Stories about 1947

End of silence: A woman’s narrative of the 1947 Partition

Many of us born to families who migrated across borders during partition grew up hearing whispers of events from that time. The end of the British Raj in India saw the subcontinent dissected into two – Pakistan and India. This led to the largest migration in history and caused widespread communal violence. My nani (maternal grandmother) narrated tragedies of madness raging the land without adequate police or troops to maintain law and order. One of my nani’s friends narrated how her father had told all the women in their family that should the train they were on be stopped and boarded by rioting mobs, they should commit ...

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What have we received from the people of Pakistan except neglect and torment?

What concerns me most is a word. It is a simple word that is not heard on the lips of people in most parts of the world, but for me it is a word that desperately needs to be heard more often. Whenever I do hear this word, or say it myself, it stirs emotions that I cannot explain. I cannot do justice to the memories they evoke. That word is Balochistan. I have grown up around politics and in politics. For a daughter of a Baloch tribal leader and activist, politics and life are irreversibly intertwined. The need to understand the ethnic and national tensions ...

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Once you’re Pakistani, there is no going back to India

The non-issuance of visas to India continues to irk thousands of Pakistani Americans as the former remains hell bent to grind an axe with Pakistanis, regardless of borders or their new nationalities. At the moment, there are an estimated 500,000 Pakistani Americans in the US and the rate of their continually burgeoning numbers makes them the second fastest growing group of Asian immigrants in the US. According to the Pew Research Centre, the entire population of Asian Americans, which includes Pakistanis, is among those in the highest income bracket as well as the best educated in the country. However, despite all the good check marks ...

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To save Pakistan, we have to let go of the idea of Pakistan

“We are fighting a fight for Pakistan.” This is an oft repeated statement from politicians, military personnel, bureaucrats and journalists. Let me tell you unequivocally, we are losing the fight for Pakistan. In our attempts to salvage an archaic idea of Pakistan, an idea relegated to the back shelves of the global landscape, we are losing the Pakistan that we have. We will not win this war in North Waziristan, we will not lose this war in Lahore, we will either win or lose this war in the minds of our countrymen. Yes, that is what they are, our countrymen, and every single ...

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Perhaps Jordan can teach Pakistan how to treat its minorities

The deadly attack on Pakistan’s Christian minority in Youhanabad left 16 people dead and was followed by communal clashes in Lahore. Soon after the incident, the Bohra community was targeted in Karachi last Friday. These attacks are not new to religious minorities in Pakistan, who have been living under fear of their lives for the past few years; their residential colonies, work places and places of worship are turning into slaughter houses in their own homeland. However, in case of other Muslim-majority countries, minority groups continue to live in peace and enjoy the rights and privileges prescribed to them by law. ...

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Refreshing our faulty memory: Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir go hand in hand

One of the main and often forgotten blunders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), during their different stints in power, is the sell-out of the hopes and aspirations of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. This is a historical fact, though the PPP tries to hide it as they are hiding other blunders as well, counting on the short memory of the public. But not all is forgotten and especially not forgiven; some of us do remember what happened in the past. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan had liberated themselves from the clutches of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir in 1948, declared accession to ...

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Are all Pakistani women damsels in distress?

It feels really good to be a Pakistani woman these days. It brings a big smile to my face when I see five Pakistani women in the list of BBC’s 100 women of 2014. And no matter how controversial one may call Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize, there is no denying the fact that it has brought Pakistani women at the centre stage again. Yes, the world is often quick to assume that women in our country are weaklings – damsels in perpetual distress. For a very long time the west has considered them little more than slaves of their male counterparts. ...

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FCR: Man playing god with the people of Fata

FATA is home to approximately 10 million people. These people may be called ‘Pakistani’ citizens, but the reality is – they are not. Even after 67 years of independence, despite being a strategic part of Pakistan, the constitution of the country simply does not apply here. Why? Good question. What is worse is that the laws that do, in fact, apply are a set of colonial laws formulated and enacted by the British more than a century ago! Some of these date all the way back to 1893, when the Durand Line was drawn by colonialists. A single visit to Fata will demonstrate ...

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Don’t equate the United Baloch Army with the Taliban!

Wednesday April 9, 2014. 8 am. Islamabad I-11’s fruit market. A blast rips through the usually quiet federal capital morning. Over two dozen lives lost. Everyday news in everyday Pakistan. The only difference? The attack was not claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or one of its various splinter groups. It was claimed by the United Baloch Army (UBA). This has been the second attack of its kind carried out by the UBA in the last few days. The first one took place at a train station in Sibi, Balochistan, killing 17 people. While in the last few hours the government has rejected the ...

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Of biased history: Wait, wasn’t Nehru the bad guy?

“Oh Jinnah sahib? Suna hai ke woh Nehru ki takkar ke thay.” (Oh, Mr Jinnah? I have heard that he was quite the equivalent of Nehru.) Stunned by the honest answer to my question by my Indian friend, I tried to process what he had said. It was the third day of the Boy Scouts Messengers of Peace Camp and we were in Delhi riding together on a bus to visit a monument – the Qutub Minar, I believe. Over the last few days that I had been in India, I had noticed that only a select few of my Indian counterparts knew ...

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