Three ‘9/11’s…

9/11: Anis Mansoori of FM 103 in his live talk show today brought up the  significance of two 9/11s – Sept 11, 1948, when Mohammad Ali Jinnah breathed his last, and Sept 11, 2001 when two planes crashed into New York’s Twin Towers, catalysing a spiral of violence from which we have yet to emerge. My comment was that if successive Pakistani governments had not discarded Jinnah’s vision and headed down the ‘jihadi’ path at the behest of America in its fight against the USSR in Afghanistan, perhaps the second ‘9/11’ would not have happened.

Another 9/11 to remember: Allende ousted

Another 9/11 to remember: Allende ousted

And Mohsin Sayeed reminds me about another 9/11, in 1973 – the US-backed military coup in Chile, that removed the world’s first elected Marxist government. “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its people,” said Henry Kissinger about the coup.

The deposed Dr Salvadore Allende was killed and Gen. Pinochet  unleashed a reign of terror and massacred between 32,000 to 80,000 people…

Kanak Mani Dixit honoured

Kanak Dixit addresses a protest rally in April, 2006, Kathmandu, in support of the general strike by seven major Nepali political parties and Maoists (Photo: Shehab Uddin)

Kanak Dixit addresses a protest rally in April, 2006, Kathmandu, in support of the general strike by seven major Nepali political parties and Maoists (Photo: Shehab Uddin)

Those of us who know Kanak Mani Dixit, editor Himal Southasian are proud of him anyway for his outstanding editorial skills, vision and relentless activism, award or no award – but the recognition is always nice (and so is the prize money, with which he has already promised to help Film South Asia)

Kanak has always been an inspiration. We are thrilled. Watch this space for more about him.

For award details see Prince Claus Awards – Kanak Mani Dixit

Kanak Dixit being arrested, April 2006, Kathmandu

Kanak Dixit being arrested, April 2006, Kathmandu

Prisoners’ anguish

A lifetime lost...Left with no speech, no memory, no family (photo courtesy The News)

A lifetime lost...Left with no speech, no memory, no family (photo courtesy The News)

An 85-year old man acquitted after 38 years in prison has little to live for – he has lost his speech and memory, and is now being cared for by Christian missionaries at a shelter in Malir, Karachi.

See ‘The News‘ editorial 38 years .

The same day as news of Saeed-ul-Haq’s acquittal was published, newspapers reported that a Pakistani had been ‘tortured to death’ in an Indian prison. M. Nawaz Jamil had been a student of class 9 in 1991 when Indian troops arrested him along the Line of Control. He ended up serving far more than the six years he was sentenced for. This is what Indians regularly do to Pakistani prisoners and vice versa.

As I wrote in an article last December, ‘Media falls into old trap’):
Prison conditions and how the police treat prisoners in both countries are no secret. It is not that we treat Indian prisoners well, while they viciously torture Pakistanis. Sometimes a prisoner’s death results not from outright torture but illness arising from neglect — poor living conditions in a hostile environment, extreme temperatures, lack of medical attention, all compounded by lack of contact with loved ones back home.

There have been many instances of Pakistani prisoners dying in Indian prisons and vice versa. But what strikes me is the cruelty with which we treat our own prisoners, as the case of Saeed ul Haq shows. Not to mention all those other deaths in custody that periodically surface.

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