‘Blood on the streets’

Journeys to democracy

Student mtg 1951 or 52 M. Sarwar addressing a meeting in Karachi, early 1950s, Khaliqdina Hall. Seated left: Rehman Ali Hashmi.

Looking back to look forward: The DSF-led movement of the 1950s eschewed party politics, was inclusive, and focused on student unity. Besides students from medical, engineering and and law colleges, it involved students from girls’ and boys’ high schools, and women’s colleges. 

Below, an extract from my forthcoming memoir on the struggle for democratic spaces in Pakistan. This is from the chapter about the student movement of 1953 that shook the country and laid the foundations for the University of Karachi, published in The Friday Times, Jan. 8, 2016. Thanks to Raza Rumi for pushing me to share this

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Candlelight vigil commemorates 1953 martyrs

Jan 2015-NSF vigil for 1953 martyrs

By Shahid Husain
The News International, Friday, January 09, 2015

The National Students Federation (NSF) held a candlelight vigil in memory of martyrs of 1953 students’ movement in front of the Karachi Press Club on Thursday. Continue reading

Commemorating Jan 8, 1953: 2013 events, Jan 6 and 8, by DSF and NSF

2012 Jan 8-NSF Demands DayAs we remember Jan 8, 1953 Demands Day and those who gave their lives for the cause of students’ rights, it is good to see that progressive young people in Pakistan are organising and work for students’ rights, with the revival of Democratic Students Federation and the National Students Federation. In keeping with the rallying cry of the original movement – ‘Student Unity’ – activists of DSF and NSF must put up a united front, and attend and support each others’ events even if they don’t merge into one organisation. Demands should include lifting the ongoing ban on student unions. Below, information about several events being organised this year, some on Jan 6, in different cities of Sindh and Punjab by DSF, and NSF event on Jan 8: Continue reading

Petition urging India, Pakistan to ease visa restrictions, let the people meet

The people of Pakistan and India, people of Indian and Pakistani origin around the world, and friends of India and Pakistan, are fed up of the visa restrictions that prevent them from visiting families in the other country. There isn’t even a tourist visa protocol between these two biggest neighbours of South Asia. People in the region want the right to travel and to trade, to walk along coastlines and roads that represent their collective past, to seek and spread harmony across a subcontinent not divided by politics and propaganda. In this modern age of interdependence, it is a tragedy that the citizens of India and Pakistan are left peering over a border made indomitable and intimidating. There is little space for the hand of friendship to be extended across this border. This must change. Please sign the Aman ki Asha Milne Do petition at Change.org . Let’s get a thousand signatures ahead of the Foreign Ministers meeting in Islamabad on September 8 2012.

Inspiring musical video tribute to Ahmed Faraz from his son Sarmad

The late great poet Ahmed Faraz’s son Sarmad Faraz pays tribute to his father, by releasing a music video titled “Shayar”, which features the poet reciting his verses in his inimitable manner.

Sarmad is a musician and is best-known for being in the band Corduroy. He chose this particular poem of his late father because it espouses resilience, individuality and change.

The poem “Shayar” is part of Ahmed Faraz’s first-ever published book Tanha Tanha (1954). Read more

DSF Convention, Peshawar, April 29, 2012

Education is a right… Not privilege – DSF Pakhtunkhwa Students Convention, April 29, 2012, Peshawar

Memories of an unassuming Marxist

Published in The News on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012

Memories of an unassuming Marxist 

The progressive movement of Pakistan has lost one of its best sons in the death of Dr. Manzoor Ahmed

By Shahid Husain

Continue reading

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