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SACW #1 (26 Sept. 01)

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | Dispatch #1 26 September 2001 http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex [ Apologies to all for having sent the SACW #2 Sept 25, 2001 with out its
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 25, 2001
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      South Asia Citizens Wire | Dispatch #1
      26 September 2001

      [ Apologies to all for having sent the SACW #2 Sept 25, 2001 with out
      its table of contents]


      #1. Responding to the terror (Rajmohan Gandhi)
      #2. Women For Peace [In Pakistan] (Rizwan Atta)
      #3. After U.S. Attacks, India, Pakistan Lock Horns Again (Praful Bidwai)
      #4. The pursuit of Bin Laden could soon be a sideshow
      - This crisis could turn into a disaster for the people of Pakistan
      (Peter Preston)
      #5. Another victory for free circulation of information across South Asia:
      Ban on Indian TV channels in Pakistan (B. Muralidhar Reddy)
      #6. India: VHP's temple tactics: Creating bonfires in times of
      conflagration is dangerous



      Source: The Hindu (http://www.hinduonnet.com)

      Responding to the terror

      By Rajmohan Gandhi

      SOME REFLECTIONS may have a place even, or especially, when war-
      drums begin to sound. From his all-seeing (and sometimes
      unfeeling?) perch, the Almighty no doubt gets the complete
      picture, but the rest of us see through a glass darkly. Moreover,
      our glass is slanted. Our reactions to Terror Tuesday, and to the
      speculation it triggered, were influenced by who we were, by
      where our loved ones were, by what we had just gone through, by
      the leanings, for and against, of our hearts.

      In my case, emotions of horror, disbelief, pity, and the futility
      of pity were interrupted early on by a prayer that nothing should
      have taken my loved ones studying elsewhere in the U.S. to New
      York. And by a sudden realisation that the towers crumbling on TV
      surely contained numerous Indians and other South Asians. Osama
      bin Laden's name was being pronounced, and my mind returned at
      once to Charsadda, close to the Pakistan-Afghan border, where I
      had been only two days previously. I thought of retaliatory bombs
      raining on Afghanistan. I had gone to Charsadda to meet the
      descendants of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Badshah Khan or Baba as
      he is lovingly remembered in the NWFP, or the Frontier Gandhi, as
      some call him, one of the tallest figures in the modern story of
      the subcontinent, who had opposed Partition and championed Hindu-
      Muslim unity until the end.

      In Charsadda I had met two of Badshah Khan's grandsons, Khan
      Asfandiyar Khan, president of Pakistan's Awami National Party,
      and his brother, Khan Sangeen Khan, sons of the party's ailing
      founder, Khan Wali Khan. If Afghanistan is bombed, I said to
      myself, it is the Pakhtuns who will get the medicine. The Khans
      are Pakhtuns. So are a great many Afghans and most inhabitants of
      Pakistan's Frontier province. If the Americans are clever and
      lucky, they will get Osama, but American bombs are unlikely to be
      confined to him and his collaborators. Thousands of innocent
      Pakhtuns may be killed. Let me be honest. I hated Tuesday Terror,
      pitied its victims and felt America's grief. But I did not want
      and do not want thousands of Pakhtuns to be killed.

      As for the perpetrators of that terror, I felt they were image-
      worshippers - they worshipped the image of destruction. They
      probably sought revenge but yearned even more for pictures of
      horror on hundreds of millions of TV sets. Terrorism has its
      pleasures, for which some of its devotees plan, work and wait for
      years. While spelling instant death for victims and for some
      participants, terrorism's fulfilment may offer ecstasy for some
      moments to surviving participants and their sympathisers. But its
      consequences last a lifetime, spent by the survivers in darkness
      and ignominy.

      Worse, some consequences - bombs, sanctions, deprivations, slurs
      - fall on individuals and groups who have nothing to do with
      terrorism's perpetrators. Their crime is proximity. Or a shared
      religion, ethnicity or appearance. Though proximity or
      association is not complicity, it incurs punishment. For this
      punishment of his innocent neighbours and associates, the
      terrorist bears primary responsibility.

      In an ideal world, the retaliator would ensure that no innocent
      associate of a terrorist is hurt, but our world is not there yet.
      Along with other nations, India has learnt that the terrorist
      puts neighbours and associates in jeopardy, yet we in India also
      know, as do others, that administrations can either wink at
      damage to innocents or minimise if not eliminate such damage.

