Almost 20 years ago India Times Now reporter, Shalini Parekh, immersed herself in India and its news coverage.
She calls herself primarily a homemaker and yoga instructor, according to WBEZ’s piece about her coverage of the terrorist trials of the Chicago businessman accused of helping plot the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.
Parekh published about a dozen stories for The Times of India, that country’s largest English-language newspaper.
This week, Parekh visited Columbia College Chicago’s International Reporting course to talk about India and Pakistan’s history and modern comparisons.
When talking about these two countries, India and Pakistan, and the impacts their history has had on them, Parekh said, “This is the legacy of the British rule.”
“The partition was fought through humanistic characteristics,” Parekh explained.
Like Western civilization class systems, Pakistan and India, too have class systems. Parekh describes them as upper crusts and lower crusts.
“There are the haves, and have not’s,” said Parekh. “Politics and wealth rule hand-in-hand.”
In recent media coverage, U.S. politicians have debated the use of drone warfare under the Obama Administration. Pakistan is one of three nations that have drone attacks on terrorist fractions in their States, including Yemen and Somalia.
Pakistan has had a total of 366 drone strikes since 2007, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s Covert War on Terror database.
The CIA-sponsored drone campaign is highly controversial in Pakistan. But Washington has ruled out any change in the policy.
Pakistan publicly condemns the drone attacks for violating the country’s sovereignty and for being counterproductive in its campaign against the militants, according to the Deccan Herald.
The U.S. said drones target the Taliban and Al Qaeda militants hiding in Pakistan’s tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.
The secretary-general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, I.A. Rehman, said 1,577 incidents of terrorism took place in Pakistan last year leaving 2,055 people dead and 3,822 injured.
“That region focuses on hospitality and alignment with their own kind,” Parekh said. “They are massively fueled by revenge, which they feel now with the drone strikes.”
Geographically, Pakistan is fueled through terrorism. “This is what will cause resurgence in terrorism,” Parekh claims.
In Pakistan there is a growing resistance, Parekh explained and “they are tired of this invasion of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban.”
Pakistan’s May 11 parliamentary elections will mark the first time in the nuclear-armed nation’s 65-year history that a civilian government will hand over power to a democratically elected successor, according to the Washington Times.
The major candidates to become Pakistan’s next prime minister oppose American drone strikes on Islamic extremists in their country, which bodes ill for the U.S. policy after Pakistan’s historic parliamentary elections in May.
Terrorists, especially the Pakistani Taliban, have threatened to disrupt the elections through intimidation and assassinations. Among their avowed targets: President Asif Ali Zardari and his Pakistan Peoples Party (and their political allies, which are also deemed liberal and pro-American) as well as former president and Army chief Pervez Musharraf, who recently ended his four-year self-exile and returned to Pakistan, according to The Daily Beast.
When asked whether the drone attacks will influence the elections in May, Parekh said, “It’s got to.”
“There is a paradox in these two nations,” Parekh said. “Some democracy will seep through in this election.”
- N.Y. Grannies Protest U.S. Drones Strikes (rferl.org)
- Democracy to flourish in Pakistan despite conspiracies: Zardari (thehindu.com)
- Infographic Tool Offers a Detailed Look at 3,000 Deaths by U.S. Drone Attacks (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- US drone strikes in Pakistan ‘carried out without government’s consent’ (guardian.co.uk)
- UN says US drones violate Pakistan’s sovereignty (thehimalayantimes.com)