A couple of nights ago, Tony Livesey on radio5 had a spokesperson for MPAC on to debate President Zardari’s trip to the UK. Yesterday the Evening Standard had a headline on ‘Muslim’ cabinet member Sayeda Warsi being the first minister to meet the President. Both of these examples reflect the idea that Pakistan and Islam are synonymous.
Right now, the country’s biggest city Karachi is burning due to what is essentially an ethnic and regional conflict. Meanwhile, disastrous floods have killed over a thousand people and at the end of it, will likely have displaced over a million people. Like after the earthquake in Kashmir, a number of government and civil society institutions are trying their best to bring relief to the grieving and dispossessed. Oh, and there was a plane crash a week ago which killed over 300 people.
I understand that people have an interest in finding out about terrorism and that it is a huge problem for Pakistan, but it is not the only one and does not define it.
Sayeda Warsi met Zardari because she is the only cabinet member with Pakistani heritage. She would probably not have been called on to meet the President of Indonesia.
The MPAC rep was of Pakistani origin, but there are a lot more qualified people you can contact if you are doing a radio show. Most of the political parties have representatives here. There are also a number of Pakistani journalists, writers and commentators based in the UK.
My point is a simple one – that Pakistan has an identity outside of its relationship with terrorism. Btw, I think this is one of the reasons that the cricket team, for all its dysfunction and drama continues to resonate. It highlights a different side to the country.
Finally, any people with an interest in music should check out coke studio on YouTube. It just finished its 3rd season and provides a platform for the fusion of traditional and popular music and has been very popular.
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