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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hasan Abbas, Reclaiming Soul, Aitezaz's Makeover, Best Books of 2008, ET Phone Home

If God be within the mosque, then to whom does this world belong?
If Ram be within the image which you find upon your pilgrimage, then who is there to know what happens without?
Hari is in the East: Allah is in the West. Look within your heart, for there you will find both Karim and Ram;
All the men and women of the world are His living forms.
Kabîr is the child of Allah and of Ram: He is my Guru, He is my Pir.
I was pleasantly surprised when out of the blue I received a message from the State Department inviting me to interview Secretary Clinton for my blog. I was also provided the opportunity to sit in during the interviews she gave to Riz Khan of Aljazeera and a Pakistani news channel. Riz Khan’s unending series of jokes were hilarious that kept us in good spirits while we all waited for the Secretary in a small and cozy room at the State Department. His fun performance was as spectacular as it was dramatic. However, I only came to know the next day that he was testing his jokes on us – as I heard him repeat all those jokes in his role as the master of ceremony in the inaugural event of the American Pakistan Foundation (APF) in New York. Secretary Clinton was the chief guest at the event and she made a splendid speech warming the hearts of a largely Pakistani-American audience. Hassan Abbas' interview here

Senior officials in Israel confirmed reports on Monday that a British court issued an arrest warrant against opposition chairwoman Tzipi Livni for her role in orchestrating Israel's military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip nearly a year ago.

Aitzaz will also be invaluable to the PPP
in the next elections. While support for Pakistan’s political parties tends to be delineated along ethnic lines, the PPP is the only party that has ever enjoyed nationwide support. That support is at an all-time low right now and Aitzaz is the only PPP figure popular enough with the PML-N and independent voters outside of Sindh to boost his party’s fortunes

Books of the decade: Your best books of 2008 : And so to 2008 in our round-up of the decade's reading. There was so much wonderful fiction published last year - I particularly enjoyed Joseph O'Neill's Netherland (although I only got around to it a couple of months ago as the cricket theme had put me off – how wrong I was), Mohammed Hanif's debut A Case of Exploding Mangoes (the Observer rightly calls it dazzling) and on the lighter side Mary Ann Shaffer's gorgeous epistolary novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. But those are just three novels in an embarrassment-of-riches year which also saw publication of Philip Roth's Indignation, Sebastian Barry's The Secret Scripture, the Booker-winning The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, Michelle de Kretser's The Lost Dog, Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence, Neal Stephenson's Anathem, The Wasted Vigil by Nadeem Aslam, The Spare Room by Helen Garner, John Updike's last novel The Widows of Eastwick and Chris Cleave's excellent The Other Hand.

There are a number of question marks hanging over Sultan Lakhani's latest venture into the media, his plans to launch a new English newspaper called the Express Tribune (ET), affiliated with the International Herald Tribune (IHT), and tentatively scheduled to hit the stands in February or March 2010.


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