Pak Tea House
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Pak Tea House is an intellectual tea–café located in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Traditionally frequented by country's notably artistic, cultural and literary personalities, it was founded by a Sikh family in 1940 and quickly acquired its current name in after leased to one of the locals in Lahore after the independence of Pakistan in 1947. Intervention of Lahore High Court and personal initiatives of Navaz Sharif led to the re-opening of the Tea House in 2013. Noted of being the birthplace of influential literary movement, the PWA, the place is described as "house of writers and thinkers who serve the nation selflessly."
The café is believed to have been set up in 1932 and was owned by a Sikh family in Lahore as its rightful owners; it was later given to Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) 1940s. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, a local food supplier named Sirajuddin Ahmad rented the house from the YMCA administration and renamed it as "Pak Tea House" in 1947. The place was traditionally frequented by the city's artistic, cultural and literary personalities. Attendees including were: Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Agha Shorish Kashmiri, Ibn-e-Insha, Ahmed Faraz, Saadat Hasan Manto, Muneer Niazi, Mira Ji, Kamal Rizvi, Nasir Kazmi, Professor Sayyid Sajjad Rizavi, Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, Dr. Muhammad Baqir, Intezar Hussain and Syed Qasim Mahmood.
The house became a birthplace of the influential literary movement, the Progressive Writer's Association, which had been left-wing since its early foundation. Many writers frequented it, and it was also a favourite haunt of the section of Lahore youths with non-mainstream points of view. It maintained a reputation as a forum for people of diverse backgrounds to voice their opinions in a non-judgmental atmosphere.
A few years ago, it was shut down by its owner due to lack of business, a decision criticized by the intellectual community of Lahore. But on February 2, 2012 on the orders of the Lahore commissioner, Pak Tea House was put under the control of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). On 10 March 2013, Pak Tea House was reinaugurated by Government of Punjab. Pak Tea House is located on the Mall Road, near Anarkali Bazaar and Neela Gumbad.
A popular Pakistani blog by the name of Pak Tea House, named after the intellectual cafe, is run by a group of bloggers led by Raza Ahmad, who is a writer based in Lahore. The group at Pak Tea House have described their blog as the following: "Pak Tea House is a little corner in the blogosphere that will endeavour to revive the culture of debate, pluralism and tolerance. It has no pretensions nor illusions but the motivation of a few people who want to see Pakistan a better place - where ideas need to counter the forces of commercialism, adverse effects of globalisation and extremism. And, ideas must translate into action that leads us to an equitable, just and healthy society."
In June 2012, the government of Punjab announced its intention to reopen the Pak Tea House, which it would support itself. On Friday 8 March 2013, Pak Tea House reopened after 13 years of closure.
- APP (9 March 2013). "Nawaz reopens Pak Tea House in Lahore". Dawn Newspapers. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Sabir Shah (March 9, 2013). "The Brief history of Pak Tea House". The News International, 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- "Court paves way for revival of Pak Tea House". Express Tribune. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "Nawaz reopens Pak Tea House in Lahore". Dawn.com. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2013.