Categories
Editorials

Enough Already: Let’s Give Pakistan Some Love

Those of us who are addicted to news and the blogosphere are aware of the thrashing that Pakistan and Pakistan army ahs been getting from all quarters since Osama Bin Laden (OBL) was served a healthy dose of the same medicine that he himself was a master at concocting. Yes, he is dead, killed, kaput for the crimes that he committed against humanity. But Pakistan, it seems, is still reeling from the aftershocks. Just one look at one Pakistani blog aggregator’s front page is enough to guess the most popular topic of the past few weeks:

In a rather subdued but straight speech the Prime Minister of Pakistan–a man I respect for not having abandoned his party for the Musharraf float–admitted that just like all other nations, Pakistan and its intelligence agencies had also failed in locating and eliminating OBL. I think it is time to give the Pakistani government some benefit of doubt and admit that such failures do occur and that there is no need to look for exotic conspiracies behind it.

Meanwhile, in Washington D.C, in the true spirit of American politics [which involves kicking your opponents when they are down] the vultures are already sharpening their claws to dig into Pakistan’s lifeline. Senator Patrick Leahy sugegsted that the US aid to Pakistan should be reviewed and, maybe, stopped. This is the stupidest thing that the US government can do, but stupidity is also a hall-mark of American politics and is not necessarily native to Pakistan alone.

I think any reduction of aid to Pakistan would be downright stupid and destructive. Yes, Pakistan has failed but so have the  the intelligence agencies of the world: weren’t they all looking for OBL?. Let us not kick Pakistan when it is down: let us help this courageous country up, for its people have suffered immensely in this endless war on terror and while I don’t get starry-eyed when I see a Pakistani general in uniform or hear a Pakistan politician, I do care about pakistan and its people. So, let us stand with pakistan and let us stop opportunists here and abroad from stomping Pakistan into further misery and shame.

As I have written elsewhere, Pakistan has sacrificed deeply and suffered greatly in this war and it is now time to acknowledge that and to stand by the people of Pakistan.

So, against the current trend and  going beyond my own critical writings about this event, I would like to send my love and best wishes to the people of Pakistan.

Categories
Announcements Editorials

Cluster on Lahore with Love, Now in August

As you might be aware, we were planning to publish a cluster of essays on Fawzia Afzal-Khan’s Lahore with Love in our April issue. We have now decided to publish it in August to give more authors a chance to contribute. Given below are details of our CFP for this cluster:

As you might be aware, Fawzia Afzal-Khan’s memoir Lahore with Love: Growing up with Girlfriends Pakistani Style, Syracuse UP, 2010, was canceled by the publisher for fear of a lawsuit after the book had already been published.

The August 2011 issue of Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies will publish a special cluster of essays that deal with this important book, its themes, its representational and  stylistic strategies, and, of course, the controversy surrounding its cancellation or any other theme of importance.

The book is now being published independently and will soon be available through Amazon.com. All essays, unless solicited directly from the authors, will go through a blind review process.

Submission Deadline: June 15, 2011.

Publication Date: August 1, 2011.

Please log on to the journal website (create an account if you don’t have one already) and submit your articles using our automated submission system.

For questions and queries, please feel free to contact me at pakistaniaat@gmail.com.

Masood Raja, Editor

Pakistaniaat

Categories
Commentaries Editorials

Hate Speech, Mullahs and the Pakistani Public

While we all have responded in different ways to the recent murders of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, we also need to push for the regulation, definition, and prosecution of hate-speech so freely aired by the mullahs.

In a recent set of Friday sermons recorded by activists associated with Mashal Books, one aspect of this hate-speech becomes very clear: almost all the mullahs from different sects of Islam are more concerned with demonizing and castigating their sectarian others, instead of focusing on the socio-political issues that affect lives of common Pakistanis.

(Those interested in listening to a sample of these sermons can find them on our blog: http://thepakistanforum.net).

The impact of this unbridled hate-speech is further accentuated by the free expression of such hate through the regular Pakistani media channels. Thus, in case of Pakistan, while the secular public sphere has seriously diminished, the avenues for hate-mongers have increased both in terms of physical spaces and digital and news media.

We saw that in the wake of Salman Taseer’s murder, not many so-called Ulama were willing to speak up against this act of murder and the same happens to be the case with the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti.

The media, in fact, were overeager to show the accolades being offered to the murderer by the people. Some critics have also suggested that Salman Taseer’s murder was probably caused by the false image of Taseer created by the media.

There is, therefore, a need for Pakistani government to legislate against hate-speech and then implement the law against those who still incite hate about other groups, especially minorities.

There is a difference between expressing one’s opinion and making one’s opinion so absolute that only the annihilation of our opponents seems to be the correct option.

We need to force our government to take note of the actions and words of these hate-mongers, for only then we would be able to transform our public sphere into a place for civilized conversations instead of what we have now: a one way street of death.

(Published by Pakistani Bloggers)