Quenching the thirst for peace

Tracing a peace sign together via a giant web-cam

Tracing a peace sign together via a giant web-cam

Here’s something I wrote about how a soft drink giant creatively connected Indians and Pakistanis with ‘the other side’, with a three-minute video that was easily the most shared link on the Aman ki Asha facebook group last week (not that it’s going to get me to start drinking Coke, or any other soda); published in the Aman ki Asha page in The News, May 22, 2013

Quenching the thirst for peace

An innovative idea connects Indians and Pakistanis with ‘the other side’

“It saddens me that we have neighbours that we can’t even go visit.”

“The perception is that they’re the bad guy. But when you actually meet them you realise they’re just like me.” Continue reading

Pakistan Elections: Democracy, Dichotomies, and Shades of Grey

Here’s the piece I wrote for the Economic and Political Weekly, India, published on the web today, copied below with minor changes, photos and added links.

Lahore, Dec 9, 2007: (L-R): Nawaz Sharif. Qazi Hussain Ahmad and Imran Khan meet to discuss whether to boycott January 8, 2008 polls. "Boycott, and then what?" asked Benazir Bhutto who convinced Sharif to participate in the polls. The rest is history. Photo: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

Lahore, Dec 9, 2007: (L-R): Nawaz Sharif. Qazi Hussain Ahmad and Imran Khan meet to discuss whether to boycott January 8, 2008 polls. “Boycott, and then what?” asked Benazir Bhutto who convinced Sharif to participate in the polls. The rest is history. Photo: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

The recent elections in Pakistan show that the country is finally on the right track notwithstanding the rigging, the violence and the brutal prevention of women from voting in some areas by representatives of all the political parties. The huge turnout of women and first time young voters risking their lives to exercise their right to choose is something to celebrate and strengthen Continue reading

Pawns and prisoners of manufactured hatred

Screenshot of Sanaullah from a TV report last year, on Indian and Pakistani prisoners participating in a kite-flying festival together. "It's really nice, I feel like a child myself," Sanaullah told the reporter.

Screenshot of Sanaullah from a TV report last year, on Indian and Pakistani prisoners participating in a kite-flying festival together. “It’s really nice, I feel like a child myself,” Sanaullah told the reporter.

Tragically, Sanaullah, the Pakistani prisoner whom a fellow inmate had attacked in prison in Jammu in Indian administered Kashmir on May 3, finally succumbed to his injuries on May 9. The attack took place on the day of the funeral of Sarabjit Singh, the high profile Indian prisoner who died on May 3, after being in a coma following an attack by fellow inmates in Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore on April 26 — ironically, the day that Indian members of the India Pakistan Joint Judicial Committee on Prisoners landed in Pakistan to inspect jails and meet Indian prisoners. The Committee’s recommendations have been made public, and if implemented, will go a long way towards alleviating the plight of cross-border prisoners.

Here’s a link to the note I wrote, published in the weekly Aman ki Asha page in The News last week – Condemnable attack on unarmed prisoner. A followup note regarding Sanaullah was published in the AKA page of May 8. I sincerely hope this is the end of the series. (If you’re on facebook, feel free to ‘like’ the AKA page and join the AKA group – both managed on a voluntary basis) Continue reading

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

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