Nowhere man: An accidental Pakistani seeks Indian citizenship

viqar sharifUPDATE: Reunited with his family in India on 23 May, M. Viqar Sharif is now trying to figure out how he can stay there. Suggestions? Email: editor@amankiasha.com. This story Meet the Nowhere Man, an Accidental Pakistani Seeking Indian Citizenship was first published in The Wire on 21 May 2018.

Nowhere man: An accidental Pakistani with Indian family seeks Indian citizenshi

By Beena Sarwar

In a wonderful gift at the advent of Ramzan, on 17 May, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad granted a visit visa to Muhammad Viqar Sharif, 47, an accidental Pakistani stuck in a boys’ hostel in Islamabad since February.

His entire family is in Hyderabad, India, including 74-year old mother, wife and four children, all Indian citizens. His father and grandparents are buried there. His wife and children have never been to Pakistan.

“Pakistan is a beautiful place. All it’s missing is my six family members,” he told me.

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Once spy vs spy, former chiefs of RAW and ISI co-author a book

A S DULAT AIRPORT

Former RAW chief A.S. Dulat on arrival at Karachi airport for the Aman Ki Asha seminar “Re-engagement for Peace”, March 2011.

A short preview published in Aman Ki Asha the other day about the just published Spy Chronicles co-authored by former heads of India and Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.

In March 2011, Pakistan had an unusual visitor. Among the Indian delegates of a ground-breaking seminar titled “Re-Engagement for Peace” in Karachi was A. S. Dulat, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).

The delegates were participating in the second in a series of three closed-door ‘strategic seminars’ organised by Maj. Gen. (rtd.) Mahmud Ali Durrani in conjunction with the peace platform Aman Ki Asha jointly launched by the Jang Group of Pakistan and the Times of India in 2010.

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Asma. A human rights giant, and more. My tribute in EPW

Wrote this piece for the Economic and Political Weekly, published a couple of weeks ago. Unedited version here with additional links, photos and videos.

  • Asma Jahangir, lawyer, human rights activist.
  • Born 27 January 1952, Lahore; died: 11 February 2018, Lahore.
  • Co-founder: AGHS law firm, 1980, AGHS Legal Aid Cell, 1983; Womens Action Forum, 1981;
  • Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 1986.
  • Involved in launch of Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, 1994, and launch of South Asians for Human Rights, 2000.
  • UN Special Rapporteur: extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, 1998 to 2004; freedom of religion or belief, 2004-2010; situation of human rights in Iran, November 2016 till death.
  • Elected first female President, Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association, 2010.

Asma was all this and so much more. Continue reading

India, Pakistan: For a better future, build on prisoner exchange agreement

Maier-tikka

Two-year old Maier Jawwad needs urgent heart surgery in India.

Wrote a piece on a glimmer of hope regarding India Pakistan relations that needs to be built upon. Published in The News and in The Wire; original text below.

The best news in some time is that India and Pakistan are rising above their differences and joining hands for a humanitarian cause – they have agreed to exchange vulnerable prisoners (women, the elderly over 70 years, and those with special needs), as well as revive the Joint Judicial Committee on Prisoners that has not met since 2013. They will also allow medical experts from both sides to meet and examine mentally challenged prisoners in preparation for their repatriation.  Continue reading

Asma. A profound loss. An enduring inspiration

Asma-bbcAsma Jahangir: Pakistan human rights champion dies – BBC News

“Profoundly saddened by news of dear Asma’s passing. She has left us a rich legacy to follow. In condolence and solidarity”, writes Professor Badri Raina from New Delhi in an email to me and I. A. Rehman, former Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan that Asma Jahangir founded in 1987. “Our one tribute must be to keep up our human faith and human courage”.

Here is I. A. Rehman’s tribute to Asma speaking at the Karachi Literature Festival, soon after hearing the sad news. When I spoke to him later, he said, “I didn’t like doing it. Didn’t like it at all”.  Continue reading

Raza Khan, still missing. Why does it matter?

BringBackRaza3Raza Khan’s disappearance, like that of Zeenat Shehzadi earlier, is part of a new phase of such illegal abductions in Pakistan, violating due process and rule of law. Targeting young people from ordinary backgrounds, without social capital or networks, signals the miltablishment’s growing desperation to control the narrative on the military, religion and India, I argue in this opinion piece for the Washington PostIn Pakistan, promoting peace with India can be bad for your health — and freedom (Dec. 22, 2017; updated text below). Since then, a journalist covering this issue narrowly escaped an abduction attempt in Islamabad, and another journalist was picked up and beaten in Karachi, then released. 
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Who is Raza Khan, why is he missing, and why do I care?

FindRaza-Lahore-RahatDar

Lahore, Dec. 11: Protesting the disappearance of activist Raza Mahmood Khan. (Rahat Dar/European Pressphoto Agency/EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

On Dec 2, 2017, a peace activist disappeared from Lahore. Raza Khan is one of over 1,400 missing persons in Pakistan whose cases the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances is hearing.

Who is Raza Khan, why is he missing and why do I care? Raza Khan’s disappearance, like that of Zeenat Shehzadi earlier, is part of a new phase of such illegal abductions in Pakistan, violating due process and rule of law. Targeting young people from ordinary backgrounds, without social capital or networks, signals a growing desperation to control the narrative on the military, religion and India. My piece,  In Pakistan, promoting peace with India can be bad for your health — and freedom, published in The Washington Post, Dec. 22.  Continue reading

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