Is Pakistan willing to jeopardise its relations with Iran for Saudi Arabia?

It was shocking to hear Defence Minister Khwaja Asif proudly confirm that the government has agreed to the Saudi request and will allow former army chief General (retd) Raheel Sharif to command the Saudi-led military alliance of 34 Muslim nations to fight terrorism. However, observers are concerned that the coalition could be used for future conflicts against Iran and its ally Yemen.  The National Assembly had earlier agreed that it would not be in the country’s interest to take sides in the present war between Saudi Arabia and Yemen (Iran’s ally), and had decided that Pakistan would stay neutral in the ...

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PTI knows that it cannot win the 2018 elections and the Panama case proves just that

For the past one year, no other issue has gained more prominence in the political landscape of Pakistan than the Panama leaks. The issue is frankly trivial and not worth this much obsession, but thanks to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and our electronic media, a triviality has transformed into a national obsession. The government has been distracted and is in some sort of a survival mode; more pressing issues in the country have been relegated to insignificance as the Panama case has become the centre of everything.   For PTI, the Panama case has become a fixation which is now bordering ...

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It is pretty clear that neither Ali Muhammad Khan nor PTI know why Pakistan was created

Recently, I had the opportunity to witness a panel discussion where the firebrand conservative MNA from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Ali Muhammad Khan, delivered his, and for that matter his party’s, “vision” for Pakistan. According to him, Pakistan should be a theocratic state and seculars should either mend their ways or leave Pakistan. Moreover, he also brought in the havoc of the Partition riots, arguing that all the sacrifices were actually for the creation of an Islamic country.  PTI's MNA @Ali_MuhammadPTI calls secular people a threat to Pakistan and asks them to mend their ways or leave the country pic.twitter.com/R2tezc7QoV — Reema Omer (@reema_omer) ...

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Blaming India everytime for the problems in Balochistan is really not the solution, Pakistan

The media wing of Pakistan’s armed forces recently confirmed that at least 20 Baloch insurgents, including a Farrari commander, have surrendered to Pakistan Rangers Punjab. Neither the commander nor the insurgents were identified in the statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), nor were any details of the surrender provided.  The erstwhile insurgents revealed that they were led by the self-exiled president of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP), Nawabzada Brahamdagh Bugti, and were receiving funding from the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Bugti is also accused of leading the Baloch Republican Army (BRA), a banned organisation which claimed responsibility for ...

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Why is there a religion column in advertisements for sweepers anyway?

Whenever a local body like a municipal or town committee advertises for jobs involving ‘dirty work’ (like sweeping floors or cleaning bathrooms), the religion of those applying for the job is also specified. And the advertisement usually mentions that the applicants should be Christians or Hindus (Dalits). Though why sweepers and cleaners have to be non-Muslims is not clear. Who does the dirty work in countries where there are few, or no, Christians or Hindus (like Saudi Arabia for instance)? One such advertisement went viral recently. But this time the advertisement stated that applicants for the job should be “Shia, Hindu/Balmikis or ...

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Why is Sindh’s population data being manipulated in the census?

The census teams told our guards to get the forms filled in two days, after which they will come to collect them. The on-going census exercise in Karachi seems to be all over the place, raising questions on the validity and reliability of the entire exercise. The above-mentioned scenario was reported from District East in Karachi, while many others were reported from different parts of Karachi. The significance of census can be gauged from the fact that as per the Constitution, it provides basis for political representation in the national and provincial assemblies, delimitation of constituencies for national and provincial assemblies and distribution of funds ...

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Will Operation Raddul Fasaad be effective?

February 17, 2017: Within hours of the Sehwan attack, terrorist hideouts are magically discovered all over the country and over a hundred “militants” are killed across Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the tribal belt. Yet another military operation, by the name of “Raddul Fasaad” (“elimination of discord/violence/mischief”) is announced. I don’t know about you but I’ll tell you what I’m feeling; it’s called deja vu, the feeling that this has all happened before. And that might just be because it has. Flashback to June 15, 2014: Following the attack on Jinnah International Airport, the military launched Operation “Zarb-e-Azb” (“cutting strike”). This operation targeted militant hideouts in North Waziristan and along the Afghan border. Within a week, ...

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The untold story of the water that Sindh drinks

It is a hot, dusty day. You grab a glass from your kitchen shelf, walk over to the mineral water dispenser, and pour clear and fresh water into it. The coolness satiates your thirst quickly and you leave it on the table partially full, in a hurry to continue the day’s chores. There is one reality lost in this mundane action: The water you wasted in one minute, some could stretch for one entire day. Not very far away in fact, there are people like you and I who satiate their thirst with water that is slightly better than sewage water. ...

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One month later, sifting through the sands of Sehwan

“May the curse of God be on the enemies of Qalandar. May the enemies of Ahle Bait (the family of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)) be always cursed”. It is 5am. After paying my respects at the shrine of Bodla Bahar, the disciple of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, as per tradition, I head to the shrine of his murshid (spiritual master). The vehement tabarra (cursing) mentioned above is the first thing I witness as I stand outside the closed gates of Qalandar’s shrine. A malang attired in black beats his fists into his chest as he mourns the blast that happened on February 16, 2017, one month ago, at ...

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Drug addicts are born, not made

He brushed off the litter of ash from his clothes, pursed the filter between his nicotine stained lips, and inhaled another deep drag of chemically-infused smoke. He allowed the sensation of the hit to take over his entire body, feeling his head spin and his body go numb. It was like the doors of a dam opening, as a whirlwind of thoughts rushed through his head in chaos. His thoughts rested at their favourite home track where his train of thought often took him – why did he continue to do the same things over and over again, expecting different results each ...

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