Pakistan Hazara genocide and NotreDame: Waiting for Jacinda?

Hazara sitin-Qta-ABNA

The Hazara community’s sit-in, Quetta, protesting their target killing. Photo: IRNA

Had the Hazaras who were killed in a bomb blast in Quetta died in the Notre Dame fire instead, there might be more outrage about their persecution and targeted killing in Pakistan, comments a designer friend disgusted by the apathy of Pakistan’s elites to the Hazara community’s ongoing sit-in, braving the rain and cold of Quetta while his “timeline is on fire with pix of the burning cathedral and people’s pictures in front of it”. Continue reading

‘Tashakor, Zinda Dillan-e-Kabul’

This article, published in The News on Sunday, Footloose page, Nov 1, 2009 , is an expanded version of my previous report for IPS on the Kabul trialogue

Kabul looks battered. Dusty brown hills form the backdrop wherever the eye turns. Yet it is a city struggling to regain its former glory

By Beena Sarwar

Kabul wall3

Locals cycle past the ancient wall of Kabul

It was once known as the city of flowers, said Zahira Khattak, the ANP activist who grew up in Kabul. Now, the only flowers visible in the city provide splashes of colour through the all-pervasive dust at a few isolated roundabouts — and at the splendid, renovated Bagh-e-Babar (Babar’s Garden) on the city outskirts, the last resting place of the first Mughal emperor.

The city still looks battered — but often that’s because old buildings are being knocked down to make way for high-rises. Some gracious old buildings still stand tall in the midst of the dust and rubble. A series of upmarket high-rise apartment blocks emerge from the dust on the road from the airport. Air-conditioned shopping malls and boutique restaurants cater to the crowds of expatriate workers resident in Kabul, and the Afghani rupee has a better value than the Pakistani rupee. Noisy, unruly traffic bumps non-stop over the unpaved streets. Traffic lights are conspicuous by their absence. There are security barriers everywhere and few women are visible on the streets. The markets close early, but this city is nowhere close to giving up.
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