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Anniversary: ATP Turns Two Today!

Posted on June 11, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, >Owais Mughal, About ATP
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Adil Najam and Owais Mughal

Razzaq Vance, Art in the Genes, PakistanThe very first post on ATP came online on June 11, 2006. Today we complete two years of this blog. It has been quite a ride.

Let us start by welcoming a new member to our management team. Please help us welcome Asma Mirza who will join Adil Najam and Darwaish as a Contributing Editor. We are confident that Asma, who has been one of the leaders behind the Islamabad Metroblog, will and many new and wonderful dimensions and perspectives to ATP. Welcome, Asma!

Owais Mughal will continue as the Managing Editor. Bilal Zuberi, who has been so instrumental in setting the initial directions of the blog, will take a hiatus because of his increasing professional responsibilities, but we hope that he will continue with his occasional contributions.

But the real core and spirit of the blog is our readers, our authors and our commenters. For their perseverance, for their companionship and for their community, we thank them all – even those whose comments we sometimes have to moderate out because thy can never seem to fully grasp our comments policy. :-)

The ATP Story:
Today, as we mark our second anniversary, the ATP community has grown beyond anything we could have imagined when we first started: 70+ authors have contributed to more than 1000 posts, which have fascinating as well as frustrating discussions through nearly 39,000 comments (not counting the many thousands that had to be moderated out). In two years we have received some 2 million visits and some 4 million page views, and our posts as well as the comments on those posts are now regularly cited in Pakistani as well as international media.

Pakistaniat Front Page ImagePakistaniat Front Page ImagePakistaniat Front Page ImagePakistaniat Front Page ImagePakistaniat Front Page ImagePakistaniat Front Page ImagePakistaniat Front Page ImagePakistaniat Front Page ImagePakistaniat Front Page Image

And it all began on a slow and rather boring summer day, largely as an experiment to find out what a “blog” was. One remembers actually “celebrating” the 100th post largely because we were so surprised that in 35 days we had reached a 100 posts and nearly 600 comments. But it was already clear then that the experiment had turned into something larger than it was originally meant to be; which is why we were already “trying to find a way that it can become a self-operating team-blog.” We formally began that transition to making ATP a team-blog shortly afterwards (August 18, 2006). The next step for ATP was to move to its own domain and adopt a new layout design (September 1, 2006).

In December 2006, as we celebrated our sixth month anniversary, we were still quite surprised at the growth and we noted: “We keep celebrating these milestones (hopefully) not because we are self-obsessed, but because in many ways we are ourselves surprised by the wonderful roller-coaster ride this has been … and remains.” By the time we completed our first year it was time for another transition. The first anniversary post marked Owais Mughal taking over as the Managing Editor. Soon afterwards (July 18, 2007) the ATP layout went through a major redesign, resulting in what we have been calling ATP3.0. And, now, we find ourselves here.

A Community of Pakistaniat
But all of this is really secondary to what ATP really is, or was meant to be.

ATP’s essence was always to be a community. A community forged out of a common desire to understand, to explore, to debate and to express one’s Pakistaniat. A community does not always agree. Sometimes tempers flare. Often smiles are shared. Occasionally laughter breaks out. Some in every community are perpetually angry. Others only marginally interested. Some act as if they are uncomfortable to even be part of that community. Others cheer-lead even when cheer-leading is not needed. Some help build the community spirit, others assume that they and they alone know what the community is or should be about. Communities celebrate together, communities grieve together, but communities do not always have to agree. They bicker. They sometimes fight. But in moments of joy and in times of grief, they embrace each other again. Such are the dynamics of a community. Such is our ambition.

