Lahore’s growing Talibanisation

Published: August 8, 2011
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The writer is consulting editor, The Friday Times

The writer is consulting editor, The Friday Times

The recent abuse of police power at Lahore’s premier hub of arts is a sad reminder of how ‘culture’ is under attack from the state and vigilantes alike. The rough handling of a woman curator at the Nairang Gallery is not an isolated incident. There is an unfortunate history of attacks on artists and cultural spaces in Pakistan.

According to reports, last week a senior police official barged into the gallery and harassed and assaulted a woman, later accusing her of wearing improper clothes and labelled the gallery’s work as ‘fahashi’ (vulgarity). Eyewitness accounts suggest that the official, a local SHO, at first picked on a couple and questioned why they were sitting together! Later, he barged into a rehearsal of a Bharatanatyam dance performance; and assaulted the female curator of the gallery who asked why the SHO was intruding in the activities of the gallery. Even the staff members who intervened to rescue the young woman were reportedly thrashed.

Later, when the well-known architect’s (who runs the gallery) son inquired about the misconduct of the police official, he was taken to the local police station to be “hung upside down”. He was released later, thankfully without much harm. This incident has left a big question mark on whether freedom to run cultural institutions without the ‘ideological’ endorsement of the state is possible anymore.

Nairang Gallery is the brainchild of the globally acclaimed Nayyar Ali Dada and its ethos runs counter to the Zia era’s policies of turning Pakistan into a fundamentalist desert. Nairang hosts weekly meetings of literary giants and thinkers. The space is also used for various study groups and allows for plural, progressive debates. In addition, the gallery showcases contemporary art and music. However, all such activities are endangered in times when state-nurtured jihadis have become more powerful than the state and have infiltrated the minds of the policemen.

The late Salmaan Taseer’s killer, Mumtaz Qadri, is a case is point. A member of a highly trained elite police force, he was abetted by his colleagues in committing a murder to eliminate a public figure who stood up against the tyranny of blasphemy laws. Unfortunately, the Punjab government is yet to take any concrete steps to cleanse the special police force of the bigotry, which has now become a fact of life in Pakistan.

In recent years, Punjab has witnessed the rise of sectarian and militant outfits, including the Tehreek- i-Taliban Pakistan, who have been appeased on various occasions by the leadership of the party that rules the province. A recent report entitled “Madrassahs fanning radicalism” was reportedly forwarded by the Punjab Home Department to the police and civil administration, urging regulation of mainstream madrassas “to ensure protection of civil society from radicalisation and sectarian polarisation.” Punjab is a haven for sectarian and radical ideologues who have full freedom, and some say protection, to carry on with their hate-business.

In this larger context, Nairang Gallery is a threat to purists and fanatics. Police behaviour is also reflective of how state functionaries are either radicalised or helpless before the rising tide of Islamism. However, this incident should not be brushed aside or forgotten. Pakistan’s civil society and progressive voices in the media should guard the shrinking public spaces and call for a wider reform of the police force and should demand a crackdown on extremist outfits which are busy infiltrating the civil and military institutions. Pakistan will cease to exist if its pluralism and secular traditions are further eroded.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (74)

  • pardesi
    Aug 8, 2011 - 8:14PM

    @ Raza Rumi

    i feel the vulgarity here is the absurd behaviour of the SHO. I think he associates Bharatnatyam with Indian art forms. That seems to be the only grouse here. Pakistan is on way to become Islamic, police state,

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  • mazen
    Aug 8, 2011 - 9:15PM

    You should read the book titled ‘Pakistan Beyond The Crises State’. I suggest you to read this book because every writer is cynical regarding the mess we are in. This pandemonium is now on very common that ‘Pakistan cease to exist’. Rightly so, masses are intermittently transforming to Taliban’s ideology, but this doesn’t to say that Pakistan is about to lose its existence as a sovereign state. Already, Pakistan is mired in dozens of predicament simultaneously without any doubt, but propagation of pessimism is not the panacea. The need of the hour is to indoctrinate the idea into the mind of general public of co-existence, beside this the responsibility of progressive forces that they should take some steps to deradicalise this society. They can do this by opening the institute of rehabilitation of contaminated people with extremism. The lip service from their side do harm more than good.

