Connect with us

#Current Affairs

On the Pakistan-India Dangerous Escalation

Amad Abu Reem

Published

on

Make Peace Not War

War should never be an option. Sane people in South Asia must wake up to the fact that war only results in greater misery than almost every single alternative

As a Pakistani American who has many Indian friends and who has hired Indians in a professional capacity, it took me years to wean off negativity towards India— not uncommon on both sides of the border.

You can say what you want. But the fact remains that the two people have much more in common than either has with any other nation. Culture, language, history— so much togetherness.

Yet, the British left Kashmir for the two nations to bicker over and avoid real progress. Let’s be honest. Kashmir was the only Muslim majority state not to merge into Pakistan, while all Hindu majority states merged into India. The whole separation exercise was sloppy— leading to countless lives lost during the partition, and countless more in Kashmir since.

Now that’s history. The UN-mandated a plebiscite for Kashmiris to determine their own path; a plebiscite with many preconditions that legally allows India to not carry it out. But then again, which country would allow the breakaway of (what India considers) its own territory? Let’s face it, it’s simply not in India’s strategic interest.

More creative solutions include the possibility of an independent Kashmir (original Kashmir composed of territory from all neighbors as it was prior to partition) may be more possible, but again require massive political capital on both sides.

And thus, this leaves Kashmir as a tinderbox that will continue to create sparks between the neighbors.

As usual, the people suffer; Kashmiris continue to live through decades of violence. The Indian army has a huge presence in the valley— estimated at 700,000 strong. Human rights violations are routine according to independent sources. This is not surprising; mixing a large military presence among civilians usually leads to abuse.

  • Indian violence in Kashmir since 1989:
  • Killed by Indian army: 94,479
  • Custodial killings by Indian army: 7,048
  • Disappearances of Kashmiris at the hands of Indians: 10,125
  • Gang rapes by Indians in Kashmir: 10,283
  • Kashmiri blinded by Indian firing: 188
  • Kashmiri Kids orphaned: 20,085
  • Kashmiri Women widowed: 20,005
  • Kashmiri Buildings destroyed: 106,071

Thus the most recent escalation in Pulwama didn’t happen in a vacuum. Kashmiris, much like Palestinians or not long ago, the Irish, have a lot of resentment, and they can easily be coaxed into violence. Let’s remember the Pulwama attacker was a young Kashmiri man— born and raised on the Indian side of Kashmir.

Unfortunately in an environment of emotional zeal and distrust, blaming the other for any attack has become the norm. The media, esp. the Indian media has gone berserk. Each news outlet trying to prove more nationalistic than the other. And every famous personality seems to be under the burden to say or tweet something patriotic.

As Pakistanis, we have to put ourselves in our neighbors’ shoes— difficult but necessary! So as an Indian, if I were hearing, reading and watching all the emotional nationalistic banter— I too would have been riled up again Pakistan: “How dare Pakistan attack and kill our soldiers?” (Pakistan didn’t, but this fact gets drowned out in the noise).

Recent history has shown us how the media can rile up the vile! We saw how Egyptian media riled up people to the point that they considered the massacre of thousands in Rabaa of their OWN people as justified; not “others”. So how easy can it be to rile up people against a “known enemy” Pakistan?

This is why sane Indians need to rise above fake nationalism, propped up by the Indian media frenzy. How is it nationalism to wish something wherein more of your soldiers will die— because war will kill, on both sides. And not just soldiers, innocent civilians too.

While Pakistani media has been generally more restrained, there are fools on this side too, thinking that war is a video game where you lose lives only on the screen!

Pakistan has responsibilities.

JeM (Jaishe Mohammed), a Pakistani based outfit, claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack. The fact is that JeM is itself a banned outfit in Pakistan. Even so, since when did a claim become proof of culpability? Many groups make opportunistic claims to beef up their own standing. And there are legal requirements for a claim to be verified as true.

However, a claim is a claim and needs to be investigated. Imagine if there was an attack in say Balochistan, and some Indian group claimed responsibility, then just like it would make sense for Pakistan to demand answers. Thus Indian demands are reasonable too. Even if it turns out to be bogus. So an urgent and honest search and hunt must go on for whoever made the claims. Investigate and bring the culprits to justice because international law doesn’t allow this. And if no proof is found, share the results with India!

It’s politics, stupid!

Everyone is fully aware that India has elections coming. And that India has a leader who has a very checkered background (to put it mildly) with regards to treatment of minorities under his watch. But that’s India’s problem. Pakistan can’t solve it for India.

Fortunately, in Pakistan, we have Imran Khan, whose entire track record is that of being pro-peace and anti-war. Not a new stance, but a proven one.

So if anything Imran presented an opportunity for peace between the two nations. Perhaps in a non-election year, even Modi may have reciprocated. But the reality is that anti-Pakistan rhetoric is a vote-winner in India, so India won’t be sending any positive signals anytime soon.

But Pakistan is doing more than signals. They are sending a soldier back.

In the last 24 hours, Pakistan shot down two jets in its territory. The Indian Air Force pilot who was captured by Pakistani troops was treated with respect and is being returned to his family.

Peace brings about prosperity. While war brings about chaos.

It’s not the media jokers and politicians who will be fighting on the front lines— it will sons and daughters of both countries— more of whom will never return home if war breaks out.

