Stories about Afghan war

If no major non-Arab nation has supported the Saudi bloc, so why pressure Pakistan, Saudi Arabia?

As is often the case in regional conflicts, outside players may feel compelled to toe the line of one of the parties. Thus, in the latest conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt (also known as the Saudi bloc), Pakistan finds itself walking a diplomatic and economic tightrope. That is, until the last few days, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told King Salman of Saudi Arabia that Pakistan will not be taking sides in the conflict. As this commentary will illustrate, I believe that this is the commendable choice as it is in Pakistan’s interest to remain neutral, if not lean, towards Qatar based ...

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Marine Le Pen vs Emmanuel Macron: Who will win le melee?

With the second and final round of the French presidential elections due on May 7, 2017, both finalists are clawing to encroach on each other’s weathered enclaves while fiercely defending their own. The winner in the second and final round of a scandal-ridden, 11-candidate presidential campaign could affect the global power balance. Le Canard Enchainé, France’s leading satirical weekly’s investigative reporting had ensured a breathless ride by raking up the private dealings of two of the major contenders—François Fillon, a former Prime Minister under Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, and the Front National leader, Marine Le Pen. “Fake news”, the new, hotly contested semantic battleground, has crossed the ...

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Saudi Arabia, building 200 mosques will not help the refugee crisis

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in all its benevolent wisdom, has come to the aid of the Middle Eastern refugees lining up on the gates of Germany, by offering to build 200 mosques in the European nation. Yes, this is exactly what these traumatised people need after losing their homes, resources, family members, dignity, and mental and physical well-being – mosques. Indeed, for those so inclined, it is important for pious refugees to have a place to practice faith, especially in a foreign land where religion can help them feel grounded, but only after achieving stability in their lives. For Saudi Arabia to offer ...

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Is Pakistan capable of protecting its minorities?

The recent attack on the Ismaili Muslims in Karachi brought a lot of things into perspective. Firstly, it exposed the ineffectiveness of various military, rangers and police operations, and, secondly, it unveiled the dangers our minority communities are exposed to. But seeing this attack in isolation would not be of any help. We need to understand how religion has facilitated the state and, by extension, the militant organisations over the past decades and how it has led to the conundrum that we find ourselves in now. The first time Islam came to serve the government was in 1953, for Mumtaz Daultana, which led to ...

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Does Hillary Clinton have aggressive war policies?

Hillary Clinton recently announced that she would be running for the US presidential office for the next term. If she manages to win, she will be the first female president of the United States, which in itself is quite a feat considering the fact that the US has an extremely small percentage of female representatives in congress as compared to men. Clinton promises to be a ‘champion’ for Americans, but her popularity ratings have witnessed a sharp decline from a high of 67% to a mere 49% since her departure from the State Department. The question remains – how will she ...

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Remembering Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The man who gave life to qawwali

There are some voices which are dependent on words in order to get heard and appreciated, and then there are those, self-sufficing ones, upon which words cease to exist – the unsurpassed ones. Words perish and what remains is the triad of voice, revelation and a standstill universe. Such is the case with Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. His voice has transcended the realm of words. “I am a peddler, wandering and roaming from one village to another, in the lanes of cities, in the countries of the world, offering the message of peace, wishing to continue to do so all ...

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Everything is NOT Zia’s fault – here are 6 reasons why

In the 1980s, there was a grocery store in H-Block, Model Town Lahore, called ‘Blueberry Bakers’. Now that I think about it, I wish I had asked the owner, known to me only as ‘uncle’, why his establishment was named as such, especially since I am 100% sure the store did not have a bakery and neither did it ever offer any blueberries. Blueberry Bakers was one of my go-to points for Super Crisps and RC Cola.  While I might enjoy waxing nostalgic about where I bought junk food from as a 10-year-old, I’m guessing that’s of little interest to the ...

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I am from FATA and, today, I don’t feel Pakistani at all

I was shocked when I heard that the governments of Punjab and Sindh have barred Waziristan’s Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from entering their provinces. Belonging to the tribal areas, I know how much our forefathers have sacrificed for this country. It was our people who took part in Pakistan’s first war against India in 1948, to save Kashmir – and this was when Pakistan’s own army general had refused to fight. Today, whatever part of Kashmir comes under Pakistani territory, it’s all thanks to the efforts of my people. When the USSR attacked Afghanistan and Pakistan decided to be part of the United States-led ...

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Painting happy portraits won’t erase your past, George W Bush!

Pablo Picasso once said, “Painting is a blind man’s profession. He paints not what he sees but what he feels; what he tells himself about what he has seen.” The 46th ex-governor of Texas as well as the 43rd former president of the United States (from 2001 to 2009) and now an artist, George W Bush has surprised the world with his first ever solo art exhibition ingeniously titled ‘The Art of Leadership – A President’s Personal Diplomacy’. The exhibition opened at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas and it will run from April 5 through June 3, 2014. Former president Bush, who has taken ...

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My grandmother: The unwanted martyr

Normally, when my friends would tell me how their grandparents passed away, they would speak of ill-health and chronic pain, which one would expect as consequences of old age. I would, however, always keep that information about my grandparents closed off from the rest of the world. It’s a topic of great sensitivity amongst my family and has always been brushed under the carpet by my mother, as a way of preventing tears from streaming down her otherwise stoic face. After all, it’s not particularly straightforward for me to discuss the fact that my maternal grandmother was blown up by a ...

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