      In the freedom, equality, opportunity and the rule of law that it
      offers, the U.S. is unlike any other country. The distressing
      attacks in some American cities on individuals thought to
      resemble suspects do not alter its basic character, which is
      multi-ethnic and multi-religious. America's stability and
      prestige matter to all. At this testing moment, America's friends
      watch that extraordinary country going about its task of
      capturing those who so pitilessly and shamelessly caused Terror
      Tuesday. In India and outside, these friends hope that the
      perpetrators are caught and punished, and also that in the
      process America does not make new enemies or new terrorists.

      It is good though not enough that leading Americans (and
      Europeans and Indians) have publicly acknowledged a difference
      between terrorism and Islam. The difference between Afghans and
      terrorists, and between Arabs and terrorists, also requires
      underlining, and not merely in the U.S. If this is not done
      clearly and persistently enough, racial and religious
      discrimination will stand legitimised, and that evil, recently on
      the defensive after having disfigured societies and nations for
      centuries, will be given a new burst of life. The result could be
      a widespread and long-lasting chain of death and destruction.

      In that talk on September 9 with Asfandiyar Khan, I had asked him
      about the Taliban and its religious fanaticism. He told me that
      Pakhtun nationalism, not Islam, was the real religion of a
      majority of Afghans. Some of them, now in ascendancy, had sought
      to intertwine religion with this nationalism, but the latter was
      the stronger driving force. It had been so even during the
      struggle, energetically backed by America, against Soviet
      occupation. At that time Afghans, Americans and Osama were on the
      same side. Any attack by the U.S. on Afghanistan will perhaps run
      into this nationalism.

      At Wali Bagh in Charsadda, where I talked with Badshah Khan's
      grandsons, and in the days since Terror Tuesday, I have reflected
      on Badshah Khan's commitment to non-violence in a region steeped
      in revenge, and on the bloodshed that for decades the Pakhtuns
      have nonetheless seen or been part of. It seems to me, and the
      thought applies to India too, that a commitment to reconciliation
      across ethnic and religious barriers has to accompany any
      doctrine of non-violence or minimal violence.

      The sharp, bitter cleavages often witnessed between, on the one
      hand, the Pakhtuns and, on the other, the Tajiks and Uzbeks of
      Afghanistan, or the Punjabis and Mohajirs of Pakistan, or the
      Shi-ite Iranian and the White Westerner, call for bold schemes of
      reconciliation. I think Badshah Khan's spirit would bless any
      such schemes. But I pray that impulsive U.S. acts do not blow up
      the divides. It is clear that the U.S. must do something. But
      something is not anything.

      I am not enthused by claims that India has joined a principled
      global fight against terrorism. Not everyone has forgotten that
      the principled global struggle against communism left room for
      plenty of opportunism and oppression. India had felt disinclined
      to enroll in that alliance. Today a great deal of care is needed
      to ensure that uncompromising opposition to terrorism is not
      hijacked into a battle against Arabs, Afghans or Muslims. I am
      troubled in particular by an apparent willingness in some Indians
      to embrace all of Israel's policies. I yield to no one in
      supporting Israel's right to exist and flourish, or in
      recognising Jewish pain down the ages, but I cannot accept that
      Palestinians should be denied their birthrights, or forced out of
      their land. I know that principles and national interests are
      different things, but does anyone claim that India's interests
      will be served by abandoning long-held positions and incurring
      the enmity of all the Muslims of the world, including on the
      subcontinent, as well as alienating millions of non-Muslims who
      sympathise with the Palestinians?

      The TV clips we saw of a few Palestinians celebrating the
      terrorist attack on the U.S. misrepresented general Arab feeling.
      In any case instant reactions, set off by subjective factors, do
      not reflect a person's considered opinion. The Arab-Americans who
      have donated blood for the victims of the attack but who continue
      to ask for justice for Palestine may be truer representatives of
      the Arab point of view. Terrorism has hurt India, and a wish to
      learn from Israel in combating it may be defended, but aligning
      with Israel against the Arabs is unsound from every angle. The
      Government must clarify that it has no intention of doing so.

