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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Paracha, Jawed Naqvi, Kamran Shafi

In the kind of unprecedented turmoil we are in today, the whole idea about the silent moderate majority needs to be confronted and shaken out of its comfort zones of navel-gazing. I say this because the so-called moderate Muslims are now perhaps the only ones who could allow themselves the advantage of being persuaded by a rational debate against extremism; because no amount of reason, commonsense and appeal to humanity can ever dent the stone-cold wickedness of the blood-thirsty extremists, or the shameful epileptic populist rhetoric of their apologists who appear in front of us in the guise of ‘journalists,’ ‘experts’ ‘leaders’ and whatnot. Smokers’ Corner: The peril of being moderate

There was a very moving Shyam Benegal movie on the subject of partition – Mammo. It is a nickname given to Mehmooda Begum by her sisters. She marries a man from Lahore. After partition, she and her husband automatically become Pakistan citizens. Although childless, her marriage is a happy one until her husband’s death. Over property matters, Mammo is thrown out of the house by her relatives. She comes to India to stay with her only kin, her two sisters. Unable to extend her visa, she has to go back – political priorities defeat humanitarian ones. Devika Rani would have embraced Mammo for she had a big heart – big enough to live with the angst of an absurd reality that robbed her of her small perch on earth. The Indian government can learn a lesson or two from her. So should politicians and the NGOs clamouring for durable peace in South Asia. Jawed Naqvi

According to news reports one of the most direct remarks she made to a group in Lahore is, “I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they [Al Qaeda leaders] are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to.” This statement in and of itself is probably the most important of all the statements the secretary made whilst in Pakistan for it says, in other words, ‘If you don’t know, why don’t you know’? Thank you, Ms Clinton, and well said, for I have oft asked this same question of our security establishment. Every right-thinking Pakistani who is up to here with the tripe that is strategic depth, so assiduously pursued by the Pakistani security establishment and its hacks over the last 30 disastrous years, is gratified that you said it like it is. And right to their bullying faces. Kamran Shafi


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