Pakistan is home to the most frenetic education reforms in the world

School reform
Pakistan is home to the most frenetic education reforms in the world
Reformers are trying to make up for generations of neglect

EVERY three months, Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, gathers education officials around a large rectangular table. The biggest of Pakistan’s four provinces, larger in terms of population (110m) than all but 11 countries, Punjab is reforming its schools at a pace rarely seen anywhere in the world. In April 2016, as part of its latest scheme, private providers took over the running of 1,000 of the government’s primary schools. Today the number is 4,300. By the end of this year, Mr Sharif has decreed, it will be 10,000. The quarterly “stocktakes” are his chance to hear what progress is being made towards this and other targets—and whether the radical overhaul is having any effect.

For officials it can be a tough ride. Leaders of struggling districts are called to Lahore for what Allah Bakhsh Malik, Punjab’s education secretary, calls a “pep talk”. Asked what that entails, he responds: “Four words: F-I-R-E. It is survival of the fittest.” About 30% of district heads have been sacked for poor results in the past nine months, says Mr Malik. “We are working at Punjabi speed.”

Pakistani education has long been atrocious. A government-run school on the outskirts of Karachi, in the province of Sindh, is perhaps the bleakest your correspondent has ever seen. A little more than a dozen children aged six or seven sit behind desks in a cobwebbed classroom. Not one is wearing a uniform; most have no schoolbags; some have no shoes. There is not a teacher in sight.


Most Pakistani children who start school drop out by the age of nine; just 3% of those starting public school graduate from 12th grade, the final year. Girls from poor families are least likely to attend (see chart); Pakistan’s gap between girls’ and boys’ enrolment is, after Afghanistan’s, the widest in South Asia. Those in school learn little. Only about half of Pakistanis who complete five years of primary school are literate. In rural Pakistan just over two-fifths of third-grade students, typically aged 8 or 9, have enough grasp of arithmetic to subtract 25 from 54. Unsurprisingly, many parents have turned away from the system. There are roughly 68,000 private schools in Pakistan (about one-third of all schools), up from 49,000 in 2007. Private money currently pays for more of Pakistan’s education than the government does.

It is in part the spread of private options that has spurred politicians like Mr Sharif into action. The outsourcing of schools to entrepreneurs and charities is on the rise across the country. It is too early to judge the results of this massive shake up, but it seems better than the lamentable status quo. If this wholesale reform makes real inroads into the problems of enrolment, quality and discrimination against girls that bedevil Pakistan, it may prove a template for other countries similarly afflicted.

There are many reasons for the old system’s failure. From 2007-15 there were 867 attacks by Islamist terrorists on educational institutions, according to the Global Terrorism Database run by the University of Maryland. When it controlled the Swat river valley in the north of the country, the Pakistani Taliban closed hundreds of girls’ schools. When the army retook the area it occupied dozens of them itself.


Poverty also holds children back. Faced with a choice between having a child help in the fields or learn nothing at school, many parents rationally pick the former. The difference in enrolment between children of the richest and poorest fifth of households is greater in Pakistan than in all but two of the 96 developing countries recently analysed by the World Bank.

Yet poverty is not the decisive factor. Teaching is. Research by Jishnu Das of the World Bank and colleagues has found that the school a child in rural Pakistan attends is many times more important in explaining test scores than either the parents’ income or their level of literacy. In a paper published in 2016, Mr Das and Natalie Bau of the University of Toronto studied the performance of teachers in Punjab between 2003 and 2007 who were hired on temporary contracts. It turned out that their pupils did no worse than those taught by regular ones, despite the temporary teachers often being comparatively inexperienced and paid 35% less.

Teachers’ salaries account for at least 87% of the education budget in Pakistan’s provinces. A lot of that money is completely wasted. Pakistan’s political parties hand out teaching jobs as a way of recruiting election workers and rewarding allies. Some teachers pay for the job: 500,000 rupees ($4,500) was once the going rate in Sindh. At the peak of the problem a few years ago, an estimated 40% of teachers in the province were “ghosts”, pocketing a salary and not turning up.

“Pupils’ learning outcomes are not politically important in Pakistan,” says the leader of a large education organisation. Graft is not the only problem. Politicians have treated schools with a mix of neglect and capriciousness. Private schools have been nationalised (1972) and denationalised (1979); Islam has been inserted and removed as the main part of the curriculum. The language of instruction has varied, too; Punjab changed from Urdu to English, only to revert to Urdu. Sindh, where teachers who are often Sindhi speakers may struggle to teach Urdu, announced in 2011 that Mandarin would be compulsory in secondary schools.

