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50 Years of Kishwar Naheed’s ‘Lab-e-Goya’

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By Raza Naeem

The most beautiful and meaningful creation of nature is woman.

Perhaps this is why the theme of most of the world’s poetry is the self of the woman. Ishtar of the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates, Naheed and Shireen of Iran, Leila of Najd, Isis and Cleopatra of Egypt, Sita and Draupadi of the valley of the Ganges and Yamuna, Helen of Greece, Beatrice of Italy, Heer of Punjab and Sohni and Sassi of Sindh; therefore countless fictitious and historic women whose songs have been sung by poets.
But when the woman whom we know as a verse personified from head to foot herself emerges in the form of a poet, the traditional harmony of our emotions gets disturbed. This too is applicable to the present in that here the name of a female poet was called out in a mushaira, and there the lens of glasses began to be wiped and the knot of a tie arranged.

 

We have till now not accepted a woman as a human; she is still a gender.

Female poets are rarely to be found in Urdu literature because poetry was considered an occupation of men indeed just a century ago. That is why the poet had said,
A girl indeed among other girls who plays

And not one who joins boys to shove sticks and sways

But old values have changed now. Now despite the jests of hazrat Akbar Allahabadi, women are studying English and are engaged shoulder-to-shoulder with men in various fields.

And in the field of literature now, they are indeed in abundance; it is a secondary matter that the attitude of the knowers of poetry towards them is still affectionate or amorous. While reviewing the poetry of female poets, they could not ignore their feminine personality. Whether it is me, you or Mir, nobody is absolved from this outrage.

Lab-e-Goya (Speaking Lips), published 50 years ago this yearbyKishwarNaheed, who turned 79 on June 18 last week, contains great material for those literary detectives who are fond of the assimilation of the self or who meet the creation of the artist in pursuit of compiling his autobiography.

But the reality is that Lab-e-Goya is not the autobiography of a single poet but the autobiography of a whole generation – the generation which has gained consciousness in the last 70 or 72 years.

Lab-e-Goya is just a light reflection of the sensory experiences of this very generation. But what is the nature of these sensory experiences and what is the relationship of the understanding of the new generation with these experiences?

A lot is being written these days about the understanding of the new generation. This understanding has become a global issue. The authorities are in far-reaching fears. The ministers of knowledge and intellect are concerned and the grandees of faith and nation are angry but all strategies have come to nought. The anger and alienation of the new generation appears daily in a new form.

Actually, the thing is that the yeast of the understanding of the new generation has been fermented by industrial civilisation. Which impious wretch can deny the rewards and blessings of this civilisation? But this civilisation is intentionally abstaining from fulfilling the needs of the spirit of the age in the West. But this avoidance is further increasing the internal contradictions. The actions of the new generations are a reaction to this very contradiction.

The same industrial civilisation is now also flourishing in our country and is affecting our character, disposition, way of thinking and the experiences of feeling. But the trouble is that the industrial civilisation of the West has entered our country through the back door.

The result has been that till date, we have been unable to join the relation of our traditional philosophy of life, values of life and emotions and perceptions with the industrial civilisation. We are forced to adopt this civilisation but the wonderful deeds which this civilisation is performing in our country, we keep grieving within our heart over it. Because thanks to this civilisation, even our personal relations have transformed into impersonal relations.

In the bazaar of slave trade, everything is being bought and sold and all values are weighed in the scales of rupee ana-paii. Whether it is the relation of husband wife or parents, brother and sister or neighbours and people of the same profession, everyone relies on money. If friends are made, it is done with a view to personal benefit; marital relations are established for the sake of personal gain; if relationships are sought, it is with the thought of personal profit; if guests are treated with hospitality, it is for personal motive. Even welfare and reformist works are done for personal name and fame.

In short, everywhere there is a state of selfishness. No one is a companion and sympathiser to anybody. People are friendly but are becoming alienated from each other from within.

