PTH apologises to LUBP its editors, authors and readers for the indiscretions and thoughtless (and in some cases unacceptable) comments from some of us.
I have been meaning to write this post for the past few days. The delay took place due to my hectic travel schedule as well as the existential shock that came in the wake of the recent exchange of unpleasant and unfortunate words between our blogzine and the fiery LUBP/criticalppp blog. The disagreements and emotional arguments led to bad blood between two internet platforms which are on the same side of the political spectrum. If the disagreement had remained within civility, this unconditional apology would not have been needed. It is being rendered because we at PTH feel that excesses in terms of language have been committed from some of us.
Having said so, we also regret some of the posts and comments at LUBP especially in terms of ascribing motives of all sorts. In general, I avoid reacting to comments about me but some of them were unwarranted. My support for Sherry Rehman is not linked to a person or a motive but an unflinching belief in democratic norms which cannot be compromised due to partisan interests or priorities. My other colleagues here at PTH were shocked at the aspersions that were cast on them. One should refrain from name calling just on the basis of disagreements.
At the same time, we are cognizant of the ugliness of the exchanges and agree that some of the responses were downright inappropriate. We regretfully state that defence of a particular position should be worded in a language that is intellectually engaging and remains within the bounds of civility. Obviously some of us, in their zeal to defend themselves, failed.
PTH takes responsibility and offers an unconditional apology to all but particularly to editor Ms Sarah Khan. As a common friend between the two blogs has rightly pointed out that PTH and LUBP have a lot in common and share a similar vision for a democratic, tolerant and secular Pakistan.
At PTH we are not too well-organised. Perhaps, this is a gap that we need to address. Experience such as this one has taught us a lesson or two. We will surely take corrective steps. Of course, we value and welcome disagreements even amongst us – debate is vital for a plural and democratic culture. But we have to set civilised boundaries of a discourse.
Let’s hope that we bury the hatchet and move on.
Here is my response to RR’s unconditional apology:
I thank you and sincerely appreciate your reconciliatory post. I too apologize for any unintended offence caused to you or your team in the course of recent events.
I agree that LUBP and PTH stand side by side on several issues including with respect to our stance on secularism, religious extremism and democracy.
I also repeat that despite these similarities, there are also certain differences of opinion, interpretation and policy between the two blogs. For example, we don’t support a PPP minus Zardari formula which is suggested by at least one or two of your team members. However, we believe that such differences provide us an opportunity for healthy debate in a civilized manner.
On the Sherry Rehman episode, I really like your op-ed in the Express Tribune, however, I would have refrained from signing an unusual statement (co-signed by Hamid Mir and Muhammad Malick) which contained certain unsubstantiated charges against the PPP (in particular the part about 350 armed goons / terrorists). This is, nevertheless, my personal opinion.
I understand that some of the PTH editors were displeased with one (or two) posts at LUBP on the above episode. However, you will appreciate that we also cross-posted at LUBP as a headline post at least two posts written by two PTH editors in direct criticism of the LUBP’s stance. This means that we respect freedom of speech and are open to criticism.
In the end, let me reiterate my respect for you and the PTH. In my personal view, PTH is the only blog which is closest to the LUBP vision and ideals. We must remain united against Islamofascists and the apolitical chattering class.
Yet, we are two different blogs, and the difference of opinion is most likely to emerge on several issues in the future too. It is my hope that such differences will be tolerated and debated in a healthy way.