Pakistan, India and Aman ki Asha: The year that was, and looking ahead

Indo Pak Global Peace Vigil, London. Photo by Ali Mehdi Zaidi

Indo Pak Global Peace Vigil, London. Photo by Ali Mehdi Zaidi

Something I wrote last week for The News year-end special supplement, published Jan 1, 2014. I later remembered many special moments I left out, like the Mumbai and Karachi Press Clubs exchanges, the border security guards allowing violators to return instead of throwing them in prison, the Indian heart patient allowed to disembark without a visa in Pakistan, to name some. There are many others…

For millions of Indians and Pakistanis, Aman ki Asha is just that – a shared ‘hope for peace’ between our two countries. Despite falsehoods circulated by detractors targeting this peace initiative in all kinds of underhand ways since its launch on January 1, 2010, it has stayed the course, and continued to urge both governments to do so. In the process, Aman ki Asha has provided a platform and a way forward for aspirations of peace between India and Pakistan.

India Pakistan Global Peace Vigil

The year 2013 started out with a powerful expression of these aspirations countering rising tensions due to firing and the loss of lives at the Line of Control in Kashmir. In the midst of the cacophony of allegations and counter-allegations arose voices of sanity, coming together for a global vigil for peace between India and Pakistan. Continue reading

Malala and Absurdistan, Mazariland, Cuckooland… We are sorry, Bhooro Bheel. Taliban bhagao, mulk bachao

malala-yousafzaiMy two bits on the muddied narrative in Pakistan on Malala Yousafzai, a favourite for the Nobel Peace Prize being announced on Oct 11:  Those who so easily buy conspiracy theories about Malala being a “US agent” or who go against Malala are usually the same people  you will find justifying the murderous, criminal acts of the Taliban (who are fasadis not jihadis, in my mind) in some way, absolving them of responsibility by terming it a response to the US invasion of Afghanistan or the drone attacks. These people conveniently forget that the mindset that attacked Malala is the same as the one that was attacking women NGO workers and teachers and girls’ schools in the western border areas BEFORE 9/11. It’s the same mindset that was target killing Ahmadis and Shias since the 1990s. It was not just the Taliban’s bullets that targeted Malala and all that she stands for – it is this mindset that the United States, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia cultivated and developed in the 1980s in order to counter the Soviets in Afghanistan. Continue reading

Jashne-Faiz April 17, 2011, Karachi: event details

Check out the Citizens for Democracy blog for details about a great all-day event

Sunday, April 17, 2011, 11.30 am-12.30 midnight

Jashne Faiz, CDGK Sports Complex, Karachi

Seminars, theatre, music, art, speakers’ corner, food court, children’s play area, plus plenary session with music concert (inclusing Strings, Laal, Shehzad Roy, Arieb Azhar and others) and resolutions; culminating in mushaira

Don’t forget to pre-register at the CFD website – www.cfdpk.org

Chance encounters of a connected kind

My article published in Dialogue section of The News on Sunday, Sept 26, 2009

Musings

Chance encounters of a connected kind

Beena Sarwar

Dr Sarwar, Karachi, Jan 2007. Photo by Anwar Sen Roy

Dr Sarwar, Karachi, Jan 2007. Photo by Anwar Sen Roy

There is something about unexpectedly bumping into unexpected people and making meaningful connections on various levels.

The common thread running through two strings of such encounters I had recently was my late father, Dr M. Sarwar — his being who he was, and his passing on, led to these moments and the associations they evoked.

Continue reading

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