And how much bigger a city is, the stamp of alienation is deeper on it. The inhabitant of cities like Karachi and Lahore feels solitary even in a crowd of millions. This solitude is becoming his fate. The teahouses and restaurants are full but those who patronise them have no personal relation even with the waiters and cooks there, what to talk about the Khasis working in the tea-gardens.

There is an abundance of articles for sales, but for customers, the salesmen who work there are just salesmen, not humans. We travel in taxis, cars, rickshaws and airplanes day and night but are even unaware of the nation, race, region of the person who takes us to the desired destination. We now buy readymade clothes from shops and have them washed in laundries. Therefore our familiarity with the tailor and the dhobi is also coming to an end. When we go to the cinema, we consider it to be against etiquette to even talk to the person sitting by our side.

In short, our relations with other humans are decreasing at the same rate with which the speed of the convenience of manufacture is increasing.

However much the glass and jug maybe filled, the tavern is empty

The sensory experiences of this era, be they of the new generations or of KishwarNaheed, are shaped by these very lost paths of industrial civilisation. They are not revealed from the heavens. The most deadly and fatal of these sensory experiences is the experience of solitude,
My solitude within, the duality of my self

Is licking me like termites, these unicolored selves

This air of the perception of solitude is prevalent over the whole of Lab-e-Goya. KishwarNaheed works in an office; meets friends and relatives; spends time with her husband and children. Apparently she should not at all be feeling the perception of loneliness, but what is the cure for her solitary spirit?

KishwarNaheed sometimes expresses this solitude purely from the tongue of a woman:

‘Make the eye a companion of all-nighters
Fill your lap with blood-licking solitude’
‘Is it age or the red-flowered ivy vine
It will tip if it does not find a protector fine’

Sometimes she symbolises the scene of night as solitude to say:

‘All night moonlight burnt on the summits
All night one could not find an all-nighter at home
The noise of the storms continued all night but
One could not find open the door of any window’
‘The evening moon is sad
Somewhere some lass is without a lad’
‘Why are all the city doors closed
The blood of the zephyr is calling out’

And sometimes she mentions the relations of love, which have increased the intensity of solitude even further:

‘He rakes the hot embers of relation
Give me not the body-clinging dress’s inflammation’
‘The soul too will remain parched like sand on the shore
The body too will be ruined in the desire for more’
But solitude is still possible despite proximity. If two personalities do not harmonise or begin to imagine dominance over each other as love indeed, then too their proximity can become distance and solitude,
‘If hearts are distant, to meet becomes useless
Wind often becomes a wall in-between, breachless’
‘This heart could not ever accompany the flying wind
This heart longs for deeper relations’

But the poet is not heartbroken. Her solitary evenings are lit up by the lamps of memories and fragrant flowers of love:

‘A light moonlight spreads over the surface of the moon
We cling to your memory after ages’
‘That man is color, fragrance light for me
After whom nothing seems good for me’
‘When I remembered it was indeed in the ruined path
That I found flowers, red wine, silver’
‘From the light of his memories
Learn to embellish the arch of sorrow’
‘The flower of a body began to burn like flames
The heart thought your memory to be provisions for the union’
‘The redness of fidelity on the night-dried cheeks
The candle of sorrow is to be amused again with your memories’

KishwarNaheed repeatedly mentions the duality of the self. Though the hypocrisy, deceit and pretence of the whole society is absent from her circle of thought; but KishwarNaheed has very skillfully presented the various ways in which a woman has to put the curtain of overt over the covert in her social and private life in this society.

