we want to return better and stronger
Tanqeed’s editorial team has decided to suspend publication while we rethink and reconfigure TQ. The website will remain live as we go on hiatus for 18 months.
For those who would like to donate to help sustain the website maintenance costs while we are on hiatus, please click on the “donate” link on this page. For subscribers who would like to halt their subscriptions during our sabbatical, simply email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tanqeed began in November 2012 because we were frustrated with the caricatured representations of Pakistan in the international media. Pakistan was only a story, it seemed, if it could be tied to terrorism, violence and chaos. On the domestic front, we were also disappointed with the Pakistani media’s politician-centric, top-down coverage that focused largely on political infighting among political parties and/or other key, elite figures. We worked to provide trenchant, well-argued analysis and longform, in-depth journalism buttressed by careful research and deep reporting among the people and spaces that are often the target of policies but rarely its makers. Our goal was to illuminate issues — particularly in regions of Pakistan that are less well-reported or suffer from media blackouts — and to provide alternate ways of thinking and speaking about the multiple forms of violence which affect Pakistanis: from the violence of private actors, to state, neoimperial, and structural violence. This was our small effort towards articulating resistance and re-building a Pakistani Left.
Over the years, Tanqeed has grown from its two initial founders to a team of 10 dedicated editors soliciting, editing and translating articles for our English and Urdu readership. Since our first issue on Malala Yousafzai, we have worked hard to bring you discussions, debates and reportage on a range of issues. We covered Zarb-e-Azb, displaced refugees from FATA to Canada, feminist politics, the floods and their aftermath, Balochistan and its disappeared, the Pakistani elections complete with a multimedia electoral map, a people’s history, Sindhi nationalism, the Trump presidency, the FATA reforms, solidarity politics from Bara to Palestine to Kashmir, urbanism from Baghdad to Brooklyn, profiles of Perween Rehman, Bannu, the poet Amir Hamza Shinwari, space/place, migration and Partition, the view from Taksim to Lahore, mobs, movements, communal violence, al Huda, detailed accounts of Hazaras and their protest, Islamabad’s villages, the fight to save katchi abadis, Pakistani cinema, gendered language politics, the China-Pakistan corridor, the cultural politics of war in Kabul, ethnic discrimination, interviews with artists about their work, media watch, and personal essays on domestic violence to the struggles of presenting Pakistan abroad; we brought you the voices and first-hand accounts of Baloch and Pashtun activists, the displaced from North Waziristan, NATO truckers, Ahmadi women, and queer Muslims.
We are immensely proud of this work, and we hope that we have played our part – albeit however small – in cracking open the debate. We want to thank our writers, donors and supporters who have assisted us every step of the way – donating time, skills and money so that we could continue. Much of our financial backing has come from individual donations. We are deeply thankful to them. Our readership has grown and along with it, the number of pitches we field regularly. But as Tanqeed grows, we find that the situation has now become unsustainable.
Tanqeed has been a labor of love with many of us — writers and editors — pouring in countless sleep-deprived hours to ready pieces. In a wired and Internet ready world that thrives on circulating text, video and audio, there is still too little awareness of the large financial costs and labor involved in producing original work. Research, reporting and writing or producing audio, photos or videos takes time. Each of these activities is a skill, and each of it is hours and days spent doing work. Additionally, where money fell short, we personally shouldered the financial costs of producing Tanqeed and running the website. We now hope to spend our sabbatical looking for funding that can sustain us for the future.
There are also other more serious issues. Earlier this year, Tanqeed’s Urdu editor was abducted and disappeared for three weeks for his vocal opposition to the overreach of the state and his unwavering solidarity with Pakistan’s most marginalized. After a relentless three-week public campaign, he was released and has now returned to his family. Other writers and bloggers have also gone missing, and the problematic cybercrime bill — passed by a Parliament that appears utterly ignorant of even the most basic points of the Internet — has set the stage for the criminalization of dissent.
The ramping up of online surveillance also has offline components targeting other populations: the profiling and arrests of hundreds of Pashtuns, particularly those from the Tribal Areas, the expulsion of Afghan refugees, and the extension of the term limit of military courts. The rapid expansion of the surveillance state has been buoyed by donations and technology transfers from western governments who have used Pakistan as a testing ground before turning their surveillance experiments on Muslim populations in their home countries. Finally, the Pakistani government’s relationship to China through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor has provided further fuel to surveil and bludgeon Pakistanis. CPEC will further solidify an already massive military state to the detriment of Pakistan and Pakistanis.
These developments come on the heels of the rise of the Right globally. From Europe to India’s Modi to the recent American election of Donald Trump, the right-wing is on the march to further militarize, surveil and repress. Whether it succeeds depends how we, the Left, respond.
Tanqeed, that is critique, is now more necessary than ever—and more dangerous than ever. The old models of resistance and protest need rethinking. Along with that, how Tanqeed will work also needs rethinking, especially in light of recent events. Stepping back does not mean we will be doing nothing, but it will allow us the time to re-structure ourselves and hopefully to come back, better and stronger.
We stand with our sisters and brothers – journalists, activists, writers, poets, artists, musicians, dancers, actresses, academics – who continue to fight for a more beautiful Pakistan and a beautiful world. May the little men with little imagination meet their end soon.
Thank you, for your support and your readership. We hope to see you next year.
M + M