      Copyrights: 1995 - 2001 The Hindu



      [25 September 2001]

      Women For Peace [In Pakistan]

      A large number of women activists took out a peace rally at Lahore today on
      25th September. They chanted slogan against terrorism and religious
      fundamentalism and warned America not to bomb the Afghan cities. The rally was
      organized by Women Workers Help Line in collaboration with Labour
      Party Pakistan and
      Joint Action Committee for Peoples Rights. Many activists from several civil
      society organizations also participated in the rally. Before the rally, over
      500 working class women gathered at Press Club building to participated in a
      Women Convention to discuss the problems facing working women. This was one
      of the largest mobilizations of working class women by any organization in
      recent times.

      Speaking at the Women Convention, Asma Jahangir, the former chairperson of
      Human Rights Commission of Pakistan termed this large mobilization of women as
      the new movement to fight a case in a country dominated by religious
      fundamentalism. She said that women are seen shoes of men, which he
      will wear at his
      will. We are not shoes of the men; we are equal citizen of this country and
      will fight for equality. The women are normally told not to go our, not to
      work, and to fight for equal rights. We will challenge all these reactionary
      phrases of the Mullahs.

      Commenting on the present situation, she said we do not need an advice from
      US to fight against terrorism. As victims of terrorism for long time, we know
      it very well what does it mean to humanity. We have all the sympathies with
      the victims of the September 11th victims. But we do not want more bloodshed
      of innocent people. We do not want Afghan and Pakistan innocent people to be
      victim of another war on the name of curbing terrorism. No terrorism against
      terrorism. It solves nothing, she declared.

      Speaking on the occasion, Farooq Tariq, general secretary Labour Party
      Pakistan congratulated the WWHL for organizing such a massive mobilization of
      working class women. He said that working class women are looking for
      organization where they could fight for their right. Here is WWHL,
      which has become the
      pole of attraction for many such persons. He said we are very well aware of
      the backward cultural traditions on the name of religion, which prohibit women
      to go to jobs. The working women face much harassment at the jobs. They are
      not paid equal wages. He gave the example of a factory in his area where
      women workers are paid only Rupees 1000 ($15) a month. While the
      female teachers
      at private schools are paid even less than this. His is a slave labor and we
      must fight against it.

      He told the charged audience that it was Talbaan regime, which has banned
      the women to go the jobs. Religious fanaticism is an enemy and we must fight
      together as a movement. He said that we have always opposed the regime
      of Talbaan but the military regime, which has been funding this brutal regime
      recently, found out that they must oppose it as well. This was the result of
      the American pressure on the military regime. He condemned the Bush statement
      that either you are with us or with terrorist. We are opposing the both.
      They both are representing terrorism in one way or other. We are against
      terrorism any kind. We are building a new movement, A movement of peace and
      equality. He told the Women Convention do sit back, join the LPP
      alongside with WWHL.

      On the occasion, Azra Shad, the convener of WWHL, Romana Shabnam, a city
      counselor, Nazli Javed and Balaghat Batool, union counselors, Shahtaj Qazalbash
      of Joint Action Committee for Peoples Rights Asim Akhtar of Federation of
      kachi Abadies spoke as well and explained the different angels of the struggle
      of working class women.

      After the meeting, several more representatives of the civil societies
      organization including South Asia Partnership, SEMORG, Shirkat Ghah, Women
      Foundation, Lok Rehs, AGHS and several more joined the meeting to
      take out the peace

      The peace rally participants were carrying the placards with the slogan of
      NO to Terrorism and NO to War. They were raising slogans against the religious
      fanatics and against the possible bombing of Afghanistan. It was
      predominantly women participating in the rally. There were all the national and
      international media to cover this first rally by the progressive
      forces against the
      war and terrorism.

      A lot of police was present but did not intervene to stop the rally.
      Although the rally was in violation of section 144 which has banned
      all rallies by
      the military regime of Pakistan. At the end of rally Asma Jahangir and Farooq
      Tariq spoke again to explain their views and thanked the participants.

      It was announced at the time that there would be a five-day peace camping at
      the main Mall Road of Lahore at Charring Cross from 26th September from 5 to
      8pm every day.

