Stories about military operation

Same old cast, same old war, same old producers – will Yalghaar be any different from Waar?

Forget sawaiyan and prepare yourself to feast on three sumptuous cinematic delights this Eid instead. We have got the Salman Khan starrer Tubelight vying for our attention against two local offerings. While Yasir Nawaz’s Mehrunnisa V Lub You might sound like a safe bet, owing to its over the top Bollywood vibe, it is Hassan Waqar Rana’s Yalghaar which has gotten yours truly all psyched. Seasoned stalwarts like Shaan Shahid, Humayun Saeed, Ayub Khoso and Adnan Siddiqui are all part of the incredible roster along with Bilal Ashraf, Umair Jaswal, Gohar Rasheed, Ayesha Omar and Sana Bucha amongst many others. The huge ensemble cast reads like a dissertation on the who’s who of the Pakistani entertainment industry. Photo: IMDb [caption ...

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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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Under attack again: When will our government stop tolerating banned outfits?

Another day, another tragedy in Quetta. The city has seen too many to be listed but the attack on Balochistan Police College that took at least 61 lives, is the third time in less than three months that terrorists have been successful. On August 8th, Quetta’s legal community was wiped out in a devastating bomb blast. Two months later, on October 5th, four Hazara Shia women were dragged from a public bus and shot dead on the road. Today we mourn the police cadets that were killed. Calling them martyrs will not help. They are dead. Dead like many, ...

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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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Believing in one’s own propaganda: Newspapers of Dhaka and the war of 1971

During a recent visit to Dhaka, I had the opportunity to do research in the National Archives of Bangladesh and the Library of Dhaka University. Although the creation of Bangladesh was not the focus of my research, I was anxious to learn more about the tragic events resulting in the death of countless civilians and the dismemberment of Pakistan. For this purpose, I picked up the files of two English newspapers, Morning News and Pakistan Observer, published from Dhaka and examined their contents for the months of November and December. I looked at the headlines, feature articles and advertisements printed in these newspapers between November ...

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When the ‘city of lights’ turns into the ‘city of survival’

Karachi will endure not just because it has to, but because its inhabitants refuse to call it quits and give in to the face of adversity, for it is the people that define Karachi, and their resilience in essence embodies the spirit of Karachi. Karachi belongs to all of those who seek refuge beneath its bruised and battered but bountiful shade, irrespective of what walk of life they come from.  Karachi is not just owned by the political parties that represent it in the provincial or federal echelons, rather, it is owned by its people. We blame the politicians that they’re not doing enough to quench the violence happening daily ...

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Holding the government and army accountable

On December 18th, when news first broke that Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a top leader of the terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and accused mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks, was going to be released on bail, frenzy ensued. The Indian media exploded, and was quick to compare this development with the Indian show of unity with Pakistan following the Peshawar massacre; pundits denounced it as a case of the same old. However, something else happened on December 18th. The news quickly went viral on Facebook and Twitter and Pakistanis across the country, as well as overseas, were quick to respond and express ...

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The cost of silence

The nation is in shock after the events of the Peshawar school attack. Even for a country that has seen its fair share of violence, the tragedy that occurred was unbelievable. After becoming aware of what had happened, I sat in silence, overcome with grief, contemplating questions such as ‘Why had this happened?’ and ‘Who would do such a thing?’ But it became clear to me that perhaps I was going about it all wrong. I was trying to make sense of a situation that could never make sense. What reason could ever justify the killing of over a hundred innocent school children? ...

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The brilliant minds of our insurgents

As Zarb-e-Azb moves towards a ground offensive in Miranshah, bomb disposal units are assigned the daunting task of safely detonating troves of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) precariously stacked in numerous factories scattered across town. A junior military officer, part of one such unit, reflected on a mission he had successfully carried out earlier in the day. Referring to the IED composition, he said, “They (TTP) are damn experts, awesome work. Brilliant minds how they use local materials urea and the likes to make IEDs, awesome. I wish I could get trained by them”. Simply by an apt assessment of the adversary’s skill set, in this case ...

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Bringing FATA into the mainstream

The much talked about and supported military operation, Zarb-e-Azb, has been initiated in North Waziristan with the objective of clearing the region from local and foreign Taliban sanctuaries. The military strategy has already displaced thousands from the war-torn region at a time when the internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected from previous conflicts and disasters haven’t returned to their homes yet. Up to 30,000 soldiers are involved in the current operation, while more than 800,000 people have fled the area over security and an uncertain future. The operation was launched after the failed attempt at peace talks and demands from the ...

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