Pakistaniaat: CFP for Special Issue on English Language Pakistani Literature

Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies

CFP for a special issue on English-Language Pakistani Literature

Co-editors: Dr. Cara Cilano, Professor, Department of English, Michigan State University & Dr. Aroosa Kanwal, Assistant Professor, Department of English, International Islamic University

This special issue of Pakistaniaat seeks to forge new critical insights into the now well-established field of English-language literature in Pakistan. The co-editors invite analyses and theorizations of moments, trends, oeuvres, and writerly or readerly generations that push beyond received interpretations of individual texts, the diasporic in relation to the nation, or, most fundamentally, the antagonistic position of English as a language in Pakistani political, cultural, and literary contexts.

Well-researched and argued contributions may address, for instance, how writing and reading in English amidst Pakistan’s multi-lingual cultures are metaphorical acts of translation. That is, how do literary works originally written in English negotiate Pakistan’s multi-lingual realities? How does English interconnect with regional literary traditions and practices? What influences circulate, including those from Urdu, Persian, and Sufi traditions, on English-language literature? How do questions of difference or connectedness—be they in terms of class, gender, religion, ethnicity, etc.—get born across these multiple linguistic practices when viewed comparatively and constitutively? Understanding “translation” more broadly, how does Pakistani English-language literary production engage with histories, be they subcontinental, national, regional, or folk? To what archives does the literature contribute and from which does it draw? How do such literary texts re-cast what archives and historical knowledge are? What do we learn when we look at literary texts as themselves stretched across historical moments and geographical locations? What critical accumulations occur through interpretations, marketing, teaching, and other forms of reception? With a view to broader cultural dynamics, how does English-language Pakistani literature work to translate places, histories, injustices, triumphs, or inequities for its readers? In other words, in what ways does literary culture as exemplified in English-language Pakistani literature address/redress the materialities of our lives?

Please submit 6000-10000 word essays to both Drs. Kanwal ( and Cilano ( by May 1, 2018. All submissions should follow MLA formatting guidelines and should have not been published previously.


Pakistaniaat No Longer Affiliated with HEC

Yesterday I received an email from Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, an organization that we supported on this forum last year when it was about to be axed, informing me that according to their “new criteria” Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies could not be considered an approved journal of HEC. I was also instructed to delete our assertion that our journal was approved in their “Y” category.

Needless to say I found this decision acutely autocratic: if their polices have changed , why were we not informed to comply with the policies? professional courtesy requires that things like this should not be sent to us sounding like an arbitrary decision.

I have looked for the new criteria on the HEC website, and all that I have been able to gather is that since our journal does not have an Impact Factor and as it is not listed with Thompson’s Index, we, somehow, are not worthy of inclusion into their database. That Pakistaniaat is now a leading peer-reviewed journal on Pakistan and that it is also a sponsored journal of American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and indexed by the MLA does not mean much to the people at HEC.

The reason we are not listed with Thompsons is because it costs a lot of money to register a journal with them and we neither have the resources nor the need to waste our money on corporations that specialize in deciding whether we are a worthy journal or not. I am really disappointed at the outlook of HEC, which seems too corporatized to me, and at the callous method of informing us about this unjust decision.

The reason I wanted Pakistaniaat to be listed with HEC was to encourage quality submissions from Pakistani scholars and to offer our editorial expertise to them in the process. It seems our this mission has been stymied. But we will continue on with or without HEC recognition.

Those of you still interested in publishing with us, please be assured that we are now an established and internationally recognized academic journal. It is, however, sad that a beaurocratic institution of the very country that our journal hopes to represent has failed to find value in our work. In any case, the loss is theirs.

With this decision, HEC has lost my support and in the future I will not waste any more of my time defending their causes. I am pretty sure that Pakistaniaat will keep growing with the help of our contributors and with the great work of our volunteer editorial team.

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Announcements Editorials

Happy Birthday: Pakistan Forum

Today is the third birthday of The Pakistan Forum, which was launched under the title “Pakistaniaat Forum” as a blog affiliated with Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies. Not surprisingly, our first ever blog post was about the journal:

Pakistaniaat Call for Submissions–December Issue

That issue was successfully published and since then we have published four more issues of Pakistaniaat. The blog has now taken a life form of its own. From simple announcements to a few occasional commentaries from me, The Pakistan Forum has now become a multiauthor blog that also features a blog aggregation page, a link exchange page, and, the most important, features writings by more than twelve contributors. We promise to continue doing our best in the field of Pakistan studies and in our general engagement with issues related to Pakistan. In the last two years, we have published 442 blog entries, have received 326 comments from our readers, and more than 80, 000 unique visitors have visited our blog during this time.