      Report by Rizwan Atta



      Sat, 22 Sep 2001

      After U.S. Attacks, India, Pakistan Lock Horns Again
      Analysis -

      By Praful Bidwai

      NEW DELHI, Sep 21 (IPS) - U.S. President George W Bush may sincerely
      believe, as he told congressional leaders in Washington Wednesday,
      that the "anti-terrorist" mobilisation underway would provide "an
      opportunity to refashion the thinking between Pakistan and India".
      But as Operation 'Infinite Justice' gathers momentum, India and
      Pakistan are locking horns and returning to the mutual hostility that
      has marked their relations for over half a century.
      This hostility may acquire nasty and dangerous proportions in the
      coming weeks, wiping out all the gains of the process of dialogue
      launched in an uncertain manner at the Agra summit between the
      hostile neighbours in July.
      During much of the Cold War, New Delhi and Islamabad were on
      different sides of the East-West divide. While Islamabad was more or
      less a U.S. ally, India espoused non-alignment from the 1950s
      onwards, and in 1971 signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation
      with the former Soviet Union.
      Today, in an ironic twist of history, the two rivals are clashing
      although they are both on the same side -- with the Western alliance
      being put together under U.S. leadership to launch a war against
      global "terrorism".
      Remarkably, this has come about because India and Pakistan have been
      vying with each other to become America's 'frontline' partner in the
      impending large-scale attack against the Saudi fugitive Osama bin
      Laden in Afghanistan.
      India reacted quickly to the Sep. 11 terrorist attacks in New York
      and Washington.
      It offered full military cooperation to the United States -- even
      before U.S. agencies had collected significant evidence on
      responsibility for the attacks. Many Indian policymakers and shapers
      could barely hide their glee at the "historic" possibility of a new
      Indo-U.S. "strategic partnership" opened by the attacks.
      However, Pakistan has beaten India at this. It has cashed in on its
      obvious locational advantage, its logistical edge, and its leverage
      over the Taliban that rules Afghanistan.
      This has produced resentment and rancour within New Delhi's ruling
      establishment and resulted in both ruling establishments abusing,
      maligning and parodying each other's intentions and plans.
      Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee now says neither he nor
      his foreign minister will visit Pakistan "in the foreseeable future",
      although they had agreed at Agra to do so.
      The familiar rhetoric of hostile verbal exchanges, or war of words,
      is back in the subcontinent.
      In his Sep. 19 address to the Pakistani nation, General Pervez
      Musharraf announced a momentous policy decision: to withdraw from
      Pakistan's seven-year-long involvement with the Taliban and join the
      U.S.-led camp that aims to destroy that militia and its training
      Among the four reasons Musharraf cited for this highly contentious
      decision to switch sides, three pertain directly or indirectly to
      India or India-Pakistan relations.
      Two of them, namely Kashmir and the "safeguarding" of nuclear weapons
      capability and other strategic "assets", have direct implications for
      the strategic hostility between the two states.
      In his speech, Musharraf directly named India and accused it of
      hatching a "grand game plan" to "win over America on to its side" and
      harm Pakistan's vital interests.
      He said: "They want Pakistan to be declared a terrorist state to
      damage our Kashmir causeŠ I want to tell them, 'Lay off'." Musharraf
      also referred to the 1971 Bangladesh war that broke up Pakistan, and
      questioned India's interest in Afghanistan.
      This sharp attack drew an immediate rebuke from New Delhi, which
      termed it "most regrettable" and said the issue "confronting the
      international community" is terrorism and not India-Pakistan
      The next day, Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh attributed Musharraf's
      tirade to his "domestic compulsions" and wondered what was meant by
      the "flamboyant" remark, "Lay off". He attacked Pakistan for
      "indulging in compulsive and perpetual hostility" and patronisingly
      added: "I do not want to further compound the difficulties
