Dr Azra Raza – a fearless and sensitive soul – sent me this poem via email.
The day I’m killed,
my killer, rifling through my pockets,
will find travel tickets:
One to peace,
one to the fields and the rain,
and one to the conscience of humankind.
Dear killer of mine, I beg you:
Do not stay and waste them.
Take them, use them.
I beg you to travel.
Palestinian Poet, Samih Al Qasim, Translated by A.Z. Foreman
The image is of slain Mustafa – my colleague & a member of my family- who was killed by terrorists while they attacked me in Lahore.
Al Qaeda’s plan for the region will succeed if Islamabad does not take stock of the deep penetration of its ideology into the folds of Pakistani society
The charade of talks being played by Pakistan’s major political parties, media and perhaps sections of the permanent establishment stands exposed. The prime minister, after giving a hard hitting speech in the Parliament, adopted the path of appeasement and appointed a committee to negotiate. The Pakistani faction of the Taliban movement – Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – appointed a few sympathizers as its nominees. The charismatic star Imran Khan was one of them, but he refused to negotiate on behalf of TTP despite advancing their case for the last few years. With no time frame and unclear terms of reference the so-called talks have foundered on the rocks of grim reality: the Pakistani state continues to give space to violent operations of TTP.
In the past two weeks, there have been more than 17 attacks of various kinds sometimes accepted by the TTP and at other times disowned. But groups that have owned the attacks are part of the network or affiliates of the loose network comprising TTP. There are at least three dozen small and big groups that are linked to the TTP. Many are off-shoots of state sponsored jihad outfits but have turned rogue or gained some measure of autonomy. This is why the key question that has dogged the talks is if any agreement between TTP appointed negotiators and the government would be accepted by all and sundry. The emerging consensus in the country is that it would not hold and violence would continue.
A chilling example of this syndrome was the admission of Mohmand Agency Taliban that last week they had killed 23 Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers who were kidnapped from Shongari checkpost in the tribal region in 2010. A day later, a valiant Major of Pakistan Army was also killed. The brazen attacks on the law enforcement agencies have continued despite the much celebrated intent of the TTP to talk. The strategy of talking to ‘our own people’ as popularized by Imran Khan and other right wing parties therefore is backfiring. The Sharif government vacillating between the noises of tough action and appeasement scared of backlash in the Punjab as well as losing the right wing vote bank does not help matters either. Sharif’s dilemma is related to his popular base in the Punjab which his party does not want to lose at any cost. But there is more method to this madness. […]
How horrific to read this news-analysis with this grim end-note:”while the bourgeoisie likes to proclaim India the “world’s largest democracy,” it is increasingly indifferent and hostile to democratic rights and is turning to authoritarian forms of rule.”
India: Supreme Court judge advocates “animal rights” for alleged terrorists
The third most senior judge on India’s Supreme Court has bluntly said in a public forum that alleged terrorists should be denied “human rights.” Instead terror suspects should be treated like animals. “What is required are animal rights,” declared Supreme Court Justice Arijit Pasayat. […]