March 23, 2017

Media-Military Face-Off Divides Pakistan

(Image by Dave Bedford, Creative Commons License)

Shell shock and combat fatigue are medical conditions common during violent conflict. Anyone going through the horrifying experience of being fired upon and have six bullets lodged in his body (two of them still there) would be in a state of trauma. Before slipping into unconsciousness at the hospital Hamid Mir made some startling allegations. Public posturing aside, he has ... Read More »

Dams Blamed for South Asia’s Sinking Deltas

Indus delta in Pakistan's Sindh province. (Photo by zerega, Creative Commons License)

One or two people leave their homes in the Sundarbans forests of the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta each day, perhaps never to return.  It’s but a small vignette of a larger tragedy being played out across South Asia’s delta regions where land is fast sinking as the sea waters rise, leaving millions of people vulnerable to disasters like cyclones and floods.   The mouth of the ... Read More »

India’s New Language of Killing

Indian Pakistani border guards at the two country's border near Lahore. (Photo by Man Bartlett, Creative Commons License)

Early one summer morning in 2008, an aging Toyota car slowed down to turn at the corner next to the Indian Embassy complex in Kabul, transforming itself as it did so into a wall of searing, white light. Fifty-eight people were killed and 141 injured, their bodies torn apart by shock waves, fires, and shards of metal and glass. Inside ... Read More »

The Houses That Karachi’s Poor Want

An under construction building in Karachi. (Photo by Sarah Stewart, Creative Commons License)

“Are we some rubbish to be thrown out of the city by the government?” asks a woman living in Lyari, Karachi. “Why should we go to the outskirts of the city? Give us space close to the centre of the city.”   She expresses the anger of many of Karachi’s urban poor who feel that their preference to live in ... Read More »

Pakistan’s Press Freedom Debate

Pakistani journalists protesting attacks on media persons.

The murderous attack on Raza Rumi in Lahore in which his driver died was claimed by militant extremists, so was the subsequent threat to veteran media personality Imtiaz Alam.  While the motive and responsibility for the dastardly assault on Hamid Mir in Karachi is still a matter of speculation, the threat to the freedom of expression in Pakistan is nothing ... Read More »

Waziristan’s Displaced Tribes’ Search for Spring

(Photo by Hamayun Wazir, via Dawn)

It’s springtime in Sadat Ullah Dawar’s beautiful village of Issori. The hills in front of his mud house rise from among the lush green fields, which are covered with blue colour flowers, ‘Sparleh’, bathing the valley with their scent. In the backdrop stands the majestic mountain of Shawal in North Waziristan still covered with white snow. The graying patches show ... Read More »

Attempt to Silence One More Journalist in Pakistan

Hamid Mir survived an attempt on his life in Karachi, Pakistan.

The space is shrinking for independent journalism in Pakistan because of continuous violence against journalists by militants and state agencies. The attack on Hamid Mir, Pakistan’s most respected journalist, proves this again. Mir survived an assassination attempt in Karachi on April 19, 2014. An unidentified gunman targeted him as he traveled from the airport to the office of Geo News, the TV ... Read More »

Reconnecting Afghanistan

Afghan women stand in a line to cast their vote during April 5 elections. (Photo via twitter)

The exercise of universal franchise in the war conditions prevailing in Afghanistan has been a tremendous landmark, not only for the Afghans themselves but for countries like Pakistan on the receiving end of every evil conceivable emanating from Afghanistan for nearly 35 years. With two of the eight presidential candidates on course to get nearly 80 percent of the partially ... Read More »

Rise of India’s Modi: Does US Really Care?

U.S. Ambassaador Nancy Powell shakes hands with Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. (Photo via

US Ambassador Nancy Powell recently resigned from her job as envoy to New Delhi. There is speculation and denial that her departure, scheduled for next month, is linked to the rise of Narendra Modi as the country’s prospective prime minister.   Mr Modi, who inspires hysterical adulation and serious apprehension among opposite sets of Indians, has so far been denied ... Read More »

A Kashmiri Leader’s Open Letter to Indian Voters

Neelum River - separating the Keran Village of Pakistan-administered Kashmir (right side) from the Keran Village in Indian-administered Kashmir (left side). People living on both sides are mostly relatives. (Photo by Muzaffar Bukhari, Creative Commons License)

To the People of India, India’s elections have begun and you are exercising your right to vote to choose your new political representatives. Whoever you end up electing will be momentously placed to exercise real leadership and take difficult decisions that are needed to shape a better course for the future of India and for peace in South Asia.   ... Read More »