About me

I’m a journalist, editor and documentary filmmaker (originally a painter) focusing on issues related to media, gender, human rights and peace. In 1998 I started an informal newsletter on personal and political issues to friends and colleagues, then a yahoogroup (beena-issues) in 2002, and this blog in Feb 2009. The idea was to share articles, reports and comments on current issues, including my own reports, articles and comments (and my monthly column ‘Personal Political’) with my friends and colleagues. Here’s my ‘self-profile‘ for Video Journalists Movement. I was Teabreak.pk’s Featured Blogger, March 2010 (thanks for the ‘break’, guys, it got me taking myself more seriously as a blogger); awarded Best Blog from a Journalist at the Pakistan Blog Awards 2011.

Thanks to Shahidul Alam of Drik who walked me through the baby-steps of blogging at the sidelines of a Panos meeting in Kathmandu in 2010, that I’ve built on with occasional help from techie friends.

Twitter:  Beena Sarwar

(Thanks for the blog name ‘Journeys to Democracy‘ to the bright, dedicated Naveed Malik, KSG ’08, who was one of my interns at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, in 2006-07)

77 Responses

  1. Dear blogger,

    I am writing to you in my capacity as editor of Atlantic-Community.org, an online think tank with over 3000 international members; primarily young professionals from NGOs, academia, think tanks, politics, and media.

    Recently, we conducted a survey amongst 30 international experts to find out whether and how the EU should deal with the growing instability of the Pakistani state. You can find the survey here:

    http://www.atlantic-community.org/index/Open_Think_Tank_Article/EU_Must_Bring_Its_Expertise_to_Pakistan

    As you are running a blog dealing with recent political questions and development in Pakistan, I believe it would be of interest for you and your readers to get involved in the discussion on EU engagement in Pakistan. We would be delighted if you could feature our survey on your blog, together with your comments and ideas.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or suggestions.

    With best regards,

  2. >>>>>>>KSG ‘08, >>>>>>>>

    what does this stand for??

    • Kennedy School of Government (now the Harvard Kennedy School). Have clarified in the text. Thanks.

  3. I am a regular follower of Pak Tea House. I am writing a research paper on interactions across the India-Pakistan border through the blogging community. Since your write about India and Pakistan in your blog, is there anything of particular interest that you would want to share. I mean are the responses to India-Pakistan specific posts rational or nationalist? Are you accused of taking sides? Are there any blogs by authors on either sides dealing with India-Pakistan relations that you find interesting? And finally what according to you is the role of the blogging community in defining India-Pakistan relations?
    I would appreciate if you can share your responses. You cna mail your responses to thetrajectory@gmail.com
    Thanks

  4. I love your blog and your writing. I posted your piece from IPS about the Women’s Peace Offensive at our site and included some links to your twitter and blog.

    http://sexgenderbody.com/content/women%E2%80%99s-peace-offensive-asia

    If there are any ways we can support this from overseas, please register at the site and leave that info in the comment section. Or, if you prefer to email, I will include it in a revised post.

    -arvan
    admin@sexgenderbody.com

    • Dear arvan, thanks for your comment and for linking the article. I will forward your offer of support to Dr Radha Kumar and the other group members
      regards
      beena

  5. Beena, I am delighted to have landed on “Journeys to Democracy.” Great work!

  6. I heard you today on the BBC World Service program The World Today hosted by Julian Waricker. you made an interesting comment on the show about the ramifications of using religions as political or say geopolitical ends.

    While you may not agree with me but since Pakistan is suffering from it I want to make a point here that the suffering we have is because of meddling religion as using it as means and hence the confused ideology given by Mr. Jinnah’s Muslim League has come to haunt us. Hence the sole search should start alot before 30 years as you suggested…..

    • Thanks, agree completely. In overall terms, any religion in the name of politics causes long term damage, but if we seek a pattern then this present wave of ‘religious militancy’ dates back to the Afghan war against the Russians (a war of liberation that was made into a ‘holy war’, misrepresenting the concept of jihad – as Eqbal Ahmad pointed out in ‘Terrorism: Theirs and Ours’ back in 1998 – http://www.tni.org/article/terrorism-theirs-and-ours).

  7. Dear Beena,

    You have probably heard by now about the conference on Afghanistan being hosted by the British government in London on 28 January. Afghanistan: The London Conference is major event that is already beginning to attract headlines. It is anticipated that a large number of international delegations will attend, including an Afghan delegation led by President Karzai.

