On BBC World Have your Say this morning one of my fellow guests was a singer in Peshawar, Rahim Khan. He had been a student at the Army Public School on Warsak Road, Peshawar, from 2001-2003, in grades 11 and 12. In this clip he recalls a reunion at the school ten years later with the principal Tahira Qazi, who was so brutally killed in the attack on Dec 16. Rahim remembered singing in the very auditorium where so many were killed. We shared some more thoughts on Twitter later; see below. Continue reading
Thirty years after 1984 Sikh carnage, ‘Kultar’s Mime’ underscores truths about victimhood and violence
“Innocent victims are the same, regardless of how they worship God and what tongues they speak” – Sarbpreet Singh
A dramatic production of Sarbpreet Singh’s poem ‘Kultar’s Mime’ is being performed to acclaim in the USA and Canada, and will be in India at the end of the month. Here’s the link to my article in Scroll.in; text below with photos, links and dates not included in the Scroll version. Continue reading
Filed under: 'Internally Displaced Persons', Communalism, Gujarat 2002, Human rights | Tagged: 1903 pogrom, 1984 Sikh carnage, gujarat 2002, Haim Bialik, In The City Of Slaughter, Jews, Kishinev, Kultar's Mime | Leave a comment »
While supporting the much delayed military operation against the militants, we need to also support the democratic political process and strengthening accountability and the rule of law in Pakistan. See ‘Recapturing North Waziristan: A tragic necessity‘ – interview of Pervez Hoodbhoy in Viewpointonline. Meanwhile, the fighting is taking a toll on the people of North Waziristan, thousands of whom have fled the fighting and are now refugees in their own land – internally displaced people or IDPs in development jargon.
Here are links to three moving articles on the issue that highlight the humanitarian aspect and suffering, by Rashida Dohad, Owais Tohid and Taha Siddiqui. Rashida and Taha also make the point that militant organisations are reaping dividends in terms of goodwill “while the state fidgets or forsakes”; credible organisations are made to obtain non-objection certificates while religious and extremist organisations are allowed “to operate freely”. Continue reading
Filed under: 'Internally Displaced Persons' | Tagged: IDPs, Khwendo Kor, military operation North Waziristan, omar asghar khan foundation, owais tohid, Pakistan, rashida dohad, Taha Siddqiui | Leave a comment »
Renewing the Feb 12 pledge
By Beena Sarwar
Every February 12 we commemorate Pakistan Women’s Day in honour of those who gathered at Lahore’s Regal Chowk on that day in 1983, defying the military order against public gatherings, to protest Gen. Zia’s ‘Law of Evidence’ that upheld the testimony of a male as equal to that of two females in a court of law. The police attacked the demonstrators with batons and arrested several, including the venerated poet Habib Jalib whom Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif is fond of quoting. Continue reading
When Nawaz Sharif was trying to impose his so-called Sharia Law in Pakistan during his last stint as Prime Minister in the late 1990s, I voiced my despair at this dangerous move to the respected journalist Aziz Siddiqui, who was co-director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Siddiqui sahib heard me out. He paused and removed the pipe from his mouth, then replied in his gentle way, with a half smile, “Phir kya karein, hathyar Dal deiN?” (So what shall we do, shall we lay down our weapons?). Continue reading
Keen to ‘negotiate’ with the Taliban in Pakistan? Really? First read Nazish Brohi’s oped in Dawn, reproduced below.
Failure of the war
By Nazish Brohi
IT is ‘APC’ season again. Karachi residents associate the acronym with armoured personnel carriers that contain and occasionally protect besieged policemen.
The political APCs on the other hand contain besieged politicians who are hoping for occasional protection. Take it from the Lyari cops in Karachi — if you underplay what you are up against, APCs don’t work. Continue reading
Sharing here a screen grab from one of the most horrific videos of cold-blooded killings I’ve come across, that was posted by Dr. Omar Ali to his blog today. The incident probably took place about nine months ago, and those killed were probably Shia Hazaras; the video has been shared on facebook. Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Omar Ali’s post:
It took a lot of work (partition, two nation theory,Punjab holocaust, madressas, CIA, ISI) to get to this level of cold blooded hatred. And of course, the roots go back much further, all the way into our species and its biological evolution (though like Ghataprabha, I too fantasize about the goodness of the folk versus the evil of the elite, but then..)…anyhow, whatever the cause, these particular dogs are now rabid. Continue reading