India and Pakistan are stronger together

Indian dancers from the Rang Rasia Group traditionally touch their master's turban before the rehearsing Garba in Ahmedabad. Photograph: Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images

My article in The Guardian recently prior to our talk at The Guardian Foundation:

India and Pakistan are stronger together

Loosening cultural, travel and trade restrictions is a vital first step to rediscovering our two countries’ shared heritage

India and Pakistan may be neighbours but it’s surprising how little they really know about each other. Their rich common heritage is easily forgotten amid mutual baiting and negative stereotyping, and it’s difficult to imagine them ever being truly at peace until these obstacles have been overcome.

“I’m really surprised to see so many women … I thought you would be all covered in burqas,” said a journalist at the Indian Women’s Press Club when the Pakistani contingent arrived last April on a visit organised by Aman ki Asha (a joint initiative for peace by the Times of India and Pakistan’s Jang media group). >

Pakistan journalists in London October 9-17

Pakistan journalists tour of London October 9-17

Qatrina Hosain, Director, Current Affairs, Express News
Rahimullah Yusufzai, Executive Editor, Peshawar, The News
Beena Sarwar, Editor, Special Projects, Jang Group (Aman ki Asha)
Mustafa Qadri, Journalist, The Guardian, Radio Australia, The Diplomat

Oct 11: Chatham House, 6-7 pm (NOTE: members only event)
Oct 13: SOAS, 6-8 pm (no registration required)
Oct 15:  The Guardian, 7 pm
Oct 16: British Pakistan Foundation launch (TBC).

For inquiries, contact Mustafa Quadri <>. Details:

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From Kerala with love

Prof. Raj and S.M. Naseem, Kerala, 2004

My article published in the Aman ki Asha page on Sept 23, 2010

From Kerala with love

An over three-decade long friendship between Pakistani and Indian economists leads to an unexpected offer of help for Pakistan’s flood victims

By Beena Sarwar

The visa and travel restrictions between India and Pakistan mean that Indians and Pakistanis who become friends often meet for the first time in a third country.

For economists S.M. Naseem, a Pakistani, and Prabhat Patnaik, an Indian, the third country was Thailand, 1978. They were both members of ILO’s Asian Regional Team for Employment (ARTEPP) in Bangkok, headed by Prof. K. N. Raj. Prof. Raj, who died last year in Kerala, was also known as the author of the Kerala Model, and founded the Centre of Development Studies in Trivandrum after heading the Delhi School of Economics (where his students included Prabhat Patnaik) and as serving as the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University.

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Condolence meeting for Fatehyab Ali Khan

Just posted to the Dr Sarwar blog:

Dear friends,

Please attend a condolence meeting for our late respected comrade Fatehyab Ali Khan, political leader, activist, intellectual, Executive Director, Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, Sun, Oct 3, 5.30pm, Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi. Please spread the word. Thank you.

On behalf of Iqbal Alavi Irtiqa Institute of Social Sciences

Sahmat Statement on Ayodhya Verdict

Thanks Sohail Akbar in New Delhi for sending this.

From: SAHMAT – Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust
29, Feroze Shah Road,New Delhi-110001
Telephone- 23381276/ 23070787
Date 1.10.2010

Statement on Ayodhya Verdict

The judgement delivered by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Dispute on 30 September 2010 has raised serious concerns because of the way history, reason and secular values have been treated in it. First of all, the view that the Babri Masjid was built at the site of a Hindu temple, which has been maintained by two of the three judges, takes no account of all the evidence contrary to this fact turned up by the Archaeological Survey of India’s own excavations: the presence of animal bones throughout as well as of the use of ‘surkhi’ and lime mortar (all characteristic of Muslim presence) rule out the possibility of a Hindu temple having been there beneath the mosque. Continue reading

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