Interest in an engaged presence in South Asia is rapidly waning in the wake of the coming American elections. It remains to be seen whether the strategy will be beneficial for both sides in the long run.
Foreign policy rarely figures prominently in American elections. The upcoming November presidential and congressional contests demonstrate the continued pertinence of this hoary political maxim. Still buffeted by an anemic recovery from the 2008 financial meltdown, few US voters will give much thought to foreign policy as they enter the polling booths. And fewer still will consider how South Asia will be affected by their choices, let alone how the region will in turn influence the leaders elected this November. Continue reading
Cassandra Balchin’s untimely demise is a huge loss to the causes of women’s and human rights, particularly in areas of equality within Muslim law and against religious fundamentalism more broadly. After completing her graduation from the London School of Economics, Cass (as she was known to friends and collaborators), moved to Lahore, Pakistan in 1983 to work as a journalist. In 1991 she went on to work as a staff member at Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre in Lahore, focusing on their publishing programme. In 2000, Cass returned to the UK to set up the international coordinating office in London of Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML). She also finished a Master’s degree under the guidance of the feminist sociologist and activist Nira Yuval-Davis.
In recent years, she served as Chair of the Muslim Women’s Network, a UK-based organization that connects a diverse set of Muslim women and seeks to represent their voices in public policy. She was also a founder-member of Musawah, a global movement launched in 2009, to work towards justice and equality within Muslim families worldwide. Continue reading