Getting schooled

It is against this background that organisations like The Citizens Foundation (TCF) have developed. The charity runs perhaps the largest network of independently run schools in the world, educating 204,000 pupils at not-for-profit schools. It is also Pakistan’s largest single employer of women outside the public sector; in an effort to make girls feel safer in class, all of TCF’s 12,000 teachers are female. At its Shirin Sultan Dossa branch near a slum on the outskirts of Karachi, one girl is more than holding her own. At break-time on the makeshift cricket pitch she is knocking boys’ spin-bowling out of the playground.

In 2016 TCF opened its first “college” for 17- and 18-year-olds at this campus in an attempt to keep smart poor pupils in school longer. Every day it buses 400 college pupils in from around the city. It builds schools using a standard template, typically raising about $250,000 for each of them from donors; it recruits and trains teachers; and it writes its own curriculums.

Since 2015 TCF has taken over the running of more than 250 government schools in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It gets a subsidy of around 715 rupees per month per child, which it tops up with donations. So far it has increased average enrolment at schools from 47 to 101 pupils, and test results have improved.

The outsourcing of state schools to TCF is just one part of the Sindh government’s recent reforms. “Three years ago we hit rock bottom,” says a senior bureaucrat, noting that 14,000 teaching jobs had been doled out in one year to supporters of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party. Since then it has used a biometric attendance register to cut 6,000 ghost teachers from the payrolls, and merged 4,000 sparsely attended schools into 1,350. Through the Sindh Education Foundation, an arms-length government body, it is funding “public-private partnerships” covering 2,414 schools and 653,265 pupils. As well as the outsourcing programme, schemes subsidise poor children to attend cheap private schools and pay entrepreneurs to set up new ones in underserved areas.

This policy was evaluated in a paper by Felipe Barrera-Osorio of Harvard University and colleagues published last August. The researchers found that in villages assigned to the scheme, enrolment increased by 30% and test scores improved. Parents raised their aspirations—they started wanting daughters to become teachers, rather than housewives. These results were achieved at a per-pupil cost comparable to that of government schools. “Pakistan’s education challenge is not underspending. It is misspending,” says Nadia Naviwala of the Wilson Centre, a think-tank.

While Sindh has pioneered many policies, Punjab has taken them furthest. The Punjab Education Foundation (PEF), another quasi-independent body, oversees some of the largest school-privatisation and school-voucher programmes in the world. It has a seat with the ministers and administrators at Mr Sharif’s quarterly meetings. The Punjab government no longer opens new schools; all growth is via these privately operated schools. Schools overseen by PEF now teach more than 3m children (an additional 11m or so remain in ordinary government-run schools).

This use of the private sector is coupled with the command-and-control of Mr Sharif, who is backed by Britain’s Department for International Development, which helps pay for support from McKinsey, a consultancy, and Sir Michael Barber, who ran British prime minister Tony Blair’s “Delivery unit”. The latest stocktake claimed an “unprecedented” 10% increase in primary-school enrolment since September 2016, an extra 68,000 teachers selected “on merit”, and a steady increase in the share of correct answers on a biannual test of literacy and numeracy.

Some are concerned about the stress on meeting targets in this “deliverology” model. For one thing, independent assessment of the system’s claimed success is hard. Mr Das argues that there is no evidence from public sources that support Punjab’s claims of improved enrolment since 2010. Nor is the fear provoked by Mr Sharif always conducive to frank self-appraisal: some officials may fudge the numbers. Ms Naviwala points out that two of the worst-performing districts in spring 2015 somehow became the highest performers a few months later. She suggests that similar data-driven reforms in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa may have a better chance of success, since they are less dependent on the whims of a single minister. For their part Punjab and its international backers insist that the data are accurate, and that the other publicly available data are out of date.

No one thinks that everything is fixed. Around the corner from that parlous primary school on the outskirts of Karachi is another, privately run school hand-picked for your correspondent’s visit by civil servants. In maths classes pupils’ workbooks have no entries for the past fortnight. What sums there are show no working; answers were simply copied. The head teacher seems to care most about his new audiovisual room, the screen in which is not for pupils, but for him: a bootleg Panopticon, with six CCTV feeds displayed on a wall-mounted screen. This is an effective way of dealing with ghosts. But as the head explains how great his teachers are, one of them strolls up to a boy in the front of her class and smacks him over the head.