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  • Aug 8, 2011 - 9:43PM

    The problem sadly remains that the SHO’s constituency is not the English Op-ed reading public. His stature in the community, among his peers will probably improve. From the outside, Art Gallery’s etc are abodes of the rich, whose activities are mere speculation and rumor mongering for the wider community. With little or no interaction with the activities of such organizations, its very easy to accuse them of being involved in “immoral activities” and the SHO as in this case getting a pat on the back. As wider society gets more conservative such actions will likely become more frequent. The questions remains whether individual rights can be violated just because its the popular thing to do.

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  • mind control
    Aug 8, 2011 - 9:44PM

    It was in as early as 2005 or may be 2004 that Time magazine talked about Talibanisation of Lahore University.A group of students had started harrassing faculty and students and enforcing ‘Islamic Values’ on the campus. Obviously, the graduates of such an institution would like to impose the same values when they go out in the society at large whether as policemen or lawyers or TV anchors.

    And the stark fact is that the non-madarssa curriculum is pushing an equally virulent ideology, where all Hanood/Yahood and Nasra are depicted as enemies of Islam and Pakistan, who have only one obsession, how to bring Islam and Pakistan down.

    If you want a healthy tree, tend to the roots, tending to the leaves and flowers will not strengthen the tree.

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  • Jawed Akhtar
    Aug 8, 2011 - 10:04PM

    What can you say about a country which has simply forgotten the scientist & Nobel laureate, ABDUS SALAM
    Abdus Salam has been forgotten bcoz he is Ahmedia, a caste which has been designated as enemy of the country………!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Questioner
    Aug 8, 2011 - 10:07PM

    I think we are missing one important point; regardless of whether society is becoming more conservative or more liberal our question should be is Law being followed or not? Police by law should not be allowed to enter any premises and beat anyone up; only thing they can do is arrest someone and present it magistrate.
    You “DEEP” analysis is correct; but it will not solve the problem, it will only raise discussion b/w people having opposite views on how society should behave. My reaction would be similar, i.e. disgust, whether such police action happens at any religious institution or religious gathering or some dance party.

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  • Exposed
    Aug 8, 2011 - 10:08PM

    Jiyalas should be worried of Karachi situation. when people were getting killed they were talking about messages and late night parties. Everything is done under the umbrella of ppp is not highlighted by our socalled liberal exteremists. instead of talking on real governance issue they are more interested to see ladies fully naked on the name of liberalism.

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  • A reader
    Aug 8, 2011 - 10:16PM

    “In this larger context, Nairang Gallery is a threat to purists and fanatics. Police behaviour is also reflective of how state functionaries are either radicalised or helpless before the rising tide of Islamism. However, this incident should not be brushed aside or forgotten. Pakistan’s civil society and progressive voices in the media should guard the shrinking public spaces and call for a wider reform of the police force and should demand a crackdown on extremist outfits which are busy infiltrating the civil and military institutions. Pakistan will cease to exist if its pluralism and secular traditions are further eroded.”

    These “extremist outfits” also include people like you who demand Pakistan and Pakistanis to be “progressive” like you. While progressive must be allowed to do whatever they want in Pakistan, they should not demand the rest of Pakistan to be “progressive”.

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  • Uzair
    Aug 8, 2011 - 10:25PM

    I for one welcome our new pious though-police overlords :)

    Thank you Maududi and Zia and all other great pious men who have brought us to this state of Enlightened Utopia!

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  • well-wisher
    Aug 8, 2011 - 10:37PM

    I hate MNS and Shiv Sena for same reason……. But they are not alone. Their clans are there across border

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  • Aug 8, 2011 - 10:38PM

    I personally believe the root of the problem is the system that allows such misogynistic and incompetent people into positions of authority, which they abuse. Onlookers should also try to take a stand against such public displays of atrocity. Perhaps, to some small extent, it would help.