    You can find out more about the conference on the official conference website here: http://afghanistan.hmg.gov.uk/en/conference/

    On the conference website you can:
    • Sign up for updates on the latest information about the conference.
    • Ask questions directly to British government ministers using Yoosk. All you have to do is click the ‘ask’ button below the relevant Minister’s name. Questions will be answered promptly on the same page. The first batch of replies have already been posted.
    • Log on to watch conference proceedings live as they happen.

    I will be happy to answer any further questions you may have about the conference.

    Also, please let me know if you are interested in writing articles/blogs in the lead upto the conference. I will be happy to help or provide further information.

    With best wishes,

    Fouzia

    Fouzia Younis- Suleman| Digital Campaigns Manager, Afghanistan and Pakistan policy | Digital Diplomacy Group | Communications Directorate | http://www.fco.gov.uk | Visit our blogs at http://blogs.fco.gov.uk

  8. I have been following your blog and articles from recent past. I found it of immense importance. Your interaction with an Indian in the Political Economy (section of The News on Sunday) is very appealing indeed.
    I also write in TNS, Dawn and Business Recorder. My blog address is http://tahirkatlang.wordpress.com
    thanks

  9. Beena;

    I have been reading your tweets and wanted to thank you for all the support you have shown towards my community after the attacks on Friday.

    Future of Pakistan rests on the very few enlugthened people like yourself who have the courage to stand up against the wrongs committed by our previous generations.

    Thank you and may Allah give you more strength. Jazakallah.

    • Thank you. It is not just about your community. As fellow citizens and fellow human beings you also belong to my community, which is the community of all those in Pakistan and around the world who believe in freedom, peace, justice, equality and human rights. You are not alone. The massacre in Lahore grieved many who are not even educated, or ‘activists’, even though they are afraid to voice their views openly, thanks to the confusion spread by obscurantist forces. Stay strong.

      • Hai Beena Sarwar , how are you . you have been doing an out standing job as professional journalist . you have been writing all about our society all important social issues. please keep it countinue in yours life . with Regards Ayub khan

      • Thank you for your kind words.

  10. Hi Beena, I am originally from India, currently living in California.
    I just wanted to share my Pakistan trip 2008 Dec pictures with you. I need your help to convey my sincere thanks to a Professor at Govt Islamia College Civil Lines Lahore. His picture is in the photo album – On the Trail of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
    Photo 44 of 57 in the link-

    http://punjabidentist.com/?p=1512

    I forgot that Professor’s name, but can’t forget his excellent hospitality. I know without name it’s not an easy task, but i just want to try anyway i could think of.

    • Dear Dalvir,
      Thanks for sharing the photos. I sent the link to a few friends in Lahore. You might consider putting it on an open link rather than facebook (which not everyone’s on). I’ll do that too. Good luck.

    • Have uploaded that photo at http://twitpic.com/1x213v & tweeted it. Good luck.

  11. Beena,
    As you know I am admirer of your blogs and other writings and activities for peace. I just wish that you add my blogs to your blogroll and also share what ever you find useful on my facebook pages like Pakistan photo albums or other things. My blogs are bhagatsinghstudy.blogspot.com and drchaman.wordpress.com
    Greetings
    Chaman

  12. Would love to see the Documentaries you’ve made :)

    • Thanks for your interest. I’m sorry, there’s nothing online except Milne Do: Let Kashmiris Meet – at http://bit.ly/aWVVkY Shd organise some DVD copies…

  13. I’m a bangladeshi. I’ve read an article about my country in your blog. It was good. By the way, what do you know or what’s your opinion about the warcrime of 1971? Please mail me your answer. I’ll be waitin’………… Best wishes.

  14. Hi,
    I have added your link to my blog here:

    http://lifethelove.wordpress.com/

    Hope it’s okay with you.
    Fauzia

    http://uddari.wordpress.com/

  15. Dear Beena,
    Let me introduce myself first. My name is Tahir Ali and I represent one of Pakistan’s most prestigious PR (Public Relations) agency, Shamrock Communications. With our corporate office in Karachi and branch offices in Lahore and Islamabad, it is the only PR Company in Pakistan with senior-level representations in all three corporate cities of the country. You can visit our website at http://www.shamrockcom.net

    At Shamrock, we feel privileged to have some of the leading names of their respective industries as our esteemed clients such as: Mobilink, Dell, and Samsung, etc. Periodically we arrange and manage corporate PR events for out esteemed clients and recently we had arranged a bloggers meet up for Samsung in Karachi. We are planning another bloggers event in Karachi on 18th February 2011, and we would like to invite you to join and participate in this bloggers event. This would be a high profile event with a lot of media coverage, and would give you the opportunity to interact with other bloggers and the Senior Level Management of Multi National Brands.

