Hindu ki bas eik khasusiat: Baghl mein churi, moen par Ram Ram. My Urdu, at the time, was idiomatically sub-par. I had recently moved from Doha, Qatar, to General Zia ul Haq’s Lahore and his 9th grade Social Sciences textbook was nearly incomprehensible. The teacher read the line with a sneer. I intuited from his body language, and from the twitter that ran through the class, that this was a derisive remark, but I couldn’t quite follow: If someone had just been stabbed in the side with a knife wouldn’t he be crying to the gods in pain? What’s the shame here? I went home and asked my mother. She explained the idiom: Baghl mein churi does not mean a knife in the side but a knife concealed in the armpit of a garment. Moen pay Ram Ram is not a gesture towards pious invocation (like my grandmother’s recitation of Ya Rahman Ya Rahim)—it is meant to stand as insincere. The Hindu has only one characteristic: He conceals a knife, ready to strike, even as his lips intone Ram. I remember wanting to see or speak to a Hindu, to corroborate or defy this assessment, but Lahore in the mid-1980s held only bare traces—a place name, the legends of a boarded-up building, a strange spiral shape buried in the horizon—of its Hindu past. The city of Madho Lal or Chandarbhan had disappeared even from memories. Our teacher was a history enthusiast and he quickly warmed up to my hesitant question: Sir, why are Hindus never to be trusted?Also in Urdu [PDF]. Manan Ahmed writes at Chapati Mystery [more inside]
An earthquake in Balochistan (also spelled Baluchistan), a mountainous province of Pakistan, has killed many people and reportedly flattened many houses in Awaran, the worst-affected district. The force of the earthquake raised the sea bed near the port of Gwadar, creating a new island. Early estimates of casualties are notoriously inaccurate, but a preliminary report by Max Wyss of WAPMERR suggests there will be several thousand deaths.
Dawn reports that the largest earthquake to hit Iran in 40 years struck the Balochistan region along the Iran-Pakistan border. At least 45 people are dead, but that figure is expected to rise. Earthquaketrack says it was 7.8 on the Richter scale. At emptywheel, Jim White notes that two smaller Iranian earthquakes last year killed over 300 people.
"After the blast the entire building came down. As the rescue teams and journalists rushed to the scene, a second explosion took place." Hazaras are a religious minority who fled from Afghanistan. They are called infidels by Sunni extremist groups operating in Pakistan, and as an ethnic minority, are easily recognized and targeted. The Pakistani government has done nothing to stop these attacks. Last night, more than 83 people from my community lost their lives. For nothing. [more inside]
What's Going On In Balochistan? (part 2) Deception and treachery. Live and let die. The ultimate zero sum game. Repetition of bloody history: Call it what you may, something is happening in the Pakistani province of Balochistan that defies comprehension on any conventional scale. From a posting at The Agonist. According to the article Balochistan may be the key to future developments in Central Asia. Two former KGB agents report that Russian, Indian, Iranian and American agents are all supporting a resurgent insurrection which is becoming increasingly active. Why would these countries do this? Two easy answers: Oil pipelines and China's Gwadar Port.