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  • Aug 8, 2011 - 10:51PM

    Raza – have you seen the Ramadan programmes on television. Intermittently a speaker will talk of the mother and how heaven is to be found at her feet. I am surprised that not one woman has objected to this unnecessary glorification – leave the woman alone – she is just a person – with faults, ambitions and virtues. She is as good or as bad as the next man – let her be. That should be the call. There is one programme that has the son conversing with his mother who speaks from behind a niqab – that has to be the most degrading programme for women and a man for that matter.

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  • Mirza
    Aug 8, 2011 - 10:56PM

    I am surprised that people are surprised at the terror of fundamentalists in our security forces and police. Unles we “hang this SHO upside down” he would coninue doing that to the taxpaying civilians. Our society treats people like this SHO or terrorists killers like Qadri says a lot about the future of Pakistan.
    This SHO, his accomplices and Qadri type should be sent to the toughest jails for a very long time. The courts should take immediate action to eleminate this reing of terrror. Not a single terrorists be released by the courts system. Failig to do so means we are again showering the rose petals on the killers and terrorists.

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  • Badshah
    Aug 8, 2011 - 11:11PM

    If the Punjab government doesn’t tender an unqualified apology for this gross violation of the sanctity of an art and culture’s center (Nairang Gallery) and does not sack this police officer in question then it would mean that the SHO’s act was in accordance with the official policy of the Sharif-led Punjab Government! Shahbaz Sharif can bow before Shahida Mani but fails to protect the sanctity of a serious center of art and culture! Shame on the Punjab government and the police!Recommend

  • Aug 8, 2011 - 11:12PM

    Why should we be surprised? This cop has been brought up to believe that all working women are agents of the devil. We should be thankful he did not kill the poor curator. As for art, Pakistanis have heard all their lives that painting and music are “haram”, and anyone who indulges in such activities will be consigned to hell. So the cop probably thought it was his duty to prevent such activities to save Islam. And you can bet that this cop (like Salman Taseer’s killer) will not be punished. In fact, he will either be promoted or transferred to some place where he can further enrich himself.

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  • Shahid
    Aug 8, 2011 - 11:29PM

    How much funny you are :-)
    “Pakistan will cease to exist if its pluralism and secular traditions are further eroded.”

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  • faraz
    Aug 8, 2011 - 11:39PM

    Courts released a notorious sectarian terrorist last month; Punjab government provided him stipend and 2 guards for security. Forget about a tolerant Pakistan; prepare for decades long religious and sectarian conflict.

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  • Tanoli
    Aug 8, 2011 - 11:55PM

    I dont know what but pakistan allways been a three system state one for ultra rich the
    brahamin of upper class and second all the bearocracy and mills owners , land lord and
    third neo Daulathya (first time they saw money) these peoples owns pakistanRecommend

  • Roflcopter
    Aug 9, 2011 - 12:05AM

    Police official did the right thing.

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  • Saleem
    Aug 9, 2011 - 12:33AM

    Religious extremism is a disgrace for our country Pakistan

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  • M.Baqir Ali
    Aug 9, 2011 - 12:33AM

    well….i really dnt have words to condemn this
    where will these fanatics stop??therez a limit to everything,bt it seems like ignorance has no limit

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  • S.M. Ali
    Aug 9, 2011 - 1:02AM

    A disturbing scenario.

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  • Azeema
    Aug 9, 2011 - 1:58AM

    Raza while I completely agree with you analysis and conclusions, but at the same time I agree with one of the commentators who suggested that this case should be treated as a legal matter. The SHO should be punished for taking the law in his hands. And of course, we should strive to change our overall societies values so that the conservative and the liberal both can live in this country peacefully.