    I therefore request you to please share your contact details with me so I can keep in touch, open up new venues of communications and send you the invitation upon receiving your confirmation of participation. Your contact details should include:

    1. First Name:
    2. Last Name:
    3. City:
    4. Blog URL:
    5. Email address:
    6. Mobile/Cell #:

    Thanking You,

    Tahir Ali
    Assistant Manager – Online Media
    SHAMROCK Communications (Pvt.) Ltd

  16. Hi Beena,

    I’ve been following probably since the death of Taseer. I am so grateful and impressed by the breath of your work and passion to stand for justice.

    I am writing to share an op-ed piece of mine that was published in the Washington Times in honor of Shahbaz Bhatti. Thank you for you own work in standing up for the defenseless and weak among us.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/7/a-willing-sacrifice-for-the-despised/

    • Thank you for your support and sharing your work. I have posted it on facebook & twitter also. We are all in this together and we must keep on keeping on.

      • Thank you. As a woman you are an inspiration to me. I am no longer content to live my own comfortable life and long to be courageous like yourself. I do hope that one day our paths will somehow cross as we “labour” together in our own corner of the ‘modern’ world.

        Praying for you.

      • Thank you for your words. We all do what we can, wherever we are. I hope you have endorsed CFD’s open letter regarding the situation in Pakistan: http://bit.ly/cfd-openletter

  17. Dera Beena,

    impressive personal journey, and equally impressive jurneys to democracy. Keep up, we are all togtehr under the common cause.

    Uzma
    Research Fellow, Faculty of Law,
    University of Hong Kong

    • Thank you.

  18. Noir Nation is looking for stories from Pakistani writers, and also non-fiction pieces/articles on topics such as:

    1) Crime literature as social commentary,
    2) Pakistan, the noirest place on earth,
    3) Crime fiction and the empowerment of women,
    4)The effect of noir on the existentialist philosophers,
    5) Crime fiction pushing the envelope of literary style,
    4)etc.

    http://www.facebook.com/noirnation Give us a thumbs up if you will.

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Noir+Nation&aq=f

    Editor: alan@noirnation.com

  19. Dear Ms. Beena,

    WE have contacted you at twitter also, kindly provide us with your contact information, we want to invite you to be a judge at our documentary film competition.

    regards

    • Thanks, I replied to the twitter question. When and where is your event?

  20. Noir Nation

  21. ur march toward democracy is splendid. i pledge myself to join u in this noble cause.it is democracy which can keep pakistan intact otherwise—–.

  22. Hi,

    I want to know if you will hire any writer for your blog here? Do you know of any other platforms where I can write creatively?

    • Thanks for your interest. Sadly, there are no paid positions at this blog.

      • Alright, thanks for your reply.

        Can you please recommend any good blogs where I can write creatively?

  23. Hi Amnah,

    Noir Nation does not hire bloggers, however we do publish creative writing and pay. Noir Nation is an international journal of crime fiction and publishes literary quality stories and essays (the first issue will be available as an ebook at online sellers on September 1, 2011, and will be available in English, French and Spanish). Crime fiction is a very good way to explore social commentary, corruption, and even human rights abuses and elements related to the growth of democracy. In some ways it is even better (or at least safer in some parts of the world) than journalism for the purpose. The crime genre is being taken very seriously by academics now (for example: http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=180888).

    Please see and join our website http://noirnation.com. We would love to read your comments.

    And Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/noirnation (please give us a “Like”, thank you)

    I am the Eastern Hemisphere editor and would like to receive stories from your part of the world. Stories need to be in English or accompanied by an English translation.

    Sincerely,
    Alan
    alan@noirnation.com

    • Thank you so very much Alan for your reply. I will follow your recommendation.

      • Glad to have connected the two of you, and thanks from me also Alan, for your prompt and helpful reply.

  24. Thanks to you as well Beena. : )

  25. You are welcome, and please help me spread the word about Noir Nation in your country. We truly want to be international and the more writers and readers we reach in each country the more we help shrink the world in all the good ways, while retaining the individual voices of our cultures.

    Sincerely,
    Alan

    • Yes Alan, rest assure, the word about Noir Nation will spread in Pakistan too, especially now that you have mentioned here at Beena’s site.

  26. Thank you so much. I would love to have some stories from Pakistan. I’ve read Moshin Hamid’s two novels, Moth Smoke, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, they were very very good. And I am sure he is just the tip of the iceberg. Pakistan is very much in the world’s thoughts right now and it some ways seems like the noirest place on earth right now. Work from writers there would receive a lot of attention.

    The Noir Nation website is up: http://noirnation.com It would be wonderful if we had some comments from you and other writers there, get a conversation going.

