Stories written by Beena Sarwar

India’s Crusader Against Impunity

As senior Indian journalist Manoj Mitta was testifying before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress last month about mass violence and impunity in India, President Barack Obama escorted India’s newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Martin Luther King Memorial.

Pakistan’s Ahmadis Faced with Death or Exile

Two years ago, gunmen shot dead Farooq Kahloun’s newly married son Saad Farooq, 26, in an attack that severely injured Kahloun, his younger son Ummad, and Saad’s father-in-law, Choudhry Nusrat.

Pakistani Women Hit Hurdles in Medical Profession

On one of her many visits to Pakistan recently, Sarah Peck, director of the US-Pakistan Women’s Council, spent some time talking to young women medical students in Pakistan. She was struck by their passion and commitment -- and by the hurdles they face.

Local Opposition Rises Against Fracking Proposal

Efforts to promote the use of hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of obtaining oil and natural gas, face stiff opposition from researchers and citizens who say that in its present form, the technology's risks far outweigh its worth.

Untitled photo, evoking water torture. Credit: Courtesy of Shahidul Alam

Paramilitary Killings in Bangladesh Dragged into the Light

What is a journalist to do when simply providing information is not enough to bring about the desired change? Why, turn to art, of course.

The film follows Dr. Jawad and two of his patients, 39-year-old Zakia and 23-year-old Rukhsana, both disfigured by their husbands. Credit: Courtesy of "Saving Face"

Acid Survivors Fight Back: A Story of Hope Amidst Despair

When the Oscar-nominated film "Saving Face" won an Academy Award in Hollywood for Best Documentary (Short Subject), it was the triumph of several "firsts": the first time ever that a Pakistani filmmaker had won an Oscar; Pakistan's first Oscar winner was a woman; and it was the first time that an American and a Pakistani had co-directed an Oscar-winning film.

Pakistani-Americans Await Changes to India’s Discriminatory Visa Rules

"Imagine you have dual nationality, say Haiti and the United States. You go to apply for a visa at a foreign embassy in Washington, but are told that you can't use your U.S. passport unless you renounce your Haitian nationality. If you don't, you must apply and travel using your Haitian passport."

Veena Masud with some of Pakistan

Q&A: “We Refuse to Be Held to Ransom By Terrorism”

Karachi-based, Trinidad-born and educated Veena Masud is a school principal who wants to see Pakistani women shine in the international sports arena.

DEVELOPMENT-SOUTH ASIA: Women’s Peace Offensive

‘Give peace a chance' may just be another cliché for many, but for women who have suffered the ravages of war, endless strife and other forms of conflict, joining hands to find meaningful solutions to their collective aspiration lends it a whole new meaning.

A Taliban militant, part of the group that attacked a police academy near Lahore, being led away by troops.  Credit: Rahat Dar/IPS

PAKISTAN: Another Terror Attack For TV Cameras

The brazen armed attack on a police academy near Lahore on Monday underlines the danger that the Pakistani state faces from militancy linked to the ‘war on terror', but with historic roots in the earlier Afghan war of liberation from Soviet occupation, or ‘jihad' against ‘God-less communists'.

Despite tight security in Lahore the marchers prevailed.  Credit: Rahat Dar/IPS

POLITICS: Five Days That Changed Pakistan

A late night meeting between Pakistan's army chief, President and Prime Minister led to the dramatic announcement in the wee hours of Monday morning that Iftikhar Mohammed Choudhry would be restored as Chief Justice.

On the

POLITICS-PAKISTAN: Long March – A Long View

Barely a year after being elected, the Pakistan government faces a political storm involving a street agitation spearheaded by lawyers and opposition political parties allied with religious parties.

Video grab of two of the gunmen who sprayed a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team with automatic fire in Lahore.  Credit: Aaj TV

SOUTH ASIA: Terrorists Aim for Destabilisation, Media Attention

South Asia seems to be caught in a vortex of violence as the countries that form this region - from Sri Lanka at the southern-most tip, Bangladesh to the east, Nepal crowning the north, Pakistan along the west and India in the middle - deal with internal nightmares that their governments routinely blame on neighbours.

POLITICS-PAKISTAN: Court Ruling May Deepen Political Crisis

The political chasm in crisis-riddled Pakistan has deepened after a Supreme Court ruling barred from political office opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif, chief minister of Punjab - the country's most populous and powerful province.

Taliban cloud moves to Pakistan.  Credit: Muhammad Zahoor,

PAKISTAN/INDIA: Taliban As Common Enemy

Since being elected to office five months ago, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has often declared that Pakistan's single biggest challenge stems from ‘religious' militants.

Hina Jilani  Credit: International Commission of Jurists

RIGHTS: ‘Fight Terror But Follow Due Process’

Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist Hina Jilani is a member of the Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and Human Rights, convened by the International Commission of Jurists ( to investigate counter-terrorism practices and human rights standards.

 Credit: Pink Chaddi Campaign

INDIA/PAKISTAN: Peaceful Pink Panties to Tame Right-Wing Goons

Outraged by an attack by right-wing Hindu militants on women emerging from a pub in Mangalore, Karnataka state, activists in India have initiated a ‘Pink Chaddi’ (underwear) campaign in which they are sending pink panties to members of the Sri Ram Sena (Army of Lord Ram) on Valentines’ Day.

PAKISTAN: Opening the A. Q. Khan Can of Worms

The release of Pakistani rogue nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, underlines major issues confronting Pakistan -and indeed the world - ranging from nuclear proliferation to governance, corruption, hypocrisy, and how public opinion is shaped by falsehoods.

INDIA/PAKISTAN: Pleas For Sanity as Sabres Rattle Over Mumbai Mayhem

The pattern is all too familiar. Every time India and Pakistan head towards dialogue and detente, something explosive happens that pushes peace to the backburner and drags them back to the familiar old tense relationship, worsened by sabre-rattling war cries from both sides.

INDIA: Empathy, Grief in Pakistan at Mumbai Mayhem

The terrorist attacks unleashed in the Indian port city and financial hub of Mumbai continue to reverberate through Pakistan at a personal level and on the media.

Benazir Bhutto at a Karachi rally in October. Credit: Beena Sarwar/IPS

PAKISTAN: Benazir Bhutto Pays with Life for Democracy

Benazir Bhutto has paid the heaviest price possible for her insistence on engaging in participatory, democratic politics in Pakistan.

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