Please accept our thanks and do visit us, read our posts, and share your thoughts with us. We are honored to be of service to Pakistan and its people.


Write for US

Now that we have transformed our blog into a multi-author, newspaper-like format, we would love for you to contribute your work. You can either email us your writings ( or register with the website as a contributor and upload your content directly.

Our Topics of Interest:

Pakistani Politics and Current Affairs

Pakistani Culture, History, and Stories

Pakistan-Related Announcements

Why Share your Work:

We believe that Pakistan is at a very critical juncture right now and it is imperative on us to foreground and showcase the progressive, enlightened, and inclusive voices of Pakistani intellectuals and writers. So please contribute, pass the word, and place our link on your websites and blogs.

Let us work together to fight the forces of intolerance and hate that seem to have claimed the Pakistani public sphere.

In Solidarity,

Editors, Pakistaniaat Forum


Abstracts From Pakistaniaat Vol 2, No 3 (2010)

The first special issue of Pakistaniaat, edited by Dr. Cara Cilano, has now been pblished. Provided below are the abstracts of four wonderful articles inclduded in this issue.

Please support the journal through online/Print subscriptions or by purchasing some print copies.


The Break-Up of Pakistan

Philip Oldenburg
Essay traces what the author identifies as the four phases of the 1971 conflict:  the initiation of military hostilities in March 1971; Kissinger’s visit to Peking; the war with India at the end of that year; and the transfer of power to Mujib.

The Birth of Bangladesh/Nefarious Plots and Cold War Sideshows

Roger Vogler
This Paper examines, from the perspective of an American architect living and working in India at the time, many of the events and circumstances that led to the destruction in 1971 of Pakistan as it had originally ben constituted 24 years before.  Among these were the enormous geographic challenges faced from Pakistan’s inception, its deep-seated ethnic incompatibilities, its huge economic imbalances and rampant political egos, and a devastating typhoon.  The paper also explores the tragic human consequences of an American foreign policy that could only see these events and circumstances through a prism of Cold War hatred and suspicion.

Superpower Relations, Backchannels, and the Subcontinent

Luke A. Nichter, Richard A. Moss
In his 1978 memoirs, President Nixon claimed, “By using diplomatic signals and behind-the-scenes pressures we had been able to save West Pakistan from the imminent threat of Indian aggression and domination. We had also once again avoided a major confrontation with the Soviet Union.”[1] Kissinger’s far more detailed chapter on “the tilt,” in the first volume of his memoirs, White House Years, complements and largely corroborates Nixon’s. Kissinger argued that Nixon did not want to “squeeze Yahya” and tried to put forward a neutral posture to the bloodshed in East Pakistan so as not to encourage secessionist elements within an ally, Pakistan, which was divided into two wings over 1,000 miles apart astride India.[2] Above all, before his secret trip to China in July 1971, Kissinger wanted to preserve the special channel to the P.R.C., and he saw three obstacles to handling the situation in South Asia: “the policy of India, our own public debate, and the indiscipline of our bureaucracy.” Kissinger stressed that the U.S. attempted to restrain India by making clear American opposition to Indo-Pakistani conflict and attempting to force the Soviet Union to control their ally, India. Nevertheless, the two South Asian countries marched towards conflict following a string of natural disasters in East Pakistan—later the independent nation of Bangladesh, an election loss for Pakistan President Yahya Khan to Mujib Rahman, and Yahya’s subsequent crackdown in East Pakistan against Bangladeshi independence.

Pakistani-Chinese Relations: An Historical Analysis of the Role of China in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

Mavra Farooq

The purpose of this essay is to bring into focus the cordial relations that existed between Pakistan and China during the Bhutto Era from 1969 to 1977, and to highlight the role of China during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971.

