On the 70th anniversary of Partition, intellectuals, analysts, writers, artists and engaged citizens seem driven to try to understand 1947, to make sense of the bloodshed and trauma, to explore the legacy of Partition, and to uncover the personal stories that were far too often sidelined in favour of grand state narratives on both sides of the border.The first Partition Museum is being inaugurated in Amritsar this month while the 1947 Partition Archive, the largest repository of Partition interviews, has just moved forward to release the narratives for public consumption.
Tag Archives: Pakistan
In Gwadar, the first thing that struck me was the hills. The color of bone, they line the coast, hacked into straight lines as if hewed by human hands or mining. But it is harsh winds that have chiselled these sharp squares and turrets. In the local Baloch language, Gwadar means “gateway of the wind.” Below the hills, barren scrubland stretches out, a sandy moonscape under white hot sun.
We had just touched down at the airport, a dusty strip of tarmac serving as a runway, fronted by a blocky concrete building with a sniper positioned on top. “This will be an international hub—the biggest airport in Pakistan,” said the army official escorting us.
There were more than twenty of us, a delegation of journalists flown from Islamabad to Gwadar to see the outpost touted by officials as the next Dubai or Shenzhen. We filed into the waiting armored vehicles, discombobulated after a bumpy three-hour ride on a military jet, strapped in like extras in a war movie.
The Pakistan army is sending a brigade of combat troops to shore up Saudi Arabia’s vulnerable southern border from reprisal attacks mounted by the Houthis in Yemen, according to senior security sources.
The brigade will be based in the south of the Kingdom, but will only be deployed inside its border, the sources told Middle East Eye. “It will not be used beyond Saudi borders,” one said.
It is the latest twist in a brutal and devastating two-year war, which has killed more than 10,000 people in Yemen, injured over 40,000 and brought the impoverished nation to the verge of famine.
More than 80 people died in a Pakistan terror attack last night – where exactly is the hashtag and the solidarity?
Last night, a suicide attack on a shrine in Pakistan killed at least 88 people and injured a further 250 at last count. This comes just two days after a suicide bomber attacked a rally in Lahore, the cultural heart of Pakistan, and killed over a dozen people. Isis has claimed responsibility for the deaths, causing terror and distress across the country.
While the Western press have published the odd article about the attacks, the coverage goes no further: no big front-page reporting, special emergency episodes of political podcasts, trending hashtags or Snapchat filters.
Early on the morning of Sept. 29, according to India’s Defense Ministry and military, Indian forces staged a “surgical strike” in Pakistan-administered Kashmir that targeted…
Kabir Afridi gingerly makes his way through the bustling bazaar in Jamrud, past hawkers offering everything from cheap cell phones and fresh fruit to heroin and American military boots and flak jackets. Located in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), along the highway between Peshawar and Kabul, the bazaar offers, among other things, items pilfered from the stream of trucks carrying supplies to American forces in Afghanistan. Few of the thieves are caught. And then there are the chronic militant attacks.
FATA has earned a reputation for chaos. President Obama, justifying more than 400 drone strikes that have hit the region, describes a “remote tribal” territory where Pakistan “cannot or will not effectively stop terrorism.” Academics and media organizations have taken to calling it a “lawless” place.
On 18 December 2012, the day started early for polio health workers on a routine immunisation drive. Madiha Shah, an 18-year-old mother of two in Karachi’s Landhi Town, got her children ready for school, prepared breakfast for the family, and got her things in order to leave the house. It was the second day of the last three-day immunisation drive for 2012. Madiha’s job as a Lady Health Worker entailed going into highly-dense, risky areas of Karachi to vaccinate children with polio drops. She reached the vaccination centre at 9 in the morning.
At the centre, Madiha and her aunt Fehmida Shah collected their immunisation kits – a blue ice-box with the words ‘End Polio Now’ painted in bright colours, vials of vaccine kept in the box, pipettes and permanent ink to mark children after vaccinating them. As many as 58 cases of polio had been reported in 2012 and the workers were told to step up their efforts. But amidst threats and assaults on polio workers, it was not an easy thing to do. Madiha and Fehmida had asked repeatedly for security, according to then Karachi East Deputy Inspector General Shahid Hayat Khan. But they were told not to worry as they were going to vaccinate children in Gulshan-e-Buner, their own neighbourhood.
Three major developments during the last 10 days are likely to have significant implications on the future of the Afghan peace process — the unsuccessful conclusion of the Afghan Quadrilateral Coordination Group’s (QCG) talks in Islamabad, the U.S. Congress’s conditions on Pakistan to do more on Afghanistan to receive any further American aid, and the killing of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in Balochistan by an American drone.
The suicide bomber who killed seventy-two people on Easter Sunday in a park in Lahore, Pakistan has drawn condemnation from around the world. Among the killed were twenty-nine children, and another 370 people were wounded, many of them members of the country’s Christian minority. Far less noted, however, has been the attack’s equally devastating effect on relations between Pakistan’s army and civilian government, which threatens to bring further instability to the country’s Punjab heartland.
At the heart of the crisis are two men, General Raheel Sharif, commander in chief of the Pakistan army, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, head of the civilian government. For the past eighteen months, the two Sharifs (no relation) have maintained a tenuous political compact: the army—in some consultation with the prime minister—had overall control of Pakistan’s foreign and nuclear policy, as well as its counterterrorism strategy in Karachi, in the south, and along the border with Afghanistan, in the north. In turn, the civilian government could run the economy, and, most significantly, keep control of the prime minister’s home province of Punjab—the most populous region of the country, which includes the city of Lahore. Counterterrorism actions in Punjab were entrusted to the Punjab police rather than the army.
Undoubtedly, for nearly two decades, the most dangerous place on Earth has been the Indian-Pakistani border in Kashmir. It’s possible that a small spark from artillery and rocket exchanges across that border might — given the known military doctrines of the two nuclear-armed neighbors — lead inexorably to an all-out nuclear conflagration. In that case the result would be catastrophic. Besides causing the deaths of millions of Indians and Pakistanis, such a war might bring on “nuclear winter” on a planetary scale, leading to levels of suffering and death that would be beyond our comprehension.
Alarmingly, the nuclear competition between India and Pakistan has now entered a spine-chilling phase. That danger stems from Islamabad’s decision to deploy low-yield tactical nuclear arms at its forward operating military bases along its entire frontier with India to deter possible aggression by tank-led invading forces. Most ominously, the decision to fire such a nuclear-armed missile with a range of 35 to 60 miles is to rest with local commanders. This is a perilous departure from the universal practice of investing such authority in the highest official of the nation. Such a situation has no parallel in the Washington-Moscow nuclear arms race of the Cold War era.