Stories about peace

From a great writer to a great a leader: How Manto came to terms with Jinnah’s passing

On the 142nd birth anniversary of Muhammad Ali Jinnah today, a little-known piece by the great Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto is being presented for the time in its original English translation. This piece is part of Manto’s published but uncollected writings that are only recently seeing the light of day. Though there is little or no evidence that the great writer ever met the great leader, this piece – originally published in the Daily ‘Imroz’ just three days after Jinnah’s death in September 1948 – crystallises the raw emotions of a writer in the aftermath of a national tragedy ...

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Talks on, talks off: Modi, a prisoner of the past, is afraid of peace

Does the Indian government have a coherent policy towards Pakistan? Is ‘adhocism’ now the mantra followed by India’s foreign policy?  After the abrupt cancellation of talks between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan by New Delhi, the aforementioned questions – which were only whispered earlier – are now being raised loud and clear.  India has not been taken for such a ride by its own government before, the way it is under the Narendra Modi regime. Never before has a party with such an overwhelming majority treated its own people so shabbily. What the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has been doing ...

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Naya Pakistan, purana Balochistan

As expected, the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) grabbed more seats than any other party in the legislative provincial assembly in the 2018 General Elections. Though they did not win an absolute majority, BAP has enough elected members to attract other parties and independent candidates to form a coalition government. In the entire history of the province, there has never been a political party that has enjoyed an absolute majority in the assembly, so switching party loyalties to form a coalition government is a common occurrence. Of the 50 members of the house, the BAP acquired 17 seats, with two of them going ...

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India’s problem isn’t Imran Khan, but its own media

Of all the Pakistani celebrities India is familiar with, Imran Khan has been the most recognisable and for a time, the most popular. As an extremely talented and good-looking World Cup winning captain, Imran has been a byword for leadership and charisma in the subcontinent. Indeed, in the 80s, Imran appeared in several Indian advertisements endorsing products like Cinthol and Thumbs Up. The improbability of a Pakistani advertising for an Indian brand today points to the tragic deterioration in relations since then, but it also points to the popularity Imran enjoyed among Indians once. 1987 :: Cinthol Soap Advertisement Featuring Imran Khan "Pace ...

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Can Imran Khan fix 71 years of failed talks, bloodshed and hatred?

Imran Khan’s victory in the recently concluded General Elections went as per preordained script. The arrest of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter in a money laundering case practically sealed the deal. The Supreme Court has debarred him from contesting elections for life, virtually putting an end to the political career of the former prime minister. It is alleged that Imran enjoys the confidence and support of the establishment which paved the way for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to emerge victorious. The opposition has questioned the legitimacy of the elections, especially where it is alleged that widespread rigging was allowed to take ...

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From a politician to a statesman: In an era of dirty politics, Imran Khan’s speech was a breath of fresh air

I started following Imran Khan when he used to be that kid who had a penny in his pocket but wanted to buy everything at the grocery store. He had one seat in the parliament, but he roared his opinions like one was more than enough. From one seat in the parliament for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to winning five seats as ‘Imran Khan’ alone, he has come a long way. All eyes were glued to the television screens when he first addressed the nation as the prime minister in waiting. Challenges awaiting Imran and his party are piled up like ...

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Why India wants PTI to lose and PML-N to win the elections

South Asia is currently in a vortex of a very defining election season. In India, though the General Elections are still 10 months away, the country has already started discussing the possibilities and predicting the outcome expected in 2019. The main question dominating all discussions is whether Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will emerge victorious for a second term. At stake next year in the world’s most populous democracy is the idea of India itself. Will the polls ensure the defeat of the divisive forces currently at work, or will we see further consolidation of the majoritarian agenda? In the meantime, the ...

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Why is the Wagah border ceremony a competition of nationalism?

It has been 70 years since India and Pakistan emerged from a single, coherent geographical unit as two sovereign nations, and both states do their best to remember and reaffirm this. Every day at around 4:30pm, the Wagah border prepares for a unique ceremony, wherein the soldiers stationed at and near the border gates on both sides re-state the identity of India and Pakistan as sovereign nations, while their people cheer for them. As the dusk sets in, it is time to lower their respective flags, but both countries do so by giving a warning to each other. The gates ...

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Remembering Ahmad Faraz: Do not murder the voices

The 87th birthday of one of Pakistan’s most beloved poet – who was also a resistance poet par excellence – the legendary Ahmad Faraz, was celebrated on January 12th. The honour of both the Pakhtuns and Urdu-speaking community, I was lucky to hear him recite his famous poem ‘Muhaasra’ (siege) in one of his last public appearances in Karachi back in 2008. He joined the immortals soon afterwards on August 25, 2008. To pay tribute to his memory, here I am sharing my translation of one of my favourite Faraz poems, “Mat Qatl Karo Aavaazon Ko” (do not murder the voices), which it seems ...

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I met a Jew who didn’t judge me for being a Muslim or a Pakistani

We believe we live in a connected world today, but is that really true? A few days ago, I asked my friend what she thought of it and she said, “We can connect to any part of the world with one click. We can access any information in the spur of a moment. What else is connectivity?” I partially agreed with what my friend had to say but I still wondered if we really are living in a connected world. We live in a world where we are limited within our own small worlds, which are usually only as big as our mind-sets. And the ...

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