In this society, where all the moral values are devised by men, a woman is forced to proceed according to the wishes of man. She has to tolerate every pleasure and displeasure of man, in fact drink this chalice of poison with laughter. KishwarNaheed has studied this duality from the view of a woman and how well has she done it,
‘That I am bold Naheed let me say

So many storms within me stay’
‘See that person before whom you laugh a lot
Do cover your head before him a lot
Live like snow life long
Lest fragility become a crime strong
If nothing else but keep this secret a lot’
And this is the limit,
‘In the eyes of laughing faces bloodshot with memories
All faces are a canopy of longing, the wedding’s monochrome vagaries’
‘However much there be a disgust with self-cognition
Fill colours indeed in your own ruination’
‘Do not make much of my laughter you all hurt by affliction
Look up my face before you fill in my complexion’
‘Feel the heat of my peeling passion
See too in the cold moonlight the body’s inflammation’
KishwarNaheed’s inner passion is not the reform of Sufism and neither is it some mental condition. It is rather an honest attraction which acknowledges wholesome and affectionate love.

In its code of conduct, surrender is the very essence of faith. The state of her absorption is such that she cannot see anything else in the world except her love:

‘I am seen from wherever I want in every direction
From every mirror-maker I want this deposition
From every horizon of the door I want this colour
From every pathway, for your shadow I clamour
For the sake of the joyfulness of sorrow, companies are great
Is there someone whose heart and soul I can sate
I will change the frenzy of fidelities
But I want to love him with my own incredulities’
Note: All the translations from the Urdu are the writer’s own.

(Raza Naeem is a Pakistani social scientist, book critic and award-winning translator and dramatic reader currently based in Lahore, where he is also the President of the Progressive Writers Association. He has written on, and translated the selected work of IsmatChughtai, FahmidaRiaz, ZehraNigah and RaziaSajjadZaheer. Article courtesy: thewirein)


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Opinion

Curbs on Pakistan media?

The Kashmir Monitor

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By Amir Zia

Is press freedom on the retreat in Pakistan? Are these the worst of times for those holding dissenting views in the land of the pure? Are visible and invisible hands out to gag the mainstream media?

Despite all the challenges of Pakistan’s struggling and flawed democracy, conservative orientation and deeply religious roots, its media is vibrant, diverse, bold and candid, encouraging those who raise the flag of dissent and non-conformity. It amplifies the voices of rights activists, ethnic groups, the oppressed classes and most religious minorities.

 

At the same time, however, sensational political statements and conspiracy theories usually take centre-stage on news channels and papers, at the expense of genuine issues faced by people.

This statement-oriented journalism is not the result of state or government pressure. It is, on the contrary, driven by the rat race of ratings, social media hits and a preference for news that sells. Despite these skewed priorities, Pakistan’s press, it would appear, is not in chains.

Absolute freedom of expression is a concept that is being defined and redefined by the evolving conditions in a country: A newspaper stall in Karachi.

Yet, of late, politicians, rights activists and media personnel say that there is an unannounced censorship at work and fear grips the media, as the number of ‘red lines’ continue to increase.

At the other end of the spectrum are those who claim that not only is the Pakistani media enjoying an unprecedented level of freedom, but that it also has a tendency to distort facts and shamelessly push various political agendas, present half-truths and, sometimes, spew lies. According to this school of thought, the media remains overwhelmingly sensational: fake news and toxic arguments on social media are an example of the ‘limitless’ freedom of expression in the country.

Between these two extremes, lies a middle ground. While problems do exist as far as press freedom is concerned, at the same time, misinformation is disseminated through various media platforms.

Absolute freedom of expression is a concept that is constantly being redefined, depending on the social, economic and political conditions of a country. A single yardstick cannot be applied universally.

Broadly speaking, there are two main yardsticks with which press freedom can be measured: historical and regional. The other, finer details vary from country to country and region to region.

Historically, press freedom has made huge strides in Pakistan since the country’s creation. Long gone are the days of the Press and Publications Ordinance (PPO) of 1962 that empowered the government to seize newspapers, shutdown media organisations and arrest journalists and editors.

