An app for India Pakistan love, the patriotism question, and peace-mongering, regardless

20150218-AKA pageMy latest Personal Political post for Times of India blogs

I have for some time been in touch with a young Indian software engineer turned project manager turned ‘digital nomad’, Amrit Sharma. Last week in the Aman ki Asha page that I edit published weekly in The News, Pakistan, we featured a small report on a heart-warming initiative he has started (all the articles are online at the AKA website).

In August 2013, Amrit launched India Loves Pakistan for the joint commemoration of India and Pakistan’s Independence Days. The aim: “to add the human element into the India Pakistan relationship”.  Now he has launched an Android app called “India or Pakistan” through a self-funded tech startup. Continue reading

The ‘good’ Taliban strike again

Alamdar Road, Quetta: Shia Hazara protestors sitting with coffins in the freezing cold.

Alamdar Road, Quetta (file photo): Shia Hazara protestors with coffins of those killed in a 2012 attack sit in the freezing cold to demand government action. #NeverForget

Another attack at a Shia Imambargah in Peshawar. More loss of innocent lives as the “good” Taliban strike again. The Pakistan military machine goes after the “bad” ones, while those who kill Shias and Ahmadis are allowed to function as they further outdated foreign policy objectives re India / Kashmir and Afghanistan. (see Pakistan Must Discard its ‘Good Taliban, Bad Taliban’ Narrative)

Pakistanis will keep protesting, the perpetrators will keep attacking. Continue reading

#ChapelHillShooting All lives matter. “Terrorism, their’s and our’s”

Deah, Yosur, Razan#‎AllLivesMatter‬ My heart goes out to the family and friends of Deah, Yosur, and Razan, the beautiful young people whose lives were so cruelly snatched in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, ostensibly over a ‘parking dispute’.

It’s not front page or breaking news in the US mainstream media the way that racial killings or murders committed by Muslims make the news. Those defending the media in this case say that the murders were not motivated by Islamophobia, and that to highlight the religion of those involved is to create conflict. Continue reading

It all comes together: Kashmir Day, banned organisations, and a warped narrative

DIG Khalique Shaikh and PPP leader Sharmila Farooqi negotiating with protesters outside CM House, Karachi. PPI photo

DIG Khalique Shaikh and PPP leader Sharmila Farooqi negotiating with protesters outside CM House, Karachi. PPI photo

It all comes together. When the Sindh government agreed on Tuesday to the demands of the citizens observing a sit-in for over 30 hours in protest against the Shikarpur blast, probably everyone forgot about Kashmir Solidarity Day. It has been observed annually in Pakistan every February 5 since 1991 when the Nawaz Sharif government during its first stint in power demarcated it as a national holiday. Continue reading

Shikarpur survivors’ update, urgent call for blood, and my article on the bombing: a deliberate attack on Sindh’s tolerant Sufi culture

8-year old Samar Abbas in critical condition at AKUH: He has a blood clot in his brains, a broken jaw and a collapsed respiratory system. Photo: Anas Mallick

8-year old Samar Abbas in critical condition at AKUH: He has a blood clot in his brains, a broken jaw and a collapsed respiratory system. Photo: Anas Mallick

UPDATE Shikarpur blast: Over 60 were buried in Shikarpur, funeral prayers attended by an over 10,000-strong crowd. 15 survivors were airlifted to hospitals in Karachi, of whom two have passed away. Urgent need for blood at the Agha Khan University Hospital laboratory in Karachi, including for critically injured 8-year old Samar Abbas is in urgent need of O+ blood. Below, extracts from my article yesterday in Scroll also linked here: Bombing of Shikarpur mosque is a deliberate attack on Sindh’s tolerant Sufi culture

Continue reading

Desperate Fasadis trying to change Sindhi culture

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Muezzin by day, musician by night

Shikarpur and other areas of Sindh have always been famous for their tolerant, syncretic Sufi culture — and sweets. Not suicide attacks. That is obviously something that cowardly Takfiri Fasadis are trying desperately to change. From kidnapping and forced conversions of Hindu girls, to attacks on shrines and target killing of Ahmadis and Shias, they’re at it full throttle. Funded by Saudis and other sources in the Middle East, they are building massive madrassahs throughout the provice, huge buildings that look threatening and unfamiliar in a landscape where the traditional mosques have delicate minarets and people of all religions and sects have lived together peacefully for centuries.
On Saif Samejo‘s rooftop in Jamshoro a couple of summers ago, we were treated to music by some local folk musicians from Mithi. The man who plays the bhorindo (string instrument), on the left, is the maulvi of a masjid. Muezzin by day, musician by night. When the floods hit in 2010, he was approached by JUD to rebuild his mosque. He refused because “If I took money from them, I would be made to say what they want and my masjid would not be my own anymore.”

Pakistanis against terrorism: global protest vigils #ReclaimYourMosque

Pakistanis against terrorism: Shehroz Hussain speaking at the global protest vigil on Jan 16, in Boston

Pakistanis against terrorism: Shehroz Hussain speaking at the global protest vigil on Jan 16, in Boston

Shehroz Hussain was a foreign student from Pakistan, a freshman at college in the USA, when Taliban or their affiliated groups shot dead his father, Dr Riaz Hussain Shah, in front of his clinic in Peshawar in January, 2013. “In August 2012, as I stood at the airport to say goodbye to my family, I did not know I would never see one person again,” said Shehroz, speaking at a protest vigil last Friday in Boston’s historic Copley Square. “That person was the one with the most tears. He cried so much that relatives joked with him. I will never forget that night when I was woken up in the middle of the night on 9th January, 2013, to the sound of my crying brother on the phone: ‘Baba ko Maar Diya‘. They have killed Baba.”  Continue reading

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