Both countries had different ideologies and backgrounds. Relations between the two countries developed on the basis of national interest rather than ideology. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto writes:

States deal with states, as such, and not with their social systems or ideologies. If such an argument was carried to its logical conclusion, Pakistan should have friendly relations only with Muslim states and should isolates itself from the rest of the world. It is a historical fact that Islam, as a political force, has suffered more at the hands of Christian states than of others… It is unlikely that China is going to be responsible for the fall of Granada or Pakistan or for wrestling of Jerusalem from the Muslim States. Our reactions are based on the Bandung principles and on the adherence to the concept of non-interference. Nowhere is it mentioned in the scriptures of Islam that fostering friendship with non-Islamic states involves a compromise of identity.1.

This research article undertakes a historical, analytical and documented study of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s foreign relations and politics with China with the goal of explaining how and why Pakistan had friendly and cordial relations with China. The main question is if both countries have different ideologies why are they so close to each other? In international relations, there is neither a permanent friend nor enemy; interests are preferred.


Our Thanks to Jason W. Ellis, Our Outgoing Layout Editor

As we approach the publication of Pakistaniaat’s fifth issue, I am also beginning to realize what a loss it would be when Jason W. Ellis, our layout editor, leaves our editorial team at the end of this year. Those of you who have published with us or have downloaded, printed, or viewed our content should know that the professional look and wonderful layout of our articles was all because of Jason’s diligent work.

When I decided to launch Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies in January, 2009, Jason was the first person I asked to join our team. Although I had never seen him use any layout software, I had a feeling that he would be perfect for the job. As he had taken a course with me the previous year, I was absolutely certain about his dedication to scholarship and service and his habit of paying great attention to details. However, what made him the ideal candidate for the role of the layout editor was the fact that I had often seen him working with a Macbook Pro, a Black Macbook Pro!!. So, when it came to courting a potential layout editor, this guy using a sleek, sexy, and powerful machine seemed perfect. Thankfully, Jason honored my request and took on the role of our layout editor.

During his two years of service to the journal, Jason has taught me quite a few lessons, but what I admire the most about him and have tried to emulate is his habit of resolving problems (technical or other) through a reasoned and logical approach. I will always be indebted to Jason for teaching me this kind of patience.

During his stay with us, Jason has produced five online as well as print issues and has made galleys for more than a hundred long and short articles. To be precise, Jason has prepared (in two formats) more than 1400 pages for Pakistaniaat, created our header, developed our Layout Templates, and also prepared all of our five print issues. And, this is important, he has done all this voluntarily while also carrying a full class load as a Ph.D. candidate at Kent State University. [1. Those of you interested in Jason’s other work should visit his blog: Dynamic Subspace.]

So, here it is from all  of us at Pakistaniaat: “Live long and Prosper.”


The First Year of Pakistaniaat–Some Thoughts

It is now the second year of Pakistaniaat’s publication. I thought I should take this opportunity to reflect upon our first year and share some thoughts about our future.
The Decision to Start a Journal
Pakistaniaat, as might be obvious by now, was not really launched on a whim. As a scholar of Pakistani origin living and working in the United States, I had felt a sort of responsibility to my mother country. Finally, after a long process of thought, I decided to launch an academic journal focused primarily on all aspects of Pakistani life. I am grateful to Jenny, my wife, for bearing with me during the whole process and by letting me use her computer to launch the journal.

This decision was also facilitated greatly with my experience of having published in the Postcolonial Text, a wonderful online journal in my field of study. I found the software that the Postcolonial Text used to be very user-friendly and ideally suited for a launching a new open-access journal. The software, called the Open Journal Systems (OJS), was developed by John Willinsky (Stanford University, USA & University of British Columbia, Canada) and made freely available to whole world for publication of academic journals online. Thousands of journals now use this software to publish there content.

Early Steps

The Pakistaniaat website was launched in January 2009, not yet using OJS, but sustained by Audra and Mike of Karma CMS. With the help of Karma CMS I was able to launch the journal in the hope that I will be able to find, eventually, a company with an affordable OJS platform. Besides these technical aspects of the journal, I also needed to put together a professional editorial team. Thus, the launching of the journal had tow immediate fronts, technical and administrative, but the most important aspect of this experience was to start attracting good submissions. I am gratified to say in hindsight that for Pakistaniaat all three important strands of the launching process came together.