We may not be there yet, but we would like to believe that we are on the way there. This last year has been full of anger and angst for Pakistan. And the same has been reflected in our pages. Tempers have flared. Hearts have been broken. Blood pressures have gone through the roof. People have said things they might (we hope) later regretted. This is a reflection of the times we have lived through. These times have not been – are not – easy. But for those who keep their eye out for moments of community, there are many to be recognized. Some come out of shared grief. Some out of shared pride. But, most such moments come from the recognition of the small things we share. Those memories of old PTV Ads, of using fountain pens, of drinking chai, of the TV show Fifty-Fifty, of the Naai back home, of Rooh Afza, and of so much more.

On these pages we’ve tried to cultivate this community of Pakistaniat as best as we could. But we have also tried to remain true to our name – All Things Pakistan. We have focused on all things related to Pakistan and stayed away from things that are not directly related to Pakistan. We are not, and do not wish to be, a newspaper or even a new site. But we cannot ignore the unraveling of society and politics and economy in Pakistan. We have had to write on news too often – much more often than we would have wished to write about it – simply because it would have been dishonest to ignore the great news events of our times. We really wish we had to do so less often. It is the news posts that give us the most angst; largely because the news has not been good. But if we are to focus on All Things Pakistan, then we have no option but to try to give our readers a forum where they can try to make sense of the mayhem around them. But, by the same token, we have tried to remain honest to the idea that there are many many facets to any society, and we must focus on all.

Tangay Walla Khair Mangda
Razzaq Vance, Tonga, PakistanOne of the first things we had written, right after the first post, was the About section. And the first sentence we had written is what is still the first sentence there: “We hope that ATP (All Things Pakistan) will be about discussion, not rants.” That hope has never wavered, but sometimes we do think that we have failed to meet this mission. Sometimes there is more rant than discussion. We know that many – nearly everyone – is annoyed at us for trying to implement our comment policy through strong moderation. We know that some would prefer no moderation, but we also know that many are like us and seek a certain civility in the discussion. Civility does not mean agreement or running away from tough argumentation. It merely means a certain respect for the other.

The single largest reasons for moderation remain (a) personal attacks, and (b) irrelevance. We are ourselves often attacked personally, and viciously. We know how much it hurts. We therefore assume that others when subject to personal attack will feel the same. Hence, our policies are what they are. Whoever is moderated seems to believe that it is they and only they who are being subjected to moderation. And that this is because of some conspiracy against them and their views, rather than because of their failure to follow the fairly simple principles we have set out in our comment policy. We seem not to be able to convince them otherwise. We take some solace – but only scant solace – in the fact that in just about every controversial post, we tend to moderate out as many posts on each side of the argument. Two years of evidence suggests that the tendency to habitually ignore the stated comment policy, particularly in terms of personal attacks and irrelevance, is not restricted to people of any particular ideological persuasion, or age, or location!

afsos be-shumaar sukhan haaye guftani
khauf-e-fasaad-e-khalq se na-gufta reh gaye

As we had argued in a post long ago, our role is like that of the Tangay Walla in the song “tangay walla khair mangda.” There is “banda rang rang da” on the tonga, and the Tonga Walla cannot choose where they go. All that he can do is to make the journey pleasant and sing the song of Khair (I guess here it means something like ‘goodness’ and ‘friendship’).

Where from Here
What you see everyday is the public face of ATP. But behind it is a lot of tedious work. Selecting a mix of topics, keeping a large number of authors productive and happy, the actual writing, lots and lots of work into the formatting and design, remaining topical and fresh, all the IT glitches, and much much more. A particularly difficult task is having to pick the posts and also having to sometimes say No to posts that authors have worked very hard on. We have to do so sometimes simply because a particular topic might not fit well in the mix of posts that we have had or are already planning in the stream. We are always grateful to the authors for understanding and for continuing to write.

All of the above can be draining and takes a lot of time. We do it because we enjoy doing it. But it does take a lot of time. Since both of us have rather busy careers otherwise, this time is often taken away from what we would spend with our family. Our wives are understanding and supportive of ATP (and ATP readers) but we owe them a special thanks for their patience and support in being able to run the blog.

