Pakistanis Defy Taliban Terror

The world media are focusing on scores of deadly terrorist attacks in the last four weeks claiming over 300 innocent lives in Pakistani cities, and tracking the military's counterinsurgency campaign unfolding in South Waziristan. However, the Pakistani blogosphere is buzzing with the news and pictures of the Fashion Week in Karachi.

A series of fashion shows ended Saturday in which 30 Pakistani designers presented their creations. Karachi's Marriott hotel was the scene of the glamorous event.


And there is a lot more that is happening in Pakistan.

In October, a painstakingly detailed production of Chekov's "The Seagull" had a successful run in Karachi.

Karachi's local actors put on a female version of The Odd Couple and the Abba musical Mamma Mia drew large crowds.

An art exhibit opened recently in Islamabad to portray the effects of recent events on Pakistani psyche. Using the snake skin as a symbol of ongoing terror in the country, artist Haleem Khan has used the metaphor of a venomous snake to portray the violence that confronts people.

There were dozens of other events across the country, such as the 25th anniversary of a street theater group, a film festival for children, scores of music concerts, thousands of weddings and endless games of street cricket.

Clearly, many Pakistanis are defying the campaign of intimidation unleashed by the Tehrik-e-Taleban Pakistan. Despite the failed political leadership and extremely poor governance, the country’s saving grace is arguably its people. As the consequences sink in among Pakistan’s secular elite of the rising Taliban, there are signs that the country’s educated middle class – in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, cities rocked recently by continuing terrorist attacks – is losing its patience with radicalism. The urban middle class has more clout than many analysts think. It constitutes the backbone of the army, the business and professional classes and the opinion makers in the media. And the middle class is getting serious about its responsibility. They have now compelled the government into taking more decisive action. There appears to be visible light at the end of the tunnel. Let's hope it's not an oncoming train.

Here are two video clips of Karachi Fashion Week 2009:





Related Links:

Karachi Fashion Week

Is Pakistan Too Big to Fail?

Karachi Fashion Week Goes Bolder

Pakistan's Foreign Visitors Pleasantly Surprised

Start-ups Drive a Boom in Pakistan

Pakistan Conducting Research in Antarctica

Pakistan's Multi-billion Dollar IT Industry

Pakistan's Telecom Boom

More Pictures From Karachi Fashion Week 2009

ITU Internet Data

Eleven Days in Karachi

Pakistani Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley

Musharraf's Economic Legacy

Pakistan's International Rankings

Assessing Pakistan Army Capabilities

Pakistan is not Falling

Jinnah's Pakistan Booms Amidst Doom and Gloom

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Here are excerpts of COAS Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani on Martyrs Day today as reported by News Tribe:

.... The conduct of General Elections is not an end per se, but is surely an important means towards delivering us from our present sufferings. To bring an end to our tribulations, it is also imperative to foster a profound understanding of our national ethos and aspirations. The General Elections will provide us the foundation. To build on this foundation, we would have to find answers to many questions; war against terrorism being one of these questions.

The menace of terrorism and extremism has claimed thousands of lives, including those of the Army, Rangers, FC, Police, Frontier Constabulary, Levies and innocent people of Pakistan. If we include the injured and affected family members of the martyrs, the numbers increase manifold. Our external enemies are busy in igniting the flames of this fire. However, despite all this bloodshed, certain quarters still want to remain embroiled in the debate concerning the causes of this war and who imposed it on us. While this may be important in itself but the fact of the matter is that today it is Pakistan and its valiant people who are a target of this war and are suffering tremendously. I would like to ask all those who raise such questions that if a small faction wants to enforce its distorted ideology over the entire Nation by taking up arms and for this purpose defies the Constitution of Pakistan and the democratic process and considers all forms of bloodshed justified, then, does the fight against this enemy of the state constitute someone else’s war? Even in the history of the best evolved democratic states, treason or seditious uprisings against the state have never been tolerated and in such struggles their armed forces have had unflinching support of the masses; questions about the ownership of such wars have never been raised. We cannot afford to confuse our soldiers and weaken their resolve with such misgivings. Every drop of blood, shed in the national cause, is sacred and no one can better understand its value than the families who are present here today; because their dear ones have already made the ultimate sacrifice. We must not hurt the sentiments of these saviours of the Nation through our words and deeds.

We sincerely desire that all those who have strayed and have picked up arms against the Nation, return to the national fold. However, this is only possible once they unconditionally submit to the State, its Constitution and the Rule of Law. There is no room for doubts when it comes to dealing with rebellion against the state. Towards this end, while truly acknowledging the national aspirations and value of our martyr’s blood, we as a Nation need to forge consensus towards evolving a clear policy through mutual consultations. Considering this war against terrorism as the war of the armed forces alone can lead to chaos and disarray that we cannot afford...


http://www.thenewstribe.com/2013/04/30/pakistan-army-chief-general-ashfaq-pervez-kayani-speech-on-the-eve-of-yaum-e-shuhadda-2013/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an Al Jazeera story on Pakistani film industry:

The Islamabad premiere of the much anticipated film Waar was a rare night of celerity and glamour in the Pakistani capital.

The red carpet was littered with big-name stars, well-known politicians and fashionable socialites.

Waar – which means "to strike" in Urdu - is the country's first big-budget action film.

It's based on the real-life events following a 2009 attack on a top police academy by the Taliban.

The multi-million-dollar film is one of at least 21 feature-length film releases this year and is widely seen as part of a revival of Pakistan's struggling film-making industry.

Pakistani cinema, known as Lollywood, after the eastern city of Lahore where it was historically based, has steadily declined since the late 1970s.

It was during that time the then military ruler, General Zia ul-Haq, launched an Islamisation agenda that introduced a rigid censorship code, all but ending what has been described as the "golden era" of the industry.

Back then more than 200 Pakistani films were made annually, today it is less than one-fifth of that.

Adding to the challenges, from a peak of 700 cinemas operating across the country, that number is now just under 200.

Shaan Shahid, lead actor of Waar, says the film has the potential to dramatically change the industry which has struggled for decades.

"I really feel that with the release of Waar, the Pakistani film industry has arrived. We've received a lot of support making this movie and I think it will inspire young filmmakers to come out and make their own movies," he said.

Waar is one of around two dozen Pakistani film releases this year - including Zinda Bhaag - the country's first entry to the Academy Awards' foreign-language category in 50 years.

Many see this as an encouraging sign that the industry has turned a corner. But one of the main challenges facing Pakistani film-makers is being able to raise enough money to fund their projects.

Film-making is expensive, and with audiences mainly limited to a handful of major cities, it is not always easy to turn a profit.

Iram Praveen Bilal, a Pakistani film-maker, believes it will take at least four to five years before the film industry becomes lucrative to investors.

"In India, if you are investing, you can recoup the money on opening weekend for certain budgets. You can't say that about Pakistan cinema. You need a certain film of a certain budget of a genre that you know that the public will watch."

It is a gamble the makers of Waar are no doubt hoping will pay off with record box-office receipts.


http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/asia/pakistans-first-big-budget-action-film

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