Boston bombings: A Pakistani perspective and a Cambridge cabbie

Khalid Lottfi: "We will not let them hijack our religion"

Khalid Lottfi: “We will not let them hijack our religion”

“You know, I think the Chinese student who was killed, I took her there,” said the cab driver. It was a few days after the Boston Marathon bombings of April 15, and after the police had chased the perpetrators, killing one and capturing the other. Everyone was still talking about the unfortunate events that claimed three lives and injured over 260 more.

It turned out that the brothers Tsarnaev lived on our street, on the next block. Here’s a link to the piece I wrote about it for weekly The News on Sunday in Pakistan – and a shorter comment for Global Post – Boston bombings: A Pakistani perspective. Continue reading

Petition for Peace and De-weaponisation of Karachi sent to CJP

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Just received this via email today – the text of a petition for Peace and  De-weaponisation of Karachi that has been sent to the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Naeem Sadiq who sent the email says that anyone who agrees with its contents and wants to be a co-petitioner, is welcome to copy/amend the petition text (minus the petitioners) and add their own name and signature (there can be more than one signatory), designation or profession, postal address and phone number (NIC optional), and  mail the petition directly to the SC at the address provided. Interestingly, the MQM last year introduced a bill seeking this aim as well. See Dilawar Asghar’s article critiquing the move at this link, pointing out that the long term solution lies in ensuring the “supremacy of the law. If the law is implemented, without any distinction and applicable to everyone, regardless of their status or affiliation that would be the first step.” Here’s the citizen’s petition: Continue reading

WAF statement on May 22 killings in Karachi

A young man, bleeding apparently due to gunshot wounds, runs for his life after “unknown assailants” opened fire at a rally in Karachi on May 22, 2012. Photo: Faysal Mujeeb/Whitestar

The violence in Karachi on May 22, 2012 that killed 11 people reminded many people of the firing that claimed nearly fifty lives on May 12, 2007 (about which I wrote ‘Eyewitness Karachi‘, originally published in The News on Sunday). Below, a statement from Women’s Action Forum (WAF) about the recent bloodshed:

Women’s Action Forum Hyderabad, Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad is appalled that a peaceful demonstration against the division of Sindh on May 22, 2012 was violently attacked, resulting in the tragic death of at least 11 people, including two friends and comrades. We strongly condemn the use of force under any circumstances and particularly when it is used to subdue the democratic rights of the people to express their sentiments and political positions. Continue reading

Pakistan’s first ever Oscar: saving face – or losing it?

“To all the women in Pakistan who are working for change, don't give up on your dreams. This is for you” - Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy accepting her Oscar. Reuters photo

A slightly edited version of this article was published by Common Ground News on March 6, 2012

Pakistan’s first ever Oscar: saving face – or losing it?

by Beena Sarwar

BOSTON – Pakistan’s online community erupted in virtual cheers as Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy received an Academy Award for co-directing the Best Documentary (Short Subject), recently at the Hollywood broadcast live by television stations worldwide. A tweet by Pakistani blogger Anthony Permal summed up the feelings of many of his compatriots: “A woman from #Pakistan, who made a film about women, won an Oscar. In your face, world.” Continue reading

Personal Political: The tragedy of Karachi

Holding up a 'I <3 KHI' t-shirt at Itwar Bazar, July 2011. Photo: Beena Sarwar

My column for Hardnews India – written on Aug 25, 2011 (although much has happened since, this provides a context and an overview of the Karachi situation).

Personal Political: The tragedy of Karachi

Beena Sarwar

“Will it be possible to write about the tragedy of Karachi…?” asked my editor.

Possible, yes. Easy, no. In two words: turf wars. But behind that is a long, complex history, bound up in money, crime, politics, power and greed. Continue reading

Thoughts on media, Mumbai, ‘terrorism’

The violence in Karachi today has overshadowed what happened in Mumbai yesterday. More on that later. Meanwhile, here’s a comment I posted to my facebook page (relevant to Karachi situation too?): Salam Mumbai. Hope the damage is contained. And – I understand the addiction to ‘breaking’ news, but wish we could do it differently. If there was no live TV, would terrorists put up such shows? …Death toll as reported this morning is 21. Even one is too much. I keep thinking of Sahir Ludhianvi’s universally relevant and humanitarian poem, ‘khoon apna ho ya paraya ho, Nasle aadam ka khoon hai aakhir…’ Here’s a response from Rakesh Sharma, a prominent documentary filmmaker from Mumbai: Continue reading

Gawaahi (Witness): testimonies of abuse, survival, resistance

Happy to get this email from fellow journalist and activist Naveen Naqvi:
“I am happy to report that our site, Gawaahi.com is now online. Gawaahi.com aims to archive digital stories of abuse, survival and resistance.
If you are interested in how we came about, please visit our site and read Gawaahi.com – our story.
You can find more information on our mission and team in our About page. If you see the page titled Our Partners, you will see the wonderful support we have received even before launch.”
Great going (and I love this visual by Zaina Anwar)!

Egypt police then and now – remembering May 25, 2005

Egypt is the second biggest recipient of American aid and military hardware, long used by the Mubarak regime to brutalise the people. The Egyptian police are even more brutal than in Pakistan. Watching the situation now on Al Jazeera livestream, when the police have been forced to retreat before the might of the people, I remembered the time some years back when they humiliated and stripped women protestors in public – I posted a message out to my yahoogroup back in May 2005 Eyewitness testimonies: Molestation of Democracy in Egypt. Around the world people observed solidarity with the protestors in Egypt, responding to a call to wear black on Jun 1, 2005. I later wrote this article, posted to my yahoogroup as Personal Political: Women, public space, Cairo and Lahore – copied below. Imagine if there had been twitter and facebook then… Continue reading

Stand with PMA at doctors’ protest: Jan 31, 11.30 am, Karachi

PMA protest walk (update: postponed pending negotiations with government)

From Pakistan Medical Association:

Dear CIVIL SOCIETY Friends,
Walk with Joint Action Committee of Doctors
Monday, 31st January, 11.30am
From PMA House to Karachi Press Club
Wear Black

For press release and details see Dr Sarwar blog

Prominent Indian citizens condemn violence in Kashmir on Eid Day, demand inquiry

In a press note released today, prominent Indian citizens have condemned violence in Kashmir on Eid Day and demanded an inquiry. Received from People’s Initiative on Jammu & Kashmir (c/o Confederation of Voluntary Associations, COVA, 20-4-10, Charminar Hyderabad, A.P. India; Ph:+91-40-24572984; Email: covanetwork@gmail.com

Violence in Kashmir on Eid Day: Condemnation and Demand for Enquiry

SEPT 13: We condemn strongly and unequivocally the incidences of violence and arson in Srinagar on the day of Eid by some miscreants. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 458 other followers

%d bloggers like this: