On Dec 16, 2011, remembering Anthony Mascarenhas

Thank you Mark Dummett, for the report in BBC today paying tribute to Anthony Mascarenhas, the brilliant and courageous Pakistani journalist who had to flee abroad in order to be able to tell the truth – Bangladesh war: The article that changed history.

Mascarenhas

“Eight journalists, including Mascarenhas, were given a 10-day tour of the province (East Pakistan). When they returned home, seven of them duly wrote what they were told to,” writes Dummett.

“But one of them refused.”

That was Mascarenhas, who died in 1986 in London.

His wife Yvonne Mascarenhas told Dummett that she remembers him coming back distraught: “I’d never seen my husband looking in such a state. Continue reading

Pakistan army should butt out of politics: Asma Jahangir says it like it is


Clip from Crossfire in which Asma Jahangir, the indomitable Chairperson Emeritus of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, says it like it about the Pakistan armed forces, in a talk show with the  ever sensationalist Meher Bokhari, on Dunya TV on May 26, 2011. View the full programme at the PkPolitics website. The clip posted here starts Continue reading

PERSONAL POLITICAL: Sonar Bangla

Young riksha drivers in Dhaka. Photos: Beena Sarwar

My column Personal Political, written July 25, 2010, published in The News on Sunday and Hardnews. Subsequently the Bangladesh Supreme Court upheld a ruling that upheld a ban on using religion in politics. It won’t resolve all issues of course, but it’s a step forward and I hope we see that day in Pakistan in the not too distant future. I like Advocate G. M. Lakho’s stand: Say no to the state religion

Shonar Bangla

Beena Sarwar

Acha, yahan bhi constitutional amendments chal rahe hain,” observed a friend, scanning headlines in The Daily Star as we waited at Dhaka International Airport for a much-delayed flight to Karachi. Her comment about “constitutional amendments going on here also” highlighted something that’s always struck me as curious: the bizarre parallels of Bangladeshi politics with Pakistan, since Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan in 1971. >

CONVERSATIONS 14: Joint narratives, common ground

Published in The News on Sunday Political Economy section, Aman ki Asha page, June 13, 2010

June 10 2010

Dear Beena,

I can live with “Indian Administered Kashmir” and “Pakistan Administered Kashmir”. I’ll have to think about “militant” for “terrorist”, partly because then that might let off the hook homegrown Indians responsible for terrorism. And I will likely have to disagree about India’s interference in 1971 being nothing but a hostile act. I mean, it was hostile, necessarily so. But I believe it had to happen. I think peoples have aspirations, naturally so, and (West) Pakistan was actively and brutally suppressing the East’s aspirations in 1971. Continue reading

Conversations 13: Meeting point

I forgot to upload the last three Conversations published in The News on Sunday, Aman ki Asha page in Political Economy. The entire archives are also up at the Aman ki Asha website

Conversations 13: Meeting point

June 3 2010

Dear Beena,

Right at the start of this missive, I have been wondering just how we will ever reconcile our diametrically different views on what we call POK/what you call AJK. (Let alone reconcile the names). You are taught that it “joined Pakistan voluntarily”. We are taught that Pakistan grabbed it from us in ’47. What’s the meeting point between these two perceptions? How do we resolve this disagreement? Continue reading

Give the one-upmanship a rest (or, ‘Don’t knock it’)

My column for monthly Hardnews, India – (I preferred my headline below to the one they gave, ‘Knock, knock… Don’t knock it’)

PERSONAL POLITICAL
Give the one-upmanship a rest

Beena Sarwar

“Let them stew in their own mess, we are better off without them.” Sound familiar? I heard such sentiments voiced recently on three instances – and it reminded me of the globally resented American tendency for self-enrichment and self-aggrandisement, never mind the rest of the world.

The first instance was when I was on a ‘phono’ from Karachi to New Delhi for Newsx TV. Among the studio guests was G. Parthasarthy, whose outlook towards Pakistan reminded me of Vir Sanghvi and Tavleen Singh’s – ‘What’s the point of talking to Pakistan?’ ‘We are not the same people…’

Continue reading

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