The decade of the ’70s, which witnessed the dismemberment of Pakistan and the rise and fall of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto – our first and, so far, last civilian martial law administrator – proved far from ideal, despite the presence of a democratically elected government. Bhutto opted for high-handed actions against dissenting voices, from political opponents to poets, writers and journalists. But it was the former military dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq, who added more bite to the PPO in the 1980s, empowering the authorities to prosecute publishers if published news was not to the government’s liking. During the Zia era, censorship was tough, brutal and direct. His regime did not hesitate to lash journalists and put them behind bars.

After Zia’s sudden death and the return of democracy in 1988, the media started to open up. The notorious PPO was revised, but successive elected governments and various political, ethnic and religious parties continued to target the press and take high-handed action against newspapers and journalists. For instance, in his second stint in power, Nawaz Sharif used the might of state machinery to punish a critical media and arrest journalists.

Surprisingly, it was under General (R) Pervez Musharraf that the Pakistani media saw an unprecedented boom. The electronic media witnessed expansion, as he allowed private news and entertainment channels to open shop, while radio stations were also encouraged. At the insistence of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, his information minister at the time, the military ruler also allowed cross-media ownership – a controversial decision that lead to the hegemonies of select media tycoons.

Ironically, the media liberalisation and openness eventually contributed to Musharraf’s own fall, during his confrontation with the judiciary. His half-hearted attempts to muzzle select media outlets during the peak of the lawyers’ movement proved lethal. The media contributed to destabilising his government.

After the 2008 general elections and to date, the media managed to guard its turf despite many ups and downs, taking on successive governments and mighty state institutions Some media organisations took a critical view of the Pakistan Armed Forces and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

This resulted in an on- and off- tiff between the state institutions and some media groups, leading to the blocking of the transmission of select news channels and obstacles being placed in the path of newspaper distribution.

This impasse between state institutions and media groups was aggravated due to the non-implementation of libel and defamation laws. In the absence of legal recourse and an established code of conduct within media organisations, there was hardly any independent platform where an aggrieved party could turn for a fair hearing. The regulator proved too weak and politically influenced to carry out this task.

Yet the Pakistani media operates in a freer atmosphere compared to past decades. Yes, there are problems, obstacles and even setbacks, but the media has expanded its boundaries. Many subjects, once taboo, are now openly discussed and debated. There are hardly any holy cows left; be it the government or state institutions, all are under the microscope.

There are, however, cultural and religious sensitivities that have to be taken into account. Pakistani journalists operate in an altogether different world compared to their counterparts in Western Europe or the United States. Several social and religious issues, while kosher in the West, are either discussed in a hushed manner in Pakistan, or seen from a different perspective because of the country’s religious moorings and its semi-tribal and semi-feudal roots.

Similarly, as Pakistan remains engaged in its longest internal war, against terrorism, since 2001, and has hostile eastern and western frontiers, there are conflict areas where the media faces obstacles while reporting. Any state, faced by such internal and external threats, takes measures that may not be the norm in times of peace.

The Pakistani press is less jingoistic, more diverse and aggressive in questioning those in power compared to its counterparts in India – the world’s largest democracy. Pakistanis should be proud that while the Indian media overwhelmingly promotes the government and state narrative without questioning, the Pakistani media does the opposite.

Similarly, if the condition of press freedom in Pakistan is compared to its two western neighbours – Iran and Afghanistan – and the one in the north, our friend China, we stand head and shoulders above them all.

Out of more than 50 Muslim countries, including democracies such as Turkey, Bangladesh and Egypt, there is more freedom of expression in Pakistan. Its scorecard is also better than Far Eastern countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia as well as secular countries like Singapore and South Korea.

At the same time, however, the press still has a long way to go. While expanding boundaries of freedom is an endless business, the media should review itself critically and overcome shortcomings and unprofessionalism in its ranks. Only an objective, fair, balanced and factual media will be able to keep expanding its boundaries.

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Opinion

Muslimcook who saved life of Gandhi

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By Suhail Ahmad Wani

History is often a medley of versions of an event in the past, gradually embellished over time. We all know about the brutal TinKathiya system which was prevailing in Champaran district until Gandhi ji led the Champaran Satyagraha movement, under that system the tenant farmers were forced to mandatorily cultivate Indigo crops in three Katha of land on every twenty katha(one bigha) they owned. Since, indigo crops were poorly compensated by Britishers& European Indigo mill owners and in case of refusal to cultivate Indigo crops, farmer had to face heavy taxation. Farmers were force to leave under miserable condition. When Gandhi ji arrived at Champaran, the news spread like in the region like a wildfire and he was greeted by a large crowd of peasants at railway stations all along the way from Muzaffarpur to Motihari.

Since, Indigo mill owners and Britishers officials were aware about Gandhi’s leadership ability and capability to fight against atrocity and torture. They were also keeping a sharp eye on all developments.

 

The year was 1917, on the afternoon of April 15, thousands had gathered at Motihari railway station (in Bihar’s East Champaran) to wait for a man who was destined to lift their lives out of misery. It was 3 pm when Gandhi alighted at the station from a train coming from Muzaffarpur. He had come to probe the appalling conditions under which local farmers were being forced by the landlords to grow indigo. Nobody knew it then but this fact-finding mission would snowball into the first Satyagraha (policy of passive political resistance) that Gandhi would lead in the country and begin a new chapter in India’s independence struggle. According to the book (Champarankeswatantrasenani) during this visit, Gandhi got a dinner invitation from a British manager of an indigo plantation named Erwin. So Erwin told his cook, BatakMian, to serve Gandhi a glass of milk laced with poison. To ensure that this was done, he offered substantial inducements as well as issued threats of dire punishment. When the time came, the deeply patriotic cook did present the glass of milk to Gandhi, but also warned him of its contents and revealed Erwin’s sinister intentions behind it. DrRajendra Prasad, who would later go on to become India’s first president, witnessed the entire episode. While Gandhi escaped the assassination attempt to successfully lead the Champaran Satyagraha, the man who had saved his life had to pay dearly for it. Dismissed from work, BatakMian was thrown behind bars and tortured. His house was turned into a crematorium and his family was driven out of their village (SiswaAjgari, a hamlet near Motihari). With time, his act of bravery was erased from public memory, until 1950, when DrRajendra Prasad visited Motihari (the then-headquarters of an undivided Champaran). As India’s first president alighted at the railway station, he was greeted by a huge crowd that had gathered to welcome him. Just then, he witnessed a commotion near the entrance as a haggard old man tried to make his way towards him. Recognizing him instantly as BatakMian, Prasad walked up to him, hugged him and escorted him to the dais where he gave him a chair next to him. To the surprised and curious crowd, the President introduced the man sitting next to him as the person who had saved Mahatma Gandhi’s life. He then narrated the story of how the impoverished cook had turned down all kinds of inducements to poison Gandhi and faced brutal punishment as a result. Had it not been for BatakMian, Gandhi would have died, Prasad exclaimed, before wondering aloud what impact such a tragedy might have had on India’s independence. On learning about the hardships faced by the cook’s family, he also ordered the collector of the region to give 24 acres of land to BatakMian and his three sons as a token of appreciation from the nation. This incident seared BatakMian’s story into the memories of Champaran’s residents. However, nearly a century after the Champaran Satyagraha, his grandchildren are still waiting for the government to honour its promise. In 2010, after reading a report in the Hindustan Times on the plight of the family, then President PratibhaPatil had ordered the district magistrates of East and West Champaran to submit a report on action taken to fulfilRajendra Prasad’s promise. But thanks to government apathy, the move did not lead to any action.

BataqMian Ansari’s sacrifice which deserves a prominent place in the history of freedom movement of India, came to limelight only when freedom fighter Syed IbraheemFikri (Delhi) breleased his book written in Urdu (Hindustani Jung-e-Azadi Mein MusalmanoKaHissa) in 1999. But it was BatakMian’s patriotism, which did not allow his soul to serve the poisoned milk to Gandhi ji. So, he took the glass to Gandhi ji but revealed the conspiracy in front of Ervin, Gandhi Ji and Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Thus he saved the life of Gandhi ji who led the Champaran Satyagraha movement and changed the narrative of struggle for freedom of India. But BatakMian had to pay heavily for his patriotism. The manager put him in Jail and brutally tortured him. His house was turned into crematorium and later he and his family were forced out of village. What would bigger tragedy that this extraordinary Indian, without who India’s independence might not have been possible, has completely been ignored. Isn’t it tragic that today the man who killed Mahatma Gandhi is known to all but very few know BatakMian who saved the Mahatma’s life in 1917? The unsung hero BatakMian died in 1957. Today, the tombs of BatakMian and his wife lie unattended in the nondescript village of SiswaAjgari. His grandchildren live on a patch of land near the Valmiki Tiger Reserve forest and make a living as laborers

(The writer is a research scholar at University of Indore and can be reached at: [email protected])

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Opinion

Trump Tries Cooling Tensions with Pakistan

The Kashmir Monitor

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By Michael D. Shear and Salman Masood

President Trump, who on Twitter last year accused Pakistan’s leaders of “nothing but lies & deceit,” welcomed the country’s prime minister to the White House on Monday in an effort to mend relations and seek help in ending the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

Seated next to Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump gushed about the prospect of improved relations and trade with Pakistan and said he expected that Mr. Khan would help negotiate peace in Afghanistan so United States troops could come home.

 

“There is tremendous potential between our country and Pakistan,” Mr. Trump said during a 40-minute question-and-answer session with reporters from both countries. “I think Pakistan is going to help us out to extricate ourselves.”

Administration officials believe pressure from Pakistan could push the Taliban into a permanent cease-fire in Afghanistan, though they acknowledged that promises of such help from the Pakistani government had failed to materialize in the past.

“Washington could be overestimating Islamabad’s influence over the Taliban. So there’s potential for disappointment,” said ArifRafiq, a policy analyst and commentator on relations between the two countries. “But, like Trump said, Pakistan is a ‘big country’ and important in its own right. It’s critical for Washington to maintain a long-term partnership with Islamabad and not cede the region to Beijing.”

Mr. Trump has repeatedly said he wants to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan and end the nearly 18-year war. But ties between Pakistan’s intelligence service and extremist groups in the region have long frustrated American hopes of a peaceful regional solution.

The president was more optimistic on Monday about Pakistan’s cooperation, even as he suggested that he always had military options if diplomacy failed.

“I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people,” Mr. Trump said, describing what he said were prepared military plans in Afghanistan. “If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth. It would be gone in 10 days.”

Mr. Khan — once Pakistan’s star cricket player and now like Mr. Trump a celebrity-turned-leader — agreed quickly that seeking peace in Afghanistan was the better option.

“There is no military solution in Afghanistan,” Mr. Khan said. “If you go all-out military, there would be millions and millions of people who would die.”

With Mr. Khan by his side, Mr. Trump claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India had recently asked him to help mediate the seven-decade dispute between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir region, one of the world’s most sensitive flash points.

“I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject,” Mr. Trump said. “He actually said, ‘Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?’ I said, ‘Where?’ He said, ‘Kashmir.’ Because this has been going on for many, many years. I was surprised at how long.”

Both countries have claimed the disputed region since Pakistan’s creation in 1947.

“If I can help, I would love to be a mediator,” Mr. Trump said Monday.

Mr. Khan appeared willing for Mr. Trump to play a role. But just hours after the meeting between the president and Mr. Khan, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs denied that such a conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi had taken place.

“No such request has been made,” the spokesman, Raveesh Kumar, said on Twitter. “It has been India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.”