    Sincerely,
    Alan

  27. Dear Beena
    I work with sunilji (Daily Chhattisgarh, Raipur, India), have been following yr blogs after we carried PAF pilot’s story. Sunilji has asked me to translate “A Pakistani Travelogue, with Tears”. I had found other podcasts interesting too. Area there any transcripts available for these podcasts also, or downloading them from i Tune is the only way?
    best regards
    Shivani
    (st.chhattisgarh@gmail.com )

    • Dear Shivani, thanks for your message. I don’t know if transcripts for the podcasts are available, although I believe you can download them from the site itself: http://bit.ly/oDZ4fU. Pls let me know if that works. Thanks.

  28. Dear Beena!
    I represent Earth Citizens for Conscious Media team.
    Our aim is create an international network of media schools inside and in between the countries connecting NGOs, educational institutions and different kinds of media, resource people (well-known people), think-tanks, foundations based on the universal values to impact on how media work, to encourage creation and establish a conscious media, human-oriented, with a universal spirit, aware that the world is one
    We’ve found you at VJ community and liked your videos.
    We are now preparing an international media school and want you to join our team.
    Please, have a look on the video describing our work done so far.

    Also we would like to ask you to invite your colleagues to join the free media on-line course that will start from 7th of October. You are more than welcomed to join it as well and we will be delighted if you could give a free lecture for our students as well.
    Looking forward for your reply.
    Best regards,
    Andrii Miroshnychenko

  29. Have u heard abt the murder of Farah Dogar, daughter of Chief Justice Dogar. I think someone should take up the cause and bring the killers to justice. If honor killing is committed at this level us women of working class have no escape.

    • That is an unverified, unconfirmed report.

  30. Hi beena g , A few months back you gave me a punch line ” I am not interested in what happened instead I am interested in how It was happened and how did you react?” Still working on that…. :)

    • Eh? Sorry, don’t understand. When did I say I am not interested in what happened? I am not only interested in what happened but also how it happened and all the rest of it…

      • Sorry I disturbed you in fact I sent you my blog “http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/5676/my-days-as-a-manual-labourer/” and you gave these comments. Sorry again

      • Thanks for the link. I do remember the story, and no need to apologise. But I still don’t recall making the comment you attribute to me – or it’s taken out of context as I don’t think that’s something I would say.

  31. Madam, Beena, you are a great institute and a journalism school to people from Pakistan, I just wanted to mention it, ‘we’re proud to have a true writer like you are’ I really don’t have words now about what to write, today, I prayer to Allah that give me a chance in my life to meet you once, would proud to touch your feet and kiss your hands, I slute you ma’am, I’m so much impress by your writing skills, I’m following you on twitter, you have a great respect in my heart, yours excellency! You are a great writer, I would love read you from bottom of my heart! May Allah give you a long life!

    • Thank you so much Haji Sahib, appreciate the support and best wishes.

  32. मलाला – मलाल माफ़ी

    मलाला
    की
    हत्या की कोशिश करने वाला
    शख्श
    मलाल करता होगा
    इतनी प्यारी बिटिया को
    गोली दाग तो दी
    पर
    वो निर्दयी भी
    दिन रात दिल में सोचता होगा
    या अल्लाह
    ये
    मैंने क्या कर डाला ?

    खुदा से दिन-रात
    दुआ करता होगा
    मुझे माफ़ कर दे मलाला

    किशोर कुमार पाहुजा
    उदयपुर (राजस्थान)

    • Shukriya Kishore Kumar Pahuja ji. I hope you or someone else will translate or transliterate it for those of us who can’t read the Hindi script.

  33. ملالا ملال مافی

    ملالا کو مارنے
    کی
    کوشش کرنے والا
    روز ملال کرتا ہوگا
    اتنی پیاری بٹیا کو
    گولی ڈاگ تو دی
    پر
    وو بھی دن رات
    دل میں سوچتا ہوگا
    یا الله
    یہ
    مہینے کیر کر ڈالا

    خدا سے دن رات
    دوا کرتا ہوگا
    مجھے معاف کر دے ملالا

    کشور کمر پھجا
    ادےپور (راجستھان)

    • Beautiful, thank you!

  34. Hi,

    Can I reproduce Poem’s for Malala in a print edition? I am Anoop Kamath based in New Delhi and I am compiling few aticles on Malala..
    My email is anoop.kamath@gmail.com

  35. [...] move fast. It is because the process has been interrupted so often that it is so tenuous,” said Beena Sarwar, editor of the Aman ki Asha (Hope for Peace) [...]

  36. [...] fast. It is because the process has been interrupted so often that it is so tenuous,” said Beena Sarwar, editor of the Aman ki Asha (Hope for Peace) [...]

