Stories about Taliban

Mr Nawaz Sharif, the Saudi-Yemeni conflict is not our war to fight

As the Houthi rebels strengthen their stranglehold over the country, amid the surreptitious flight of the Yemeni president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the long raging civil war in Yemen has finally come into the international spotlight. Pakistan is, once again, at crossroads with Saudi Arabia, who is attempting to suck in inter-ethnic, inter-religious, and intra-sectarian conflicts into their black hole. The prospects of petro-dollars coupled with the longstanding romance between the Sharifs and Sauds, buoyed by a rise of the Pakistan Army as a bulwark against both domestic as well as international terrorism, in recent times, might have made the temptation of joining the Saudi alliance irresistible, but it is an alliance ...

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By destroying relics, ISIS is committing the greatest blasphemy

Yesterday, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) destroyed an ancient Christian monastery which has been described as the equivalent of Canterbury Cathedral. ISIS have allegedly blown up the monastery of Mar Behnam near the town of Qaraqosh built by Assyrian king Sanharib. pic.twitter.com/9XC5TD9k0G — EnaLolena (@EnaLolena) March 19, 2015 Just weeks earlier, it raided Mosul Museum and filmed themselves destroying all the relics on show, including priceless, irreplaceable Assyrian statues. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2i9583 This is a throwback to the infamous episode of when the Taliban destroyed the ancient great Buddha statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan in 2001. The rationalisation is the same. In typical Wahhabi-inspired nonsense, ...

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Christening our Muslim land with blood

Five years ago, I lost close friends in one of the most gruesome terrorist attacks on Pakistani soil. In twin attacks on two major Ahmadi places of worship in Lahore, 88 worshippers were martyred by the Taliban. It was a painfully bloody day. This weekend, I woke up to sad news from Pakistan that made me relive some of that pain. Fourteen worshipers were martyred and more than 70 were injured when two Taliban suicide bombers blew themselves up outside churches in Youhanabad, Lahore. These attacks on Pakistan’s Christian community are not a sporadic event. They are a part of a very tragic trend. Just over a year ago, another ...

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#NineZeroRaid: Why is MQM the only one being targeted?

The early morning raid at Nine-Zero, the headquarters of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has raised a series of questions. On one hand, it seemed like a well-coordinated search operation carried out reportedly upon a tip off by the intelligence agencies, while at the same time, the timing of the raid right after the Senate elections and especially when MQM, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had apparently turned over a new leaf, gives credence to some political back channel arm twisting either by PML-N or the ruling party in Sindh, PPP. Such serious actions are usually taken when either there ...

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What happened when 20 men in Afghanistan wore burqas?

Yesterday, March 8th marked the 104th anniversary of International Women’s Day as people all over the world found unique and creative ways to raise awareness about the rights, or lack thereof, of women, calling for gender equality and celebrating the achievements of women worldwide. These were done through social media, local and international events, educational seminars, political functions, etcetera. When it comes to commemorating global events like International Women’s Day, the sky is the limit.  However, the event that stood out the most for me, and even made headlines last week, was that of a group of 20 Afghan men, fully clad in blue shuttlecock burqas, marching ...

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Why is Barack Obama’s religion our business?

Sitting by the television this morning, going about my morning rituals of brewing coffee and toasting bread for a quick breakfast, I came across CNN running a blurb, advertising a documentary series titled Finding Jesus. I couldn’t resist mumbling to myself, “Jesus Christ, really? Is this 2015 or 1515? Are we living in times when mankind was still groping in the dark, trying to outline the philosophical basis of divergent faiths or hoping to find the Supreme Being using some historical, hypothetical evidence to prove that all the luminaries of religions did indeed exist?” Why will an established news network like ...

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It is not just the West, Islamophobia is on the rise in Pakistan too

Only when we thought Osama bin Laden was rotting in his grave and the West had started accepting us for our faith, Islamophobia struck again.  After the Charlie Hebdo attack of January 7th, the Denmark shootings of February 14th and the public flogging of Raef Badawi, a liberal blogger of Saudi Arabia, the West found grounds to fear Islam again. We see articles in the news about how the West is becoming cynical and alienating Muslims, and how a parking space issue can turn into a homicide because almost everybody in the West is either afraid of Muslims or angry at them. Like Mr Kashif Chaudhry, you too might believe that some Twitter ...

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Why the BBC’s Lyse Doucet failed to understand Pakistan

One normally doesn’t expect someone like the BBC’s Lyse Doucet to indulge in ‘parachute journalism’, so when I came across this rather odious report by her for BBC, I was kind of taken aback. (For those of you who are wondering what exactly this ‘parachute journalism’ is, it relates to foreign correspondents going to a foreign land – normally seen as ‘exotic’, or in Pakistan’s case ‘very violent’, ‘un-liveable’ and so on – for a very brief period and doing a report for a western audience based on that very short visit). When I first looked at the headline “Book ...

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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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Is ISIS funded by Israel? Does that even matter?

 “Let our position be absolutely clear, any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force” – President Jimmy Carter, State of the Union address 1980. Islam, Judaism and Christianity are the three mightiest religions on the globe… and then there is oil. The American interest in the region is obvious; the American clout in the region is obvious; the American biases in the region are obvious and ...

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