To be honest, sometimes the work gets too much and the personal attacks on us and our integrity get under our skin. Occasionally we have had conversations about whether we should just close the site down. Not just because of the time pressures and the angst, but much more because there are so many other, and better, blogs that have come up. The Pakistani blogshpere has blossomed. We would like that some have picked up a thing or two from ATP, we know that we have picked up lots and lots from lots and lots of other Pakistani blogs. Maybe it is time for us to hang our gloves. To say goodbye and let others carry on the work. Our ambition remains to be able to create a team dedicated enough and enough in line with the ethos of ATP to be able to step back.

Over the last two years our team has grown and we have welcomed many many new authors. We hope to welcome even more in the coming year. Ultimately, we hope that future installments of these anniversary posts might mention our names but would be written by someone else.

So, let us end with something we had written in or 2007 New Year Post:

Our goals are modest. We have no illusions that this, or any, blog can change the realities that are. But we do believe that in talking about this thing we call Pakistaniat, we begin contributing to its creation.

Ideas are important in the lives of nations. Action, of course, is more important; but action without ideas is dangerous and actions based on the wrong ideas can be disastrous.

Ours is the dukandaari of ideas. But we cherish our wares because we believe that good ideas can – and will – spur good actions.

Thank you for two years of your support. Note how in many of our posts we use the words “we” and “our” a lot. We really and truly believe that “you” are part of that “we” of that “our.” We hope you feel the same way. So, please, help us take your blog to newer and better places.

P.S. The photography art in this post is from Razzaq Vance.

38 Comments on “Anniversary: ATP Turns Two Today!”

  1. Qasim says:
    June 11th, 2008 3:55 am

    Congratulations ATP.

    You do a splendid service for all of us all of Pakistan. This site is what true patriotism is about. Always proud of Pskistan and focussed on making Pakistan a better place but not shying from calling out the things that have gone wrong and need to be put right.

    Again, congratulations and thanks.

  2. Anwar says:
    June 11th, 2008 7:38 am

    Congratulations. You are doing a great job – thanks and keep up.

  3. Eidee Man says:
    June 11th, 2008 7:43 am

    I have followed ATP since its inception and it has become a regular part of my schedule to glance at the site when I take a look at Dawn.com, BBC, etc.

    Keep up the great work; like last year, I would again invite you to maybe experiment with a podcast or two :-). Regardless, going from a simple website to really something that has become an important part of media is absolutely amazing.

  4. YasirButt says:
    June 11th, 2008 8:07 am

    congrats

  5. Yasir Butt says:
    June 11th, 2008 8:13 am

    We r Balochi, we r Sindhi, Pukhtoon and Punjabi but r not Pakistani. There is laxity of Pakistaniat in us. You people deserve congratulation on your work to promote Pakistaniat.

    Citizens who donot love their country cannot become a nation.

    Love u r Country. We love Pakistan

  6. Adnan Ahmad says:
    June 11th, 2008 9:12 am

    For someone like me who struggles to find time to even comment on the posts that I really like during my quick read, you guys are unbelievable in your relentless work for this blog. My entire blogging experience begins and ends with this site.

    Welcome Asma Mirza.

  7. June 11th, 2008 9:27 am

    Here is to the two years behind us and many more ahead.

    Good Luck and welcome onboard Asma

  8. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    June 11th, 2008 9:32 am

    Congratulations Adil & Owais. You are serving Pakistan while staying above the ethnic strives. You and your team of editors, contributors and commentators have done excellent job keeping this an interesting post day after day. Surfing Internet may be a habit, but visiting ATP is an addiction.

  9. June 11th, 2008 10:11 am

    asma ji welcome to the site, we the readers are looking forward to your contribution.

    Godspeed.

  10. June 11th, 2008 11:12 am

    Congratulations to ATP and to the contributors. All of you do a great service by contributing and sharing your knowledge.

