Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Azadi Begins at Home

Our recent post about how India could wrest the "Azadi" argument in Kashmir has been generously linked by The Acorn and India Uncut on their excellent blogs.

Underlying our argument was Freedom House's observation that South Asia (ex-India) is highly illiberal -- thus, we argued, any discussion about Kashmiri future that dilutes liberal India's present role there, in favor of either illiberal Pakistan or an inevitably illiberal autonomy, is unacceptable.

As if to substantiate our point about Pakistan's illiberalism, our friends at The Acorn and India Uncut have this morning highlighted a new outrage by its ruling autocracy: it is threatening to punish Pakistani actress Meera for having kissed an Indian actor in Mahesh Bhatt's new film, Nazar. Apparantly, her kiss has been deemed "vulgar" and against "Islamic ethics and moral values"!!

Somehow the same Islamic values have not prevented the Pakistani army from intimidating Doctor Shazia Khalid who has accused an officer of rape.

Now, we are ourselves hardly cheerleaders for Bollywood, but cannot stand the idea of Pakistan's military thugs wasting time silencing free expression of an actress while dragging their feet in finding the officer-rapist of Dr. Shazia. The contemptible (and decidedly un-Islamic) misogyny of this autocracy is fully on display for the world to see. So much for Gen. Musharraf's enlightened moderation.

Before Pakistan gets hoarse screaming about azadi in Kashmir, it needs to learn that azadi and enlightenment begin at home.

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