In a statement on Monday evening, the State Department acknowledged that “Kashmir is a bilateral issue,” but added, “As the president indicated, we stand ready to assist.”

Mr. Khan arrived in the United States on Sunday, landing at Dulles International Airport in Virginia where a picture of him riding the airport’s people mover with other travelers caused a minor social media uproar about the lack of pomp and circumstance.

The prime minister received more of an official welcome on Monday at the White House, where Mr. Trump greeted him in front of the West Wing before a bilateral meeting and a working lunch.

Relations between the two countries have been strained for years because of Pakistan’s ties with extremist groups and its lack of cooperation with the United States’ campaign against terrorist organizations since the Sept. 11 attacks.

But Mr. Trump deepened the rift in January 2018. He tweeted that the United States had “foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid” and accused Pakistan’s leaders of treating American officials like fools and giving safe haven to terrorists: “No more!”

Three days later, Mr. Trump suspended security aid to Pakistan, shutting down the flow of up to $1.3 billion in aid each year with a demand that Pakistan’s government cut off ties with extremists.

American officials said last week that the president’s meeting with Mr. Khan was an attempt to repair relations between the two countries, though they said the Trump administration remained “cleareyed” about the continuing links between Pakistan and terrorist groups.

A senior administration official had told reporters that Mr. Trump appreciated Mr. Khan’s earlier statements that Pakistan would no longer be a refuge for terrorist groups. But the official said the United States remained concerned given that terrorist organizations — including Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Haqqani network — continued to operate in Pakistan with the tacit approval of its national intelligence and military agencies.

Pakistan’s continued imprisonment of ShakilAfridi, a Pakistani doctor who reportedly helped the United States confirm the location of Osama bin Laden, also remains a sore spot between the two countries, officials said.

Mr. Trump said on Monday that he planned to press for the release of Dr. Afridi. A tribal court in northwestern Pakistan in 2012 sentenced Dr. Afridi to 33 years in prison after he helped the C.I.A. pin down bin Laden’s location by running a vaccination drive backed by the United States.

Former President Barack Obama’s administration objected strenuously to Pakistan’s treatment of Dr. Afridi, and Trump administration officials last week called upon Pakistan to release the doctor.

Mr. Khan’s visit to the White House was part of his first trip to the United States as prime minister as he tries to move beyond the diplomatic clashes with Mr. Trump.

A fiery, nationalist leader in Pakistan, Mr. Khan has been critical of Pakistan’s partnership with the United States in the past. He fired back at Mr. Trump’s tweets last year, accusing the United States of decades of failures in Afghanistan.

Mr. Khan has accused past Pakistani rulers of selling themselves short and kowtowing to American dictates. But before the meeting on Monday, Mr. Khan had said he wanted a reset in the bilateral ties.

In Pakistan, local television news networks gave breathless coverage to Mr. Khan’s visit. The prime minister’s address a day earlier to a rally of thousands of Pakistani-Americans in Capital One Arena in Washington was portrayed as a testament to the Pakistani leader’s popularity in the United States.

Before meeting Mr. Trump, Mr. Khan told his cheering supporters at the Washington rally that he had never bowed to anyone except Allah and would not leave his countrymen embarrassed or disappointed during the meeting with Mr. Trump.

But on Monday, Mr. Khan was far less confrontational, repeatedly praising Mr. Trump for his leadership. “He has now forced people to end the war, to have a settlement,” Mr. Khan said of Mr. Trump. “This is a critical time.”

Mr. Trump said he hoped Pakistan could help resolve the war so the United States could curtail its security measures in Afghanistan. He said that if that happened, the United States might restore some of the funding to Pakistan that he cut off last year.

“I think that Pakistan is going to be a very big help,” the president said, adding later: “I think Pakistan will save millions of lives in Afghanistan. As of this moment, they are working very hard.”

(nytime.com)

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