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  • anonymous
    Aug 9, 2011 - 2:09AM

    Let me get the real facts for you people: she was selling ‘sheesha’ in her lobby, which has been banned across Sindh and Punjab to be sold in public. She wasn’t offended until she interrupted the officer who raided the place after getting a complain for Sheesha lounge. And the art exhibition: it was completed as it was planned. So the point is, do not create hype on shouting of burger aunties and ladies, as they do it all the time!!

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  • Babloo
    Aug 9, 2011 - 2:35AM

    Painting, dancing , singing , kite-flying everything will be banned in Lahore which will become the capital of LeT from where they will rule the world.

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  • Malik Sajjad
    Aug 9, 2011 - 2:37AM

    No concept of Taliban in Lahore its Just a Propaganda against LahorisRecommend

  • Asghar Ramzan
    Aug 9, 2011 - 2:44AM

    What happened there was a clash of fundamentalisms.it was merely a symtop of a much wider and deeper malaize ,when you live in two extremes, you naturally delegitimize each other’s life styles.

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  • Cynical
    Aug 9, 2011 - 2:47AM

    The police or for that matter any arm of the authority are not manned by people coming from another planet.They come from the same milieu that have been fed a staple diet of fanatism for far to long. More than the perpetrators of this kind of brutality, it’s the silent majority who are the problem. That’s why It’s not going away any soon.

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  • Jawad
    Aug 9, 2011 - 4:13AM

    and irony is that it does not seem to stop in near future…

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  • faisal
    Aug 9, 2011 - 4:21AM

    I was there it was nude images what it reflects ….. the SHO got hyper for sure and scolded it rightly so … u can propagate ur western values and art forms here…. I believe when it comes to fundamental people retarded like u label it as Talibanisation for heaven SakeRecommend

  • faisal
    Aug 9, 2011 - 4:24AM

    @S.M. Ali:
    Good Scenarios :)

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  • rashid khan
    Aug 9, 2011 - 4:42AM

    The SHO is most probably one of the PML (N)’s political recruits of the bye gone Nawaz Sharif era, a time when every thichnecked nitwit paying homage to the Mains was inducted into the force.
    So very little can be done about him.
    Remember the SHO of Liberty Market Police Station he was also a benificary of the Sharifs.

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  • Realist.
    Aug 9, 2011 - 5:00AM

    Just because one Person did something.
    You are accusing WHOLE LAHORE for being extremist ?

    Am not buying that!!

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  • N
    Aug 9, 2011 - 5:36AM

    The march of madness chugs along. We stayed quiet too long. We bought into what our leaders told us. Now we have become what they claimed. SHO is us. The fahashi is the “other”. In the end, there will be just us – white and pure. sharia and nukes. Let and Gul.

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  • Faction
    Aug 9, 2011 - 7:16AM

    You secular, liberal Pakistanis are like the survivors of the Titanic who were left in the freezing ocean to slowly expire. The ship of state is already on the bottom, and you’re all slowly meeting your fate in the icy sea of fanaticism. No choice but to keep paddling, I suppose.

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  • Sajida
    Aug 9, 2011 - 7:21AM

    The province is run by a political party with a religious conservative bent. or have you not noticed yet?

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  • Amman
    Aug 9, 2011 - 8:14AM

    in my opinion its nothing new.,it is now in our nature in our lives. everyone of us likes to do so.showing off in his or her manner disturbing others….let me give a very simple and a common example…i believe more than 90% of the readers here including me look in the other cars when we stop at a signal……..and we keep on looking in a wierd way !!!!!!! i am telling u it starts from very basic…….our young ones do the same but in a different way…..why we bother who is doing what ???? excuse my harsh words, the SHO who came to save the so called islamic civilization by harrassing that woman, is he sure about his own family ??? his own sisters of cousin or wife etc ????? why the heck we have dual standards ????

    why we LOVE to disturb other people no matter what they are doing…we moan and cry for pakistan’s situation but aren’t we sharing in it ????

    THINK about it…..try to respect others’ privacy and teach it to our children as well….

    do not cover our pethatic habbits by the name of islam….thats our problem….Mullah or common man….no matter who does something, covers it with the name of society norms or the Islam….but inside its their personal acts…..Islam never taught us to do so.

