Tag Archives: south asia

South Asian Literature Festival (15-25 October)

PTH announces the forthcoming festival – Raza Rumi
The inaugural South Asian Literature Festival takes place in London from 15th – 25th October, followed by outreach events in Brighton, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester at the end of October.
SALF joins an emerging landscape of literature festivals located in South Asia including Jaipur, Hay Festival Kerala, Galle and Karachi Literature Festivals but is UK based and the only one to have the remit of focusing on South Asian writing exclusively.

Reflecting the diverse nature of South Asian culture, SALF is a multi-dimensional festival and will explore the politics, languages and literature of the region through music, spoken word, visual arts and literary performance.

Playing host to a stellar cast of authors, actors, poets, musicians – home-grown, international and from the sub-continent – and leading lights from the worlds of politics, academia and broadcasting, SALF looks forward to hosting top names such as prize-winning novelist Romesh Gunesekera; from two great political dynasties, Fatima Bhutto and Nayantara Sahgal; historian Michael Wood, acclaimed writer and musicianAmit Chaudhuri, Pakistan’s rising-star author Moniza Alvi, jazz musician Cleveland Watkiss and well-known broadcasters Mihir Bose and Hardeep Singh Kohli. Continue reading

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No alternative to peace with India

Raza Rumi

Once again, the fragile peace process between India and Pakistan has commenced. It is too early to say whether it will lead to an amicable settlement of seemingly intractable issues. What is clear is that the peoples of the two countries want peace, security and progress. The elites, which agreed on the messy Partition and raised nation-states and huge militaries, have surely flourished at the expense of people. A causal look at India’s poverty and Pakistan’s social indicators proves this point.

As a confidence building measure, a group of Pakistani journalists visited Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to meet their counterparts, think tanks and selected top-level officials. This was a timely and fruitful visit and reminded us that there is a formidable peace constituency in India. After the Indian home minister it is the turn of the Indian foreign minister to visit Islamabad from today for a three-day tour. Regardless of the outcome, sensible neighbours must continue to talk.

Evidently, the Mumbai terror attacks were the greatest stumbling block in resuming dialogue. Discussions at Sharm el Sheikh were a major breakthrough. Dr Manmohan Singh overcame tough public opinion after the joint declaration. This year’s dialogue at the Saarc Summit in Bhutan catalysed the peace process. After the 18th amendment to the Pakistani Constitution, the Indian side has noted the power shift within Pakistan as it strives to reclaim the democratic path.

Pakistani media persons, including me, could not help notice the centrality of the Mumbai attacks factor, which continues to inform public opinion in India. A majority of Indians hold Pakistan fully responsible for the event. The caveat here is that they often forget that Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism. But there is growing awareness in India about the internal challenges within Pakistan. This is why the Indian leadership has delinked dialogue from terrorism. Continue reading

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The Rise and Fall of the Maoist Movement in Pakistan

We are publishing this insightful paper authored by Ishtiaq Ahmed. This paper was written as part of a theme ‘More than Maoism: Rural Dislocation in South Asia’ under the aegis of ISAS, National University of Singapore. In many ways, documentation of the Left movements is an important area that has not been researched and documented. This is why Dr Ahmed’s contribution is so important. Raza Rumi

Abstract

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Maoist ideas gained considerable popularity and influence in left politics and the labour movement, and made an impact on Pakistani mainstream politics, which was out of proportion to the Maoists’  political strength in the overall balance of power. Neither class structure nor the ideological and political composition of the state apparatus warranted any such advantage to Maoism. Clues to it are to be found in the peculiar power game over security and influence going on at that time between several states in that region and, perhaps, more crucially in the internal political situation surrounding the rise to power of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1971-77).  His fall from power, the coming into power of an Islamist regime under General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (1977-88), and the Afghan jihad spelled disaster for leftist politics. In the 1980s, Maoism faded into oblivion.

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Filed under Imperialism, movements, Pakistan, Politics, poverty, south asia, violence

One and a half billion people just want peace

The News, January 01, 2010

The two nations have repeatedly gone to war in the past. Their governments continue sabre rattling and spewing bellicose rhetoric. But identical nationwide opinion surveys conducted by the Jang Group and the Times of India Group in India and Pakistan show that a majority of the billion and a half people of the sub-continent want to live as peaceful and friendly neighbours and share the same humane goals like any other civilised polity; economic prosperity for all, education for the youth, health for the needy, absence of violence and elimination of existential threats. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizens, India, Kashmir, Pakistan, poverty, south asia, Terrorism

Copenhagen Summit: Glacial Data Crucial to Combating Climate Change

By Darryl D’Monte*

COPENHAGEN, Dec 18 (IPS/TerraViva) – People living in the Himalayan region are increasingly confronted by rising temperatures and glaciers melting at an unprecedented rate, threatening their very survival. This much the world already knows.

Yet, experts say, there is still no accurate and reliable data on the Himalayan glaciers and many aspects of its ecosystem, which should facilitate determining mitigation measures addressing current and future impacts of climate change on the Himalayas. Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Climate Change, Environment, Pakistan, south asia

Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons: How Safe Are They?

ISAS Brief No. 140 – Date: 18 November 2009 by Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed

Introduction

With the assault on the office of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Peshawar on 13 November 2009, which left at least 20 people dead, including 10 ISI officials, the Taliban-Al Qaeda nexus has once again demonstrated that it is capable of hitting the supposedly well-guarded targets representing the power and authority of the state. A few weeks earlier, they were able to deceive the guards at the entry of the citadel of the Pakistan army, the General Headquarters, in Rawalpindi. On that occasion, more than 40 people were taken hostage, of whom 37 were rescued due to a daring operation by the commandos of the elite Special Services Group.

The Head Office of the Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore was bombed in October this year. A similar attack took place in 2008. Since 2007, attacks have been launched on military, air force and naval personnel and officials. On the other hand, the media also reported that some terrorists had tried to enter the restricted area where the nuclear facilities are located, but they were stopped at the outer security ring.   Continue reading

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Don’t Let The Devil Dazzle you

Bilal Qureshi

” Our biggest problem isn’t caves, its credibility. Our messages lack credibility because we haven’t invested enough in building trust and relationships, and we haven’t always delivered on promises” writes Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff in an article for US military Journal, Joint Force Quarterly, while referring to the Muslim World.

Yankees credibility crisis might be a rattling revelation at home but not for the rest of the world. As America is a famous architect of duplicitous policies and White house is commonly viewed as a ruthless Wizard’s House Continue reading

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