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Debate Culture Pakistan – the danka-nama

The idea is though to make this newsletter, as the danka-nama, into a platform to debate anything that includes the concepts of culture and Pakistan (these terms of course also being the basic premises of the whole site). Yes, that is a wide and vague scope, but one that comprises a lot of interesting and controversial potential. Continue reading

[Video] The Colbert Report/Norwegian Muslish Gunman’s Islam-esque Atrocity

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‘Am Hindukusch’ – europäische Narrative nach amerikanischer Vorstellung

Als der deutsche Verteidigungsminister Peter Struck im Dezember 2002 verkündete, “Die Sicherheit Deutschlands wird auch am Hindukusch verteidigt”, zementierte er eine Narrative für die deutschsprachige Medienlandschaft – Afghanistan ist ‘der Hindukusch’. Während mit Fortdauer des Krieges auch Pakistan immer mehr in den Fokus der Aufmerksamkeit rückte, wurde nicht etwa die alpinistische Narrative um ‘am Indus’ oder gar ‘am Arabischen Meer’ erweitert, nein, Pakistan ist nun ganz einfach auch ‘am Hindukusch’. Manan Ahmed’s erstes Buch, ‘Where the Wild Frontiers are’ gibt Einblick in die Bildung solch einseitiger Narrativen. Continue reading

Aid, a weapon?

Especially the rural poor will often not give a damn what happens outside their brick kiln geo-politically and confronting them with opinions on radical islamist outlets may be of little benefit for assessing general support of these groups. On top of that, if they have an opinion, they may have a totally different conception of these groups’ connections (the authors offer four choices: Kashmiri tanzeem, al-Qa’ida, TTP, sectarian outfits). The understanding of Pakistani militant groups is very poorly developed in Political Science courses in the West and even less understood is how the am log perceives them (before they are even asked to judge them as good or bad). Continue reading

Angrez Writing on Pakistan’s Current Affairs – a future benchmark

In my eyes this is the most remarkable aspect of this book – in a time where he can be sure to sell adventure stories easily (and the title of the book pointed in this direction) to media that wants it’s chliche-lust satisfied (Greg Mortenson is I think the best latest example), he stayed sober and reported what was to report. On the other hand, his trip to Sehwan does not turn into a cheap defence of Pakistan as a sufi-not-terrorist country and while travelling he does not see the need to portray that beauty of the country at which foreigners marvel who expected Pakistan must look like hell considering what they read in the daily news coverage. Continue reading

sissies and thugs – an alternative approach to explaining Karachi’s violence

Verkaaik looks at urban militancy in Sindh with a focus on Hyderabad where he researched intensively. As his choice of location suggests he is not prone to walking along stereotipical representation of Pakistan – while Hyderabad is by no means some small village, he is the first foreign author on Pakistan I read who is not based in Islamabad, Lahore or Karachi. On the other hand he does not present himself as theshalwar kameez wearing gora who has understood it all and is at par with the locals. His account is sober, but makes use of both – his intellectual background and understanding of cultural, political and historical complexities and his personal experience as a part-time resident of the city and member of the local society. Continue reading

“How and why […] can only be a matter of speculation.” – Teil II der Sino-Pak Serie

Um die pakistanisch-chinesischen Beziehungen wirklich realistisch einzuschätzen, braucht es in erster Linie einmal realistische Berichterstattung zu beiden Entitäteten unabhängig von ihrer Verbindung. Erst dann wird es auch für amerikanisches und europäisches Publikum möglich Intentionen abzuschätzen. Nur ist man da auf beiden Seiten noch sehr weit entfernt. Continue reading

porous border: an observation from the durand-hinterland

The Afghanis sometimes bring their family members from back home for treatment. So far so good, these are no big numbers. What’s surprising though, is that we expect the number of Afghani Refugee patients to plummet. Many of them return to their high pastures in Afghanistan during summer. For one, that ridicules our understanding of a refugee (who I would expect to only be in the host country, because it’s really impossible for him, for whatever reason, to live where his home is). Continue reading

exchange rate: $ to PKR

The US – Pakistan relationship dubbed as a double game – little understanding is there for the fact that the flaws of this bond should be looked for on both sides and how they deal with each other. Continue reading

Hitchens on Pakistan – on the frontier of poor polemics

It’s important to note, since Hitchens, in his to date last article on the issue, uses Rushdies’ Shame and the narrative concept of his Midnight’s Children, to transfer the appaling misconceptions he has so far introduced for the rather impersonal country (with it’s elite as a concept, not so much a Pakistani person) to the Pakistani as a person, or in a wider sense as a society. Continue reading


July 2011