Caption: “MOHAMED ALI JINNAH: His Moslem tiger wants to eat the Hindu cow” [April 1946]
“MOHAMED ALI JINNAH: His Moslem tiger wants to eat the Hindu cow” [April 1946] 

Pakistan Aslant (1) - "The country that could kill the world"

From: Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon
Length: 59:00

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Christopher Lydon on the road in South Asia, in a compilation of conversations and reflections on Pakistan's past and dynamic present. Featuring novelist and journalist Mohammed Hanif, scientist Pervez Hoodbhoy, literary star Daniyal Mueenuddin, economist Haris Gazdar, doctor Geet Chainani, growth strategist Nadeem Ul-Haque, political activist Alia Amirali, historians Vazira Zamindar and Ayesha Jalal, and travel writer Salman Rashid. (Part one of two.) Read the full description.

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In this hour with some of Pakistan's most active and insightful personalities, I begin to get my bearings in a place that is at once scary and utterly absorbing. The voices in this piece belong to the thinkers and creators who might just be able to illuminate Pakistan's troubled upbringing, from its birth by partition some 64 years ago to a mutually-abusive marriage with the West. They are also valuable observers of the Pakistani present, witnesses and actors in a nation struggling to define and confirm its identity. 

Segment A (6:00 - 18:59):
 
I land first in the port-city of Karachi, where novelist and journalist Mohammed Hanif talks us through the suffering of Karachi, the effects of several wars that have swept thousands of refugees down the Indus River Valley to add to the crisis and calamity of this unpredicted megacity. (its population reached 500,000 when the British decamped in 1947, it approaches 20 million today.)

Before I left for Pakistan, I had begun probing the grooves of American presence there. Nuclear physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy focuses our attention on the American military activity in Pakistan in the 1980s, while literary star Daniyal Mueenuddin returns us to the vulnerability of a country that has come to resemble a hospital-bound friend.

Segment B (20:00 - 38:59):
I had set out to taste the Pakistani experience of life but quickly ran into an America presence, both unexpected and unavoidable. Residue from the training and support the US gave the Mujahideen against the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s is lingers; America continues to use Pakistan as a proxy in the war on terror. Economist Haris Gazdar unravels the orchestra of elements that make up the power-play in Pakistan, and how Al-Qaeda's grab at the conductor's baton threw off the delicate harmony of the region. What he's getting at is why the US is still here, really. 

I also come across characters who defy the tired dynamic of America and Pakistan's abusive marriage, like Dr. Geet Chainani, an American doctor providing disaster relief to families in the tent cities of the Indus River flood waters.

Nadeem ul Haque
comes at American involvement from a different tack: he think thinks there's plenty the US should be doing in Pakistan, but it starts with sending libraries and National Public Radio, not Raymond Davis and Blackwater. 

Political activist Alia Amirali is working on another course, to "rebuild the left" in Pakistan. She's the general secretary of the Student Federation in the Punjab, and eloquently explains the post-colonial condition that hinders Pakistan from becoming the society you’d want to live in.  

Segment C (40:00 - 58:59):
The historian Ayesha Jalal, who happens to be the great grandniece of Pakistan's greatest prose writer, Sadat Hasan Manto, explores the partition stories that Manto penned as an acute observer of the Subcontinent's partition.

The lasting wound of this division, alive within individuals and families, is a subject historian Vazira Zamindar knows extremely well. She shares her understanding of "the long partition." Her historical perspective is affirmed by the personal journey of the adventurer and writer Salman Rashid, whose soulful family story closes the first of our two hours on Pakistan. 

In hour two of "Pakistan Aslant," we look at the resilience of artists in very trying times.

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Piece Description

In this hour with some of Pakistan's most active and insightful personalities, I begin to get my bearings in a place that is at once scary and utterly absorbing. The voices in this piece belong to the thinkers and creators who might just be able to illuminate Pakistan's troubled upbringing, from its birth by partition some 64 years ago to a mutually-abusive marriage with the West. They are also valuable observers of the Pakistani present, witnesses and actors in a nation struggling to define and confirm its identity. 

Segment A (6:00 - 18:59):
 
I land first in the port-city of Karachi, where novelist and journalist Mohammed Hanif talks us through the suffering of Karachi, the effects of several wars that have swept thousands of refugees down the Indus River Valley to add to the crisis and calamity of this unpredicted megacity. (its population reached 500,000 when the British decamped in 1947, it approaches 20 million today.)

Before I left for Pakistan, I had begun probing the grooves of American presence there. Nuclear physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy focuses our attention on the American military activity in Pakistan in the 1980s, while literary star Daniyal Mueenuddin returns us to the vulnerability of a country that has come to resemble a hospital-bound friend.

Segment B (20:00 - 38:59):
I had set out to taste the Pakistani experience of life but quickly ran into an America presence, both unexpected and unavoidable. Residue from the training and support the US gave the Mujahideen against the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s is lingers; America continues to use Pakistan as a proxy in the war on terror. Economist Haris Gazdar unravels the orchestra of elements that make up the power-play in Pakistan, and how Al-Qaeda's grab at the conductor's baton threw off the delicate harmony of the region. What he's getting at is why the US is still here, really. 

I also come across characters who defy the tired dynamic of America and Pakistan's abusive marriage, like Dr. Geet Chainani, an American doctor providing disaster relief to families in the tent cities of the Indus River flood waters.

Nadeem ul Haque
comes at American involvement from a different tack: he think thinks there's plenty the US should be doing in Pakistan, but it starts with sending libraries and National Public Radio, not Raymond Davis and Blackwater. 

Political activist Alia Amirali is working on another course, to "rebuild the left" in Pakistan. She's the general secretary of the Student Federation in the Punjab, and eloquently explains the post-colonial condition that hinders Pakistan from becoming the society you’d want to live in.  

Segment C (40:00 - 58:59):
The historian Ayesha Jalal, who happens to be the great grandniece of Pakistan's greatest prose writer, Sadat Hasan Manto, explores the partition stories that Manto penned as an acute observer of the Subcontinent's partition.

The lasting wound of this division, alive within individuals and families, is a subject historian Vazira Zamindar knows extremely well. She shares her understanding of "the long partition." Her historical perspective is affirmed by the personal journey of the adventurer and writer Salman Rashid, whose soulful family story closes the first of our two hours on Pakistan. 

In hour two of "Pakistan Aslant," we look at the resilience of artists in very trying times.