Stories about Paris attacks

An open letter to the world from a hijabi

Writing this letter was hard. I didn’t even know where to start. I guess my life and this letter are quite similar in this regard. I know what some of you might be thinking – “what is this girl blabbering on about, and why are we even reading this?” – but it’s important for me to explain to you and make you understand where I’m coming from. I need to salvage the last bit of hope I have remaining. You don’t know me personally but I am a Pakistani hijabi. I have two of the most deplored identities in the ...

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How sport terrorism took over Europe and Pakistan in 2016

With the terrorist attack outside Besiktas football stadium in Istanbul last week, that killed 38 people and left 166 wounded, 2016 bids farewell to the world of sports on a gloomy note. A gradual rise in terror attacks on sports venues has been seen over the last two decades but this year, the phenomenon of sports terrorism has horribly haunted the whole world, especially Europe, in terms of the number of tragic incidents and casualties. Police arrive at the site of an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey, December 10, 2016.Photo: Reuters Terrorism is an international challenge, yet in the ...

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Was Quetta an ISIS job or a JuA job? Or was it a joint effort?

I found out about the Quetta bombing the way I do about most breaking news – through Facebook. My heart sank as I saw an article a friend had posted about a cameraman who worked for one of the same publications as I do. He was a father of four children and legal guardian to three others. On Tuesday, while filming a protest of lawyers outside a Quetta hospital he was killed in a suicide attack alongside 93 others. The attack – yet another in the violence-plagued south-western province of Balochistan – is said to have taken out an entire generation of ...

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Donald Trump vs Sadiq Khan: Who is the better leader?

In a momentous blow to Donald Trump’s divisive tactics and fear-mongering, London elected their first Muslim mayor, Mr Sadiq Khan. Mr Khan, of Pakistani descent, was born and brought up in London and won the election despite being harangued as a terrorist sympathiser by Zac Goldsmith, his opponent and David Cameron. Although those allegations didn’t stick, his election shows that the people of London were able to look past his ethnicity and faith, and instead rely on his sound policies, like dealing with the on-going housing crisis that plagues London. Trump, on the other hand, seems to be gaining popularity in the American primaries by isolating different ethnicities ...

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Brussels Attacks: These attacks are a home grown problem

It seems like us Pakistanis are not the only ones who get caught in compromising situations nowadays. Case in point right now is Belgium. Despite knowing about the link between Molenbeek, notoriously dubbed as Jihadi Central and only three miles to the west of Brussels, and the brutal Paris attacks, how is it that Belgian authorities remained so complacent? After all, they had conducted multiple raids at this particular neighbourhood, hadn’t they? Let’s say somehow they overlooked the potential threat of a hotbed of extremism existing nearby due to some error, but were previous incidents not warning enough? With events like the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the ...

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Downing Street raises the Belgian flag and we tweet for Brussels – but where was this sympathy after Ankara?

Yet again Europe has been shaken by the impact of a terrorist attack – and, once again, it has responded in a way that we have come to see as tragically routine. On social media we have Facebook safety check-ins, Twitter hashtags and sharable cartoons. In real life the Belgian flag will be hoist or projected over the national monuments of neighbouring European countries. The responses have taken on the morbid ritual of a funeral. And arguably, they are important to help us process the inexplicable horror and to give us some tools with which to communicate defiance in the ...

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One month after the Bacha Khan University attack and we are still stuck in selective empathy

Just a year after the Army Public School attack which shook the entire country to its core, prompting collective declarations of #NeverAgain, we are staring into the abyss yet again. It has been one month since another educational institution, Bacha Khan University was brutally targeted and another 21 precious lives were extinguished. The state vows to bring the perpetrators to justice. Once again, our resilience is extolled as the nation’s highest virtue and we slowly begin to pick ourselves up one more time. We may soon recover; perhaps even find ourselves celebrating a successful military response to the enemy one day, signalling a brighter ...

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Are ISIS recruits in Afghanistan a threat to Pakistan?

Afghanistan can perhaps be labelled as one of the most war affected country in the world. Peace has seldom been achieved since the Soviet invasion. After the end of the Soviet occupation, the country saw severe infighting over power which led to major internal armed conflicts. The fact that Afghan groups who took arms against the former USSR but later turned to each other for support is not a surprising story. By nature, Afghans are a tough people, they have further been hardened by a war they fought against an extremely powerful foe. It was only natural all major players involved in ...

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Changing the perception of Islam in the world is a Muslim’s responsibility

Ever since the Paris attack on November  13, 2015, and mass shooting in San Bernardino, California on December 2, 2015, that left 14 people dead, there is growing antagonism against the Muslim community in the United Sates leading to increase in hate crimes like arson and vandalism at mosques, targeting hijab wearing women causing insecurity among the Muslim communities. Sadly, even the Sikhs have not been spared for they have often been mistaken to be representing radical Islamic elements. Many of the gurdwaras have been desecrated and many Sikhs had to bear the brunt of racist attacks. The politicians, especially ...

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Pakistan’s complete lack of planning creates the ideal environment for violence

A loud blast followed by an explosion in Quetta on Wednesday left several persons dead and others severely injured. The scene was a polio vaccination centre, and the explosion took place near a group of vehicles which were being loaded with vaccination supplies. Twelve of the dead belonged to the police, two to the paramilitary, while two were civilians. Fifteen people died at the hands of a suicide bomber whose remains were later collected from the site. The police and paramilitary personnel killed had come to the polio vaccination centre to escort the polio workers since polio teams are so commonly subjected to attacks ...

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