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  • liyaqat
    Aug 9, 2011 - 9:22AM

    well done sho

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  • syeda bukhari
    Aug 9, 2011 - 10:05AM

    Pakistani Government is failed to maintain good governance in a single province , there is no law and protection of people in the country everyone is misusing their authority .

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  • Arifq
    Aug 9, 2011 - 10:51AM

    Message is loud and clear, liberals and progressives have no space in Pakistan. Why dont they get the message? Have they forgotten the treatment meted out to Asma Jehangir when she thought she could arrange a marathon during Musharraf days! How dare they! Is one Salman Taseer not enough proof of their utter and complete state of abject futility? Look at these liberals how they scorn the good deeds of Mumtaz Qadri and now this valiant SHO, the soon to be new hero for all that is pure and honest. Ramadan Kareem to all brothers and sisters for this is a true gift for the true believers.

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  • Subhash, India
    Aug 9, 2011 - 11:14AM

    @mazen: “They can do this by opening the institute of rehabilitation of contaminated people with extremism”
    I am touched by your noble thoughts but tell me Sir, who is going to man this Rehab as numbers in this centre will be large, very large almost complete population of the Land of Pure.

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  • Atheist
    Aug 9, 2011 - 11:56AM

    FYI, Pakistan is Islamic republic. Not a secular liberal democracy.Recommend

  • fahad ullah dar
    Aug 9, 2011 - 12:21PM

    I realy find it hard to understand why our Liberal,progessive friends are so much obsessed with so called Talibanization,Islamist and radcalisation ?why blame islamist for everythng?Even for a second if one has to beleieve Mr Rumi’s views on Talibanisation in Punjab.Then what about Karachi voilence,there are no islamist,Fundamentalist in Karchi,three biggest liberal,secular ,progressive parties of country (PPP,ANP.MQM) are in power there but still we are left with sever law and order situation ,more then 800 dead bodies,loss of billions of revenu in recent few months .So whom to blame Taliban,Religious parties or,SHO’s who might have been admitted in police department during Gen Zia’s rule ? ? when minority minister Bhatti was killed my progressive frineds blamed Islamist for his killings but recent investigation in his case has found family rivalry behind the murder

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  • shoaib
    Aug 9, 2011 - 12:36PM

    perhapes it is the first time someone intervened in the affairs of vulgarity if it was true. i am in the opinion that even state should take notice of these acts. we should try to be modren but not vulgar.

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  • Ashok Kumar
    Aug 9, 2011 - 12:37PM

    The time is nearing when Pakistan would be fully in the grip of Islamic extremist.The reason is that the state/military of Pak is silently backing it.One strong determined step from them is enough to demolish these Mullah run armies.But they will not do it because the opium of religion is to be continually injected into the population to make them incapable of discovering their looting of the Pak treasury.The stonger the opium the better.

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  • Aug 9, 2011 - 1:16PM

    Come to think of it, how does it wind down to being “talibanisation” Isn’t that the same attitude by which the USA accuses every massacre an act of Muslim terrorism, the liberals label every burqa clad woman as “backward” and the fundamentalists every duppatta-less passerby as “deviant”?

    Its a simple case of man an arrogant man in a position of power which he does not deserve and proves by abusing right? So blame the system which gives him this power, it’s NOT ALWAYS the madrassa’s fault.

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  • Rizwan
    Aug 9, 2011 - 1:51PM

    When we talk about so called religious extremism we slip mother cause that breed all the odd exist in the society i.e. in-justice and abundance of corruption;
    a specific mind set divert attentions from real cause! This article is one of it.

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  • Kafka
    Aug 9, 2011 - 2:56PM

    It seems Pakistan produced only one visionary leader, Zia, whose ideology has got so deep rooted that even after 23 years of his death, it haunts different facades of life in Pakistan. Why is it that his ideology sells so conveniently among the masses. Or is it that we are looking for a human face to give vent to our frustration against extremism, which was actually planted by Bhutto in 70s by bowing to the demands of Islamists and later on nourished by successive governments.

