Discussion on unity, with Farah Pandith

On Tuesday me and some other members of the new media were invited to a discussion with Ms. Farah A. Pandith, U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities at Kurshid Mahal in Avari towers here in Karachi.

Karachi traffic being what it is due to V.I.P movement, the event started off at around 9 pm whereas me, the punctual moron that I am was awaiting everyone’s arrival from 815 pm, the actual designated time. In any case the discussion was quite robust and lasted for about 45 minutes.

The “change” which we had been hearing about by the Obama government in those white halls was to me pretty much in action in this discussion. As Farah an American Muslim herself was not just well spoken like so many other diplomats are, she seemed to actually give a hoot about unity. The inclusion of new media in the discussion was also a point well taken, as the Obama administration has mobilized social media in unprecedented ways right from the onset of their election campaign in the U.S and they believe in its power.

Is it important to have these discussions? Do they serve any purpose? Well if they translate into something actual on the ground yes, talk is just  talk till then. However some issues were cleared up for sure in this discussion. Contrary to what I had knowledge of before, the U.S consulate does seem to be running an effective outreach program to the many madrassahs in Karachi, they are hell bent on inclusion rather than isolation and do seem to be genuine in their desire to work with the lower income strata as well in this city. In short they are more than willing to help.

However there is much work still to be done. It was heartening to see that we have begun the process of dialogue rather than throw insults and conspiracy theories at one another, but there are some miles to go to bridge the trust gap yet.

I did suggest in this discussion and continue to stress on the fact that we the people of Pakistan and the U.S need to sit down across one another and talk. There is too much hyperbole and conspiracy in our respective  mainstream media’s for us to judge each other without any bias. We must break these barriers, because this alone will set us free and usher in a new age of cooperation. We and the American’s really cannot do without one another, so its best we join hands as nations and on a community level rather than just political alliances.

The bloggers familiar to me in attendance were: Dr Awab Alvi , Sana Saleem, Ammar Yasir, Naveen Naqvi, Huma yusuf, Sabeen & Kidvai Sahab. There were off course other people from new media, radio as well as op ed writers and journos present. The two facilitators from the Us Consulate were Ms Elizabeth O. Coltran (public affairs officer) and Mr  Mushtque A.Rajpur (media advisor) I thank them all for a memorable event & discussion.

  1. My eyes were thirsty to read at least one article in Pakistani media world that does not smell odour of biased opnion – my dreams came true after reading this piece of description. The author has tried to remain unbiased as much as he could. Not that easy a job in view of the events that are happening in this region! Kudos to the author.

    I do agree media persons are human beings and as such media can not remain without passions and can not dissociate from raising the feelings of common man (and so has the author penned down in this article). But period but, there is a thin line between describing the news and “painting” the news. Unfortunately, Pakistani media has a wrong conception that they are king makers and they can oust any settled govrnment by hook and crook. When I watched one hour talk show program (Capital Talks) on Geo TV, in which selected media men and politicians discussed and predicted pack up of present democratic system and take over by Military I was shocked. I was more shocked when I saw them quite happy and relaxed as if this was their efforts. I was most shocked when nobody talked about resistance and mass movement if such grave thing happened.

    Coming back to the topic, the author has narrated the meeting quite beautifully. The dialogue and discussions do not change the scenario, I admit. But that does not mean we should do away with dialogues. It is like crimes are increasing every passing day but that does not mean we should eliminate the Police force from our society. I hope in this Avary Tower meeting nobody said “I hate America”. This sentence has forcefully been uttered by Ansar Abbasi before an American Delegate. Why should we hate Americans? We hate American governments deeds that have caused a horrible situation in this part of the world, but certainly we do not hate American people.

  2. Hey all,

    I’m currently doing research about the general opinion of the iPad. What do you think about it?

    It seems like not everyone is thrilled about the iPad. They say the iPad has been hyped too much by Apple and it’s not nearly as revolutionary as they make us believe it to be.
    On the other hand there people can’t wait to get their hands on it.

    What do you think about the iPad and it’s features? I will collect some of the input and write a nice article about it!

  3. “I am not a write off”,says Steve Jobs. iPad is a thin slate (.5 inch thick) and 9 inch square that has all the facilties of desktop/laptop. Even it has extra facilities like iPhone and iTune. No curser, no scroll down, just change the page with your finger tips. Its battery, if charged to its full capacity gives 12 hours service. Thats why you can remain online and surfing the web while travelling. Technically it is called Apple Tablet iPad.

    The iPad is still in registering process and is likely to be in market come April.

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