Now that Israeli slaughter is underway yet again, it is an appropriate moment for Pakistanis to show solidarity with Palestinians by recalling what Sir Zafrulla Khan – the author of the Pakistan Resolution – had to say about the “partition” of Palestine in the year of the Nakbah. Lamentably, due to the predicament of our own country under the second amendment, Sir Zafrulla Khan (KCSI, 1893 – 1985, our first foreign minister, representative at the UN, judge at the ICJ and of course the Pakistan Resolution’s draftsman), an adherent of the reformist Ahmadi Muslim community, would be considered a “non-Muslim”.
Yet the perversion of the meaning of the word “Muslim” to appease the mullah street is incapable of denting Sir Zafrulla’s arguments in support of Palestinians. It remains very much the case that Sir Zafrulla wrote Palestine in the U.N.O. as a Musalman. Of that there is no doubt. Equally, he wrote to expose the truth about what happened in the UN. But in the context of our own country, no doubt much to his torment, Sir Zafrulla also lived to see his (and Mr Jinnah’s) dream of a secular Pakistan being destroyed. Continue reading
Bihar is the third largest state of India so far as population is concerned, above 103 million according to the Census of India 2001, but it has traditionally been backward and poor. Although it was the seat of great empires like that of the Mauryas, and of great religions like Buddhism, it has long been caste-ridden and home to dacoits and criminals. All the more difficult, therefore, would it be to introduce reforms in such a rigid and stratified society.
Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, dwelt at length on the achievements of his government during a seminar hosted by the Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, on whose invitation he was visiting Pakistan. The performance of his government, even if exaggerated, came across remarkably well, as remarkable indeed as his own political career. Leader of the Janata Dal (United) in Bihar, which has socialist origins, he governs nevertheless in alliance with the conservative BJP. Continue reading
Despite continuing threats by the Pakistani Taliban, Malala Yusufzai’s father has vowed to take his daughter back to Pakistan upon her recovery. The Pakistani government needs to make sure that over the next several months, it takes concrete steps to ensure that the brave young soul returns to a place safer than when she left it. Pakistan’s divided civil society needs to come together to guarantee that it does.
In the days and weeks following the attack on Malala, Pakistanis were divided over what needed to happen next. Rather than focus their ire on the government for failing to devise a competent strategy to deal with the myriad militant groups in Pakistan, Pakistan’s civil society, divided along ideological lines, turned on each other. Proponents of military action against the Taliban were labeled liberal fascists and those calling for negotiations were deemed Taliban-hugging jihadis. Rather than attack each other, Pakistan’s civil society groups would be better served if they mobilized around a single-point agenda–ending militancy in Pakistan. There is no single strategy to accomplish this–it can only be achieved through a combination of short- and long-term measures. Continue reading