I was sad to learn about the indomitable Tahira Mazhar Ali passing away. She was and will remain an inspiration for many. Below, my tribute to her published in Indian Express – Torchbearer for a progressive politics. Also see A fighter at the barricades in TNS, I.A. Rehman’s informative obituary for his old friend and comrade and Omar Warraich’s piece in The Independent, Tahira Mazhar Ali: Women’s rights campaigner who was the mother of Tariq Ali and acted as mentor to Benazir Bhutto. RIP Tahira Mazhar Ali (1925-2015) – my tribute in Indian Express: Continue reading
National Dialogue on Challenges to Democracy and Role of Civil Society in Pakistan
Joint Declaration: Any attempts to dislodge parliament will be resisted
LAHORE, January 23, 2012: Civil society representative and concerned citizens (Intellectuals, legal activists, journalists, women, students trade union activists, religious minorities and academia) of Pakistan from all over the country shared their deep concerns over the current political situation and crises, while talking at a national consultation held in Human rights Commission of Pakistan’s office in Dorab Patel Auditorium, Lahore today. Continue reading
Watching Libyans celebrate the toppling of their dictator two things come to mind. First, Gaddafi’s apparent extra-judicial murder after being captured must be condemned. Secondly, a cautionary reminder: don’t expect the death or removal of a dictator to mark the end of the struggle. It is just the beginning of another struggle, an even messier one — the political process known as democracy. We in Pakistan know this all too well. Dictators die or get toppled but their legacies live on. Their creations like Zaid Hamid may lose, even as the creator Gen Zia wins (see Anas Abbas’ de-construction of this phenomenon at his blog) Continue reading
LAHORE, Apr 22: Prominent academics, writers and analysts from India and Pakistan met today at a closed-door seminar titled “A Common Destiny”, the first of Aman ki Asha’s series of discussions on issues of strategic importance.
Delegates at the first of Aman ki Asha’s series of discussions on issues of strategic importance to India and Pakistan, titled “A Common Destiny”, agreed on the need for peace between the two countries, and the importance of a sustained dialogue to resolve bilateral issues including Jammu & Kashmir, terrorism, water-sharing, trade and investment. Continue reading
Filed under: Pakistan-India | Tagged: Admiral (Retd) K. Nayyer, Admiral (Retd) Ramdas, Amin Hashwani, Amitabh Mattoo, Chairperson Emeritus of the Pakistan-India People's Forum for Peace and Democracy, Dr Mubashir Hasan, Gen Mahmud Ali Durrani, I.A. Rehman, Jammu & Kashmir, Kashmir, Khaled Ahmed, Prem Shankar Jha, Salman Haidar, Shafqat Mahmood, South Asian University, terrorism, trade and investment, water-sharing | 2 Comments »
Below, a report I wrote on Feb 23, published in The News aman ki asha page of Feb 24 (see accompanying report ‘Prisoners of archaic laws‘ by Rabia Ali), shortly before 12-year old Ateeq’s hearing in Amritsar on Feb 26 – which Asma Jahangir and I.A. Rehman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan managed to attend.
Here is an update from Asad Jamal in Lahore on Feb 26:
Release orders were passed for the 12 years old Pakistani boy in Indian Juvenile (Hoshiarpur) Prison after Asma Jahangir appeared in the Juvenile Court in Amritsar today. Now the Pakistan authorities have to complete procedural matters and bring the boy back home. Asma Jahangir met the boy in Amritsar and found him traumatised. She had taken video film of the boy’s father as well some clothes for him. Local lawyers/activists arranged and distributed sweets after the court order. Continue reading
Filed under: Pakistan-India, prisoners | Tagged: aman ki asha, Asad Jamal, Asma Jahangir, Childline India, harsh mander, I.A. Rehman, Juvenile Justice Act India, Lahore, Mehreen Jabbar, Ramchand Pakistani, Shahdara, Siddharth Varadarjan, young prisoner | 2 Comments »
What an amazing response to ‘Looking Back to Look Forward – Celebrating the 1953 Student Movement’. (‘…we look back not to revel in nostalgia, WE LOOK BACK TO LOOK FORWARD,’ said veteran journalist Eric Rahim in an email while we were conceptualising the event).
We didn’t think we’d be able to fill the 1000-seater hall. Everyone said “be happy if 500 people turn up”. The hall was FULL, thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the volunteers and participants – students and youngsters from Sindh Awami Sangat (huge team of volunteers and a crowded bus-load of participants), Szabist University, Ziauddin Medical College, PECHS Girls’ School (thanks to Seema Malik, 150 students who formed the heart of the audience and kept up the tempo with their youthful energy), and other groups.
“It’s not just the event, it’s the timing of the event that’s important,” said Hiba Ali Raza, one of the student volunteers. “At a time when things look so bleak, and people are so depressed, this was very significant”.
Many had come expecting the usual 200-300 crowd of old lefties with a sprinkling of the young ones. Instead, we had a hall full of young people, boys and girls, students and young professionals who listened attentively to the speakers – Continue reading
Filed under: Progressive politics | Tagged: 1950s student movement, Ali Cheema, Alia Amirali, Amar Sindhu, Dr Adib Rizvi, DSF, Fehmida Riaz, I.A. Rehman, NSF, PECHS Girls' School, PMC, Rahat Kazmi, Seema Q Jaffar, Shabnam Abdullah, Sharjil Baloch, Sindh Awami Sangat, SIUT, Szabist University, Tina Sani, Varda Nisar, Ziauddin Medical College | Leave a comment »
I.A. Rehman, one of the clearest, sanest voices in Pakistan analyses the NRO ruling in his op-ed today in Dawn, ‘Pause, sirs, and ponder‘
Extract: “…the issue before the Supreme Court was not an amendment to the constitution that would have attracted the basic features theory. The issue before it was an ordinary presidential ordinance. And for laws and ordinances that conflict with the constitution clear remedies are available.
“By invoking Article 227 in the present case the Supreme Court seems to have put Islamic injunctions in command of the whole constitution. Quite a few lawyers argue that this amounts to overruling the court’s judgments in the Hakim Khan (1992) and Kaneez Fatima (1993) cases.
“…The people of Pakistan have every right to ask whether Ziaul Haq’s agenda has been revived.”