— beena sarwar (@beenasarwar) March 5, 2014
One history, two narratives
How does a math student turned tech entrepreneur get involved in putting together a history book for children in India and Pakistan – a book that juxtaposes and highlights two conflicting narratives with a view to creating greater understanding?
The seeds were planted, if you’ll pardon the pun, some 13 years ago Continue reading
Those who justify the Taliban uprising in Pakistan as an anti-imperialist movement forget that since the Taliban first swept into Afghanistan in 1996 (with the blessings of the Pakistani establishment), they have been a threat to women, pluralism and democracy in the region. Their oppressive order in Afghanistan pre-dates the American invasion of Iraq, bombing of Afghanistan, and drone attacks in Pakistan -- from an article I wrote in Dawn, 2009. Came across it again while searching for something else. Read it, and tell me, what has changed?
By Beena Sarwar, Feb 7, 2009
OF the many challenges Pakistan’s elected government faces perhaps the most menacing and deep-rooted is Talibanisation — a phenomenon identified earlier on (as Talibanism) by the then exiled Afghan government’s acting foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept 21, 2000. Continue reading
Some days ago, a woman died in a fire in Cambridge, MA. The media initially reported that she was in her mid-30s, but within hours, the local Pakistani and Indian community was abuzz with the news that she was a Pakistani, in her 50s. They identified her as Farzana Khan, who lived completely alone here as her entire family was in Pakistan. It was moving to see how many people were concerned and wanted to help. When I sent the report below to The News in Pakistan a couple of days after the incident, the medical examiner still hadn’t managed to get a close friend or relative to identify the body. Until then, she had to be kept in the morgue although she was not quite a ‘Jane Doe’. As word of the dilemma spread, a Pakistan origin couple in the Boston area whose children she had looked after briefly, Continue reading
My article published in The News on Sunday today, about the Contemporary South Asian City Conference in Karachi last month co-sponsored by Harvard South Asia Institute and Aman Foundation, with Pakistan Urban Forum - by all accounts a most dynamic and exciting event. I spoke to two Harvard professors in Cambridge MA after their return from Karachi.
By Beena Sarwar
Rahul Mehrotra is no stranger to Karachi. From his base in Mumbai, he built Amin Hashwani’s house in Karachi some years ago, a project for which he visited the city several times. “By the time we did the interiors though, we couldn’t get visas,” he added, when we spoke in Cambridge recently. Continue reading
Renewing the Feb 12 pledge
By Beena Sarwar
Every February 12 we commemorate Pakistan Women’s Day in honour of those who gathered at Lahore’s Regal Chowk on that day in 1983, defying the military order against public gatherings, to protest Gen. Zia’s ‘Law of Evidence’ that upheld the testimony of a male as equal to that of two females in a court of law. The police attacked the demonstrators with batons and arrested several, including the venerated poet Habib Jalib whom Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif is fond of quoting. Continue reading
The Pakistan government is trying to hold talks with the Taliban, who should really be referred to as Fasadis*. There are no women in the government committee, and of course none on the Taliban side. One of the Taliban negotiators pulled out, refusing to participate until the agenda includes the imposition of Sharia law. Here’s a note posted by The Traitors of Pakistan and Pakistan Votes on Facebook, ’10 reasons why I do not want Shariah in Pakistan’. I have an additional question to the reasons they listed: 11. Whose Sharia? Each religious sect has its own version. Many of us reject the one propagated by the Fasadis and the Saudi-patronised Takfiris**. Here’s the note, for your information please, as desis say: