Leaders of India and Pakistan are Promoting War Hysteria in the Region: Ayesha Jalal

South Asia Democracy Watch (SDW) and Wilson Center Launched Asma Jahangir Lecture Series in Washington DC

Known scholar Ayesha Jalal has said that leaders of both India and Pakistan are promoting war hysteria in the subcontinent, which is a dangerous sign. To her, they are not serious in resolving the Kashmir issue because of their vested interests.

“In India, Narendra Modi and BJP are responsible for this attitude who are supporting religious madness to foster national sentiments against Pakistan,” she continued.

Ayesha Jalal, who teaches history at Tufts University, was speaking at the inaugural Asma Jahangir Lecture Series organized by the South Asia Democracy Watch (SDW) and Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC.

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Speaking on “Democracy and Human Rights in South Asia, she said

“Democracy means open dialogue on issues, not imposing censorship and arresting common citizens.” In her view, state oppression has reached a point in both countries that TV anchors and journalists accept the state narrative without analysis, which is a sign of dictatorship” 

Paying tributes to the known human rights activist of Pakistan Asma Jahangir who passed away last year, she said that the secret of her success was to have a deeper understanding of politics, hard work, and a profound commitment to equality and human dignity. “She was the beacon of hope and peace in the region,” the speaker reiterated.

Speaking on the increasing intolerance and media censorship all over the world, she commented that the global silence on state oppression reflects leaders’ disregard for human sufferings to serve their self-interests. “Restrictions on immigrants and mistreating minorities are deplorable trends deeply rooted in the misguided sentiments of patriotism,” she further elaborated.   

Dr. Ayesha Jalal, quoting the known short story writer Saadat Hasan Manto and celebrated Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib, said these intellectuals condemned religious madness and global exploitations long ago.

Concluding her presentation, she pronounced that this dark era will be over, and people will embrace equality, peace, and humanity.

Earlier, Director of SDW in Washington DC, Dr. Qaisar Abbas, thanked the Woodrow Wilson Center and its Deputy Director of South Asia Michael Kugelman for hosting the lecture series. “The Asma Jahangir Lecture series,” he announced, “will be organized every year in Washington DC and Dallas, Texas.”

He said it was not possible to organize this event without the sponsorship of SDW president Amir Makhani and collaboration with its board members in Dallas. SDW board member, Aftab Siddiqui also talked about the legacy of Asma Jahangir and her struggle for human rights. A substantial number of students and scholars from known universities of the area, journalists, and experts on South Asia attended the event.

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