Watandost in Urdu, Turkish and Farsi means "friend of the nation or country". The blog contains news and views about Pakistan and broader South West Asia that are insightful but are often not part of the headlines. It also covers major debates in Muslim societies across the world.
Introducing Sindhi Studies Group - An Informative and Educational Blog
Blog: Sindhi Studies Group:Society, Culture and Territory in India and Pakistan
The aim of this scholarly blog is to develop a platform bringing together social scientists interested in Sindh, a region located in southern Pakistan, and its diaspora, mainly in India. The goal of our study group is to share and disseminate a wide range of information on the evolution of Sindhi society while exploring the interrelated dynamics in the religious, political and cultural arenas.
Book launch in Karachi,
November 7, 2011 By Rémy Delage
The book by Michel Boivin, Artefacts of Devotion. A Sufi Repertoire of the Qalandariyya in Sehwan Sharif, Sindh, Pakistan, was launched on 28th of October 2011 at the Alliance Française de Karachi (AFK). Read the book description from the official website of OUP in Karachi:
“Sindh, the land and the river which gave its name to the subcontinent, is a region rich in history with a distinctive cultural heritage. It is the first base of Islam in the subcontinent but can be defined in religious terms as independent and more flexible. As a result, Sufi Islam took root here and spread across the Indus region attracting Muslim and non-Muslim devotees alike.
In this book, Michel Boivin, who has devoted much of his time to the study of Sindh, takes his readers to Sehwan Sharif’s shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, one of the Sufi icons of Sindh. Shahbaz Qalandar, of Persian Asian descent, is described as one of the unconventional qalandars who was accepted as ‘one of the sons of Sindh’; his ‘kalam’ made him ‘a symbol of daring authenticity during times of stifling conformity’ to quote the author. Boivin has produced a volume that explores and explains ‘the Sufi repertoire’ as he terms the monuments and artefacts of devotion, particularly in the Qalandariyya context, and is enriched by painstakingly researched and striking images. Through the four main chapters and the Excursus, the reader is introduced to the description, history and significance of each aspect of the artefacts and of the shrines in the Indus region, mainly Sindh. The book is supported by a comprehensive glossary, a list of illustrations, bibliography and an index.”
Inside Story about Musharraf-Mahmood Tussle Hassan Abbas: September 24, 2006
General Pervez Musharraf’s memoir In the Line of Fire is expected to generate a lot of debate and discussion in the days to come. Except some western journalists and Musharraf’s close friends (three ghost writers) hardly anyone has had a chance yet to read the book from cover to cover. The excerpts of the book leaked through Indian media and General Musharraf’s statements to some American media outlets however have already created some controversies. In the United States, controversy is considered a positive thing, so the book is bound to become a bestseller here, but in Pakistan probably the opposite is true.
This article is not a review of the book (as I haven’t got hold of a copy yet), but it endeavors to throw some light on the widely reported Musharraf comment about the Armitage threat conveyed through Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed, the then Director General of the ISI. I had done research on this speci…
The News, June 24, 2006 Saudi ban on umra visa Rahimullah Yusufzai
As expected, the government of Saudi Arabia has refused to lift the ban on Pakistanis below the age of 40 years from performing umra. It was futile on the part of federal religious affairs minister Mohammad Ejazul Haq to visit Riyadh to try and make the Saudis change their mind on the issue. The Saudis formulate their policies after much thinking and in line with their national interest and decisions once taken are rarely changed.
Back home, Ejazul Haq sounded defensive when he told reporters that the ban would stay because the Saudi government had complained that over 100,000 Pakistanis had overstayed in Saudi Arabia after reaching there on the pretext of performing umra. Before leaving for Saudi Arabia, he had expressed concern over the Pakistan-specific umra restriction and had promised to take up the matter with the Saudi authorities. One could understand that he was on a weak wicket and could only request the Saudis…
Confronting Extremism Through Building an Effective Counter-Narrative This article was originally published in the Development Advocate Pakistan on April 25, 2016.
While Pakistan is using kinetic means to push back terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and Tehrik-i-Taliban in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), it is still struggling to find an antidote to religious extremism and bigotry that provides space for extremist thinking and consequent violence across the country. The ideas of pluralism, religious harmony and openness to diverse political views have slowly given way to narrow mindedness, sectarianism and intolerance. The democratic experience is equipping Pakistan to revive its balance in the socio-political domain, but it is a fact that the social space in the country today is highly contested between extremist and progressive elements of society.
The blame for these trends within the media and policy circles of Pakistan is often directed towards regional confli…