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  • umer
    Aug 9, 2011 - 3:12PM

    Its just an act of one person not the whole Punjab. What the author tried to prove?

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  • Anonymous' request
    Aug 9, 2011 - 3:39PM

    I have read the whole article and really feel bad for the woman curator, staff, visitors and customers who were harassed there. I believe that in no circumstances it shall be dictated to anyone how they should or should not attire.
    I have been a regular visitor there myself but can you all help me understand few things. I agree that Nairang has been playing an instrumental role in promoting cultural activities on its premises by organizing many events and displaying the local art in the exhibitions held there. It was always a pleasant experience to over hear the stimulating and enlightened discussions among the learned, accomplished and venerated guests there. I remember many members of civil society holding meetings there when Musharraf imposed emergency to devise their strategy of action. The discussions could be about literature, music and other forms of art or the hardcore politics and current affairs.
    Sadly, when last time I visited the place I was very disappointed there was secluded place for ‘sheesha lovers’ there and honestly it was uncomfortable and disappointing to discover how a single addition of the services offered by Nairang has transformed the culture of the place. I am very apologetic when I am writing it and it is in no way to suggest that whatever happened there was right. I believe in no circumstances that should be condoned ever, even if activities as alleged by the SHO were going on.
    This is just to request that the sanctity of the places known to project the culture of the country must not become victim of the over zealous commercialization drive hope respected Nayer Ali Dada will take some measures to revert to the Nairang it used to be. I realize that in Pakistan there is dearth of places where young people can get intimate with each other or spend some time together even. But there is acute shortage of places that art lovers can swarm (which Nairang is known for).
    P.S Sadly sheesha is not even part of our culture it may evolve as one soon, gauging form its growing popularity. I request you to kindly do not limit it to an attack on the culture.
    If I am hurting anyone I am extremely sorry but only want to know how do you see it.
    Sorry for lacking coherence

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  • Meera Ghani
    Aug 9, 2011 - 3:57PM

    For those who agree that police violence is unjustified and illegal please join these protests in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=138747912879519&ref=mf

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  • Abdullah Ansari
    Aug 9, 2011 - 4:07PM

    The biggest threat for Pakistan is not Islamism; its LIBERAL EXTREMISM. Writer has shown his allegiance to Western ideas that have been corrupting our society for decades. I am not a zia-fan, but the way these intellectual bankrupts a.k.a columnists throw their words to propagate liberalism demands condemnation. These LIBERAL FANATICS should be deported to Western liberal societies where they can see women naked in the name of liberalism.

    Pakistan is for Islam and the only way for us to get to Islamic law is to re establish the Khilafah.

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  • Roman Ahsan
    Aug 9, 2011 - 4:14PM

    I would like to say just three things here which are again sum-up of what some people have commented here: 1- No security officials should be allowed to abuse people inside any institution, whether it’s a university, an art-gallery or a madressah. 2- The liberals and the conservatives can co-exist very well in Pakistan, let’s not start raising alarm bells of “talibanisation” every time such an incident happens. 3- Pakistan means “the land of pure” and it is an Islamic republic nevertheless. Hence the writer’s last line “Pakistan will cease to exist if its pluralism and secular traditions are further eroded” does not really reflect the foundation on which this country was created.

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  • nayeem
    Aug 9, 2011 - 4:25PM

    shift to karachi, yahan pe arts ka chill scene hai.

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  • Hax
    Aug 9, 2011 - 5:28PM

    A question to all the people who are talking about culture and religion of Pakistan!

    Please explain what exactly is our culture? people celebrate Basant, Mehndi, countless Urs, defence and resolution days, new year and birthdays and countless holidays for dead politicians, there’s no problem with that! so why is it so difficult to tolerate right of the people who are doing what ever they want on their private property?

    As for religion, which Shariah are we talking about? Sunni? Shia? Ismaili? Ahle Sunnat? Ahle Hadis? Deobandi? Braevli? and so on….

