Join the Global vigil for India Pakistan Peace, Jan 27, 2013

Jinnah_GandhiInitiated by Samir Gupta, an Aman ki Asha supporter in New Delhi, this global event on Sunday, Jan. 27 is taking place in different cities at different times around the world. It invites Indians and Pakistanis and those who want peace between the two countries, to come together in their respective cities. The purpose of the vigils is to urge the governments to continue the dialogue, and not give in to the war hype being created by some sections of sections of society. The vigil statement is online at this link (text below)

Confirmed venues and times so far: Continue reading

Pakistan: What the Tuq is going on?

Cartoon- Sab kuch Live hai by K.B. Abro. Listen to his blog in his voice

Cartoon- Sab kuch Live hai by K.B. Abro. Listen to his blog in his voice

Below, my take on what’s going on in Pakistan, written on Friday for the Sunday edition of The Telegraph, Kolkatta –  which published a slightly abridged version titled ‘Anna Hazare, anyone?

By Beena Sarwar

So this smooth-talking ‘moderate’ cleric called Tahir-ul Qadri (TUQ, as he has been dubbed on twitter), a dual Canadian-Pakistani national, announces a ‘million man’ long march to Islamabad, calling for changes to the electoral system just as the government’s five-year tenure is ending. He heads over to Pakistan’s capital on Jan 13 to lay siege to the elected government along with thousands of supporters. Continue reading

Finally. Victims of Quetta blasts laid to rest.

From @ChaiSabz (Hadi Zaher), 5.55pm Pakistan time: 'Victims of Quetta blasts laid to rest. @KhudiAli among them: "Peace we love". #WEAllAreHazara #RIPKhudiAli'

From @ChaiSabz (Hadi Zaher), 5.55pm Pakistan time: ‘Victims of Quetta blasts laid to rest. @KhudiAli among them: “Peace we love”. #WEAllAreHazara #RIPKhudiAli’

Update to the ‘coffin protest’ in Pakistan

Photo tweeted by Haider Changezi @Aushpaz: Dear #Pakistan U all came in protest but Gov is deaf, hasn't announced #ActionAgainstLeJ #WeAreAllHazara

Photo tweeted by Haider Changezi @Aushpaz: Dear #Pakistan U all came in protest but Gov is deaf, hasn’t announced #ActionAgainstLeJ #WeAreAllHazara

A quick note on the current situation: The past two days and nights have seen inspiring massive, ongoing peaceful protests all across Pakistan in solidarity with the ‘coffin protesters’ at Alamdar Road in Quetta who are refusing to bury their dead until their demands for security are met. The protests finally pushed the PPP government to action – the Balochistan provincial government has been dismissed and Governor Rule imposed in the province, one of the demands of the protestors. Continue reading

LoC tensions: Need facts, not hype

Jan 8, 2013: A grieving mother, mourning her son, Lance Naik Mohammad Alam.

Jan 8, 2013: A grieving mother mourns her son… Lance Naik Mohammad Alam.

My article in The News on Sunday, Jan 13, 2013

Need facts, not hype

Beena Sarwar

News about the death of two Indian soldiers at the Line of Control in Kashmir on Jan 8 triggered anger in India. Yes, a Pakistani soldier had been killed just two days earlier. But his body had not been mutilated. He had not been beheaded. For that is what Indian reports said, creating hysteria and leading to the beating of war drums: the bodies of their jawans had been mutilated, one of their heads was missing, and Pakistan was responsible (small mercy, authorities asked Indian journalists not to use the word ‘beheaded’ but ‘decapitation’).

India seemed to erupt in a storm of anger, outrage, and indignation, betrayal and hurt, and calls for retaliation against Pakistan. Understandable. Imagine the reaction in Pakistan had it been the other way around. Continue reading

Ongoing protest in Quetta; mourners refuse to bury their dead until action is promised

Haunting photo of grieving protestors sitting with coffins in the freezing cold in Quetta

Haunting photo of vigil by thousands of protestors gathered around the shrouded bodies of the blast victims; they’ve been there for 15 hours now, braving freezing cold and rain.

In a powerful statement of grief, rage and protest, demonstrators, including women and children are sitting in the freezing cold and rain holding vigil over 86 shrouded bodies at Alamdar Road, the site of the bomb blasts in Quetta. No one from the government has yet met the mourners who are refusing to bury their dead until the army promises them protection. See video footage of the dharna, ongoing for 15 hours now, broadcast online by Such TV. In solidarity, protestors began gathering at the Karachi Press Club starting at about 3.00 am, galvanised into action by Syed Ali Raza Abidi‘s tweets. By 5 am , some protestors also started gathering in Islamabad. A protest called by the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies is already scheduled from 5-7 pm at the Liberty Roundabout in Lahore today, Jan 12. (UPDATE: Karachi protest Sat, Jan 12, 2.30 pm at Karachi Press Club) Continue reading

Three journalists killed in Quetta bomb blasts

Three journalists lost their lives in the blasts that rocked Quetta on Jan 10. Here’s a moving obituary in Baloch Hal for one of them, Saif-ur-Rehman, a reporter for Samaa TV. Below, some tweets from a young journalist friend from Lahore:

Continue reading

Bomb blasts in Quetta target Hazaras, claim over 100 lives #RIPKhudiAli

There was devastating news today about the triple bomb blasts today in Quetta, one of them at a snooker club, all targeting Hazara Shia areas. Over 100 killed, including three media men who rushed to cover the blasts. It is hard for the human mind to taken in the mind-numbing numbers, but when someone you know is among the dead it really hits home. Our young friend and comrade Irfan Ali lost his life while helping others when the second blast took place. Continue reading

Commemorating Jan 8, 1953: 2013 events, Jan 6 and 8, by DSF and NSF

2012 Jan 8-NSF Demands Day

Re-blogged from Dr M. Sarwar:

As we remember Jan 8, 1953 Demands Day and those who gave their lives for the cause of students’ rights, it is good to see that progressive young people in Pakistan are organising and work for students’ rights, with the revival of Democratic Students Federation and the National Students Federation. In keeping with the rallying cry of the original movement – ‘Student Unity’ – activists of DSF and NSF must put up a united front, and attend and support each others’ events even if they don’t merge into one organisation. Demands should include lifting the ongoing ban on student unions. Below, information about several events being organised this year, some on Jan 6in different cities of Sindh and Punjab by DSF, and NSF event on Jan 8:

Continue reading

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