Even if there is bluster aplenty and a long way to go, though, the fact that politicians are burnishing their reputations through public services, rather than patronage alone, is a step forward. And if there is a little Punjabi hype to go with the Punjabi speed, then that may be a price worth paying. For too long Pakistani children have suffered because politicians have treated schools as political tools. They deserve much better.

This article appeared in the Briefing section of the print edition under the headline “Stepping up”

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur’s book on National Issues and Baluchistan

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur has penned numerous articles on Pakistan’s natioanal issues specially in the context of Baluchistan and Human Rights.

An Urdu translation of a collection of his articles has been published that is not easily available.

Interested people may read it by clicking the following link:
Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur’s Paleed Tar Bashad

A search for self – by – Muneeza Shamsie

A search for self

By Muneeza Shamsie
Authors: Dawn , October 01, 2006

(Symposium note: A must read article on a master writer and critic Zulfikar Ghose, with a poem by him on Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan)

Zulfikar Ghose

Zulfikar Ghose occupies a unique place in Pakistani letters. He is the only writer of Pakistani origin to have produced such an extensive, varied and accomplished body of English language poetry, fiction and criticism. His one novel about Pakistan The Murder of Aziz Khan had such a powerful impact, that a Pakistani readership of the 1960s still remember him for that one book. In that oppressive era no one dared criticise the state: Ghose’s portrayal of rampant corruption and social injustice touched a deep chord. He described Pakistan’s crude new capitalism of the 1950s and his plot revolved around a poor Punjab farmer systematically destroyed by ruthless industrialists. His was the first cohesive Pakistani English language novel written in modern English and was filled with poetic images about the land and its people, to which he returned with his intricate, eleventh novel, The Triple Mirror of the Self.

“I am very conscious of the art of the novel, he said My literary ancestors go back to Cervantes, Boccacio and The Arabian Nights, and also Joyce, Woolf, Nabokov, Becket. I don’t see any point in writing a novel unless I am worthy of these people. My greatest passion in fiction has been Proust in recent years because of the way he constructs his sentences. I like Conrad because I like his prose. I am not interested in ideas, in the end it is the music of the language that matters.

He is biting in his criticism of current literary hype and the veneration accorded to writers for reasons of geography, political correctness, ethnicity and other non-literary criteria. He believes language and form is paramount and has often said that all he has tried to do is to produce good literature. A contemporary of V.S. Naipaul he is an early example of the diasporic writer who defines himself through the use of language, writing and storytelling. However, people often question his identity: he was born in Sialkot in 1935, grew up in Mumbai, migrated to Britain, lived and taught at the University of Texas at Austin, but writes mostly about South America. Yet he perceives his life as an endless exile from his native land. He writes and speaks with passion about Pakistan and the landscapes of his childhood in Punjab as well as the sense of continuity, history and belonging he experiences when he visits ancient Taxila. He said “I would not hazard to guess how or if identity becomes clearer over the years, but it is just a sense of a place to which your soul belongs.

A soft spoken, informal man with a quiet sense of humour, accompanied often by a twinkle in his eye, Zulfikar Ghose was in Pakistan recently, after 16 years, to visit his sisters in Lahore. He gave an illuminating literary talk in Karachi and read new poems, including a tribute to Nusrat Fateh Ali. He spoke a little about himself too. He explained that his father, Khwaja Mohammed Ghaus, frequented Europe on business trips once, but Europeans could not pronounce Ghaus — so he changed it to Ghose.

At seven, Zulfikar Ghose moved with his family from Sialkot to Bombay, a city he loved as he did the “the wonderful, magical Arabian Sea”. He joined the Don Bosco School and his school friends included Shashi Kapoor. Partition coincided with Ghose’s near-fatal illness but was traumatic personally because he suddenly found himself regarded as an alien Muslim. In 1952, his family migrated to London. Ghose joined a Grammar School in Chelsea, which nurtured his two great passions: poetry and cricket. He had started writing poetry in India at 14 but “the accident of going to England at 17 and to a school where the headmaster was a Shakespeare scholar and English teacher shaped his literary sensibilities. He was introduced to the finest classics and also encouraged to read contemporary writers such as T.S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas. This would not have happened in India or Pakistan,” Ghose said.