  37. You are doing nice job we welcome you on http://www.FMUrdu.com a well aware media

  38. Madam Beena, Could you please spell out from the knowledge and experience as to what creates an atmosphere of distrust between India and Pakistan and what is basis of difference in thinking of Pakistanis and Indians, what are the historical imperatives that make for the line of thinking they have since before and after 1947 or some wily politicians have a role in not educating the people and keeping the fire of conflict burning. Have you ever tried to get to the bottom of whole thing by a sort of survey and opinion poll etc.

  39. Glad to have discovered your blog Beena, you write very well.

    What a coincidence that purely out of curiosity I’m learning to make documentaries these days :)

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks a lot, nice to hear from you and to know you’re going into documentaries. Very worthwhile work :)

  40. […] Beena Sarwar, a journalist, blogger, human rights activist and lead campaigner for Aman ki Aasha, a campaign for peace between India and Pakistan, tied the ad into the ‘Milne Do’ campaign against visa restrictions between India and Pakistan: […]

  41. […] Beena Sarwar, a journalist, blogger, human rights activist and lead campaigner for Aman ki Aasha, a campaign for peace between India and Pakistan, tied the ad into the ‘Milne Do’ campaign against visa restrictions between India and Pakistan: […]

  42. […] Beena Sarwar, a journalist, blogger, human rights activist and lead campaigner for Aman ki Aasha, a campaign for peace between India and Pakistan, tied the ad into the ‘Milne Do’ campaign against visa restrictions between India and Pakistan: […]

  43. Dear Ms. Beena,
    I recently came to know about you when I read your statement about the google reunion ad. I wanted to know more about you and your thoughts and I found a whole lot of write ups, documentaries and talks by you at various places in both India and Pakistan. Most importantly I realized that there’s a lady on the Pakistan side who is interested in breaking the barriers between the two countries by allowing the common people of both the countries to know, visit, interact and understand each other. I appreciate your efforts for this cause in the form of Aman ki Asha and ‘Milne Do’.
    I would like to know if you could help two families ‘milne do’ (to meet) who got separated some decades ago. My father got separated from his brother and sister and could never meet them. Initially my father worked for the Police Department in my state of Andhra Pradesh and later he was associated with the ‘Home Ministry’. Due to his posting in a sensitive government department he could never dream or think of Pakistan because that would put a black mark on his career. Hence he never visited Pakistan. In the process he never came to know about his 11 year old sister and 6 year old brother who were left in the care of a friend in Sind Pakistan.
    This separation took place before the creation of Pakistan. Once Pakistan was formed, the door to my father’s fate of meeting his brother and sister was closed for ever. Even today, after so many decades it’s not easy for me to get a visa to visit Pakistan and search for my father’s brother and sister.
    The only option left for me was to use technology to find them which I’ve been using from the past 5 years but I’m still unsuccessful. I wish it was as easy as they showed in the google reunion ad. Could you please help me in searching for my lost family members in Pakistan?
    Thank you, and hope to hear from you soon.

    • Thanks for your message. We can certainly try, but would need more information. Will email you.

      • Thanks a million. I’ll provide all the information I have.

  44. […] viajar a través de esa frontera debido a los dificultosos trámites para obtener un visado [en]. Beena Sarwar [en], periodista, bloguera, activista de derechos humanos y participante en la campaña Aman ki […]

  45. […] بینا سرور جو کہ صحافی و بلاگر، انسانی حقوق کی کارکن اور امن کی آشا مہم کی روح رواں میں سے ایک ہیں نے اس اشتہار کو اپنی ‘ملنے دو’ مہم کا حصہ بناتے ہوئے کہا: […]

  46. Dear Ms. Beena

    Hope this finds you well.

    On behalf of our client, P&G, we are pleased to invite you to the launch of the Always Karo Yaqeen Collection – the debut collection of Pooja Achria – a young designer who has been selected through the Always Star Hunt contest. Please see below invite for the same.

    The collection will be launched in line with the Always Karo Yaqeen platform, which seeks to empower women by giving them an opportunity to fulfill their dreams and as part of Bonanza’s exclusive prêt wear line, Satrangi.

    The details of the event are as follows:

    Date: Thursday, March 13, 2014
    Timings: 4:30 p.m.
    Location: Port Grand, Karachi

    We hope you will be able to join us to celebrate women empowerment and to encourage young talent to fulfill its dreams.

    Note: Kindly also send me your official email address for future references

    Thanks & Regards
    Ali Hammad Jafri
    Accounts Executive – Corporate Marketing Communications
    Email: hammad@cmc.com.pk

  47. […] About me. […]

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