Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Mesh Lakhani on VOA Urdu!

Photo by Samier Mansur

Last week, VOA Urdu aired an interview on GEO Television with my younger brother, Mesh (short for Meshal), an aspiring singer/songwriter who recently launched his own music publishing company, Franklin’s Row. In the below video, Mesh discusses why he writes and sings English (versus Urdu) songs, as well as his desire to improve perceptions of Pakistan through his music. It’s a testament to how music truly is a universal language, one that transcends cultural, ethnic, and national barriers.

I generally keep my personal life separate from this blog, but what can I say – I’m a proud sister. I am extremely close to my family, and my brother is truly an example of how hard work and talent can pay off. His company Franklin’s Row is an innovative challenge to the music industry, placing the emphasis on the songwriters and taking a novel approach to music production, distribution and promotion. Amid all of this, though, he never forgets his roots. Last year, when his music first appeared on Pakistan’s FM radio [see my previous post], he emphasized how important it was to share his music both in Pakistan and the West. He told me, “My cultural identity is important to me, but for someone to find a way to relate to my own identity is equally as important. For me, that middle ground is music.”

Congrats Mesh! If you would like to check out his music catalog and read more about Franklin’s Row, click here. To hear one of my personal favorites, “Edgar” (with album art, lyrics, and link to download), click here.

[Thanks to Raza Naqvi, who did an awesome interview!]

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CHUP on Twitter

For further updates on all developments related to Pakistan, follow me on Twitter, a social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates, or tweets, which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.

I’m new to the website, but try to update my profile often. Many of my texts will make it back to a larger, consolidated CHUP post, but if you also want real-time thoughts and coverage, follow my profile: http://twitter.com/kalsoom82

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Although I rarely do personal posts about myself or my family, I thought the past few days’ developments are both cause for celebration and still in line with the mission of this website – my younger brother, Mesh, [short for Meshal] an aspiring singer/songwriter, was interviewed on Pakistan’s Power 99 FM and Radio 91 FM! Although both played his more mainstream “pop” song, “Rock the Girl,” Radio 91 FM also played several other tracks that show Mesh’s diversity as a songwriter – “Hey Girl,” and “The Ocean.” Although this was the first time Mesh’s songs were played on the radio, it was very important to him that it be first aired in Pakistan. He asserted to me, “Although I’m pursuing a career in the United States as an English singer/songwriter, it was still important for me to share my music in the city I grew up in, since a lot of who I am as a person has to do with the country I am from. Whether this works out for me or not, at least I got to share my work with my fellow Pakistanis.”

Good job, little brother. I am immensely proud of you, and am happy that Pakistan was the first to officially hear how talented you are. To hear Mesh’s music, and to read more about him, visit his website, Mesh Lakhani Music. [Image credit: Samier Mansur]

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The Green Kaleidescope, a monthly online magazine that highlights the diverse perspectives and views of Pakistanis at home and abroad, included my piece [originally posted on CHUP] on the Balochistan Earthquake that occurred several weeks ago. Click here to read it, and to read this great publication. Although this month only marks its third issue, TGK already displays a great variety of articles – from witty pieces to informative news commentary, all written by young Pakistanis.

Thanks, TGK!

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My interview with Voice of America Urdu was broadcast today on Geo Television. Many thanks to Raza Naqvi, who conducted the interview and allowed me to discuss my motivations behind starting CHUP. Although I cringe watching myself on video, it was a segment that had a good underlying message, and I’m really grateful that I was given the opportunity.

Honestly, none of this would have been possible without the support of my family and friends, and without you – all the followers of this site – so thank you. I constantly strive to make the material of this site better, so please feel free to leave comments on this post with further suggestions.

To view the VOA piece, [you can watch it on Real Player] click here.

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CHUP on Frontline/World

CHUP was asked to participate in a “blogging discussion” with PBS/Frontline on reactions to last week’s U.S. presidential debate. Below is the pasted text of the Q&A [click here for the original piece on the Frontline website]:

FRONTLINE/World: What is the most important foreign policy issue facing the next U.S president? And do McCain or Obama have the right policies to tackle this?
Kalsoom: I think the shift of the war’s focus from Iraq to Afghanistan will be the most important foreign policy issue facing the next U.S. president. As a result, Pakistan will certainly be the biggest strategic concern.

How do you feel Obama and McCain addressed the issues facing Pakistan?
I blogged about it right after the debate, and this is what I wrote: “At the peripheral level, John McCain took a much softer approach on Pakistan, emphasizing that aggressive statements about U.S. attacks against Pakistan are counter-productive and risk alienating the Pakistani population and government. He spent the majority of the time criticizing Obama’s “hawkish” stance on the country. Barack Obama reiterated his previous stance, asserting that if Pakistan wouldn’t go after Al Qaeda and Taliban militants, and if the (militants) were in sight, the U.S. military would take them out.

Regardless of political posturing, the U.S. will always act according to its national security interests. If Coalition forces are being killed by militants in cross-border attacks, it inherently threatens U.S. security; that would be true for any country. The difference in this presidential election is that Obama openly acknowledges this reality, while McCain merely chooses to equate it to an attack on Pakistani sovereignty.

How would you feel about the next president continuing covert actions inside Pakistan to hunt down al Qaeda or the Taliban?
How any Pakistani would feel — outraged and frustrated. The U.S. should have learned its lesson during the past five years in Iraq and Afghanistan — in order to win “hearts and minds” in the Islamic world, tangible military victories are not the only answer. The primary battleground is ideological. If the U.S. continues covert actions in Pakistan, violating Pakistani sovereignty, it risks further exacerbating anti-U.S. sentiment and increasing sympathy for militants.

How should the increasing power of Islamic militants both in the frontier region and the country at large be handled?
It should be handled by the Pakistani military and the Pakistani government. Although the government has been inefficient in dealing with this threat in the past, they have indicated a new resolve to work with the military to counter militancy in the frontier areas. This has to be seen as Pakistan’s war, because the increasing power of these militants can only be countered if the Pakistani people are against it. In the past, many people did not cooperate because it was perceived as the American war on terror. However, with several recent high-profile attacks on Pakistani civilians, many Pakistanis are increasingly viewing this as “our war.”

How should the next U.S. president engage with the Pakistani Army, a historically powerful institution, in fighting terrorism and maintaining stability in the country?
I think there should be a transparency between U.S. and Pakistani forces and a sense of cooperation. The U.S. should also recognize the efforts of the Pakistani military in the Swat and Bajaur regions — many Pakistani soldiers have been killed in these operations.

The rest of the discussion with other bloggers, [including a notable one with Pakistani blogger Arif Rafiq from the Pakistan Policy Blog], can be viewed by clicking here.

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CHUP on BBC World Radio

I was really honored to take part in a dynamic discussion today on BBC Radio’s “World Have Your Say” program, where the topic was, “Will the world be a more dangerous place now that Musharraf is gone?”  The discussion started off a bit catty with PPP politician Syeda Abida Hussain insulting my accent and saying my name wrong (for the record, I somehow got my accent from being in the international school system in Pakistan and was unable to lose it), but I think some of the points made by the callers were interesting. Anyway, visit this link and download the episode for August 18 near the bottom of the page to listen.

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