The Herald

July 1997, History Mystery

Khurram Shafique is full of good ideas but is very bad at history (Living With Difference, June 1997). It is a shame that his dubious historical facts should appear in your magazine. The way that we Muslims are, we might even quote your magazine and evolve a Khurramist sect! 

Imam Jaffer (AS) was the son of Imam Baqar (AS) and not of Imam Taqi. Mann Kuntu muala is not disputed by Sunnis; even a staunch Wahabi scholar like Maududi has accepted this Hadith. Abu Hanifa never went to prison. Never in recorded history did the Shias receive any royal patronage; they were always a persecuted minority, as is the case till today.

The author should have the courage to write what he thinks is right, but not at the expense of history. Why be afraid of despots? Haroon is dead. Riaz Basra and Abbas Alvi will be caught by the police, hopefully.

Shaha Zehra, Karachi.

September 1997, Picture Imprefect

I enjoyed the cover of your anniversary issue, The Life and Times of Pakistan, on which you have shown people who have upheld the nation’s glory in one way or another. Considering this, I wonder what Reema’s face is doing on the cover, and that too cushioned between the pictures of two holy fighters for freedom. She certainly does not reflect the life and times of Pakistan.

Isphanyar Bhandara, Karachi.

September 1997, Lashing Out

On the cover of your 50th anniversary issue, you have placed the picture of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in between photos of an actress and someone commonly doubbed an American agent. Have some mercy! Where is your discretion? Look at her worth and campare it to the stature of the Father of the Nation! And all in the name of press freedom.

I think it is time to have dictatorial rule once again to tame you journalists, to whip you on your backs publicly for your stupidity.

Irfan Lone, Lahore.

September 1997, Covering Pakistan

What a cover, well done. Quaid-e-Azam with Reema, Aziz Bhatti between Meema and Naheed Siddiqi, Nawaz Sharif with Zeba, Ayub Khan with Babra Sharif, Zia sahib with Mehdi Hassan, Ishaq Khan with Noor Jehan, and some others with some others. Without Dr. Qadeer Khan. Approximately 80 photos, 20 of which are showbiz personalities. Where is the Pakistani brain?

Zaigham Nadeem, Karachi.

September 1997, Missing the Maulana

I was delighted to see your cover for the August special issue, The Life and Times of Pakistan. It is good idea to praise our national heroes, but it should be done in all fairness. I am surprised that a prestigious magazine like the Herald could be biased. I wonder if it was necessary to put on your cover the photograph of someone who, until just a year ago, was not even a Pakistani citizen, while ignoring a towering personality like Maulana Maududi.

You might disagree with his political approach, but Maududi was nonetheless a soldier of Islam. His unmatched contribution included the writing of several books on various topics related to religion in the lives of ordinary people. Above all is Tafheem-ul-Quran, a penetrating study of the Holy Book. The Herald should not hesitate to give full credit to all of those who rightfully deserve it for their contribution to Pakistan history.

Rais Ahmed Magoon, Taipei, Taiwan

September 1997, Language Barrier

It is a pity that you are not more familiar with the history of Urdu journalism in this country. How else could you miss the launching of Akhbar-e-Khawateen on February 19, 1966 in your chronology of Pakistan’s 50 years? The launch of the first ever women’s Urdu weekly was an important landmark.

Akhbar-e-Khawateen was the first magazine of its kind in Pakistan. It was not only a highly successful experiment in journalism but also a trendsetter and guiding force for young women at the time. From career guidance to legal help, religious matters to social and emotional counsel, the weekly covered various topics of interest to women. The popularity of this venture can be judged by the fact that within the short span of 10 months, the magazine’s circulation had crossed the 50,000 mark, no mean achievement at the time.

Mussarat Jabeen, Founding editor, Akhbar-e-Khawateen, Islamabad.

September 1997, General Complaint

In your August, 1997 Collector’s issue the only mention of my father, General Mohammad Musa, is on his death – a small boxed item, and that too with the incorrect date. For your records, he passed away on March 12, 1991.

Surely, the only Commander-in-Chief who successfully led our army in defending our beloved country deserves more detailed mention. General Musa commanded the Pakistan Army from 1958 to 1966. He was Governor of West Pakistan (all that we are left with after 1971) from 1966 to 1969, and was Governor of Balochistan from 1986 until his death in 1991.

In the field of sports, under his presidentship of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, the team won its first ever gold medal in the Rome Olympics in 1960.

Hassan Musa, Karachi.

September 1997, Writer's Block

Your painstaking compilation of the golden jubilee special issue is commendable and deserves rich compliments. But these efforts are slightly  marred by the proof-reading errors that have crept into many pages. On page 132, for instance, in the obituary section, the name Shakil Ahmed Dehlvi should have been Shahid Ahmed Dehlvi.

Dehlvi was a writer and editor of the literary magazine, Saqi. He was the mentor of many renowned literary figures here and across the border. He was also a broadcaster, a singer and an authority on classical music. Most notably, he was the grandson of the first Urdu novelist of the subcontinent, Deputy Nazir Ahmed.

Nizam Nizami, Lahore.

September 1997, 50 YEAR ITCH

There is no question that 50 years ago Pakistan started from scratch – and is still scratching.

Ali Akbar, Karachi.

These comments appeared in verious issues of The Herald in 1997