Published in the NEWS
I have been amazed at the reaction that my little piece, “Policy shifts not war” published on these pages on Dec 4 has generated especially from the other side of the border. My email inbox was inundated with a wide variety of views and comments, some of which were quite unsavoury and abusive. However, the silver lining is that there were many voices from the other side that called for regional cooperation and finding alternative solutions to mindless jingoism. Most Pakistanis, while disagreeing with my interpretation of partition, expressed their sadness at the Mumbai mayhem and reiterated that a war had to be avoided at all costs.
The media factor has been much analysed over the past few years. As a powerful player in the game, the role of Indian, and to a great extent, Pakistani media industries has been far from satisfactory. As another formal institution with charitable rhetoric, it is emerging as yet another tool for reinforcing conformity, boundaries and the famed refuge of the scoundrels.
Media polls with shady sample sizes are confirming that the ‘public’ in India wants revenge thus isolating the sensible Indian leadership that has tried to undo the legacy of the past. Similarly, the prediction of surgical strikes and eliminating the so-called hideouts for terrorists in Pakistan is a magic bullet that would create a terror-free region. Nothing could be farther from reality, if only the lessons from US misadventures, bloody at that, are kept in view. Aggression and violence breed further violence. The relative degree of failures in Iraq and Afghanistan are rude reminders of how the neo-con, or its ideologically equivalent Hindutva strategy, is bound to create more problems than solving anything. Continue reading
By Zeenath Jahan
My grandson called today. Ahmad is my eldest grandson, 23 years old and the light of my life. I remember the day he was born, the first day he walked and spoke. His first word was ‘oobah’, water in Pashto. While he was studying in America he often asked me to edit his work and I learned a whole lot from just reading what he had written. Recently he graduated from a college in America and went home to Pakistan to work with his father in his family business. I can imagine that his father is proud of his eldest son who has grown to be such a fine, bright, loving person. Yes, I am a proud grandmother, but then, Ahmad is a grandson to be proud of!
Over the months since he has been home, his father has been delegating more and more important jobs for his son to take care of; and each time his son has excelled at the task set for him. Frequently his father sends him abroad to meet with other business leaders in emerging markets; that is how much faith he has in his son! Recently Ahmad went to India to clinch a deal. He was staying at the Taj Hotel and had arrived a few days before the horrendous attacks in Mumbai. He went out to visit a friend that fateful day and his friend insisted he stay on for dinner. Luckily Ahmad agreed. On the 26th of November, around 9.30PM he returned to his hotel. The guard at entrance told him not to go in, as there seemed to be some sort of ‘gang war’ going on. My grandson went back with his friend and that is when they learned the real nature of the ‘gang war’ at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai. Besides all the other bloody scenes, the one that is etched in my mind is of the restaurant where my grandson had had lunch that day; it had become the scene of carnage where everyone had been lined up against the wall and murdered in cold blood. But for the Grace of God my grandson could have been one of those unfortunate victims. Continue reading