Author Archives: Rabia Ahmed


Rabia Ahmed

Nobody loves Raymond

Who is Raymond anyway? Raymond Alan Davis may or may not be his name. He is said to be employed by the American embassy as a ‘security technician’ which could be true, or not. He may be in Pakistan on a valid visa, or not; he may have shot the boys in self defence, or maybe not. Is he telling the truth, are the Americans telling the truth, are the Pakistani witnesses telling the truth? And that other car that ran over another man, and got clean away: why was that car so close to Mr


Rabia Ahmed

Dire states – After Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt…Pakistan?

You have to laugh at our Prime Minister, or else you weep. Few people can turn the demon of corruption so completely on its head so as to present it as an angel; one has to be either very shrewd or a complete twerp to do this, and since I refuse to accuse Mr. Gilani of being shrewd, I am not left with much choice. Or should I address my comments to whoever writes the Prime Minister’s speeches for him? I mean he obviously doesn’t himself…he can barely read them, the dear man.
The


Rabia Ahmed

Whither Pakistan?

Debate has been dying by inches for some time in Pakistan. It however did the whole symbolic death rattle shudder thing right about the time Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan galumphed onto the scene like a rampaging bison.
The fact that Dr Awan represents a trend is much more ominous than her own behaviour, because even though the MNA from Sialkot may stand out rather where her style of ‘debate’ is concerned, she is actually not alone. Most political debate (with notable exceptions) on


Rabia Ahmed

Back to school

Every so often, among the doom and gloom (mine included) a refreshing story comes along, in this case a story in an English daily on the 20th of January 2011, by Khurshid Anwar Khan entitled, ‘Mother: a classmate of sons’.
Coming from a poor family, Rukhsana Batool of Mianwali had no opportunity to obtain education. Married at the age of eighteen, she is now twenty five years old, and the mother of two young boys. When she enrolled her boys in school, she began attending class


Rabia Ahmed

Ban or ignore

That Iran has banned the printing and production of material relating to Valentine’s Day made me laugh. Say hello to a boom in Valentine Day merchandise, Iran, just as the sudden flooding of the markets with red heart shaped merchandise in Pakistan, come February. Not that Valentine’s Day is banned here, but the disapproval on some faces is almost as effective.
We have to realise that banning things only makes them infinitely more alluring. Remember the Satanic Verses? Even


Rabia Ahmed

The monster within

I normally write of issues with some lightness, but my heart is heavy following the death of Salmaan Taseer, and it is not just I who feel this way. The atmosphere in Pakistan following the assassination of the Governor of Punjab on the 4th of January is different to that that followed previous political assassinations. Despondency this time is more pervasive, almost to the point of saturation. There is a sense of being at the end of the road, any fork in which appears out of sight,


Rabia Ahmed

The gas cylinder

My God, did you see that photograph on Page 9 of Pakistan Today on the 14th of December 2010? The photograph taken by Nadeem Ijaz at Akbari Mandi shows an LPG cylinder placed on bricks, a fire burning under it. Apparently this is how a street food vendor maintains gas flow to his stove.
That picture epitomises two very powerful things, or shall we say three, because the first of course is that bomb waiting to detonate. The second is the Pakistani state of mind at present, and


Rabia Ahmed

Masquerade

A news report few days ago reported that a ‘man masquerading as the Health Secretary’ was arrested at the Sialkot Civil Hospital.
It appears the enterprising gentleman, needing a medical certificate for a friend, arrived at the hospital, made his way to the Medical Officer on duty, and demanded to be issued with the required document. When the doctor refused, he threatened him (the MO) and other medical personnel with ‘dire consequences’, in his capacity as the Health


Rabia Ahmed

A regional grand opera

You’d think with its present culture of shootings and suicide bombings Pakistan would discover an alternative method of welcoming VIPs, but no, the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arriving in Pakistan was treated not just to a normal gun salute, but to a gunshot for each step he took. That may be our idea of honouring someone, but the Premier, poor man was probably a nervous wreck by the time he wobbled off the tarmac and into his car, in no fit state to handle his chopsticks for quite


Rabia Ahmed

Our own Pimpernel

Really, Pakistan can also be the most entertaining place to live in! Where else does the Governor of a province disappear, missing sessions of the Provincial Legislative body without informing anyone of his intentions or whereabouts? It’s all very exciting and makes you feel almost French as in the Scarlet Pimpernel madrigal: “We seek him here, we seek him there, we Pakis seek him everywhere; is he in heaven or is he in hell, that demmed elusive…” Sacre bleu!
When the Punjab


Rabia Ahmed

He wikicised us

Ever since WikiLeaks started figuring big in the news here, people have been getting really indignant about the King of Saudi Arabia criticising the President of Pakistan by calling him (Mr Zardari) ‘corrupt’ and ‘an obstacle to the progress of Pakistan.’
There were angry comments on Facebook and in the papers about the matter. A letter to the Editor in one of the English dailies has a retired colonel of the Pakistan Army saying that he feels ‘hurt’ by the monarch’s remarks. He


Rabia Ahmed

Blasphemy

Asia Bibi’s case is one such example of the above.
Rampant ignorance in this country has led to poverty, deprivation, misery, anger, and misinformed bearded persons carrying that baggage becoming accepted as the religious voice of the community.
My beloved Prophet (PBUH), for whom I am willing to lay down my life, was extremely persecuted during his lifetime; yet when asked to curse those who persecuted him, he refused to do so, saying that he had been sent as a blessing for


Rabia Ahmed

The lender beware

We appear, as a nation, to have some difficulty recognizing the thing called ‘a rule’ [plural: rules]. For a start, we cannot figure out why rules exist, and then, if they must exist we’re quite happy to accept them for others but not for ourselves. In a strange contradiction of this fact, we are always on the look-out for new rules to impose upon ourselves, and turn all kinds of things into rules, when they’re not. But once we grasp the fact that we have a genuine rule in front of

Top