  11. S.A.A. says:
    June 11th, 2008 11:46 am

    Congratulations. Great work. You guys are an inspiration.

    It is the discussions like the ones going on now which show the uniqueness of this forum and blog. These are discussions we need to have but for which there are not enough forums. I admire your hard skin and ability to “take it” from all sides but create a space where different points of views can be discussed.

    But even if many of us do not comment there too much, the real thing we come for are the pictures and the reminders of the small things and memories and reminders of what we all share as Pakistanis.

    Again, thanks.

  12. S.A.A. says:
    June 11th, 2008 11:47 am

    I really hope that little mention of thinking about closing ATP own is not real. Please don’t even think of it. Too many of us will be devastated.

  13. Tayyib Rashid says:
    June 11th, 2008 11:59 am

    I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but while reading the blog i found two misspelled words. With all due respect, I think the editors should probably start doing their jobs. “who has been one of “teh” leaders behind the Islamabad Metroblog, will “asd” many new and wonderful dimensions and perspectives to ATP. “

  14. Rambler says:
    June 11th, 2008 4:59 pm

    Tayyib Rashid says:June 11th, 2008 11:59 am
    I hate to burst anyone

  15. Humaira says:
    June 11th, 2008 5:06 pm

    welcome Asma
    good to see a woman being added to the management team. Although I should say that ATP gas always been very fair in its coverage of women issues and has always highlighted them

    Happy Birthday ATP and thank you for this great gift.

  16. ShahidnUSA says:
    June 11th, 2008 5:20 pm

    Happy Two! Making a sign of victory

    Soon it will be three (Inshallah)
    because the time flys when you ‘re having fun

  17. June 11th, 2008 6:53 pm

    wish it was death anniversary of All things crap

  18. Farrukh says:
    June 11th, 2008 7:58 pm

    I used to be quite active in the comments till about a year ago. I have continued to visit this everyday as my dose of Pakistaniat. But I did stop commenting because I think the quality of the comments has gone down. Too much anger and slogans without serious argument. The quality of the posts is as good but I think the comments went down. Sometimes I wonder why Adil and Owais write such good posts and analyses when your readers seem incapacle of appreciating your hard work.

    After that last comment I thought I should break my silence and let you know how much I apreciate your dedication. And not just me, many of my friends are also regular readers and we discuss your posts amongst ourselves, even if we do not comment here.

    PLs keep up the great work.

  19. Farrukh says:
    June 11th, 2008 8:02 pm

    BTW, the Tonga picture is amazing and also the Tangay Walla metaphor is very appropriate.

    The tangay walla is responsible for the ride, not the destination.

  20. Sajjad says:
    June 11th, 2008 8:22 pm

    Happy Birthday.
    Thank you for all the good work.

  21. Jay says:
    June 11th, 2008 9:36 pm

    Friends, I am not from Pakistan myself but have developed a keen interest in your beautiful country. This blog has become my guide and companion to Pakistan and I thank you for doing this. There is no other resource that I know of which gives me a deeper or more authentic feel for your country.

    I do hope you will continue it and wish you great success.

  22. shahran asim says:
    June 11th, 2008 9:45 pm

    Congrats to the great duo , welcome Asma,

  23. Salim says:
    June 11th, 2008 10:19 pm

    Adil Sahib and Owais Sahib;
    Congratulations! Many happy returns of the day.
    Thank you for this great blog. Being part of a slave profession(just kidding) I visit the blog less often than I really would like to,but when I do, it is like coming home.
    The effort you put in is much appreciated, and I also speak for people I have introduced over past year plus.
    For those carrying Pakistaniat within us, you serve as an oasis
    to refill our supply.
    Thanks again;
    Salim.

  24. Sidhas says:
    June 11th, 2008 11:05 pm

    Congratulations!!!