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  • Rajoo
    Aug 9, 2011 - 5:48PM

    When will we get rid of Zia’s creed?

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  • Reskolnakov
    Aug 9, 2011 - 5:52PM

    Lahore is under the threat of talibanization.. no doubt about it… this is not the 1st incident.. before this incident.. police raided at the same place.. that time police also assaulted women and took them to the police station.. it is said that it was because they were smoking sheesha.. on the other hand u can see the zakaat collecting camps by banned organization at the Mall road of Lahore. what else you expect now?

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  • Crimson Blue
    Aug 9, 2011 - 6:20PM

    @Abdullah Ansari : Liberal Extremism? Where, please do tell sir, do you find an INCH of liberalism in Pakistan? Why do you assume liberals want to ‘drink whiskey’? Do liberals go out to shrines and blow people up? Do liberals attack our armed forces? Do liberals blow themselves up in mosques? Do liberals blast the message of hate and murder through loudspeakers like mullahs do?

    Open your eyes and smell the coffee. Or wait – Coffe al haram and western too? Recommend

  • Truth Prevails
    Aug 9, 2011 - 6:51PM

    @Shahid:
    And they will be eroded to death with strict adherence, in the name of Justice. This will be ensured

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  • Arjun
    Aug 9, 2011 - 8:52PM

    The way it was reported here: wasn’t the lady in question running an illegal hookah lounge in a part of the so-called art gallery? And wasn’t the SHO disciplining her. This entire ‘questioned her attire’ story seems to be another of those innumberable rumours that take on a life of their own in Pakistan, this one happens to be spun by the liberals/progressives to further their own agenda and decry Talibanization. FYI, hookah lounges are restricted even in the most open of societies for obvious reasons: it’s tobacco, an addictive narcotic that kills its consumers silently, slowly but surely.

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  • Khurram
    Aug 9, 2011 - 10:51PM

    The more the so called ‘liberals’ bow before extremism the more they would be hounded!!! If you can’t stand up and confront them, then rest assured much worse is to follow!!

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  • uH
    Aug 9, 2011 - 11:52PM

    @umer:
    the author actually has a point. i have lived in lahore for the better part of two decades and have reached the same conclusion. as proof, why dont u consider the examples already cited above. for your convenience, i will mention some incidents/developments which have drawn lamentable responses from the local populace: salman taseer, lal masjid, shahbaz bhatti, punjabi taliban, etc.

    i remember reading somewhere that Punjab Unibversity also held a poetry competition to extoll the life and accomplishments of OBL.

    also, given the fact that people of a province can time and again vote into power a party known for its islamist tendencies and affiliations (not to mention their direct involvement in the current state of affairs, vis-a-vis the zia era) i believe the author is not all together wrong in his assertion.

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  • Naveed Ikram
    Aug 9, 2011 - 11:59PM

    Zia handed over this baton of bigotry, hate and self-righteousness to Sharif (PML-N) brothers. They have carried over the process of cultural desertification in every which way they could. Don’t you remember that during misrule of these people poetry of Bulleh Shah and Waris Shah was actually censored under the able leadership of these people. Faiz Amn Mela was banned and to add a comic aspect to it all – pop singers ‘with long hair’ were ordered off the official media – this list is endless,

    So it is succession of great steps in the name of piety. These things will go on happening ever-increasing in brutality and frequency. The hope and humane traditions of Lahore are gone – forever!

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  • Nasir
    Aug 10, 2011 - 7:56AM

    You are already fighting them and rather ironic, you have already lost the battle … its just a comment section left where you can write some BS

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  • agha
    Aug 10, 2011 - 12:02PM

    I just saw a slackistan on youtube and it painted a different picture of Pakistan in contrast to your views

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  • Rana Asghar
    Aug 10, 2011 - 1:38PM

    Pakistan will soon be renamed as Talibistan & Lahore as its capital. Thank God Karachi would be protected by MQM who are all secular.

