Nasima Zehra Awan laments the media romances with sectarian Islamists while the country drowns
The August 21st editorial by DAWN is a good example of what is wrong with the media in Pakistan. “Hardliners and Flood Relief” is precisely the kind of vacillating apologia for extremists that is the bane of the local media.A media that has anointed itself as “Independent” for hounding out elected politicians at the behest of a powerful establishment, has failed in informing the public about the various Islamist militant groups and their agendas. In this regard, it is baffling that DAWN’s editorial prefers to maintain an Ostrich-like approach to the exponentially growing existential threat from these sectarian bigots.
President Zardari is absolutely correct in pointing out this threat. The exclusive bashing of elected PPP leaders is the national sport in our elite drawing rooms and reflects our impotent rage that can never be directed at the actual source of our problems but at those who cannot strike back. It is therefore sad that DAWN follows suit and completely disregards the warning of Pakistan’s elected president and chooses to maintain the establishment-led status quo in protecting its Jihadi assets.
In covering the hundreds of targeted killings of minority sects and religious groups like the Ahmadis, Shias and Christians, DAWN studiously maintains a policy of obfuscating the issue via the use of euphemisms. In doing so, it dishonestly creates a false symmetry between the victims (Ahmadis, Shias and Christians) and their killers, the vast nexus of sectarian Salafist Jihadi groups like Sipah Sahaba, its militant wing, Lashkar Jhangvi, Lashkar Tayabba, Jaish Mohammad and Harkat ul Mujahideen amongst a host of other related subsidiaries. For a newspaper that allies itself with Jinnah, the irony that the country’s Shiite Muslim founder would have been a fair game for these sectarian groups is completely lost on DAWN!
Since the beginning of the flood crisis, Pakistan’s media has preferred to lynch the elected government as opposed to galvanizing the public and the International community towards relief efforts. In trying to divert attention away from banned groups who are using the tragedy of these floods to increase their hold on Pakistan, DAWN has allied itself with the same reactionary and bigoted class that prefers an authoritarian future for Pakistan under an Continue reading
I recently came across this brilliant feature by Shehar Bano Khan on Tahira Mazhar Ali – Tariq Ali’s mother and Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan’s daughter. It is a very interesting account coming from the daughter of one of the most influential politicians of Punjab. Her association with the Communist Party, her meetings with Nehru and Jinnah and her recollection of partition makes her part of our collective heritage. Published 5 years ago in Dawn, we are reproducing it here for the benefit of our readers. -YLH
She is blunt to a fault. Her brusqueness has not lost its sharp edge with time, neither has her witticism surrendered to old age. At 80, Tahira Mazhar Ali’s vivacity, her political ripostes, and her tirades against capitalism define her originality.
Filed under Left, Pakistan
Howard Zinn was a towering figure of our times. For society to remain balanced, there has to be a Howard Zinn blowing the whistle, calling spade a spade and keeping the mainstream discourse honest. The geniuses of our times – the Zinns, Eqbal Ahmeds, Saids, Chomskys and Barsamians have made a contribution and filled a gap at a crucial time in global history. – YLH
Americans have been taught that their nation is civilised and humane. But, too often, US actions have been uncivilised and inhumane.” That was the American historian Howard Zinn who taught a whole generation of Americans to view the history of their country through a lens quite different from the rose-tinted lenses of most of his fellow historians whose work takes care to do nothing to besmirch America’s reputation as “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. Zinn stands out since much of modern historiography is crawling with feckless nationalism. Yes, the infusion of commonplace loyalties in a tract about the past is not always deliberately arrived at for it often flows from subtle conditioning. Just as you wouldn’t read Abul Fazal for a critical account of Emperor Akbar’s exploits, it would be a rare Indian or a Pakistani who questions tired axioms rooted in nationalist loyalties, and which pass for a glimpse of our past. Continue reading
From The Hindu
Photo: Courtesy: The Herald, Pakistan Moral figurehead: Aredeshir Cowasjee.
Ardeshir Cowasjee is more than just a columnist for a Pakistani newspaper. He has become the conscience of a nation.
Many interesting stories are told about Ardeshir Cowasjee, some true and some apocryphal. There is the story, true, about how he and other former students of Karachi’s BVS Parsi School were asked to rescue a bust of Gandhi during the Hindu-Muslim riots in the city in January 1948. The bust remained in his father’s house for some years, later moved to the Indian consulate in Karachi, and now occupies pride of place in the foyer of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. Continue reading
Kamran Shafi is a senior journalist of fierce independence. He has reported a rather disturbing incident in his column in Dawn. We at PTH stand by him and condemn such incidents of intimidation and harrassment against journalists and writers and wish him best of luck. Here is his article:
So then, December is upon us, another year has gone by in the Fatherland’s struggle to keep its head above water, to be accepted as another half-civilised country in the comity of nations.
The very same terrorists who were running amok during the Commando’s time in the sun while he and his collaborators ran with the hares and hunted with the dogs, are somewhat under control due to the political will of the major political parties of the country which has forced the security establishment to become pro-active.
I say ‘somewhat’ because almost all of the Swat/Fata Yahoo leadership is either not yet apprehended or killed, the chief murderers Fazlullah and Mehsud either escaping into Afghanistan, Fazlullah purportedly on one leg, the other melting into the countryside. The ones apprehended, such as Muslim Khan the Terrible are being kept under wraps, i.e., have appeared in no court of law. He is charged, may we remind ourselves, with cold-hearted murder, rebellion against the state, robbery and dacoity, and petty theft. Continue reading
By Ardeshir Cowasjee
It has taken a mere 62 years — a blip in the life of many a nation, many an empire — for those who pass for politicians, both civil and military, to nearly dismantle Pakistan. Those of little genius have managed to do so to the best of their ability.
In the large it has been brick by brick, though at times large chunks have been done away with in one fell swoop, and on one occasion, back in 1971, an entire wall was demolished to serve the purposes of power-hungry megalomaniacs. Continue reading
On the so-called ‘Kalat Independence Day’ on Aug 11, Mir Suleman Dawood, grandson of the last ruler of Kalat, announced the creation of a council of Baloch separatist elements in Pakistan and Iran who will press for the formation of an ‘independent Balochistan’.
Mr Dawood’s demand for an ‘independent’ Baloch state clearly cannot be countenanced; tomorrow marks the 62nd anniversary of Pakistan’s creation and there simply isn’t any room for debate about altering the physical boundaries of the country today. Pakistan’s problems — and, yes, there are many — can only realistically and viably be solved within the framework of Pakistan. Yet, while Mr Dawood’s demand must necessarily be dismissed, it points to ongoing problems in Balochistan that show no sign of abating, and this 18 months after national elections to usher in a new, democratic government in the country. Continue reading