LAHORE: Former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar says when you try to deal with conflicts through non-state actors, it creates more conflicts and in conflict zones like Syria, all the powerful countries of the world involved have different goals which they are trying to achieve through non-state actors. This would produce drastic results.

She was speaking in a session, World Order and Conflict, on the first day of Khayaal Festival 2015 at Alhamra on Saturday.

Ms Khar said it’s a bit of chicken and egg story.

“The question was that is it world disorder that creates conflicts or its conflicts that create the world disorder.”

She said it’s unacceptable that we used the non-state actors to get order because it won’t produce results and that’s what’s happening in Syria.

Looking at just last one month, she said, about 500 people were killed in bombings in Ankara, Beirut and Paris attacks, and it got attention in all the media of the world but there were thousands dying because of conflicts in Syria and Middle East but they were not getting that much coverage and one could see them only in the form of refugees.

Ms Khar said after earlier interventions in the world, price was paid by the countries like Pakistan and Iran who had to deal with refugees with the world lecturing them on their responsibility but after the recent conflicts, refugees started knocking at the door of the orderly world which behaved in a very different way.

Talking about drone attacks, she said: “The US is carrying out drone attacks in other countries but if the North Korea does the same to pursue its objective, would that be acceptable?”

She said there was no world order right now and a different world order was being sought through geopolitical means. Barack Obama had himself said after the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) that he could not allow the countries like China to set economic interaction rules.

“I don’t see world getting orderly in the near future. The cause of the disorder is not the contest between the powers, it’s because we employ the tools that create disorder. The al-Qaeda, Taliban and militant Islamic State groups were created by the extremist thought inculcated in them by the states, including the US and Pakistan.”

Andrew Small, a policy researcher from the US, said China was not urgent and always sneaked under the radar screen, playing the game slowly and patiently.

“The US is looking at China as a long-term challenge. The US-China contest is going on in the East Asia while in other regions, they agree on many issues, including terrorism.”

Mr Small said China was looking to change the world order with its own institutions and outreach to Africa and Middle East. He said China was afraid of being drawn into the zone of instability while the US was trying to drag it into conflicts. “China is playing its cards through economic means.”

Mr Small hoped that there were still chances of peace on a geo-economic basis.

SANWAL: A session, Musadiq Sanwal in Memoriam, was held on the late editor of Dawn.com. who had died of cancer last year. His poetry collection, Yeh Natamam Si Zindagi Jo Guzri Hay” was also launched in the session, moderated by Kashif Baloch.

Talking about Sanwal, Urdu writer and critic Asif Farrukhi said there was intensity of experience in Sanwal’s poems.

“When I first met him, he was a theatre activist, in the next meeting, he was supporting technology, then he appeared as a poet,” he said.

Farrukhi said he got Sanwal’s poetry from wife Shehla which had collected in the last days of his life perhaps due to his imminent death.

“He was influenced by Faiz since his college days but then got close to N.M. Rashid, especially his Persian influence and satire. He also accepted Punjabi influence, particularly of Kafi,”

Talking about Sanwal, his friend from the NCA days, Sabir Nazar said Sanwal was fond of everything in the world except the curriculum. He followed Leonardo De Vinci’s concept of the renaissance man who was a bit of everything like philosopher, architect, medical professional.

“When I met first time, I had no idea of politics. In an evening of 1985 in Gen Zia regime, he came to my room and took me along. There were two motorcycles outside the hostel and we hung political banners all night.”

Sanwal was politically aware even in college days. He was attacked by the Jamaat-i-Islami students and he got injured and had 14 stitches, paying the price of his activism, Nazar said.

PUNJABI: In the session, Punjab Sufi Poetry and Thought, Mushtaq Soofi said corporate sector and state were selling Sufism. “There is nothing like Sufi music and Sufi poetry but these terms are being used frequently.”

There were fundamental issues of class and caste in the subcontinent and so-called mystic poets addressed them, like Shah Husain was a Rajput but he had rejected his caste.

Sara Kazmi said though gender had to be connected with other themes, feminism was missing from Punjabi narratives. “The question of gender has to be connected with other themes of classic Punjabi poetry,” she said.

Soofi added that all the Sufi poets took the guise of a woman to give voice to their emotions. Shah Husain, Nanak, Farid and Bulleh Shah and Sarmast expressed themselves through the voice of a woman. At the end, Sara sang a Kafi of Bulleh Shah.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2015

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