Stories about Taliban

Brother, you are from Pakistan and you don’t speak Arabic?

One of the biggest advantages of living abroad is the chance to hear what people think about your country. I have been living in Germany for the last three months and during this short stay, I have made friends from different regions of the world. At first, it appeared mystifying, the fact that everyone that I had met, knew something about Pakistan. It is no surprise that with the ongoing situation in Pakistan, where every day there is horrifying news that in the imagination of people I have come across, Pakistan comes closer to being an aberration. Wishfully, I often think ...

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6 Pakistanis who think Israel is their problem

I feel bad and a little guilty saying it, but I’m not interested in the Palestinian crisis. There, I said it. * Exhale * I don’t understand this outpouring of emotions for Palestine on Facebook. How come there weren’t any well designed posters shared on Facebook when 10 people were shot by police forces in Model Town, Lahore? Why wasn’t Facebook overwhelmed with emotional anti-Taliban visuals when they attacked Karachi airport? Were we sleeping earlier or are we just tuned to only hate Israel? Do things going kaboom in our backyard not make us flinch? Or are we afraid of criticising the Taliban because they might be ...

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Should war be celebrated?

On the walls along MA Jinnah Road, I came across certain graffiti, a bold approval in red paint, which read, “Pak fauj qadam barhao, hum tumharay saath hain” (Take a step, Pakistani Army, the people are with you) This was a reminder for every passer-by that it is the duty of every Pakistani to support its army engaged in Zarb-e-Azb, the on-going military operation in North Waziristan. In the past few months, there has been a shift in the rhetoric pertaining to the army; the protector has become the saviour, the last resort has become the beacon of hope and force has become the ...

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Happy Birthday, Malala

In a recent social media diatribe (the ones where everyone’s faith is fired up or as a friend once put it, ‘angrily typing curses and calls for Jihad from their mothers’ basements in Bradford’, and anyone against these noble agendas is a spawn of the devil), an old friend descended to defend the ‘good Taliban’, opposing drone strikes and how liberalisation is ruining Pakistani people. It’s almost mathematical; the kind of arguments that pile up in this side of the spectrum. Aafia Siddiqui is the daughter of the nation. Kashmir is ours. Taliban don’t really exist – it’s all a smokescreen because America wants to ...

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Stop blaming FATA and take responsibility for the IDPs, Pakistan

After months of dithering, the Pakistani government finally approved the long-awaited offensive against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) last week. The decision came in the wake of the audacious terrorist attack on the country’s largest airport that reportedly killed at least 29 people. While the decision is a welcome move, the way it was arrived at revealed the ‘reactive’ nature of and the laxity and arbitrariness associated with the country’s policy-making process. Given the existential threat it poses, terrorism should have been the foremost priority of the new government and therefore must have been dealt with in a more pro-active and robust way. Unfortunately, ...

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Don’t ignore your IDPs, Pakistan!

The military operation in Swat five-years-ago led to the displacement of approximately two million Pakistanis, who had to abandon their homes, commodities and lives overnight to a bleak and uncertain future. Facing obscurity, these two million refugees trekked to safer locales with infants and elderly in tow. According to United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) statistics, released as of September 11, 2012, there were 160,063 families still resigned to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) status, of which 12% (18,783 families) were still residing in camps and 88% (141,280 families) were residing in host communities two years back. Though the World Food Programme (WFP) assisted ...

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Will Zarb-e-Azb bring peace to Pakistan?

After much dillydallying, useless discussions and utterly unsuccessful peace talks, Pakistan has, finally, launched a “decisive” operation, code named Zarb-e-Azb, against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in the North Waziristan Agency. The Pakistan Army claims that around 180 Taliban have been killed so far, with dozens other captured and their safe havens and ammunition depots taken out, in jet bombings and face-to-face skirmishes. All exit points from North Waziristan Agency have been cordoned off and the Taliban are not being given any opportunity to slip to adjacent areas and elude the fire. There is a growing impression that the Taliban have been cornered. However, the ...

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Understanding the ‘good Taliban’ and ‘bad Taliban’

Just as social media flooded with a surprisingly positive wave of military operation support, there were a few who did not quite seem happy. One of them, ironically, happens to be my friend. “Don’t be so happy, Sultana. Our government has failed to conduct fair negotiations with them, and with this operation, there will be far worse consequences. You will regret attacking them.” The remark came as a surprise. It made me pause. I stood frozen with a smile from the last moment of unity left hanging in the air. Suddenly, I felt uncomfortable. I felt I was standing face to face with ...

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10 years ago we told you not to wage war in Iraq, who will stop the bloodshed now?

It was a chilly February morning in 2003 when my sister and I trudged into central London with a couple of school friends to voice our utter revulsion at the upcoming Iraq invasion that was being planned by Tony Blair and George Bush. There were people from all walks of life; the elderly, the disabled, the very young and very frail out in the millions to scream at the top of their lungs,  ‘No war! No war!’ The atmosphere was electric and people rallied together with a unified message knowing full well that war would completely destroy the region. So more than ten ...

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All the best, Pakistan, we are with you!

What do you do when your neighbour’s house catches fire? Do you sit by, try to extinguish the fire using water or hasten its destruction by throwing petrol in it? Pakistan, our neighbour, my dear friends, has been afire for the last 12 years. Verily, it is one of the biggest victims of terrorism, duh. Statistics reveal an alarming rise in the number of fatalities due to acts of terrorist violence in the Islamic Republic in recent years. As per the data available with the South Asia Terrorism Portal, as many as 52,409 people, including women, children and brave security personnel, lost their ...

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