A tele-evangelist, poison in the body politic and murder most foul

Online petition to AamirLiaquat accountableI recently wrote ‘Poison in the body politic’ on the persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan, the hate-speech against them in public spaces and the impunity their attackers enjoy. One of the people I spoke to was Farooq Kahloun, an Ahmadi leader and successful businessman in Karachi who had left everything behind in Pakistan and taken political asylum in the USA after a murderous attempt on his life that left his son Saad Farooq dead two years ago. Four bullets still lodged in Kahloun’s body are a permanent reminder of the attack (details below) — and of the poison in Pakistan’s body politic, the menace of takfirismContinue reading

Who is Shafqat, why is he being hanged, and why should we care?

Shafqat Hussain, photo taken before he left Muzaffarabad more than 10 years ago.

Shafqat Hussain, photo taken before he left Muzaffarabad more than 10 years ago.

UPDATE: Jan 01, 2014: Funds urgently needed for Shafqat’s defence. Please click this link for details and see what you or your friends can do. Detailed BBC report Justice at risk as Pakistan rushes convicts to the gallows

This is Shafqat Hussain. A poor boy who was arrested for  kidnapping and murder when he was 14 years old. He confessed to the crime after nine days of police torture (they pulled out three fingernails, the cigarette burn marks are still visible on his body). Continue reading

Move beyond conflict and ratings

Tributes to Peshawar terror attack victims

School children in Chennai pay tributes to Peshawar terror attack victims on Wednesday. Photo: R. Senthil Kumar/ PTI

Wrote this on Dec 18, 2014 for Lokmat Media, Pune: Situationer/ Comment on Peshawar attack aftermath in Pakistan, published on Dec 20 in three languages (below).

By Beena Sarwar

Two days after the horrific attack on an army-run school in Peshawar that killed 148 people, most of them schoolchildren, an anti-terrorist court approved bail for Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, leader of the banned terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT).

Lakhvi is allegedly the mastermind behind the horrific attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 and India has been demanding his extradition. India and Pakistan have not yet signed an extradition treaty though the possibility has been discussed in the past. He is unlikely to walk out on bail anytime soon. Prosecution lawyers said that the ATC decision came despite evidence against Lakhvi, and that they will challenge the decision. Continue reading

India and Pakistan must unite to fight terror…  

A student in Chennai prays for those killed in Peshawar. Schools across India held a two-minute silence on Wednesday. Photo: R. Senthil Kumar/ PTI

A student in Chennai prays for those killed in Peshawar. Schools across India held a two-minute silence on Wednesday. Photo: R. Senthil Kumar/ PTI

My op-ed in The Indian Express today, Dec 18, 2014…

Together we can 

By Beena Sarwar

In an unprecedented move, students at schools across India observed a two-minute silence on December 17, 2014 in solidarity with the victims and survivors of the barbaric attack on an army-run school in Peshawar.  

Immensely moved, Pakistanis have responded with gratitude for this humane gesture that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed for. There is also gratitude for the hashtag #IndiaWithPakistan that began trending on the social media a few hours after the attack on the school began on December 16.

A Pakistani friend remarks on the “irony that our so-called arch enemy’s sympathy and voice seems more comforting in this time of need then our pious apologists”. Continue reading

Pakistan Must Discard its ‘Good Taliban, Bad Taliban’ Narrative

MULLAH MOHAMMED OMAR

Pakistan needs to counter not just those who come out on the street in support of Taliban Inc. but also those who support them tacitly.

Thanks to The Huffington Post for inviting me to write this opinion piece, published on Dec. 17, 2014.

By Beena Sarwar

The world looks on with horror at the Pakistani Taliban’s barbaric murder of 145 children and teachers at a school in Peshawar.

Although Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has termed the Peshawar attack a national tragedy, announced three days of national mourning and promised to eradicate the terrorists, real change won’t occur unless Pakistan discards the “good Taliban, bad Taliban” narrative and moves to decisively uphold the rule of law. Continue reading

#Peshawar attack: A former student remembers his teachers, vows to rebuild the school

RIP Tahira Qazi, principal of Army Public School who had reportedly been rescued but ran back to help her students and was brutally killed.

RIP Tahira Qazi, principal of Army Public School who had reportedly been rescued but ran back to help her students and was brutally killed.

On BBC World Have your Say this morning one of my fellow guests was a singer in Peshawar, Rahim Khan. He had been a student at the Army Public School on Warsak Road, Peshawar, from 2001-2003, in grades 11 and 12. In this clip he recalls a reunion at the school ten years later with the principal Tahira Qazi, who was so brutally killed in the attack on Dec 16. Rahim remembered singing in the very auditorium where so many were killed. We shared some more thoughts on Twitter later; see below. Continue reading

#StandwithPeshawar


Devastated at the news from Peshawar. Unless and until Pakistan doesn’t get out of this confusion of ‘good Taliban’ and ‘bad Taliban’ and treat every single criminal act as a criminal act and move to punish those who perpetuate it, whether in the name of religion or for whatever justification, we will not begin to move out of this morass. Sharing a statement from Malala Yousafzai that was just released: “I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us. Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this. I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan whose efforts so far to address this horrific event are commendable. I, along with millions of others around the world, mourn these children, my brothers and sisters – but we will never be defeated.”

 

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