“It is essential for Pakistan and India to make peace” – Pervez Hoodbhoy

My article in the weekly Aman ki Asha page in The News today.

Speaking at MIT recently, invited by an Indian colleague, a leading Pakistani academic and physicist makes the case for peace

Indian and Pakistani scientists for peace: Pervez Hoodbhoy and Subrata Ghoshroy last week at MIT

Indian and Pakistani scientists for peace: Pervez Hoodbhoy and Subrata Ghoshroy last week at MIT

By Beena Sarwar

In the midst of ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan amplified by hyper media on both sides, an Indian scientist warmly introduces a Pakistani colleague at one of the world’s most prestigious universities – and that too for a talk on “Pakistan’s Bomb – Past, Present, and Future”.

The Indian scientist is Subrata Ghoshroy who leads the Promoting Nuclear Stability in South Asia Project at the Science, Technology and Global Security working group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Pakistani scientist is Pervez Hoodbhoy, Professor of Physics, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, an alumnus of MIT where he obtained his BS, MS, and Ph.D degrees. Continue reading

Want to help families displaced by the Badami Bagh attack? Here’s how…

This family refuse a tent so they can squat in front of their home. Photo: Nadia Jamil

This family refuse a tent so they can squat in front of their home. Photo: Nadia Jamil

In the midst of the despair and anger caused by the insane, cold-blooded attack on the Christians of Joseph Colony (also known as Esa Nagri), in Badami Bagh Lahore, it is heartening to see Pakistanis come together not just to unequivocally condemn the attack, but also to help those who have lost everything. Please join this effort. Friends that I trust are working with the Cecil and Iris Chaudhry Foundation, run by Cecil and Michelle, whose father the late Sqdn Ldr Cecil Chaudhry I knew as a wonderful human being, and a dedicated peace activist and educationist (although he was more famous for being a war hero). Please see below for information on how to help, as well as photos and updates. Continue reading

“They looted everything, we have nothing left”

RT @Norbalm: Where are the blasphemy charges now?

@Norbalm: Where are the blasphemy charges now?

“Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:
Had I your tongues and eyes, I’d use them so
That heaven’s vault should crack…”
King Lear

See this brief, heartbreaking video below documenting the damage done by the criminal mob at Joseph Colony, Badami Bagh, Lahore. All efforts must be made to rehabilitate them and provide them with justice. When is enough enough? Or have we still not reached the breaking point? Also see my earlier article on the ‘blasphemy’ laws and the dangers of ignoring malicious intent when accusing someone of this crime.


Joseph Colony Arson Attack from Saad Sarfraz Sheikh on Vimeo.

Planned attack on Christian properties in Lahore; protest demonstrations Sunday

Demonstration in Karachi against the attack on Christians' homes in Lahore. AP Photo/Fareed Khan

Demonstration in Karachi against the attack on Christians’ homes in Lahore. AP Photo/Fareed Khan

Another day, another bout of madness in Pakistan. On Saturday, a mob torched Christian houses in Joseph Colony in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore, after allegations of ‘blasphemy’ against one of its residents. This was clearly no spontaneous ‘riot’ but a well-planned and orchestrated move. Because of the warnings received ahead of time, the residents were evacuated so that there was no loss of life (though the alleged blasphemer’s 65-year old father was beaten up). Small mercies.

Locals say that the land mafia was behind this attack. No surprise. Malafide motives (property, debt, rivalry etc) have been behind all accusations of ‘blasphemy’ investigated so far. Continue reading

‘This is not about Shia or Sunni but barbarians hijacking our religion and our country’

Syed Shehroz Hussain (centre) holds a picture of his father, Dr Riaz Hussain Shah who was killed in Peshawar recently.

Syed Shehroz Hussain (centre) holds a picture of his father, Dr Riaz Hussain Shah who was killed in Peshawar recently.

Students and professionals in the Boston area organised a well-attended vigil on Friday evening in solidarity with Pakistan’s Shia Muslims and in protest against the ongoing target killings. A heavy snowstorm cleared up hours before the candlelight vigil at picturesque Copley Square in downtown Boston that some participants travelled for hours to attend. Continue reading

Justice Katju appeals to the media to exercise restraint, avoid fanning communal hatred

Justice Markandey KatjuThe following Press Note from Justice Markandey Katju, Chairman, Press Council of India, dated 6.3.2013, sent for publication to this blog, is also relevant to other countries, including Pakistan:

Re: False implication of Muslims in cases of Bomb Blasts, etc.

I have today received the following letter of Mr. Wajahat Habibullah, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, New Delhi: Continue reading

“Karachi Battles” – Haris Gazdar in EPW, 2011

Karachi. Photo: Muhammad Arshad/IPS

Karachi. Photo: Muhammad Arshad/IPS


As Karachi once again reels under uncertainty, fear and economic shut-down, it may be worthwhile to re-visit this 2011 article by Haris Gazdar in EPW, “Karachi Battles”… Excerpt:
“The big picture still favours an accord between the PPP (and ANP) and the MQM. The PPP cannot allow the military to use Karachi to undermine its rule not just in Sindh but nationally. The MQM should know that a “neutral” army operation means a crackdown on the MQM, sooner rather than later. The ANP might also be aware that its hard-won position in its home region would collapse if the jihadists regain initiative with the break-up of the secular coalition. All three should know that the most powerful militant wing belongs to the military itself, which must not be tempted into seeing an opportunity where none exists.” Read the full article here: Karachi battles – Haris Gazdar in EPW Sept 2011

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