Extract from the interviews series "Another Pakistan" conducted by the prominent radio journalist Christopher Lydon of Radio OpenSource.org in conjunction with Aman ki Asha
Ayesha Jalal: Partition effectively destroyed the natural political unity of the subcontinent. For all the internaldivisions, the subcontinent was never in its entire history divided upon supposedly religious lines. The frontiers were not based on religion. It has a long history and a lot of uncertainty, but Partition was a major event and process in South Asia's history. That division and the subsequent hostilities between Pakistan and India explain in large part what happens to Pakistan. There is absolutely no way that you can wish away Partition as the primary, single biggest factor in what ails Pakistan.
There's a sense that there's an American-Israeli-Indian connection, that's the conspiratorial mode, and that they're opposed to Pakistan as a Muslim country (and what is more, a Muslim country that has nuclear capability). So there is this great fear that simmers in the minds of lots of stanis. Of course, India is a larger market, India is opportunity for the US for business purposes, strategic purposes, and India has to look good: Pakistan has to look bad in order for India to look good. That kind of contrast is there because these two have always been the offset.
The world refuses to see what ails India because Pakistan is ailing so badly. It deflects from India's myriad problems - whether it's the Maoist insurgency, whether it's the ructure crisis, whether it's the myriad other problems - you don't see those, you just talk about India going places. And India is going places, but India has a hundred and one other lems, which the world doesn't want to see.
India is extremely well packaged and presented. Pakistanis have no control over the narratives of Pakistan internationally... I do think that this notion of India as the rising power and Pakistan as dragging India down is very strongly entrenched in the Western media. I think the Western media does not really understand Pakistan. It certainly doesn't understand the history of this region - or understand why Pakistan exists (in many ways because the Congress party wanted it to be created).
Chris Lydon: Duelling slogans, "Incredible India" as opposed to...
Ayesha Jalal: "Epicentre of Terror." "The Most Dangerous Place in the World." I mean, it seems to be a particular marketing ploy! I mean in order for a place that has myriad problems to look okay compared to a disaster, that's why India looks so good...
The main difference at the moment has to be the economy, India's economy is going places and Pakistan is stagnant.
That is the great question for Pakistanis: why that has happened. And that is an opportunity for the world, because of the economic factors, to wean Pakistan away from a policy that was crafted in response to a specific geostrategic concern and also the requirements of a military regime to perpetuate itself.
Everybody wants economic development; some of the softening towards India is also based on the fact that India is rising economically. I think that's where the West needs to focus, I do think that ultimately the people of Pakistan are pragmatic and that there is hope to change.
Ayesha Jalal on Manto: He asks some very key questions at a moment of a great rupture, at a moment of a great psychological trauma. Beginning with that in the post-colonial moment, some of the salient issues he asks: "So now will the literature written before India was divided be divided too? What will Pakistani literature be? Will it be different from India? What kind of films will Pakistan produce?"
Interview: Christopher Lydon; Produced by: Ben Mandelkern;
Pakistan producer: Zarminae Ansari; Transcribed by: Henry
Peck. Hear complete interviews at:
Thursday, February 09, 2012
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The News on Sunday Special Report: India Pakistan prisoners more editions
We probably didn't need to do this Special Report. Newspaper stories don't matter when it comes to Indians in Pakistani jails and vice versa. In fact, 'vice versa' sums it up. We do to them what they do to us.
Except when the two countries decide to begin talking, yet again! This time a little before the foreign secretary level talks, some Pakistani prisoners were released by India (and vice versa must have happened) and some more were release....read more
For the past 2 years the Jang Group and Geo have been working on a project of great national interest; one that we hope will help usher in an era of peace and prosperity in the country and indeed, in the region. And one that hopefully all Pakistanis can be proud of. more
The Jang Group has entered into an agreement with the Times of India Group, the largest media group of India, to campaign for peace betw