Swat Jirga: For the women, by the women – but will it work?

The best environment for terrorism is ‘poverty, injustice, racism, and deprivation of human rights,’ factors identified by Malala at the UN on June 12. Pakistan, where terrorism is a major force, has them all. Malala, a living example should know, and obviously her defiance emboldened other women, since all four factors are rampant in Malala’s district, Swat, where the men are known for male chauvinism, like a dragon is also known as a worm. Tahira, married at 12, suffered marital abuse. There’s nothing unusual about either the child marriage or the abuse, they happen all the time. One day her husband ...

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Malala Yousufzai and the league of extraordinary Pakistani women

There was the face of one woman in that room that could quash all the misgivings that one has about Malala Yousufzai’s “backstory”. No, it wasn’t 16-year-old Malala’s herself, it was her mother’s. Minutes after Malala began her magnificent speech at the United Nations General Assembly this Friday, the camera cut to the face of her proud parents. Her father smiled like a man who had won a battle he had fought his entire life. Her mother, in her plain white dupatta and light green shalwar Kameez, sat next to him wiping a tear that fell out of her right eye. Since ...

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The brown leopard that lost its majesty

Chaos echoed in the hills of Nathiagali when a number of men, dressed inappropriately in shalwar kameez and slippers, were spotted resting steel cages on their shoulders, while some tripped and others balanced. As they hiked through the hills, turning heads, a number of bystanders, including women and children, just tagged along in excitement. What was thrilling the crowd and making me sad was that a beautiful animal that could have been roaming in the wild was caged up. Drowsily resting its head on a piece of raw meat and occasionally moving its tail was a brown leopard. Entrapped in a ...

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Article 25-A: What does the ‘free’ in ‘right to free education’ imply?

Pakistan faces many challenges today, but education is one of the biggest. It includes huge disparities in terms of opportunities, particularly for girls and the rural population. There are also the issues of poor quality of education, low enrollment and high drop-out rates. Reportedly, over 25 million children between five and 16 years of age are out of school. This fact points to the emerging and critical social imbalance of education, even as a fundamental right. Article 25-A, the Right to Education, was inserted in the chapter of the fundamental rights of the Constitution as part of the Eighteenth Amendment. ...

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Abbottabad Commission Report: An apt summary of why we may be a “failed state”

Now that we know the details of how we harboured the world’s most wanted man for nearly a decade, before letting a foreign power invade our territory without being detected, let alone countered, the term “failed nation” has a deeper resonance for us. Osama Bin Laden entered Pakistan in 2002, and after loitering in Peshawar, Swat and Haripur, made a cozy, comfy, illegal home with his wives, children and grandchildren in Abbottabad. Here, he helped plot al Qaeda initiatives through electronic communication. Protected from arrest and tortured by the laughable incompetence of Pakistani law enforcement agencies, he encouraged his grandchildren ...

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If Pakistan acquires drone technology from the US …

Regular militant attacks have now become a norm in Pakistan. The situation on the ground suggests that tracking and hunting militants is difficult, whereas for militants, carrying out their activities at will is easier. In terms of numbers, drones have killed more militants in FATA compared to on ground operations, but these drones do not conform with legal parameters set by the Pakistani constitution. A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog on drones and the need for the Pakistan government and the military to come out clean on the issue. On July 8, 2013, it was reported that the Pakistani government is considering ...

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Musharraf’s trial: Vital for Pakistan’s history and future

Not wanting to take an extreme stand on the issue of the trial of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf is understandable but ignoring his absence from court isn’t. Precedent is extremely important here. If the right example is set, our future generations will have something to hold on to, as a source of hope and inspiration. The government’s decision to try the general and make this issue a top priority could be questioned on many grounds — how is the treason case or a murder trial more important than the ongoing terrorist attacks; why is energy not more important than seeing ...

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All in a day’s work: The modern Pakistani (super) woman

If you are a woman who belongs to the circle of society that sees itself as urban and educated, you will most likely find yourself adequately qualified with a degree and then promptly married off within a few years of working. Of course, that is if you managed to put your foot down in the first place to demand that you be allowed to work before marriage. Upon assuming marital responsibilities, it is but natural that your degree and work are pushed to the back seat, because now you are expected to take on domesticity as your foremost occupation. Or so ...

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Pakistan will remain nuclear as long as India remains nuclear

It cannot be disputed that nuclear deterrence is the key strategic factor safeguarding Pakistan’s national security. May 28 is a day of pride for Pakistan and the celebration of this day refers to the acknowledgement of all the scientists’ efforts that went into making Pakistan more secure. This day is celebrated as a national day of significance that made Pakistan a member of an exclusive club of less than ten nuclear states. In the West, Pakistan faced huge criticism, and being a Muslim state, its weapons were named ‘Islamic bombs’. On the other hand, a wave of joy and exult pulsated through the ...

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Musharraf’s trial – a conflict of interest?

At the outset it is pertinent to state that I am not in favour of dictatorship and the interference of the armed forces in the affairs of the state. Having said that, the following is my assessment in light of primary sources (laws) and secondary sources (legal definitions) of whether General (retd) Pervez Musharraf will get a fair trial in the honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan. The events that led to the 1999 coup d’etat and Lawyers’ Movement have been adequately recorded in history. For a detailed account of the Lawyers’ Movement, one can refer to Muneer A Malik’s ‘The Pakistan Lawyers’ Movement: An Unfinished Agenda’. Nevertheless, what ...

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