Soldiers also die
And their families also cry

I say it again: Make Peace Not War

Watch a clip on Indian media madness: see
https://www.facebook.com/328693710634463/posts/1078130369024123?sfns=mo),

Imad Shaykh is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Imad is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    maryam

    March 1, 2019 at 10:28 PM

    Thank you for writing this post. It’s also important to remember that both nations are nuclear power, and happen to be very emotional. If things don’t cool down we might be on a brink of a nuclear war.

  2. Avatar

    Aly Balagamwala

    March 2, 2019 at 4:50 AM

    Sadly the very peaceful overtures of Pakistan govt are not being responded to by the Modi government and they in their desperation to win the next election are just increasing the LOC violations. There is so much a side can take before it is forced to retaliate.

    *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

  3. Avatar

    Sameer

    March 10, 2019 at 7:27 PM

    Superficial and conventional analysis (if that).

    1. Pakistan is controlled by its military with Imran only being a puppet and figurehead. They consume over half of the GDP of the country and claim legitimacy to do this as being a “professional” organization, yet despite the humiliation in Bangladesh/East Pakistan, what do they have to show for this?

    2. The military has always maintained an arms length reach of groups both with borders of India as well as Afghanistan. Why has this been done and why can’t the policy be publicly questioned?

    3. Along the same line, the US violated Pakistani airspace in killing Bin Laden, with India repeating the VERY SAME violation in bombing Pakistan (only 100 miles from Islamabad) yet no one has been held responsible in the Pakistani military for these violations of its own sovereignty. Why?

    Questions that are taboo to ask as well as to the nature of the identity of a secular state claimed to be created in the name of Islam (yet groveling for peace to people who kill fellow Muslims) seem to difficult to research and ask apparently.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#Current Affairs

Faith Community Stands With Peace And Justice Leader Imam Omar Suleiman During Right Wing Attacks

Hena Zuberi

Published

on

In a follow up to the right-wing media platforms attack on Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists, as well as criticism of Israel policies, Faith Forward Dallas issued a statement.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanksgiving Square – Faith Leaders United for Peace and Justice is a Texas-based interfaith organization that has worked on many initiatives with Imam Omar Suleiman.

The statement reads:

“Imam Omar Suleiman a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice!!!!!

Time after time in our city, in the United States and around the world, Imam Omar Suleiman has been a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice. When others seek to divide, he calls for unity. Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square works to unite faith leaders for justice and compassion. Imam Suleiman has been a trusted leader among us. In the wake of his beautiful prayer to open the House of Representatives on May 9, he has received threats of violence and words of vilification when instead he should have our praise and prayers. We call upon people of good will everywhere to tone down the rhetoric, to replace hate with love, and to build bridges toward the common good.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square”

Commenters on the Faith Forward Dallas statement have left comments of support.

The group has invited locals and other leaders to endorse and share the statement. “Endorsed! I love and fully you Imam Omar Suleiman!” wrote Karen Weldes Fry, Spiritual Director at Center of Spiritual Learning in Dallas (CSLDallas), commenting on the statement.

Some commentators do not understand the manufactured controversy.  Heather Mustain writes, “What people are writing is so vile. They obviously didn’t even listen to his prayer!” Imam  Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives on May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas, TX.

“I’m grateful for the faith leaders with whom I’ve built relationships with and served with for years that have shown full support throughout this process. Together we’ve stood with one another in solidarity in the face of bigotry, and in the support of others in any form of pain. We will not let these dark forces divide us,” said Imam Omar Suleiman in response to the outpouring of love from the people he has worked with on the ground, building on peace, love, and justice.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan

Published

on

Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar

JazakAllahuKheiran


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source: DMagazine.com


Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News


Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc


Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News

 


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center


Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN

 

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

Ben Shapiro Gets Wrecked on the BBC for Racism Against Palestinians and American Jews

Andrew Neil so thoroughly destroys Ben Shapiro that he has a snowflake meltdown and retreats in the middle of the interview to his own safe space, off-camera. 

Avatar

Published

on

The video plays at the 10:00 minute mark where Neil begins to break down Shapiro on his statements about President Obama, Palestinians, and American Jews.

Let’s set the context – popular conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, known for his aggressive debate style in the public square, visited the BBC to promote his new book.  The interviewer, Andrew Neil, after giving Shapiro a chance to introduce himself to the BBC audience, questioned him about the anger both the left and the right feel towards one another, and Shapiro’s own role in stoking that anger and polar opposition within the Republican party over many years.

The reason for this line of questioning is because Shapiro claims this to be a problem in American discourse and fails to consider his own contribution to the problem, and it is this hypocrisy that Neil confronts him about.  Shapiro attempts to respond, but is promptly crushed by Neil’s responses with Shapiro’s own quotes.  For example, he brings up the following tweet written about Palestinians which Shapiro agrees was wrong but hasn’t taken down:

 

Shapiro futilely attempts to respond, but Neil continues to quote Shapiro until he is left with no choice except to throw ad hominems at his interviewer, which were deftly turned back on Shapiro, leaving him to look even more petty for his attempted condescending remarks.  The end result is the man claiming earlier to welcome a spirited debate quickly found himself running away to lick his wounds.

Perhaps the greatest irony in this debate – Shapiro accused Neil of being an opinion journalist of the left-leaning variety, while Neil is a conservative and chairman of The Spectator, whose editorial outlook is conservative.

Continue Reading

Trending