Stories about Lashkar-e-Jhangvi

Pakistan and Afghanistan are in a dangerous stalemate — with no resolution in sight

Last month, Pakistan suffered its deadliest spasm of terrorist violence since 2014. Over a period of four days in February, militants struck all four Pakistani provinces and three major urban spaces. The bloodshed culminated on February 16 with an assault on a revered Sufi shrine that killed nearly 90 people. It was the deadliest terrorist attack on Pakistani soil since a school massacre in the city of Peshawar that killed 141 people, most of them students, in 2014. This killing spree has dangerous implications, not only for Pakistan, which has enjoyed a relative respite from terrorist violence over the last ...

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Five of my uncles were shot in the Nazimabad attacks

You never think it’s going to happen to you… until it does. Just over a week ago, I was in a queue with my four-year-old son. We were waiting for a train ride around the park near my parents’ house when I received a phone call from my mum. It was the phone call that nobody ever wants to receive; the phone call that informs you of tragedy at home. Five of my maternal uncles had been shot in Nazimabad, Pakistan. We weren’t sure who was alive at that point, but as we took to Twitter, the true reality of the horror was ...

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Are the people of Balochistan not human enough for us?

Nations can be judged in times of tragedy. How they live, how they breathe and how they react to an atmosphere of fear, fire and blood, tells a lot about them. As a nation, which has seen years of relentless bloodshed, bombings, beheadings and coffins, the Baloch, Pakhtuns and Hazaras of Balochistan are amongst the most resilient people our region’s history has witnessed. They have been cut down, mauled, killed in their own homes – yet they do not react irrationally nor do they retaliate barbarically in return. Such resilience and patience is beyond compare in modern times. However, if ...

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Chotu, not so Chota anymore

I really like these Robin Hood types of stories, not that I agree with them or condone the modus operandi or anything. Just enjoy them. Something about taking from the filthy rich fills me with ecstasy, more or less, as it would any other poor man. Anyway, if people were wondering who Chotu is, please beware – he is not Robin Hood. Chotu is (now) a wanted dacoit, just put behind bars by the Pakistan Army. Since they are cleaning house after General Raheel Sharif’s stand on accountability, one might as well expect the army to get rid of former police ...

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Why schools, colleges and universities?

As I am watching the attack on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda unfold on live television, I am forced to relive the horror of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Army Public School (APS) attack which took place approximately a year ago. For the millions of Pakistanis who witnessed that attack on live television, APS is a scar that is not going to heal. I can only pray for the students at Bacha Khan and their families. Vehement protest, which perhaps is the best emotion to represent our feelings, will fall on deaf ears like the hundreds of similar protests across Pakistan following other ...

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How serious is the ISIS threat to South Asia?

Recent weeks have brought a bevy of news headlines attesting to the rising profile of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in South Asia. The group’s literature has circulated in Pakistan, and its flags have been spotted in Kashmir. Several Pakistani militant commanders expressed their allegiance to ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Alleged ISIS recruiters were arrested in Pakistani and Indian cities. Officials in Afghanistan declared that ISIS is “active” in the country’s south. Most significantly, last month, ISIS’s spokesman officially announced the group’s expansion into what he identified as “Khorasan” — a region encompassing present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. Despite all this, some observers, including those writing for the South Asia Channel, argue that ISIS ...

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An open letter to Islamabad Commissioner

Dear Sir, I am writing this to bring your urgent attention to an illegal public gathering of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), which was declared as a banned outfit on February 15, 2013, by the Government of Pakistan. The gathering is being held on February 21, 2015, after Maghrib Prayers, at Karachi Company Market, G-9 Sector, Islamabad, which falls within your jurisdiction. In fact it is just seven minutes away from the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration Office. Photo: Jibran Nasir The gathering is being held to mark the death anniversary of the founder of Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP), Haq Nawaz ...

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Are Jibran Nasir and his friends game changers in today’s Pakistan?

One cold Karachi night On the night of February 1st, Jibran Nasir – Pakistan’s leading activist – and a handful of peaceful protesters sat on a road in Karachi near the Sindh chief minister’s house for more than 24 hours, demanding the arrest of terrorists responsible for the January 30th, 2015, Shikarpur attack which killed 65 Shias during Friday prayers, and demanding action against banned sectarian organisations. There were only 20 protesters, their average age 25, outnumbered it seemed by riot police with water cannon and batons at the ready. Protest in Karachi against terrorism and secterian violence. Photo: Kafila Karachi is ...

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Balochistan: Self-inflicted misery?

My fondest childhood memories are of rolling down the landscaped gardens of the rest-house located beside the Quaid-e-Azam’s residency in Ziarat. The undulating open space spotted with the frosted looking juniper trees provided an ideal environment for the equally inviting wooden dens; and the fresh dew on the grass under the clear blue sky was then so tempting for us to feel. Visiting these dream homes used to be the highlight of our summer vacations. The short picnics to Hanna Lake, Ziarat and Wali Tangi were enriching and peaceful to say the least. Quetta, I should say, was one of the most ...

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The day the Taliban attacked my father

Death is very different from finishing a novel; both symbolise the end of something, the emotional attachment to both is poles apart. One similarity, however, between the death of a good person and the end of a good novel is that both leave a mark on your life. It’s hard to realise the importance of some people, until one day you wake up to find out that those people are no more in your life. I understood this reality on June 26, 2013. It was a very strange, sad day for me and my family. The day started like any other. My father, a ...

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