      (Musharraf) faces domestically."
      Indian officials, including Singh, have returned to harping on their
      favourite theme: namely, Pakistan's support for "cross-border
      terrorism" in Jammu and Kashmir and its strong linkages with the
      Taliban in Afghanistan. Singh held Pakistan responsible for the
      Taliban's "birth, growth and nurturing".
      But to New Delhi's discomfiture and resentment, Musharraf has used
      this very factor -- and Pakistan's intimate knowledge of the
      Taliban's military machine, storage facilities, supply lines and
      leadership structure -- to his advantage in driving a bargain with
      the United States.
      Some of Musharraf's conditions for joining the United States as an
      ally were leaked (although subsequently, not convincingly, denied).
      These included U.S. help in resolving the Kashmir dispute, and the
      demand that India and Israel be kept out of any military operation in
      Musharraf may be taking a myopic policy course by collaborating with
      the United States in massive (and probably brutal) military
      operations in the region -- with likely high civilian casualties,
      which can only breed enormous resentment and discontent.
      But Indian leaders are being no less short-sighted in assessing the
      positive and negative impact.
      On the positive side, the emerging U.S.-Pakistan collaboration will
      mean a crackdown on Islamic extremist guerrilla groups active in
      Kashmir, such as the Harakat ul-Ansar (Volunteers' Movement) and
      Jaish-e- Mohammed (Army of Mohammed), which are listed by Washington
      as "terrorist organisations".
      The largest such guerrilla group in Kashmir, Lashkar-e-Toiba (Army of
      the Pure), is on the U.S. terrorist watch list. Their training camps
      and supply lines are located in Pakistan. Their destruction will
      relieve some of the pressure that New Delhi experiences in Kashmir.
      More important, India has shed its traditional stand on conflicts and
      means of resolving them -- always through multilateral bodies like
      the United Nations Security Council.
      India has conventionally opposed unilateral action by states or
      groupings such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and insisted
      that any use of military force by them be properly authorised by the
      Security Council under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter.
      This time around, India has not even requested the United States to
      seek such a mandate. This is largely explained by its preoccupation
      with "cross-border terrorism" in Kashmir, and the urge to isolate and
      corner Pakistan.
      Musharraf may have his "domestic compulsions". But so does the
      leading component of New Delhi's 24-party ruling coalition, the
      Hindu- chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party.
      Its agenda, closely linked to official approach, is to paint all
      Muslim organisations, societies and states with the 'jehadi' or
      terrorist brush and present Muslims as a threat to India as well as
      to other "civilised" countries such as the United States.
      This sectarian view is deeply ingrained in the BJP's politics and is
      crucial to its strategy to win votes by making India's Hindu majority
      feel insecure. The party faces elections to the legislature of
      India's bigges -- and the world's six most populous -- state, Uttar
      Indian leaders are disappointed at the emerging U.S.-Pakistan
      compact. They too want a piece of the action. To this end, Jaswant
      Singh has made a rather unusual proposal. He says a "concert of
      democracies", rather than a broad international coalition, should
      fight the coming war against global terrorism, under America's
      India, being the world's largest democracy, will naturally have a
      role in this concert. This is a crude tactic to exclude and isolate
      Pakistan. It is unlikely to find many takers.
      What Indian (and Pakistani) leaders are losing sight of, as they
      pursue their Kashmir obsession and agenda of mutual rivalry, is the
      likely impact of a large-scale military operation in South Asia.
      This could create enormous turmoil and disaffection in Pakistan and
      lead to the destruction of its already fragile institutions.
      The extreme stresses could well produce social implosion and collapse
      -- with serious consequences for India too: A destabilised nuclear
      power on India's borders is surely a nightmarish prospect.