Assembling an Editorial Team

A good journal, it goes without saying, must have a highly professional editorial team. I was lucky to find from amongst my friends and colleagues a brilliant team of scholars and writers to head various sections of the journal. Deborah Hall, Valdosta State University, a close friend of mine from Florida State was the first one to join us as our Fiction Editor. Jana Russ, an accomplished poet and a Lecturer at the University of Akron rendered her support as the Poetry Editor. We were  also lucky to garner the support of David Waterman, Université de La Rochelle, France, an emerging scholarly voice on Pakistan Studies, as our Review Editor. Mahwash Shoaib, an accomplished translator, and Yusaf Alamgirian, a journalist and writer from Pakistan, joined us respectively as our Translation and Urdu editors. We were also lucky to have Waqar Haider Hashmi, a dear friend, who handles our contacts with Pakistan. But we also needed, besides these brilliant scholars and writers, a computer wizard to join us as out layout editor. The layout editor has the crucial job of formatting all submissions into the wonderful and professional format in which they are made available to the public. My colleague and friend Jason W. Ellis volunteered to perform the task of our Layout Editor, thus completing my search for an editorial team. I was also, simultaneously reaching out to the senior scholars of Pakistan Studies to join our Editorial Board.

Editorial Board

During the early stage of launching the journal, I wrote approximately 5000 emails. Some of those emails were addressed to senior scholars, requesting them to join our editorial board. The board was crucial to us in two respects: it would would give us a chance to draw on the expertise support of these scholars for the progress of the journal, and it would also allow us to rely on the scholarly prestige of these scholars to bolster the image of of our newly launched journal. The following scholars were kind enough to join our editorial borad and I am grateful to them for lending us their support:

Tahera Aftab, University of Karachi, Pakistan
Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Montclair State Univeristy, United States
Waseem Anwar, Forman Christian College, Lahore, Pakistan
Kamran Asdar Ali, University of Texas, Austin, United States
Katherine Ewing, Duke University, United States
Robin Goodman, Florida State University, United States
Pervez Hoodbhoy, Quaid-e-Azam University, Pakistan
Babacar M’Baye, Kent State University, United States
Mojtaba Mahdavi, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
Hafeez Malik, Villanova University, United States
Muhammad Umar Memon, University of Wisconsin, Madison, United States
Tariq Rahman, Quaid-e-Azam University, Pakistan
Amit Rai, Florida State University, United States
Amritjit Singh, Ohio University, United States
Anita Weiss, University of Oregon, United States

The Submissions

We received our first submission two weeks after we launched the journal. It was an Interview of Fawzia Afzal-Khan by Nilanshu Kumar Agarwal.  The rest followed at an amazingly astonishing pace. I would specially like to thank Dr. Muhammad Umar Memon (University of Wisconsin, Madison, United States) and editor of the Annual of Urdu Studies who has supported us throughout by contributing his works to the journal and by supporting us in our quest for funding. Now in our second year, we keep receiving submissions related to Pakistan from all over the world, but this has been made possible by those brave few who took the risk of sharing their work with Pakistaniaat during its first formative year.

Financial Support and Move to OJS

We started the journal with no promise of institutional support. Help came from various places. Ron Corthell, Chair of Kent State English Department, was the first one to give us financial support by paying our hosting fees to Karma CMS. In March we finally found a wonderful hosting company with and OJS Platform. Scholarly Exchange, a non profit organization, provides the hosting free of charge for the “First Year” and then makes it available for the subsequent years at a very affordable rate. Our transition to OJS was facilitated by Julian Fisher of Scholarly Exchange, and we are grateful for his constant support throughout our first year. During our first year, we were also lucky to garner the support of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, who adopted us as one of their “supported” journals and gave us enough funding to host and run the journal for the year 2010.

Besides the institutions, we also got a lot of help from individuals who either subscribed to our print version or donated for our cause. Here are the names of these generous friends of Pakistaniaat:

David Waterman, Université de La Rochelle, France
Deborah Hall, Valdosta State University, United States
Akbar Zolfaghari, University of Putra, Malaysia
Donald E. Schmid, New York, United States
Mashhood Ahmed Sheikh, University of Tromsø, Norway
Andrew Smith, Florida State University, United States
Saba Waheed, California, United States

The Future

We are now publishing three issues/ Year and the future looks really bright. The journal is now self-sustaining and has already garnered attention from all over the world. I have no doubt that we will continue publishing quality works from/about Pakistan.

Ways of Helping Us

The best way you can help Pakistaniaat is by sending us you work and by passing the word around. You can also help us:

We do not ask for a lot, but would be thankful for whatever you can offer to help us continue publishing this wonderful journal. Thank you all for your support so far.