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June 2009

Writing from Pakistan

This June, as the world's focus turns to events in Pakistan, our guest editor, Basharat Peer, restores some nuance to our understanding of the region with a selection of literary work that shines a light on the country's unique historical and cultural heritage.

Yesterday afternoon in a Lahore hospital I met a young policeman who could neither talk to me nor see me. He was lying patiently on a bed in Gangaram Hospital's Intensive Care Unit. He had just shown…
The First Morning
By Intizaar Hussain
I have no definite answer to questions about why I migrated from India to Pakistan after the partition in 1947. I look back and see a crowded train rushing past lively and desolate towns and villages,…
Translated from Urdu by Basharat Peer
His Majesty
By Vali Ashraf Sabuhi
When I was a child, until someone told me a story I couldn’t sleep. One day I was down with a high fever from morning to night. My mother, Ammajan, sat by the bed massaging my head. Granny Mughlani,…
Translated from Urdu by Nauman Naqvi
Pink Pigeons—Was It They Who Won?
An early August wind whispers through the lush green trees of Alma Ata. The tiny leaves break into applause. “What are these trees called?” I ask the interpreter. “Tuzhi,” the…
Translated from Urdu
The “Monthly Ulloo”
By Muhammad Khalid Akhtar
If you see a small, rotund man, wearing a check suit, whose watch chain has lost all its luster, whose coat collar has a large rose in its hole, whose two innocent, nervous eyes peep from his square rimless…
Translated from Urdu by Bilal Tanweer