Posted on November 8, 2016 by beenasarwar
Sharing a piece I wrote with Dr. Partha Banerjee about our friend Haider “jigar”Rizvi, published by PRI on October 28, 2016, a year after he died in Lahore. Reproduced here with photos that we weren’t able to get to PRI in time.
Haider Rizvi celebrating life and love at Ghizar District, Gilgit, 2015. Photo by Qamar Abbas.
Last year around this time, we were saddened by the death of our poet and journalist friend Haider Rizvi in Lahore, Pakistan, on Oct 29, 2015. Haider had lived in New York, and was for many years a correspondent for the Inter Press Service (IPS), based at the United Nations.
With Haider’s untimely passing, we lost someone who loved to make friends irrespective of religion, color or caste — someone who believed firmly in peace.
Filed under: Pakistan-India | Tagged: Haider Rizvi, India, jigar, Kashmir, Pakistan, Peace, shared heritage | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 15, 2016 by beenasarwar
Respect to and solidarity with those who refuse to fall in line with the oppressive narratives peddled by hyper nationalists and security establishments. Sharing a post here by senior journalist Saleem Asmi, former Editor of Dawn and a dear friend of my late father:
Call me unpatriotic, even a traitor if you like, but I must say this straight, without mincing words that we have no right, absolutely no right at all, to condemn what the Indian occupation troops are doing in Kashmir, as long as we are ourselves guilty of committing the same, even worse, crimes in Balochistan. Now look at this: 1) The Indian army has invaded and occupied Kashmir, 2) They brutally oppress the Kashmiri people, and call the freedom fighters ‘terrorists’, 3) We invaded and occupied Balochistan in 1948, 4) We brutally oppress the Baloch people, and call the freedom fighters ‘terrorists’. If anything, we surpass the Indians in kidnapping young Baloch by their thousands without trace. Then their brutally tortured bodies appear under flyovers, by the roads, anywhere.
Also see – by Hasan Raza in Pakistan: Kashmiris continue to be the biggest victims of the Indo-Pak tussle for Kashmir – and Nirupama Subramanian in India: Face the disillusion
Filed under: Balochistan, Human rights | Tagged: #StandwithKashmir, Balochistan, Human rights, India, Kashmir, Pakistan | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 17, 2015 by beenasarwar
My article on the symposium I attended last week at University of Texas, Dallas, published in Aman ki Asha
Peacetalks symposium: Raza Rumi, Pritpal Singh, Amitabh Pal, Nyla Ali Khan. Photo by Beena Sarwar
By Beena Sarwar
Born in the Rawalpindi area in 1943, Suresh Bakshi was about four years old when his family left their ancestral home after Partition in 1947. But he still remembers and has strong feelings for the place where he was born.
These feelings created a powerful conflict when, as an Indian Army soldier, he fought in the 1965 war against Pakistan. Continue reading
Filed under: Pakistan-India | Tagged: #ProjectPakistan, 1965, 1971, Amitabh Pal, Kashmir, Mona Kazim Shah, Nyla Ali Khan, Peace activism, Pritpal Singh, Raza Rumi, UT Dallas | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 26, 2015 by beenasarwar
Insha Afsar: A champion skier from Muzaffarabad.
Thanks to the Association of Pakistani Physicians of New England (APPNE) for the opportunity to meet an inspiring young lady, 14-year old Insha Afsar of Muzaffarabad who lost a leg in the earthquake of 2005 but has risen to become a champion one-legged skier, enabled by her supportive host parents in the USA. My piece in The News on Sunday
Some weeks ago, I happened to sit at the same table as a bright-eyed, long-haired young girl with a wide smile. The only non-desis in the room were the white couple with her. I assumed they were doctors or medical representatives in that hall full of physicians and their families.
But a pair of crutches resting on the table indicated that the girl was Insha Afsar, the 14-year old from Muzaffarabad who lost a leg in the 2005 Kashmir earthquake but has become a skiing sensation as she dominates the slopes — on one leg. Continue reading
Filed under: 'Internally Displaced Persons', Gender | Tagged: amputee, APPNE, Healing the Children, Insha Afsar, interfaith, Kashmir, Kashmir earthquake, Pakistan, prosthesis, skiing | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 19, 2015 by beenasarwar
Huge, heartfelt thanks to all those who raised a voice to save Shafqat Hussain. The President of Pakistan has reportedly granted a 72-hour reprieve (originally reported as ‘indefinte’) for the case to be re-investigated. This young man has spent 10 years or more in prison already, since the age of 14 when he was first arrested for the murder of a little boy who had been kidnapped. There are many flaws in the case that led to Shafqat being sentenced to death at age 15 after a confession extracted under severe police torture. He has not seen his parents since he left his village in Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir to come to Karachi for work after dropping out of school (has a learning disability). The execution has been stayed – for now. It’s a temporary victory for those who’ve fought for his life. The question remains, will the government re-examine the evidence and move to give him justice? And how many more Shafqats languish, poor, marginalised and resourceless, in our prisons and death rows?
Journeys to democracy
Shafqat Hussain, photo taken before he left Muzaffarabad more than 10 years ago.
Who is Shafqat, why is he being hanged, and why should we care? What were you like when you were 14? Please watch this lovely little video (also embedded below) and act to save Shafqat Hussain, death warrant issued (again) for Thursday, March 19. Shafqat was 14 when he left his village in Muzaffarabad, AJK, to go to Karachi looking for work. He was dirt-poor and resourceless, tortured into confession for the murder of a child, tried under the Anti-Terrorism Act (because the murder ‘spread terror in the neighbourhood’). The government-appointed lawyer never provided proof of his age. He was 15 when the court sentenced him to death. He has now been on death row for 10 years. In January, his execution was stopped under pressure from people like us. Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar had promised a re-investigation into the…
View original post 66 more words
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: capital punishment, Fatima Bhutto, Jibran Nasir, juvenile justice, Kashmir, Shafqat Hussain | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 5, 2015 by beenasarwar
DIG Khalique Shaikh and PPP leader Sharmila Farooqi negotiating with protesters outside CM House, Karachi. PPI photo
It all comes together. When the Sindh government agreed on Tuesday to the demands of the citizens observing a sit-in for over 30 hours in protest against the Shikarpur blast, probably everyone forgot about Kashmir Solidarity Day. It has been observed annually in Pakistan every February 5 since 1991 when the Nawaz Sharif government during its first stint in power demarcated it as a national holiday. Continue reading
Filed under: Communalism | Tagged: #Shikarpurblastsitin, ASS, ASWJ, Auranzeb Farooqui, blasphemy, Jibran Nasir, Kashmir, kashmir day, nawaz sharif, PIPFPD, Sharmila Faruqi, Shikarpur blast, SSP | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 4, 2014 by beenasarwar
Akhilesh Mishra: humanity and poetry. Photos: Farhat Sadaqa
A short piece I wrote about a South Asian event I was invited to speak at in Toronto; I focused on the speech by the Indian Consul General Akhilesh Mishra. Published in the Aman ki Asha page in The News, September 3, 2014.
Speaking at an informal discussion organised by the South Asian Peoples Forum in the Toronto area in Canada on Monday, Akhilesh Mishra, the unassuming Consul General of India won many hearts with his soul-touching poetry, couplets of which were interspersed throughout his brief speech.
This, coupled with his humane and compassionate outlook, comes as a refreshing change from the kind of talk and posturing one usually gets from diplomats. Continue reading
Filed under: Kashmir, Pakistan-India | Tagged: Akhilesh Mishra, Himal, India, Kanak Dixit, Kashmir, Nepal, Pakistan | 2 Comments »