Hamzah Saif

بچے ۔۔۔ ہمارے معاشرے کا ایک مظلوم طبقہ

Oct 2016

پاکستان دنیا میں بچوں کے حقوق کے حوالے سے موجود بین الاقوامی معاہدوں کا دستخطی ہے مگر جب ان پر عمل درآمد کی بات آتی ہے تو پاکستان کا نام سب سے آخر میں آتا ہے

Cheegha: The Call from Waziristan | Book Review

Mar 2017

Daur’s book is raw: one feels his pain at the state of Waziristan through its pages. It is particularly strong since Daur writes from within Waziristan: we, not they.

A Liberal’s Martyr

Mar 2013

Review of Shaheed: The Dream and Death of Benazir Bhutto Written and performed by Anna Khaja. Directed by Heather de Michele Produced by Women Center Stage, The Culture Project, New York City (Read Roohi Choudhry’s review here.) A sad ailment afflicts contemporary American art that aspires to a progressive portrayal of the world beyond its borders: it is frequently stricken by unexamined, clichéd, liberal populism. Bold dissent is a rare find and, Shaheed too, unfortunately, ails from this malady. As I sat awaiting the performance to commence, an old song played, acutely auguring its motif. Saat samandar paar gaya tu, Hum ko zinda maar gaya tu… Khoon ke rishte torh gaya tu Aankh mein aansu chorh gaya tu It is a nation in love, serenading a flawless beloved. Shaheed’s protagonist, Benazir Bhutto, however, arrives damaged and flawed: human. One is tempted to laud this as a judicious and sensitive portrayal of a woman caricatured by the United States and its so-called “war on terror” allies as a demigod of Pakistan’s democratic salvation. But, such approbation would require willful inattention to the thrust of the performance, one that denies such sensitivity to the play’s many other characters, among them a rehri […]

Accounting for the Drone Debate

Feb 2013

Irrespective of whether statistics on “civilians” and “militants” are being used to endorse or undermine the drone campaign, this dialogue addresses FATA residents only as denizens of a neo-colony.  The new year has brought a redoubled American drone campaign to Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Region (FATA). Support and condemnation have been vociferous, with evidentiary statistics deployed by both sides. Justifications for the strikes are abundant and familiar: drones are accurate; they are the cheapest, most effective means of keeping Americans safe, and they are a preferable alternative to boots on the ground. A particularly pernicious refrain popular among those familiar with the atrocities of the Pakistani Army in the region favorably juxtaposes the relatively fewer collateral deaths caused by drones against the more indiscriminate military operations. This line of argument, often presented as informed and humane, is popular among several academics and analysts, including Christine Fair, Joshua Foust and Farhat Taj. Indeed, Pir Zubair Shah, a fellow with the center-right Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), himself a former resident of Waziristan, argues for drone attacks for precisely that reason. Other Pakistani liberals have joined the crescendo, and in the wake of the criminal attack by the Taliban on 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a demonstrator even held a […]