Good Ice Cream at Avari

From *Daily Waqt* – published from Lahore, Sunday August 31, 2008:

Obama’s mother stayed in Pakistan for 5 years

Lahore (Pervez Al-Islam): The mother of American Presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, Mrs. Ann Dunham lived in Pakistan for five years. During this time, Barack Obama also visited his mother and stayed for a few month. Mrs. Ann Dunham was hired as a consultant by the Asian Development Bank for Pakistan Agricultural Development Bank’s Gujranwalla Agricultural Development Program. This program began in 1987 and ended in 1992. Mrs. Ann Dunham monitored the funds received for this program from the Asian Development Bank and trained the Mobile Credit Officers of the Agricultural Bank. This program was controlled from the Gujranwalla Regional Office. She stayed for five years in the Hilton International Hotel (now Avari Hotel), Lahore. She travelled daily from Lahore to Gujranwalla. When Barack Obama visited Pakistan, he stayed in the same hotel. After returning from Pakistan, she died from cancer within three years.

The Speech

I don’t really need to analyze and parse what Barack Obama said last night- countless others will do it for you. I will just tell you, in my opinion, that in its mundane parts it was easily the best political speech of this genre, i.e., politician wanting to get elected, narrates positions; in its best parts, it transcended all standards by which such things need to be measured. 

 

I will do my part – in Ohio, no less.

Ahmed Faraz, 1931-2008

It is with a sad heart that I note the passing away of Ahmed Faraz. He always spoke truth to power.

update: See the obit in Dawn.

کٹھن ہے راهگزر، تھوڑي دور ساتھ چلو
بهت بڑا ہے سفر، تھوڑي دور ساتھ چلو

تمام عمر کهاں کوئي ساتھ ديتا ہے
ميں جانتا ہوں مگر تھوڑي دور ساتھ چلو

نشے ميں چور ہوں ميں بھي، تمهيں بھي ہوش نهيں
بڑا مزا ہو اگر تھوڑي دور ساتھ چلو

يہ ايک شب کي ملاقات بھي غنيمت ہے
کسے ہے کل کي خبر تھوڑي دور ساتھ چلو

ابھي تو جاگ رہے هيں چراغ راہوں کے
ابھي ہے دور سحر، تھوڑي دور ساتھ چلو

طواف ِ منزل ِ جاناں هميں بھي کرنا ہے
فراز تم بھي اگر تھوڑي دور ساتھ چلو۱

the road is hard, let us walk a little while
the journey is long, let us walk a little while

who gives a life-time to another
i know, but let us walk a little while

i am intoxicated, and you are not sober
what a delight, if we walk a little while

enough that we have this night
who knows about tomorrow, let us walk a little while

the lamps are still awake in the paths
the dawn is still far, let us walk a little while

we too will walk the beloved’s destination
faraz, if you just walk with me a little while

Agency

Pakistan is in dire straits. It is a nation at a crossroads. Extremism is around the corner. The politicians are corrupt. The nukes could end up in the hands of bin Laden.

Pakistan is in dire straits. Its people demand accountability. Those who claim to protect it and make it prosperous seem busy keeping themselves in power. There is no hope for change since the people have no power. They are stuck under a dictator. If the citizens of Pakistan are to be real agents of change, they need a way forward. They need democracy.

In March of 2007, when lawyers came out on the streets, there were only two available narratives. Those who held a results-based approach argued that Musharraf’s dictatorial regime was the best case scenario, the lesser of the two evils. The evil being, of course, justice, accountability and democracy. They raised the specter of rampant jihadism spreading through the populations. They pointed towards the economic development that had occurred on Musharraf’s watch. They warned that Pakistan had some amazingly corrupt politicians. And that US needed a stable ally, a dependable ally, in our war against terror(ism).
Continue reading Agency