Monday, October 13, 2008

Columnist Recommendations: Mosharraf Zaidi And Cyril Almedia

If you're like me, you hold your head in your hands given the dearth of top quality columnists in the mainstream English press in Pakistan. Most columnists are either dangerously stupid, dangerously right-wing, or dangerously bad at actually putting sentences together. Two guys who are not any of those things are Mosharraf Zaidi (for The News) and Cyril Almeida (for Dawn). Both are relatively new on the national media stage, both are excellent writers, and both force you to confront hard questions in interesting ways. Importantly, they each have their own websites, so you don't have to navigate the disaster zones that are The News' and (especially) Dawn's websites. Here's Mosharraf's page and here's Cyril's. For those interested in Pakistani politics, I strongly suggest bookmarking those links.


Majaz said...

Cyril's link has 'exceeded its CPU quota'.

I suggest you refresh.

AKS said...

An inane article in today's The Nation perfectly highlights your point about the dearth of top quality columnists in the country.

Rabia said...

I like Khalid Aziz and Zeenia Satti as well (both in The News)

AKS said...

An extension to Rabia's comment, I think The News has improved a lot in the last few years. I definitely think that they have the best news coverage.

Uzer said...


Ahsan said...


I think Cowasjee is an old fool who would probably be better at hosting a TV talk show or something like that. He's a REALLY bad writer.


That article was beautiful. It even made me cry a little.


You see, that's the type of power we wield here at Rs.5. We recommend something, and that something has his servers go haywire. Coincidence? I think not.

bubs said...


You've clearly never seen Cowasjee on TV. He speaks at the rate of about three words per minute.


The News has definitely improved over the past few years especially in its local reporting and op-ed page, where they have brought a lot of twenty-somethings with new ideas. But their Islamabad reporting is still a joke.

Majaz said...

I don't understand Cowasjee's attempts to sound pathetically like the good Samaritan. His reputation has lesser credit than five rupees.

And of course, I don't mean the blog.

God forbid.

Sitara said...

I agree the News has the best oped writers, Cyril Almeida of course being a notable exception. He is simply excellent!

But I won't say the same of Mosharraf Zaidi. He writes well, stylistically, but unlike Cyril, his arguments are bogus and circular--I am always left wondering what it is he is trying to say.

Cowasjee has clearly lost his touch--too old to comment now perhaps??

Ahsan said...


I never rated Cowasjee as a columnist. I always found him a little blowhard-y and kind of irrelevant. I think part of his charm, particularly for my parents' generation, was his willingness to go publicly where few others would, but that doesn't make you a good columnist, not in my opinion anyway.

From the old guard, Irfan Hussain is good (except when he starts talking about parathas or Sri Lanka).