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Pakistan: A journalist's view

Beena Sarwar is a veteran independent Pakistani journalist and documentary filmmaker.  Hear her take on Pakistan, its relationship with the US, and the state of journalism on this week's Alternative Radio, Monday at 1pm. 

Sarwar is the Pakistan editor of Aman ki Asha, a joint initiative of “The News” in Pakistan and “The Times of India.” She was a producer for GEO TV, the largest 24/7 news channel in Pakistan.

For the casual observer of international news Pakistan must be enigmatic, bewildering and scary. It’s a “hornet's nest,” declares “The Economist.” Almost from its inception in 1947 Pakistan has been dominated by the three As: Allah, Army and America. The country of some 200 million people has been ruled either by military dictators or corrupt civilians. Pick your poison. There are coups and rumors of coups. The prime minster may be ousted. The president may face criminal charges. The intelligence agencies wield supernatural powers. And in the shadows are jihadis. Relations between Islamabad and Washington are “badly strained,” the “NY Times” reports. No surprises there given the many U.S. drone attacks and invasions culminating in the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers. When you are master of the universe and you pay stipends to servants you expect what? Silence and loyalty.

Matt Martin was KALW’s general manager from 2006 through 2018. Under his leadership, KALW grew into one of the most productive and innovative stations in public radio. Programs launched at KALW during Matt’s tenure as GM include the award-winning local newsmagazine Crosscurrents, the design podcast 99% Invisible, and the Spanish-language narrative journalism program Radio Ambulante. He helped create the station’s Audio Academy, a year-long program aimed at developing new talents in public radio, and led the first broad-based strategic planning process in the station’s history.