Personal Political


The Pakistani media has seen bad times in the past, and been punished heavily for its stand for democracy. Military dictator  Zia-ul-Haq censored newspapers and had journalists imprisoned and flogged. The next military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, took all the private television channels off air for weeks, causing losses of millions of rupees. The largest and most influential, Geo TV, was kept off-air for months after the others were restored.


I was curious when my old friend, the Nepali journalist Kanak Mani Dixit, proposed the topic “To be Desi or Southasian” for a talk that another journalist friend, AseemChhabra from India, was setting up for him in New York.

Chhabra roped in a Pakistani, me, to moderate the session. Held at Columbia University under the aegis of the South Asian Journalists Association, the discussion was attended by an eclectic group of students and retired professors.