      Origin: Rome/POLITICS/
      © 2001, InterPress Third World News Agency (IPS)
      All rights reserved



      Monday September 24, 2001

      The pursuit of Bin Laden could soon be a sideshow

      This crisis could turn into a disaster for the people of Pakistan.

      Peter Preston

      Stand at the top of the Khyber Pass and look down to the parking lot
      of a border post and the arid desolation of Afghanistan beyond. Then,
      more crucially, turn and scan the hillsides to left and right; think
      of the Peshawar you've just left. This crisis isn't just about
      bringing some power-sharing nirvana to Kabul, Belfast-style. Nor
      about sorting out a network of serially deranged criminal gangs. It
      is also, one small step away, about the future of the Indian
      subcontinent and its 1.4bn or more souls. It is already about
      Pakistan. The question of what Pakistan is and what it may become
      stands tabled.

      Western assumptions go through the shredder day by day. Yesterday the
      assumption of wrath over nuclear proliferation vanished with the
      economic sanctions imposed on New Delhi and Islamabad when they
      tested their bombs tit for tat. The west's supposed love for
      democracy, manifest when more sanctions greeted General Pervez
      Musharraf's military coup, is also declared null and void. Needs must
      when the devil called Bin Laden drives.

      But can I step off the narrow road that winds through the pass and
      sit on a rock 20 yards beyond? No: that is tribal territory where the
      Pathans hold devolved sway. Musharraf's army and police, even in good
      times, aren't welcome there, bound by treaty not to leave the tarmac

      A drive against smugglers? Pathans with televisions or something far
      more lethal on their backs merely jog up the hillside when authority
      arrives and raise two fingers. They're untouchable. The goods they
      bring in, the videos and guns and worse from the Gulf and China and
      Afghanistan itself, all go for a song in the subterranean
      supermarkets of Landi Kotal: another compromise in a nation built on

      In one sense, it's good that the army rules Pakistan today (as it
      often does). If they were, for the moment, out of power, if the
      hapless politicians were taking another turn, then this would - for
      sure - be the cue for the tanks to roll back. At least Musharraf is
      stuck with answering the questions his very presence poses.

      Some of them may not be as difficult as they seem. There are
      simmering demonstrations in the big cities as 30 or so religious
      parties find common cause against George W. Don't fret too much over
      that. Any demo in a country of 140m can always rake in a few thousand
      banner-wavers and attendant mullahs. The army is used to coping.
      Noise doesn't equal seriousness.

      Nor are the rumours of splits within the military, of counter-coups
      within a coup, worth much frowning time. Pakistan's army - whatever
      its internal religious hues - knows where its loyalty lies: to the
      state first, and then to itself, its position and privileges.
      Division would blow that away. Musharraf is safe - and, pavilioned in
      the support of the residual mainstream political parties, can ride
      out immediate storms. American dollars, flowing again, sweeten any
      pill for the ruling elite.

      But then the fault lines of compromise begin to heave. Some things
      are impossible. Seal the border with Afghanistan? How pat it sounds
      from Pentagon wizards who can't even seal off Mexico. The plain fact,
      from Chitral to Taftan, is that there is no border, only thousands of
      miles of mountains and desert. You can close a few crossing points
      but you can't make a wilderness non-porous - especially when what
      human life there is, the life of the tribe, swills back and forth,
      bound together by a history and a tradition that guards its
      independence against all interlopers whether they wear British,
      Russian, American or Pakistani army uniforms.

      General Musharraf can't risk getting drawn into what would be
      essentially a civil war, which means, at root, that he has no ability
      to stop the flight of Afghan refugees if it becomes a flood. See the
      shanty towns on the left of the road out of Peshawar? Tin, straw and
      mud city, home for some two decades to the 1m Afghans who fled the
      Red Army and subsided there into grinding poverty - and Catch 22
      incarnate. They can't get a house until they have money, but the only
      jobs are smuggling, peddling ones. Crime is the thing that pays. It
      corrodes Pakistani society. Another tidal wave of refugees might
      sweep defences away.

      And then, looking east, a long drive but only a couple of hundred
      miles distant as the jet flies, is the biggest difficulty of all:
      Kashmir, and India. The newspaper headlines in Karachi and Lahore may
      all be about Afghanistan, but they will fade. Kashmir never fades, in
      a way westerners can barely comprehend the one compromise Musharraf
      cannot make. His army might stand up to the mullahs, but it would not
      countenance a Kashmir sellout. And even if he were minded to
      negotiate the bands of let us say guerrillas rather than terrorists
      that fan out from Muzaffarad are zealots beyond his control.

      He is their prisoner, too. When and if the Afghan crisis subsides, he
      will be back to crisis as usual - but this time with some sparkling
      new weaponry, courtesy of the Yanks, and his bomb internationally
      sanctified. He will be back in the paradise from which the end of the
      cold war expelled him: one of Washington's best beloved. The "war"
      against terrorism will cement army rule for as long as it lasts.

      None of this comforts. Much of it, before too long, could make the
      pursuit of Bin Laden look the most trivial sideshow.

      I should be clear about the Pakistan I know and, in many ways, love.
      It is a curiously peaceful, kind country. You may still walk its
      cities and towns without threat. The people are clever and ambitious
      and warm. But there are too many of them: too many, proliferating, to
      feed or to harness. And the finest minds, in despair, go overseas,
      where their talent can bloom. A disaster waiting to happen - unless
      it can catch its breath and find a stable governance that has the
      flexibility of democracy built in as India's does.

