Indian and Pakistani students unite for anti-war protest

first_imgOne of the organisers, Rhodes Scholar Zehra Naqvi, told Cherwell: “It was powerful to experiencethe strong sense of community that exists amongst Indians and Pakistanis. “We often talk about the similaritieswe share in our food, culture, histories and the challenges we face. TheIndo-Pak community has emerged as a place of refuge and comfort for us. “We urge our fellow Pakistanis andIndians both within and outside the subcontinent to stand together in unity,focus on our commonalities, and reject divisive narratives. “We call upon the leaders of ourcountries to develop de-escalation protocols, organise constructive peace talksand dialogue for the resolution of all bilateral issues, especially for Jammuand Kashmir. It has historically borne the brunt of power struggles between thetwo states. We call for an end to the violence being perpetuated on Kashmiris. An anti-war protest organised jointly by Indian and Pakistani studentsattracted more than 70 demonstrators on Saturday. The protest was organised as a response to rising tensions betweenIndia and Pakistan, which saw both nations conduct aerial bombing missions. “However, when we imagine visiting eachother’s homes we realise all the ways in which visas and politics restrict us.As we sit together now, watching the increasingly violent direction the currentdiscourse is taking, we are frightened.” The joint statement strongly condemnedthe attack while warning that war would be in the interests of neither country,stating: “War only benefits a handful of influential profiteering interests whofeed on hatred and fear. The statement read: “Asstudents in a land that is foreign to our homes – India and Pakistan – we’vealways marvelled at how we seamlessly gravitate towards each other, and how weare able to come together in community in ways we can’t back home. Students recited poetry in Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali and English in whatorganisers described as “a bid to drive home the horrendous consequences of warand to help foster a sense of solidarity in the Indo-Pak community”.The demonstration concluded with the crowdsinging ‘Hum Dekhenge’, a revolutionary poem by Pakistani intellectual FaizAhmed Faiz “I feel immensely grateful that we could reach across heart-breakingdivides and come together like this in all our diversity and beautifulsimilarities.” “War and warmongering are alwaysunequivocally deplorable. At a time when India and Pakistan are lurching fromcrisis to crisis, we condemn the irresponsible rhetoric flooding the media inboth countries in the strongest possible terms. “For some people, especially thealready dispossessed, the human cost of war is no cliché. It is lived reality. “It is the people who never wish forwar that face its repercussions. It is a luxury to be able to debate thepossibility of war when the death, grief, and loss that accompany it are notpart of your everyday. “We dare to imagine a future that isfree of divisions and violence, and unshadowed by the politics of war. Werefuse to succumb to this environment of fear and suspicion. We refuse to seeour friends as enemies. We refuse to hate those we hold dear. This is not ourwar.” India and Pakistan both claim fullsovereignty over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, though each control only apart of it. The heightened tensions began with a suicide bombing in Kashmirlast month which claimed the lives of 44 Indian soldiers. Staff, students and locals gathered outside the Radcliffe Camera to read out a joint statement signed by 81 Indian and Pakistani students and the Oxford University South Asian Society.last_img read more

SARA director takes home $4.7M, assistant $3.3M monthly

first_img…admin officer gets $2.5M, Exec assistant $1.8M per monthThe question of super salaries has raised its head once again, with the revelations that State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) officials earn almost $5 million a month in salary and benefits and the wage bill was over $200 million in one year for the Agency.This came to light in the National Assembly on Monday during the consideration of the budget estimates for the Legal Affairs Ministry. Attorney General Basil Williams was interrogated by his predecessor, Anil Nandlall about various allocations.One that stood out was the sum of $285 million allocated under line item 6321, ‘subsidies and contributions to local organisations’. Asked to explain which organisation the money was going to, Williams revealed that it was earmarked for SARA.He noted that $10 million of the amount was for capital expenses, while the remaining would be for current expenditure. An incredulous Nandlall requested a breakdown of this amount. It was then that Williams revealed of the current amount, $225 million would be spent on wages and salaries for SARA employees in just one year.“The post of Director, the salary and benefits is $4.7 million per month,” Williams revealed. “The special assistant, that amount is $3.3 million; executive assistant, $1.86 million; Deputy Director, $3.3 million.”Williams also noted that another executive assistant was earning $688,000, while the Chief Administrative Officer was carrying home $2.5 million. In addition, SARA’s Legal Adviser earns $3 million, while a lawyer in the Agency earns $1.4 million and an administrative officer, $679,000.The Director of SARA is Professor Clive Thomas, who was at one time also Chairman of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo). Thomas was also appointed a Presidential Advisor when the coalition Government came to office in 2015. SARA’s Deputy Director is Aubrey Heath-Retmeyer.It was just recently that audit firm Ram and McRae suggested that SARA be scrapped altogether and its functions transferred to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), in its published ‘budget focus’ review of Budget 2019.The firm had cited some qualms with SARA, including the Agency’s failure to have its annual plan and Code of Practice tabled in the National Assembly. Pointing out that the $285 million the agency is set to receive in 2019 is an increase from last year’s amount, Ram and McRae was critical of this lapse.Also, the firm had been of the view that SARA has failed to live up to its expectations of even recovering assets.last_img read more