In 1959, he graduated from Keele University, edited an anthology of poetry from British universities and forged a historic friendship with BS Johnson (1933-73). They would critique each other’s work and talk endlessly about literature. “BS Johnson wrote short stories and I didn’t, but we felt nothing was happening with the short story in English: it was stagnant — and we should revive it! The arrogance of youth!” he laughed.

Ghose and Johnson co-authored a story collection A Statement Against Corpses for which Ghose wrote his first fiction. He spoke warmly of Johnson who became famous as an experimental writer, but shockingly commited suicide. Ghose and his wife, the Brazilian artist Helena de la Fontaine came to London for the publication of Johnson’s topical biography two years ago. The couple had married in London in 1964 and Ghose first saw Helena’s homeland, Brazil in 1966 and it reminded him a great deal of his own. Interestingly, their work has a similar kinship: the images in his novels and in her works of art often “overflow into each other” through a rather subtle, subconscious process.

In 1961/2 The Observer sent Ghose to Pakistan to cover the MCC tour. He travelled extensively across East and West Pakistan and felt greatly at home, but could not reconcile himself to military rule. The notion of a paradise lost to tyranny, corruption and greed suggested the plot for The Murder of Aziz Khan. Meanwhile he published a first poetry volume and a first novel, as well as a memoir which reflects the themes of alienation, dispossession and quest running through his oeuvre. His poems appeared in Oxford University Press’ (OUP) pioneering anthologies of Pakistani English poetry and in the 1972 Penguin Modern Poets 25: Gavin Ewart, Zulfikar Ghose, BS. Johnson. The same year, his third poetry volume appeared. His Selected Poems published by OUP consists of poems written between 1959-1989 which reveal the development of Ghose’s increasingly sophisticated verse and its link with the landscapes of his fiction.

He is a distinguished “writer’s writer” and does not feel any need to have a literary ancestor from his “ethnic” background. He declared, “I am not an anthropologist,” but expressed admiration and affection for the Indian novelist, Raja Rao, a colleague at the University of Texas at Austin. Ghose also spoke of his now-famous literary correspondence with the American novelist, Thomas Berger. He introduced Ghose to many significant books; Ghose recommended South American novelists to him. “The most important is Machado de Assis who lived in the second half the 19th century,” he said. “He is Brazilian and as important as Joyce, Kafka and Chekov and yet he is not known as he should be.”

The Ghose-Berger letters, spanning 20 years, are now preserved at the university. Berger’s picaresque novel Little Big Man (made into a haunting film) suggested the structure for Ghose’s historical trilogy, The Incredible Brazilian which developed from images triggered off by an anthropologist’s account of 18th-century Brazil. The trilogy received great critical acclaim and was translated into 20 languages; it reconstructs Brazil’s story through the reincarnations of Gregorio, its narrator. The whole does have a clear subcontinental resonance, but Ghose made the explicit connection between South America and South Asia in The Triple Mirror of The Self which welds autobiographical elements with grand, philosophical themes. This clever, surrealist tale of exile and migration across four continents revolves around the narrator’s quest for his core, his essential self and takes him backwards in time to Mumbai and ultimately the Punjab: the book begins and ends with mirror images of the Andes and the Hindu Kush.

Ghose compares the process of writing to a spiritual quest, culminating in self-revelation. Discussing his 1998 story collection Veronica and the Gongora Passion, he explained that his story “A Mediterranean tale” about a boy Abdul Bassam Saeed, who was stolen from his parents in a desert, but rose to great militiary heights and fell in love, began with a sentence that came to Ghose’s mind: “But by now I have seen all illusions.” He played around with it, until it became the story’s first sentence, but months passed. He read a lot, while “listening as usual to Nusrat and the Sabri Brothers” and became interested in the idea of Sufism, beauty and God until images appeared, inspired by the books, music and his own Mediterranean experiences. The subject matter “resolved itself” and he created a story about “the illusion of life and spiritual expression.” He added, “This is how a story emerges. The first draft showed me what my mind was seeking. Then came the rhythm, the imagistic content and the shaping of the language, which had to have imaginative power.”

There is some truly fine writing in Veronica. Each story was different. Brazil, Peru, America, Britain, Spain, India, Pakistan — Ghose has gathered up all these countries and a myriad of characters and spun them into this one collection, with that precision and control that characterises his work.