      This week Pakistan's unelected president will decide what compromises
      he can make and where he must duck for cover. He's an intelligent and
      often reasonable man. But there won't, in the end, be any compromise
      unless freedom can at last take root here.

      The enemy of my enemy is my temporary friend? Islamabad and New Delhi
      both find themselves ranged against the enemy of terrorism. A wise
      west might make something of that. A wise west would care for
      Pakistan as more than a series of air bases set on the edge of the
      Hindu Kush. A wise west would wonder not just what Pakistan could do
      for it in the pursuit of prime suspects, but what it now, at a moment
      of test, could do for Pakistan.



      [ There you go ]
      o o o o o o o

      The Hindu
      Wednesday, September 26, 2001

      Ban on Indian TV channels

      By B. Muralidhar Reddy

      ISLAMABAD, SEPT. 25. All-Pakistan Cable Operators' Association has
      decided to impose a countrywide `ban' on airing five Indian TV news
      channels ``propagating against Islam and Pakistan'', according to the
      leading Pakistani Urdu daily, Jang.

      The paper quoted Mr. Tahir Ali Khan, general secretary of the
      association in Karachi, as saying that that if any cable operator
      violated the decision, he would be considered as ``anti- Pakistan and
      Indian agent''.

      The channels, which have been blacked out are Zee News, Star News,
      Star Plus, Jain TV and all Doordarshan channels.

      Copyright © 2001 The Hindu



      The Indian Express
      25 September 2001

      Tuesday, September 25, 2001

      VHP's temple tactics:
      Creating bonfires in times of conflagration is dangerous

      The Vishwa Hindu Parishad's attempts to raise the temperature over
      Ayodhya, at a time when the country and the South Asian region are
      facing uncertain times, is entirely in sync with its tunnel vision.
      It needs an extraordinary level of irresponsibility and a limitless
      capacity for mischief to think about creating a local bonfire in a
      time of conflagration. But the VHP has never been found wanting in
      either attribute and, therefore, it now wishes to seize the
      opportunity to ''bury'' the scourge of Islamic fundamentalism in
      India forever. The irony of this position would be quite lost on a
      group that does little but breathe fire and brimstone and which has
      shown itself to be hopelessly incapable of self-reflection. If this
      were not the case, it would have long recognised that its own
      motivations and agendas come from the same stable of hate politics as
      that of Islamic extremist groups.

      The VHP now smells opportunity in the acrid fumes of a post-September
      11 world. It recently went so far as to announce that the courts have
      no role in deciding ''matters of faith'' and that it would go ahead -
      even if the use of force was required - with the construction of the
      Ayodhya temple after the March 12 deadline. This goes not just
      against the considered popular view of how the Ayodhya issue needs to
      be addressed, it contravenes the declared position of the BJP, which
      had long placed the issue on the back burner. While Prime Minister
      A.B. Vajpayee had recently indicated that discussions on the issue
      were being held so as to arrive at an amicable solution of the
      problem before March, nowhere was there in his statements the
      implication that his party abrogates to itself the unilateral right
      to construct a temple on the disputed site. Given this fact, it is
      now incumbent upon both the prime minister and the BJP to move firmly
      and urgently to rein in the VHP.

      But what prompts the VHP to talk temple at this juncture? It senses
      that the recent unravelling of world events, from the bombing of the
      twin towers in New York to the gathering of war clouds over
      Afghanistan, has polarised public opinion along pro-Islamic and
      anti-Islamic lines and it wishes to exploit this to promote its own
      Hindutva agenda - especially in Uttar Pradesh which is to shortly
      face a crucial election. But such a reading only betrays the
      circuitry of a closed mind. The world over, people are scrupulously
      making the distinction between terrorism and Islam. The world over,
      recognition is growing that religious extremism with its volatile
      political fall-out, is not the prerogative of any one community. The
      world over, realisation is gaining ground that any politics based on
      the hatred of the Other requires to be defeated. The VHP then had
      better read the signals right: ultimately, the politics that brings
      skyscrapers down in New York is no different from the kind that
      destroyed an ancient mosque in Ayodhya.


      SACW is an informal, independent & non-profit citizens wire service run by
      South Asia Citizens Web (http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex) since 1996. Dispatch
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