flown to Afghanistan before being sent to Guantanamo....
for those who like art that moves.
'This website presents interviews with over 300 people who live in mountain and highland regions round the world. Their testimonies offer a personal perspective on change and development.'
The NYT op-ed piece
about Mukhtar Mai
caught my eye. Tribal elders in Pakistan
had her gang-raped in order to shame her family and thus restore the offended tribe's honor. Instead of staying quite or committing suicide, she went and opened a school in her village. Now her life is in danger again.This has been covered around the world.
And you can help
too. Follow up from this post.
Pakistani buses and their artwork
[some images have large file sizes. continue scrolling down for artwork on Pakistani trucks]
What's Going On In Balochistan?
) Deception and treachery. Live and let die. The ultimate zero sum game. Repetition of bloody history: Call it what you may, something is happening in the Pakistani province of Balochistan that defies comprehension on any conventional scale.
From a posting at The Agonist
. According to the article Balochistan
may be the key to future developments in Central Asia. Two former KGB agents report that Russian, Indian, Iranian and American agents are all supporting a resurgent insurrection which is becoming increasingly active.
Why would these countries do this? Two easy answers: Oil pipelines
and China's Gwadar Port
The weapons the U.S. is sending to Pakistan are targeted against India,
not the Taliban. At Pakistan's biggest arms show
, a former favorite of A.Q. Khan
, it was announced that the U.S. will be selling F-16s
to Pakistan, possibly equipped with air-to-air missiles. It looks like Pakistan got its end of the deal for the July surprise
Innocent Victims in the War on Terror
Macedonian police gunned down seven innocent Pakistani and Indian illegal immigrants, then claimed they were terrorists, in a killing staged to show they were participating in the US-led war on terror. "It was a monstrous fabrication
to get the attention of the international community" (via Halfway Down the Danube
Pakistani council aproves rape to avenge honour.
"A village council in Pakistan permitted a landlord to rape the sister and sister-in-law of a man he accused of an illicit relationship with his daughter, police said Thursday. (...) The council members, all of them landlords themselves, ruled that Ghaffar, who uses only one name, could avenge his honour by having sex with the farmer's daughter, who is 16, and daughter-in-law, who is 22."
"An estimated 80 percent of women prisoners in Pakistan are in jail because they failed to prove rape charges".
North Korean Nuclear Devices.
"Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist who sold nuclear technology around the world, has told his interrogators that during a trip to North Korea five years ago he was taken to a secret underground nuclear plant and shown what he described as three nuclear devices."
Has the US promised Kashmir to Pakistan?
During his recent visit, Colin Powell named Pakistan a US ally. This move has people in India concerned about what the US is willing to give Pakistan to fight Al-Qaeda. [The site has pop-ups. Sorry.]
Why is Washington going easy on Pakistan's nuclear black marketers and supporting the pardon of Abdul Qadeer Khan
? According to Seymour Hersh, it's in exchange for Pervez Musharraf
allowing U.S. troops into Pakistan to hunt for Osama bin Laden. [Via The Argus.]
The Protean Enemy
by Jessica Stern
, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2003What accounts for al Qaeda's ongoing effectiveness in the face of an unprecedented onslaught? The answer lies in the organization's remarkably protean nature. Over its life span, al Qaeda has constantly evolved and shown a surprising willingness to adapt its mission. This capacity for change has consistently made the group more appealing to recruits, attracted surprising new allies, and -- most worrisome from a Western perspective -- made it harder to detect and destroy. Unless Washington and its allies show a similar adaptability, the war on terrorism won't be won anytime soon, and the death toll is likely to mount.
Other texts by Jessica Stern: How America Created a Terrorist Haven
, Pakistan's Jihad Culture
, Talking With Terrorists
. Classical Reference: Proteus
Stories of Krishna: The Adventures of a Hindu God
is a lovely interactive Flash presentation from the Seattle Art Museum: Click an image and hear the accompanying tale (or read the transcript), then click "close the story" and mouse over the image icons to explore the characters and view details. After you are finished you can test what you've learned with a drag and drop card game. No broadband? View images of Krishna here
, and read some background
"Newly declassified US intelligence documents say Pakistan helped Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda group
to start its operations in Afghanistan in the 1990s and even secretly ran a major terrorist training camp." The declassified documents were obtained and posted as "The Taliban File"
by the National Security Archive
, and describe the closeness of al Qaeda and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
before the later lost control. [Via the Agonist
and Juan Cole
.] [More inside.]
writes about the noble beginning of Pakistan's government (again) this week, how the dream has gone unrealized, and how the predicted degeneration occurred. Why does this happen? Why are fundamentalist freaks trying to destroy the dream in our own country? Why don't people pay attention to Thomas Jefferson and leave religion at home?