How sweet upon the tongue, Mohammed’s name,
you sang, and the chorus, like a crowd incited
by an orator, repeated the line, its united
voice charged with ecstasy. Then, clapping hands
and a quick sharp prelude on the harmonium,

you broke out with Ali, Ali, Ali–O who can
discover the name of the great God who first
does not call out Ali, Ali, Ali! In the concert
hall even the unbelievers clapped in time
with your chorus, driven wild by your voice,

and saw visions reserved for the faithful.
But then the next thing I hear you are dead.
Life spent devoted to praising God in song,
God’s very breath in your voice, audiences
from Tokyo across Europe to New York shivered

when without knowing the words they understood
your Punjabi, My eyes await your arrival,
for not the words but your voice brought intelligence
of God, your voice, Nusrat, made us all lovers
of beauty and truth, two of God’s names, your

voice raised us and you took us, shy as brides, to Him.
But then the next thing I hear you are dead.
God, this invisible hacker who transmits
a seductive programme, gaudies the brain’s screen
with visions, only to launch a killer virus!— Zulfikar Ghose

POETRY: The Loss of India (1964), Jets From Orange (1967), The Violent West (1972), A Memory of Asia (1984), Selected Poems (1991).

MEMOIRS: The Confessions of a Native Alien (1965).

STORY COLLECTIONS: Statement Against Corpses with B.S. Johnson (1964), Veronica and the Gongora Passion (1998).

NOVELS: The Contradictions (1966), The Murder of Aziz Khan (1967), The Incredible Brazilian Trilogy (1972/75/78), Crump’s Terms (1975), Hulme’s Investigations into the Bogart Script (1981), A New History of Torments (1982), Don Bueno (1984), Figures of Enchantment (1986), The Triple Mirror of Self (1992).

CRITICISM: Hamlet, Prufrock and Language (1978), The Fiction of Reality (1983), Shakespeare’s Mortal Knowledge (1993).


Thanks to Dawn: Authors; October 1, 2006

Abul Aa’ala Ma’arri ————— ابولاعلیٰ معرّی۔۔۔۔۔ by Mohammed Kazim

This Urdu article by a distinguished Pakistani scholar on Abul Aa’ala al Ma’arri , requires attention. It is is probably among the few, or maybe the only comprehensive article on the poet who is a member of Arabic Literary canon.

People in quest of knowledge can read it here in Urdu PDF by clicking the link below:

Abul A’ala al Ma’ari
Acknowledgment: We are grateful to Dr. Mohammed Khursheed Abdullah, a connoisseur of literature and Culture.

Irfan Sattar and Munir Saami in conversation on Urdu literary topics

I am sharing a discussion/dialogue with Irfan Sattar sb on some literary subjects in his program Hum Sukhan. I offer my gratitude to Irfan Sattar sb and producers Tahir Aslam Gora sb and Haleema Sadia sb for giving me this opportunity to share some ideas.
It will be very helpful if you invested some time to review it in shared your opinions.

Irfan Sattar is a distinguished poet and author of Takrar e Saa’at.


Click here to watch the video.

Irfan Sattar and Munir Saami in conversation on Urdu literary topics

Munir Saami in conversation with Dr. Sagheer Aslam & Almas Shabi at Sukhan Kada of Punj Radio

Punj Radio’s producer Almas Shabi, and co host of its literary program Sukhan Kada,  Dr. Sagheer Aslam conducted an online interview with Munir Saami .

You can listen to the interview at the following audio links:

Sukhan Kada Part 1

Sukhan Kada Part 2

Sukhan Kada Part 3


Punj Radio USA is an international online radio that broadcasts to various international destinations including Pakistan, South Asia, North America, and Europe.

Producer Almas Shabi and co host Dr. Sagheer invite various literary personalities from various countries to discuss their works and thoughts on various issues.

I thank Punj Radio for providing me this opportunity.


Dr. Khalid Sohail’s memory of meeting Joginder Paul

Joginder Paul


Joginder Paul a major Urdu Short story writer passed away in India at the age of 90 on April 24 2016. He was born in Sialkot , Pakistan and migrated to India at independence.

He chose to write in Urdu and was associated with Progressive Writers Movement.

Here is an article by Dr. Khalid Sohail about his meeting with Joginder Paul in India in 2006, from Khalid Sohail’s collection, Sach Apna Apan The article is in Urdu and you can read it at the following link:

It also tells you what makes a great writer like Joginder Paul.

Joginder Paul say Mulaqat   (Click here to read PDF file)

Muhammad Khalid Akhtar – The Uncelebrated Master by Musharraf Ali Farooqi

This must read article on Muhammad Khalid Akhtar, a major Urdu writer, was written by Musharraf Ali Farrooqi, for Dawn (28 August 2011).

