India-Pakistan people’s peace resolution: Throwing a pebble in the pond

Shubha_Mudgal

Music legend Shubha Mudgal

A valiant effort by concerned citizens of India and Pakistan to stem the tide of hatred, bigotry and violence, posted on the Aman ki Asha website that I edit on May 7, 2017 with 250 endorsements. (Update: over 900). To endorse, please comment with your name, profession/ designation and location.

Peacemongers call for India, Pakistan to resolve differences through dialogue

With tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan on the rise, some concerned citizens from India and Pakistan have come together to formulate a statement expressing their deep concern at “the current rise in animosity and antagonism between India and Pakistan”. The resolution urges “both governments and their security establishments to take all steps possible towards improving relations”. Continue reading

Women’s cross-border solidarity

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 11.35.04 AMWrote a short piece last night for the Women’s Regional Network, published on their original content blog. Honoured to be in the company of women like Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal in India, Najla Ayoubi in Afghanistan and others Pakistan taking on issues like how Street Harrassment is Hurting Afghanistan’s Democracy and Development,  Young Pakistani Women Recognized for their Achievements, The Rise of Online Trolls in India, Countering Violent Extremism and more. My brief contribution Borderless Issues: Mothers in Conflict also copied below:  Continue reading

Don’t snuff out the lights

The horrific murder of a journalism student lynched on a university campus in Mardan on April 13 after being accused of ‘blasphemy’, 2017 has revived the urgency of coming together on a joint platform with a minimum common agenda to uphold humanitarian values. Nothing will bring back Mashal Khan, a poet, self-declared humanist and “voice of the voiceless”, but we can at least try to ensure that no other mother loses her Mashal (light) to such barbaric ignorance and orchestrated violence.

We drafted this statement a few months after the massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar, signed by over a hundred activists, teachers, lawyers and other professionals as well as students in March 2015: Pakistanis against terrorism: Minimum common agenda against violence in the name of religion – below. Does it need to be amended or updated?  Continue reading

Soft power, woman power: Forging a new security paradigm

My article on the Amn-o-Nisa delegation’s visit to the USA, for Global Post, published  May 7, 2012: Soft power, woman power: Forging a new security paradigm in Pakistan

Women work to combat extremism by closing rift between Americans and Pakistanis.

Beena Sarwar

Peshawar, Dec 2011: Madrassah students and US embassy staff pose with one of the cards made by the students. Photo courtesy: PEAD

It was a unique Christmas party. Eight madrassah students in Peshawar, Pakistan took giant homemade cards, cake and flowers over to the US Consulate last year. The students and diplomats sat and talked for four hours, facilitated by teachers who provide English language and computer skills to the Islamic schools.

“This is the first time that these boys are connecting to and being exposed to a world outside the madrassah,” said Sameena Imtiaz, executive director of Peace Education and Development (PEAD), a non-profit foundation in Pakistan that has been working with madrassahs since 2005. “It wasn’t easy to build this relationship. It has taken a long time for them to trust us.” Continue reading

Pakistan army should butt out of politics: Asma Jahangir says it like it is


Clip from Crossfire in which Asma Jahangir, the indomitable Chairperson Emeritus of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, says it like it about the Pakistan armed forces, in a talk show with the  ever sensationalist Meher Bokhari, on Dunya TV on May 26, 2011. View the full programme at the PkPolitics website. The clip posted here starts Continue reading

Pakistan flood victims export tomatoes, not terrorism

Must read. Pakistan flood victims ‘have no concept of terrorism’Mohammed Hanif on Pakistan’s 20 million flood victims – our “invisible slave army” that exports tomatoes, not terrorism, in BBC’s ‘From our own correspondent’. Includes link to listen to or download podcast.

Conversations 11: “There is more than truth”

I forgot to upload the last three Conversations published in The News on Sunday, Aman ki Asha page in Political Economy. The entire archives are also up at the Aman ki Asha website

“There is more than truth”

May 13, 2010

Dear Beena,

In your last letter, you said that “many Indians feel there’s no point talking to the Pakistan government, given the strength of the ‘establishment’ here.” I should tell you that there are plenty of Indians who feel there’s no point talking to the Indian government, for various reasons. At an extreme we have the Maoist insurgents, who long ago decided that talking to the Government is futile, and have taken to arms. Perhaps at another extreme, we have plenty of ordinary middle-class folks who will not exercise their most basic dialogue with the government — their vote. And somewhere in between are the rest of us, cynical about government’s every move. Continue reading

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