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Monday, 23 February 2009

Abdul's Interview with The Pakistani Spectator


The following interview was conducted by Ghazala Khan of "The Pakistani Spectator" regarding my journey as a blogger on "Let us build Pakistan".


Interview with Blogger Abdul of 'Let us build Pakistan'

Abdul, Sarah and Paindoo are the three brains behind the “Let us build Pakistan” blog. The Pakistani Spectator invited Abdul for an interview on behalf of their blog.

Abdul is a research student in the field of social policy at a university in Lahore. Before that, and after his graduation, he worked as a waiter at a fiver start hotel in Islamabad. According to Abdul, “My father is a famous politician in Pakistan; he kicked me out of the house while I was 18 because of what I term as my non-conformist ideas and attitude.” Abdul joined the ‘Let us build Pakistan’ team in June 2008.

We are so happy to present this interesting as well as insightful interview to the TPS readers.

Could you tell us what made you decide to blog, and what was the inspiration behind it?

“Let us build Pakistan” was more an accidental than a planned project. One of our co-bloggers started this blog as a non-serious blog, kinda joke. Over time, he realized that some visitors were taking this joke seriously, and that there was considerable traffic. That’s when we decided to build upon this project as a meaningful contribution to the socio-political blog-sphere in Pakistan. The main inspiration was to provide critical, non-mainstream reflections on Pakistani politics and media.

What do you think sets Your blog apart from other blogs?

“Let us build Pakistan” does not claim to be neutral. We are a bunch of critical supporters of secular and left-wing parties in Pakistan, particularly the Pakistan People’s Party. At the same time, we are sympathetic to the more inclusive Sufi tradition of Islam. We however endeavour to maintain a balance in our critique and analysis of various social and political issues and news items pertaining to Pakistan. We believe that our blog offers a credible source of critical and non-right wing news items and analysis. This has been confirmed by various visitors who have provided feedback to us through emails and comments.

If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?

Personally, I have yet to meet something I might call ’success’ in my life. I can’t say this on behalf of my co-bloggers Sarah and Paindoo, who are much more successful in life I must say.

What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?

The happiest moment is when I am with my family members. The gloomiest is…I am pretty optimistic generally, however, remembering a regrettable event of the past may be saddening once in a while.

Urdu Blogs have got huge potential, when do you think they will really take on the online horizon in Pakistan?

I don’t know much about Urdu blogs except only a few. However, I have immense respect for all Urdu bloggers. I think they are pursuing a very important and challenging project, a great service to Pakistan and the Urdu language.

If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for - what would your top 3 choices be?

Moon (if we consider it a part of our world);

Almost all countries in the Middle East;


What is your favorite book and why?

Divan-e-Ghalib; the best piece of Urdu poetry and philosophy.

What is your favorite meal, dress, and sport?

Aaloo Qeema; sports gear; squash.

What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?

The face, I think.

Whose Future is more bright in Pakistan; English blogs or Urdu Blogs?

Both have a long way to go, in my view.

How Pakistani bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?

Not sure. Our blog has not explored this option yet.

Do you think Pakistani bloggers tend to remain somewhat self-centered and really don’t go out of their shells? Is it the oriental style of blogging, or they are still unsure about it?

I don’t know much about the word ‘oriental’. However, by virtue of its very design, a blog seems to represent one’s true-self. I think bloggers should be commended for being brave enough to expose at least part of their inner shell to the outer space.

What do you think where the Pakistani blogosphere is right now?

Still budding; tightly superordinated by certain powerful mafia in the cyberspace. I will keep my further comments reserved.

Who are your top five favourite bloggers in Pakistan?

All those bloggers whose perspectives are closer to “Let us build Pakistan” are my favourites. Names such as Shaheryar Ali and Rabia Shakoor come to mind.

Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger in Pakistani blogosphere?

Many of them are unique in certain ways.

What is the future of blogging in Pakistan?

Will depend upon the capacity as well as commitment of Pakistani bloggers.

You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?

I take blogging as a break from my professional life. My personal life remains unaffected.

What are your future plans?

I would like to forge an influential network of secular bloggers in Pakistan.

Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?

Try to visit “Let us build Pakistan” once in a while. If you are a blogger, do consider providing a link to this blog on your blog roll.


fairy said...

good stuff. i think i saw you at a hotel :-)

Absolute Atheist said...

Dear Abdul,

It was very nice to know you through this interview indeed.
You people are doing a very good service by providing secular and progressive elements with good stuff and also providing them chance to express themselves.
Please keep it up !

Shaheryar Ali said...

I am so honoured Abdul , i have always been an admirer but let me tell you after reading about your struggle in your interview i am more proud of you.
People like you will make Pakistan a people's Pakistan

Thanks for the compliments

Kalsoom said...

Congratulations! Great interview.

Rabia said...

thank you abdul, this blog is a real inspiration for me so I am really honoured that you mentioned my blog :)

very interesting to learn more about your background and thoughts.

Urdu Lovers said...

Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =)THANX FOR


Let me share with you a great resource,

Urdu Rasala

if you are searching for Some Great urdu literature Online And want to read Great urdu novels And poetry on one place then

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Abdul said...

AA, Kalsoom: Thank you so much.

Abdul said...

Sherry, Rabia: I am humbled. Thank you. Reading your posts and comments is a source of inspiration for me, doubtless.

Kumar said...

I am mighty impressed with your blog. The title is quite appropriate considering the fact that universally, now people have begun to feel that Pakistan is a failed state. I am happy you subscribe to the more inclusive Sufi tradition. But to put it bluntly, the leaders of your country are responsible for the mess you find yourself in. If the Swat experiment of the Taliban succeeds, God forbid, Pakistan will surely go the Afghanistan way. I hope sincerely that civil society and more saner voices will prevail and Pakistan surely will be safe.


Abdul said...

Thanks Kumar for visiting. Despite the growing influence of the ISI-jihadi alliance, I do not consider Pakistan a failed state. Pakistan is a nation of more than 160 million people; the majority of whom are moderate in their views as well as proud of their Pakistani identity. On an unrelated note, what do you think about Hemant Karkare?


The point is that we must treat Islamic jihadis as well Hindu "jihadis" with the same yardstick.


Kumar said...

Thanks Abdul. Firstly as far as gagging is concerned, in normal course, I am the last person to call for a gag order. But the times we live are not normal. Under special or extraordinary circumstances, it is essential and better that radical or more extremist voices are silenced temporarily. The woman is known India basher and her views any way are skewed.

As far as Mr. Hemant Karkare, I am not sure in what context you have made the reference. He was an upright and professional officer. Though I have not had much interaction with him except speaking just once in connection with a case. Of course, there is not an iota of truth in rumours being spread that Hindu groups eliminated him, if that is the reference. Foolish politicians in India in order to make their presence felt may raise stupid questions. But as the saying goes if a dog barks, human being is not expected to bark back.


Abdul said...

My brother Kumar, my reference to Mr. Hemant Karkare was in the context of his inquiry in which he exposed the role of Hindu 'jihadis' in India. (notwithstanding the fact that he was killed by an LeT terrorist or whoever).

The only point which I wanted to make was that both India and Pakistan need 'rebuilding' to varying extents to address the mess which religious, ethnic etc extremism has created in these two countries.

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