Beirut after the 2020 explosion

India’s lesson for Lebanon

by Mustafa Malik

India and Pakistan could have been spared catastrophes by power-sharing systems they rejected. The Lebanese should hold on to the one they have. I NORMALLY CAN’T stand Boris Johnson because of his demagoguery and conservative political creed. But last week Emmanuel Macron made me appreciate the British prime minister, for the first time. The French...

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and President of China Xi Jinping before the beginning of the 2017 BRICS Leaders' meeting

China plots to encircle India

by Mustafa Malik

“Yay!” I exclaimed within myself. China was going to upgrade the Sylhet airport, said a blurb on the Internet. Sylhet is my hometown in northeastern Bangladesh. Sylhet’s Osmani airport is rather small and every time I fly in to the city, I have to hustle through a crowded arrival lounge into the hurly-burly of a...

Mahmud Ali (right), then minister of social work in Pakistan, is greeted by then Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai in Beijing in 1972

Mahmud Ali: Generals wrecked Pakistan

by Mustafa Malik

MAHMUD ALI’S BIRTH centenary on September 1 reminded me of a comment Jawaharlal Nehru made during his meeting with George Bernard Shaw in London. Independent India’s first prime minister, a driven Fabian socialist, had been invited to attend the June 2, 1953, coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey. That was “a formal occasion,”...

Bhutto is hosting visiting Kissinger to dinner at his home in October 1974.

India’s empty threat to Pakistan

by Mustafa Malik

Pakistan was protesting, vociferously, India’s decision to wipe out the “special status” of the part of the Jammu and Kashmir state under its occupation. Rajnath Singh, the Indian defense minister, told Islamabad to hush up. He said New Delhi may be changing its “no-first-use” policy on firing nukes. India adopted the policy of not using...

Bangladesh, Pakistan trade luck

by Mustafa Malik

I FEEL GOOD about living to see this day.  Bangladesh, whose creation I once opposed, is belying my forebodings about its future. It has surpassed Pakistan and, in some cases, the economic behemoth of India in economic development and well-being. Bangladeshi economic performance glows brighter when you compare that with the near-meltdown of the Pakistani economy. Here’s...

‘Islamic bomb’ scare, again!

by Mustafa Malik

“Persuading Pakistan to rein in its nuclear weapons program should be an international priority. “The major world powers spent two years negotiating an agreement to restrain the nuclear ambitions of Iran, which doesn’t have a single nuclear weapon. Yet there has been no comparable investment of effort in Pakistan.” – The New York Times Editorial Board...

Bringing Indian Muslims out from cold

by Mustafa Malik

THE INSTALLATION of India’s Narendra Modi government has triggered concerns among many Indian Muslims. Prime Minister Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) has included in his Cabinet some of the well-known Muslim baiters such as Indresh Kumar and Sadhvi Rithambara. He has given top administrative posts to bureaucrats accused of involvement in anti-Muslim...

Struggle for Bangladesh’s cultural soul

by Mustafa Malik

SYLHET, Bangladesh: Is modernity finally putting brakes on the Islamization campaign in Bangladesh? Is it eroding the nation’s ethnic culture? These questions keep haunting me during trips to Bangladesh. A visit yesterday to  Shahjalal University of Science and Technology in Sylhet lent the two questions special poignancy. The population of what is now Bangladesh is...

Modi winning India vote, losing agenda

by Mustafa Malik

Pollsters in India are predicting a big win for the Hindu nationalist Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) in the country’s three-phase general elections that began on Monday. The ruling Congress party, they say, is headed for a free fall. Entrenched, as it is, in the traditionalist and fundamentalist Hindu base, the BJP has made inroads into...