  25. Khalid R Hasan says:
    June 12th, 2008 2:10 am

    ATP is a “must visit” site for me, practically every day. I may not read all the posts, and definitely not all the comments, but I still have to check you out. Please keep up the good work. We appreciate what you have been doing and realise how much time and effort goes into it, even though we don’t come out and say so on a regular basis.

    And yes, sometimes a few of the comments seem immature, but most of us can live with that so long as you keep on doing what you’ve been doing for the past two years.

    Thank you very much for giving us ATP.

  26. Hassan says:
    June 12th, 2008 2:25 am

    Thank you for Pakistaniat from all Pakistanis.

  27. Asma says:
    June 12th, 2008 2:48 am

    Thanks for the welcome =))

    fingers crossed :)

    Happy Birthday ATP!

  28. Ahmed Ali says:
    June 12th, 2008 3:15 am

    Congratulations to everyone on the Pakistaniat team. And welcome to Asma.

    You guys and your website is now part of my daily routine. I have to look up what is happening here a few time everyday.

    This post is a perfect example of why I like this website so much: great pictures, detailed and compelling writing, never insulting the intelligence your your visitors and writing in a truly Pakistani style.

  29. Ahsan says:
    June 12th, 2008 5:17 am

    Congrats,

    Great work has been done! And lot of greater work needs to be done. Pakistaniat has everything, great authors, read and informative, mature minds, great look just needs slight pun and punch. Being too sugar-coated sometimes hampers the way towards greater things. Evil has been using all at its disposal to tarnish goodness, so why goodness waits in the cloak of its goodness. It is a war out there.I hope people get the message.

    In the end, all the best for the future!

    Zindabad Pakistan! Zindabad Pakistaniat!

  30. Ahmed Ali says:
    June 12th, 2008 7:37 pm

    Ahsan, I am not sure what you mean when you say “. Evil has been using all at its disposal to tarnish goodness, so why goodness waits in the cloak of its goodness.”

    “Goodness” wears the cloak of its goodness because that is not a cloak but its skin. If it dropped what you call a cloak it would cease to be goodness and will become evil itself. No?

    ATP, please keep doing what you have done. Do not let the bad people around you stop you from being good. That is what makes you different and special for your readers!!!!!!

  31. Janeeta says:
    June 13th, 2008 12:56 am

    Happy Birthday ATP and my heartiest welcome to Asma

    ATP is my favourite blog and the first thing i do when i open my pc in morning is to check for the new posts … i simply dont have the words to describe my feelings of joy and sorrow that i have shared with ATP …. May Allah bless you guys and give you the strength to bring all these wonderful moments and thoughts in our lives for the many years to come Ameen

  32. Thanos says:
    June 13th, 2008 7:10 pm

    I stopped in to congratulate you on two years of excellence in journalism. While I don’t always agree with your authors, I appreciate both your diligence and honesty. Please do keep up the great work.

  33. Kazmi says:
    June 13th, 2008 7:15 pm

    congrats and well done
    welcome Asma
    thank you ATP

  34. paki says:
    June 15th, 2008 9:38 am

    congrats and keep up the (mostly) good work.

    as for the one or two bitter posters who hate this site: stop hating and go build your own…

    one suggestion: threading the comments might improve the discussions.

  35. Enough says:
    June 17th, 2008 11:10 am

    Congratulations Pakistaniat.com. You have done a great service and are the most honest and truest representation of Pakistan and Pakistaniat. Bravo guys.

  36. Hussain Kazim says:
    June 19th, 2008 5:47 am

    Congratulations to the website to Mr. Mughal and Mr. Najam and welcome to Asma and Darwaish. You are all doing a great service to Pakistan. Please keep it up.

  37. Ashraf says:
    June 22nd, 2008 12:24 am

    I visit this site infrequently so saw this now. Congratulations to the Pakistaniat team. You represent this country with great dignity. Thank you.

  38. Nihari says:
    June 11th, 2010 11:14 am

    Happy 4 th anniversary and thank you for making my life a bit bearable every morning

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