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As a Lahori friend of mine quipped, "The intellectual scene in Pakistan is so bad that our rulers think we have almost no one else to name our institutions after." Even on Islam and Kashmir, two issues that are central to the way in which the Pakistani state has sought to construct the notion of Pakistani national identity, I discovered hardly any decent literature in English in the numerous bookshops that I visited.Many of the few English books on Islam I came across were actually published in India.The school texts that I glanced through are carefully tailored to reproduce what is officially called the "Ideology of Pakistan", with Islamic Studies and Pakistan Studies being compulsory subjects in the school curriculum.
This starkly suggested to me that there appears to be no counterpart in Pakistan to the numerous Indian Islamic scholars that have sought to creatively engage with the Islamic intellectual tradition and the myriad challenges posed by the pressures and demands of contemporary life.
There is simply no Pakistani equivalent of the Indian Islamic scholars Asghar Ali Engineer and Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (incidentally, both of whose books are widely read and published in Pakistan), a sad commentary on the state of Islamic intellectual discourse in a country that was created ostensibly in the name of Islam and in order to protect Muslims from "upper caste" Hindu domination.
There are, I discovered, less than half a dozen good bookshops in the whole of Lahore, once considered to be the intellectual capital of India, that stock books in English.
The vast majority of these books are, curiously enough, published in India, a few in the West and the rest, a very small proportion, are local Pakistani publications.
Image: Facebook From 1979 to 1983 he passed on critical information to the Indian defense forces which were of great help.
Because of the valuable information being sent by Nabi Ahmed he became famous as 'The Black Tiger' in Indian defense circles, a name conferred by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi herself.
On the bus from Delhi to Lahore early this year, I chatted with an elderly Muslim man from Delhi who was travelling to Pakistan to visit his relatives. "I don't want to go to Lahore but my wife insists I should," he said to me frankly. I can hardly find any like-minded people to talk to," he went on.
"You'll soon discover," he warned me, "that the level of intellectual discourse is so limited in Pakistan.
Kaushik was tortured for two years at an interrogation centre in Sialkot, jailed in Mianwali for another 16 years and was left to die.
In November 2001, Kaushik succumbed to pulmonary tuberculosis and heart disease and died in the New Central Multan Jail.