Khalid Akhtar

It was later shared by Annual of Urdu Studies # 27. I share it with our readers with thanks to these two esteemed publication.

Please click the link to read the PDF.  I also share a brief bio of  Muhammad Khalid Akhtar.

The Uncelebrated Master


Muhammad Khalid Akhtar

Muhammad Khalid Akhtar (1920–2002) was born in Allahbad Tehsil of the state of Bahawalpur. He studied in Bahawalpur and Lahore and in 1946 went to England for his postgraduate training in electrical engineering. He worked as an engineer in Karachi in the 1940s and 1950s. He retired in 1980 and made Karachi his permanent abode.

His short story “Khoya hua ufaq” was written in 1943 and published in Sawaira by Saadat Hasan Manto in 1953. From the 1950s onward, his short stories, essays, reviews, parodies, and travelogues were published in journals like Funoon, Sawaira, Adab-i-Latif and Afkaar. In the 1990s, he wrote mostly reviews and travelogues. His last piece of writing, travel notes on Greece, written in late 1999, was published in Tehrir.

His books include Bees sau giyarah (1950 and reprinted in 1999), Chakiwara mein wisaal(1964), and Khoya hua ufaq (collection of stories, sketches, satirical essays, the winner of the Adamjee Award in 1967), as well as Alice jehan-i-hairat mein and Aaienay kay paar (1980, Urdu translations of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass), Do safar(1984, travelogue), Chacha Abdul Baqi (1985, stories), Makateeb-i-Khizr (1989, humorous letters), Yatra (1990, travelogue, and winner of the Baba-e-Urdu Award), Ibn-i-Jubair ka safar(1994, history, travelogue), and Laltain aur doosri kahaniyan (1997, stories and a novella). He was awarded the Aalmi Farogh-e Urdu Award for lifetime achievement by Majlis Farogh-e-Adab, Doha


A poem for the people of Pakistan: ابھی کچھ لوگ زندہ ہیں Abhi Kuchh Log Zinda heiN , with Translation

I share my poem with the people of Pakistan and dedicate it to them. It is in Urdu, and I have also translated it.

For those who may understand Urdu but can not read it, I have added an audio file of my recitation. Please click the audio link to listen:

Abhi Kuchh Log Zinda HeiN

Click below to listen.

Poem by Munir Saami, translation edited by Yasser Pervaiz,

ابھی کچھ لوگ زندہ ہیں


دیارِ اجنبی سے میں

پلٹ کر اپنے گھر آیا تو یہ دیکھا

کسی وحشت زدہ کوچہ میں

اک سہما ہوا بچہ

بہت سرگوشیوں میں کہہ رہا تھا

اے مسافر سُن

ہوائے تُند خُو نے شہر میں انساں کو مارا ہے

گلستان کا ہر ایک گوشہ اجاڑا ہے

مگر کچھ  کُنج باقی ہیں

انہی کُنجوں میں خستہ تن ابھی کچھ لوگ بیٹھے ہیں

جو اک دوجے کی ہر شام و سَحَر ڈھارس بندھاتے ہیں

جنوں کی بات کرتے ہیں، وفا کے گیت گاتے ہیں

تہی داماں ہیں ،لیکن آس کے پرچم اڑاتے ہیں

ابھی کچھ کُنج باقی ہیں

ابھی کچھ لوگ زندہ ہیں

ابھی کچھ لوگ زندہ ہیں


We are still alive!
I returned home once

from a foreign land,

and found a child in a deserted lane,

scared and alone.

He spoke to me in a whispered lament,

 “O traveller,

violent storms have killed all,

and uprooted all the flowerbeds.

But there are still some groves,

where shattered souls survive.

Helping and consoling each other,

with firm resolve,

and singing songs of love.

Their clothes are tattered,

yet they keep raising the banners of

defiant hope.
We are still alive,

we are still alive,
O traveller!”


An audio at a Mississauga mosque : Imam calls, Liberalism, Secularism, Nationalism, as tyrants of today/

Click the audio above, and listen to a preacher at the prayer room at Mississauga’ Living Arts Center.  It is .wav file.

You have to be patient to listen to the entire video. Go 5:30 and focus on Laat, Munaat, and Uzza, the three deities the prophet destroyed in Mecca.

The preacher equates them with what he calls the tyrants of today: Secularism, Liberalism, and Nationalism. And induces to work against them.

You need patience because of the Arabic mix and the pronunciation.