May 2020

Afghan Peace Accord

This is related to last month’s cover story on the Afghan Peace Accord signed between the US and the Taliban. The Taliban and the US negotiated under the banner of the Islamic Emirate which means that the existence of any other government in Afghanistan will not be accepted. Following the Peace Accord, if a Unity Government is formed in Afghanistan, the Taliban will have to be proactive as now there is a change in their understanding of the world. The Taliban also have a better comprehension of world affairs, hence they are more likely to accept the need for diplomacy and have more experience of international developments which in turn will lead to more positive attitudes.

Danish Mehmood,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Way Forward

When it comes to expressing views about the ongoing crises in Pakistan, there’s nothing better than SouthAsia Magazine as it has all the informative articles and news one would want to read to know about the latest updates on the matter. The magazine has always managed to deliver the best and this time it had Idris Kothari, a leading Pakistani-American entrepreneur from the Silicon Valley, California, talking about ‘Pakistan – a Perspective, Irrespective’. Mr Kothari was of the view that there were very good times ahead for Pakistan as the country was at a point when all stars were lined up in its favour, it had an honest leader and phenomenal youth which was very energetic and intelligent. He recently participated in digital initiatives of both the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan and found that there are over a million highly educated and highly motivated people in the Pakistani Diaspora who were willing to help the country.

Maliha Rehman,
Islamabad, Pakistan.

Justice for Nirbhaya

The four criminals in Nirbhaya case deserved what they got. Other criminals should learn a lesson from this incident and not treat women as an object. Now that they have been executed, March 20 should be celebrated as Nirbhaya Divas Day every year as a remembrance. But what about the juvenile who was also involved in the case? Why was he left with just a light warning? Why has he been hidden in an isolated place? How much money has he bribed the court to let him off with just a light warning? There are no answers to these questions and there never will.

Jubel D’cruz,
Mumbai, India.

Freelance Nation

Ihave recently heard a lot of buzz regarding the word ‘freelancing’, especially among the youth. Graduates no longer squander time over full-time jobs but instead earn a decent living through freelancing. The government too is encouraging people to explore the online world of earning, as it would not only benefit the individual but also enhance the foreign exchange reserves of the country.

A study shows that Pakistan is ranked fifth in the world in terms of growth in earnings by freelancers. Every year hundreds of thousands of people graduate and enter the job market searching frantically for jobs; jobs that are just not there, but now with online freelancing, a whole new avenue of unexplored jobs has opened.

Muhammad Haider,
Islamabad, Paksitan.

Namaste Trump Turns
to Namaste Riots

This is regarding the article ‘Showman’ by Atif Shamim Syed about Trump’s visit to India. Though the ‘Namaste Trump’ event at Motera Stadium was organised for Trump to see the country progressing, the tables turned and what he saw was the other way around. Trump was quoted as saying that he got to know about the riots in the outskirts of New Delhi between the anti-CAA and pro-CAA protestors and even thought for a moment to ask Modi about it but then dropped the idea.

While Modi was hoping to use Trump’s visit as an occasion to boost India’s standing within the international community as he was severely criticized for the worsening situation in Kashmir and the enactment of the CAA, NPR and NRC, what Trump got to see was how poorly India is progressing as a nation by becoming a strictly Hindu state and torturing minorities, especially its 200 million Muslims. BJP leader Subramanium Swamy added further fuel to fire when he recently made senseless and bigoted comments that Muslims in India do not deserve the same rights as everyone else living in the country. According to him, Muslims do not fall in the equal category under the Indian Constitution.

Adeel Hassan,
Srinagar, Kashmir.

Killing Spree

This is regarding the article ‘Pandemic Politics’ written by Dr Mehreen Mujtaba about the novel coronavirus that has spread around the world, killing thousands of people. Said to have originated from Wuhan in China, this contagious infection has transcended borders and positive cases have been reported in almost all countries around the world. It has disrupted travel, cities have been quarantined and borders closed to international movement. The human cost of this pandemic continues to rise and it is wreaking havoc in the global economy. Many cases of infection with coronavirus have also been attributed to human-to-human infections via respiratory droplets while sneezing and coughing. The governments of all countryies have taken precautionary measures in the form of lockdown of cities to avoid spreading this contagious virus that is on a killing spree. Will the world be a changed place once the virus is through wreaking havoc around the world?

Fred Andrews,
Riverdale, U.S.

The Other Truth

Nikhat Sattar’s article titled ‘The Other Truth’ (February 2020) is well-written, making it clear that she has done ample research on a particular aspect of the Liberation War between the then East Pakistan and West Pakistan.

March 26 marks the independence of Bangladesh and it is a time of reflection, jubilance, appreciation, pride and, undoubtedly, mourning for the lost lives of the freedom fighters and innocent victims. There are also horrific accounts of rape inflicted by the Pakistan army on Bengali-speaking women. The history books, political and cultural narratives and first-hand accounts, all attest to these tragic incidents.

However, we must not lose sight of the fact that the War of Liberation was a war, and generally, both sides in a war commit atrocities. The fact that Bangladesh was aided by a regional power such as India in its struggle for independence (in fact, India was the fire-stoker and catalyst, but that is another story), and that it defeated Pakistan, unquestionably denotes that there were atrocities committed on the Urdu-speaking population, also.

In the current political climate in Bangladesh, we have unfortunately an autocratic regime which has, over the span of its continuous unelected 12 year rule, rewritten history. In attempting to keep India content at all times, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has conditioned a nation of nearly 170 million people to believe in her alternate reality, one in which only her father, Sheikh Mujiber Rahman was instrumental in the independence of Bangladesh, completely vilifying Pakistan enforcing the adoption of Indian culture and politics. The country that so many freedom fighters have sacrificed their lives for has been tragically transformed into what many refer to now as a “vassal state of India.”

In light of these matters and the propaganda machinery well in place in Bangladesh and India to alter facts and statistics, it would be an act of service to the future generations if objective historians could publish the facts, not the one-sided parallel universe we have been subjected to. We can only hope and pray that one day, in not too distant a future, these facts will be appreciated and taught at educational institutions.

Sabria Chowdhury Balland,
Houston, United States.