Drones, Pakistan’s worst kept secret

The current surge in drone strikes in FATA has reignited the infamous ‘drone debate’ and ‘Pakistan’s tacit agreement’ on intelligence sharing with the United States. Only a few months ago, Peter Bergen, a US expert on drones, had revealed that the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan may have finally come to an end. Not only Bergen, but even the current Nawaz-led PML-N government boasted of lobbying against drones and convincing the Obama administration to cease the strikes. Till June this year, one could believe these reports and revelations as there was a long hiatus in predator strikes. However, it was on June 11 when, negating such ...

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Pakistan’s fear of a local security check-post

Last month, Sajid, an engineering student from the University of Engineering and Technology, was shot in the head by a Frontier Constabulary (FC) constable. Different sources obviously claim different versions of the story. The security officials, however, have stated that Sajid refused to stop at the security check post after being flagged down repeatedly. The real story will only be revealed when an impartial investigation into the incident is conducted. Putting the validity of the versions aside, what concerns me today is the important ‘issue’, a daily ritual might I add, of passing through security check posts in the country. ...

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Recycle yourself, don’t let your kindness die with you

A man sitting in a park reading suddenly bursts into laughter. This catches the attention of a boy sitting near him with dark shades on and a stick in his hand who, out of curiosity, asks the reason for the man’s laughter. The man, pleased to be able to be nice to the boy, starts reading the passage to him and they both share a laugh. After a while when the man gets back to his reading and there’s silence once again, the boy breaks the ice by asking if the man would be kind enough to let him have “that” after ...

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Living with polio in Pakistan

“I always wanted to study but my dream to get higher education remained just that, a dream. I was unable to complete my Matric because of my disability. It would pain me immensely to see girls who were with me in school going to college and making something of themselves.” Maria, while wiping her tears, was discussing the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government’s new scheme regarding free education for the disabled. Maria is 32-years-old and is a resident of Gulbahar in Peshawar. She was diagnosed with polio when she was one-year-old, soon after she got her polio vaccination. She is currently living with her brother ...

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What were you doing with so much money at home, Edhi Sahib?

Sunday mornings are the laziest mornings of the week, when all one wants is to wake up to the smell of halwa puri and thick newspapers. However, this Sunday morning, Karachi woke up to the news of a robbery at the Edhi residence – house of Abdul Sattar Edhi and Bilquis Sattar Edhi and – headquarters to the Edhi Foundation, which was looted in broad daylight by unknown dacoits. This is surprising, yes. It should not have happened, I agree. But it happened. It happens all the time in Karachi. I’m just glad that the robbers had at least this much humanity left in them that they ...

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My father was an Ahmadi serving the Pakistan Air Force

On October 14, 62-year-old Mr Latif Alam Butt, an Ahmadi retired Pakistan Air Force (PAF) serviceman was gunned down at Kamra Air base, Attock District. He was shot due to his religious beliefs. My father was also an Ahmadi and a retired PAF serviceman, who also happened to die at the age of 62. But my father was not killed, only marginalised, for his religious beliefs. But he and Mr Butt share more than meets the eye. In 1965, when Mr Butt was only 13-years-old, my parents, newly married at the time, were making plans to start their married life at my ...

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Dear Aasia Bibi, today I have no apology for you

Dear Aasia, I have so much to tell you. I have so much to talk to you about. I don’t know where to begin. Perhaps the best way is to start off by saying that I would never dare say such a callous thing like I know what you must be going through. I don’t. I have no idea what is going on in your head. I can’t even imagine how disgusted you must be feeling with life right now. However, I do know that you have every reason to feel disgusted. Aasia, you need to understand a few things about the ...

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Does Pakistan realise that TTP has joined hands with the ISIS?

Hardly four months ago, I blogged about whether Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) would be forming an allegiance with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). My assumptions became a reality when Shahidullah Shahid, now a former TTP leader, proclaimed his allegiance along with five other TTP leaders to the ISIS.  At the time that I wrote the piece, I was tremendously lashed out by various people on social media, who probably just read the main heading of the article or simply commented after reading other comments without having their own perspective on the topic at hand. Apart from the numerous comments that my memory conveniently ...

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For the West, Malala fits the image of Pakistan but Edhi does not

Let me begin by saying that I like Malala Yousafzai – she is courageous, authentic and has great conviction. But a couple of questions keep dwelling in my mind; why does the West like her so much? What is her appeal to them? And along with these questions dwells the answer as well, which is quite simple; the West is courting her because she represents a side of Pakistan and Islam that suits them. By suggesting this, I am not trying to imply that Malala doesn’t deserve her accolades; she represents hope, valour, defiance and the image of a strong ...

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Tahir Malik: VIP culture destroying lives, again

Tahir Malik, 23, was a BCom graduate and was planning to study further and join a lucrative job perspective in Dubai. He was shot dead by the private security guard of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son, Abdul Qadir Gilani, while Qadir was on his way to distribute sacrificial meat. The story is not news anymore in Pakistan. We have been insulated by insensitivity and have started taking such killings as mere statistics. We have all been victims of bigwig security protocols and the process of harassment occurs at many levels. We are harassed on a daily basis. The first level is psychological, when a caravan ...

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