Swatting about

The Friday Times | Nov 10, 2006 Imaduddin Ahmed finds a good holiday in off-season Swat   As a resident of Turkey, where they have faith in the science of astrology, Bade was able to pinpoint that the Eid holidays would come at the end of October. Perfect timing for an off-season break to northern Pakistan. We’d avoid the summer rush of tourists escaping the heat and we’d avoid the winter rush of ski tourists. We’d also avoid their litter and noxious car fumes. A five day trip, our travel agent – Himalayan Holidays – recommended, would be adequate for … Continue reading Swatting about

Eid Mubarak, Balakot

The Friday Times | Oct 6, 2006 Imaduddin Ahmed On my second visit to Balakot – the first was made three weeks before the October 8th earthquake – I found the city levelled. The shop where my father had bought his cigarettes, on the left side of the bridge across the bank, was gone. If I could have imagined the horror of Dresden and Coventry after British and German bombers had had their way, the sights, sounds and smells of Balakot would not have been that different. An estimated 7,000 of the 30,000 inhabitants died according to the Red Cross. I was here … Continue reading Eid Mubarak, Balakot

Showdown in Anatolia

The Friday Times | Sep 1, 2006 Snow By Orhan Pamuk; Translated by Maureen Freely; Faber and Faber (2004); Rs 395 Our guide, “Orhan the novelist,” is the narrator of his own novel. Culturally and politically Western, Pamuk remains critical of the force the Turkish state applies to enforce its vision of democratic secularism, established by Mustafa Kemal in the 1920s, on its Islamist population. Fictional character Turgut Bey, an honest and humane man who has suffered hardship for his beliefs (he is also the father of the beautiful Ipek) asks a question not too dissimilar from what Pamuk himself … Continue reading Showdown in Anatolia

Alcoholics Anonymous

Imaduddin Ahmed | The Friday Times Sadaqat clinics fill a neglected niche in the medical world “Why are you running ads on curing alcoholism when alcohol is banned in the Land of the Pure,” wrote in one inquisitive reader. Why indeed? I decide to set up an appointment with Dr Sadaqat Ali, project director of the Sadaqat Clinic, to find out. I am invited to the flagship institution of Sadaqat Clinic, Willing Ways, in Gulberg, Lahore. Formally dressed and sitting in an upright manner, Dr Sadaqat looks every bit the sober professional. And it appears that the impression has truth … Continue reading Alcoholics Anonymous

What is a Pakistani man?

Imaduddin Ahmed’s week | The Friday Times Another Independence Day and we’re still here! Yes, we lost our more democratic half and there’s a bit of turmoil here and there, but we’re here and we can say “Up Yours India!” and that’s what counts, right? Well, besides being here, what do we Pakistanis have to show for ourselves? Two things that spring to mind are a few sporting achievements (a confidence booster for Pakistani male virility) and the “Muslim” nuclear bomb coupled with a few missiles – which means we’re good at erecting phallic tools that cause massive explosions (testimony … Continue reading What is a Pakistani man?

Degrees of mediocrity

Imaduddin Ahmed | The Friday Times Pakistan’s newest university has a campus in cyber space Mention ‘online university’ and conjure up images of illiterate Pakistani politicians with degrees worth as much as their rhetoric, earned by exercising a MasterCard. This is an image that Universitas21Global will fast overcome. New marketing challenges, however, await the online graduate university, entering the “ripe and promising” Pakistani market (words Dr Murkesh Aghi, “CEO” of Universitas21Global). A stream of examinations can ease readers’ minds that paying one’s way won’t be enough to earn a certificate with this university, whose flagship courses are its MBA and … Continue reading Degrees of mediocrity

Search and thou shalt find

Imaduddin Ahmed | The Friday Times BNU’s School of Visual Design provides vocational training to artists; it also offers a liberal arts education and the promise of an educated, cultivated citizenry Lahore is touted as Pakistan’s cultural capital and if you’ve visited danka.com.pk, you’ll see why. Information about the where and when of art exhibitions, lectures, music recitals, theatre and dance performances reveal that seldom is there an evening without a cultural event in our midst. One such event that I took a visiting college friend to was the end of semester show at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) … Continue reading Search and thou shalt find

You are what you eat

Imaduddin Ahmed | The Friday Times A holistic vision of health, identity and ethical farming Developments in the laboratory have enabled cultivators to grow more food for the world’s burgeoning population, but at a cost. People in the developed world have been worrying about health hazards associated with pesticides, nitrate fertilisers and (genetically modified) GM crops. All these are believed to be linked with cancer, damage to the environment and other health problems. This consciousness has spread all over the world; regrettably, unhealthy eating is not as big a concern in Pakistan as it should be. But things are changing, … Continue reading You are what you eat