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  • Rational Mind
    Aug 10, 2011 - 2:41PM

    Minorities like Shia and Qadianis who are very active in media always highlight these concerns and always encourage pakistanis to adopt western lifestyle which is not possible in Pakistan where majority does not read what is written in ET.

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  • eraj khan
    Aug 11, 2011 - 9:28PM

    “Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world’s ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all.” John W. Gardner.
    I would disagree with author in two aspects, which are, relating the incident to “Talibanization” and specifying the location as Lahore.
    In my humble opinion every kind of extremism is detrimental to the progress of a society, be it fundamentalist or liberal. On one hand, the state can go backwards, depicting Taliban’s Afghanistan, on the other hand, it can also end up like today’s UK where the rioters have been under the shadow of Liberalism since their births. So, generalizing on the basis of sporadic incidents is not going to lead us anywhere.
    Regarding Lahore, I would like to remind the author that it is considered the cultural hub of Pakistan and considering Liberty, it is far more advanced than the likes of Interior Sindh (PPP’s Command Center) and KPK (ANP’s center of Power), where Honor Killing is still rampant and women rights are extinct. I would really appreciate the author if he writes his next article in their advocacy.

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  • eraj khan
    Aug 11, 2011 - 9:40PM

    In continuation with my last comment….
    Regarding this current incident, I would like to condemn SHO and offer my condolences to the victim. Having said that, i would also like to remind all the people, arguing in the favor of Liberalism and Fundamentalism, that they should actually be arguing about the Supremacy of Law. If the lady was running a sheesha club and it is banned by the law, then she deserves to be prosecuted for that, and when the SHO exceeded his powers and assaulted the lady, instead of taking her to the court, then he should be condemned and punished accordingly. It is THAT simple, if we want to live in harmony.
    if liberals argues that they don’t get justice then the article should be in protest against the court. However, if their claim is against the constitution of the state, then they should wait for the next election and vote those who are most likely to take this issue seriously and propose amendments.
    I would also like to remind both factions, that there are extremists of both kinds in all the states of the world, and there are legal and diplomatic ways to handle them.
    If we are able to achieve everything that I mentioned, then my friends, this phenomenon would be called “CIVILIZATION”….
    looking forward for positive criticism. Thanks

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  • Mona
    Aug 13, 2011 - 9:25PM

    Has the curator taken any action against the SHO? How long will we go on appeasing goondas like Rana Zulfiqar? Are we that helpless? Can’t we drag him to the court?

    Also, I think that people like Rana are getting support from the Sharif clan who I am afraid are bent on transforming Lahore culturally. Who could have foretold that my good old city would fall into the hands of loonies?

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  • Aug 14, 2011 - 12:00PM

    it is strange to link police misconduct with talibization. such project oriented approach usually mislead facts. it is a simple case of police misconduct and we should fix it with police department. i am against talibans yet it does not mean that every thing should link with taliban. if the policeman or department wants to hide under taliban shadow to take some support, we should not allow him to do so yet under project oriented approach the author ( son of a chief justice) failed to delink it. no one is happy on this incident yet putting in such way, author forced many people to have a soft corner for it.

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  • Naushad Shafkat
    Aug 15, 2011 - 4:37PM

    As usual a very well written article by Mr. Raza Rumi highlighting the abyss we are all slipping into. What we all fail to realize is that the vast majority of people like the S.H.O. in question or people like him will not be swayed even a wee bit by such articles or a million tweets about such incidents. In fact they may not even be aware of the ‘other’ side of the story. So instead of just tweeting and writing about such incidents in the English press the influential segment of society must take concrete steps to make it clear that enough is enough. Mr. Rumi should have at least mentioned the Punjab government’s responsibility in the matter so as to ensure that such incidents are not repeated.

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  • MAS
    Aug 16, 2011 - 8:24PM

    this article is very very partial and subjective which is against the spirit of journalism.

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  • Shujaat
    Aug 25, 2011 - 11:43AM

    Pakistan is the biggest disgrace for Islam.

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