Stories about Taliban

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 ...

Read Full Post

Does Afghanistan really need a Pashtun leader?

As I am writing this, the people of Afghanistan have already casted their votes in what is arguably the most important election in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. The whole world’s eyes are fixated on the upcoming results, which will be announced on April 24 and finalised on May 9. So I also asked a friend from Afghanistan which candidate his family voted for and he replied, “Of course, they voted for a Pashtun because we need a Pashtun leader. After all, Pashtuns constitute the majority of the Afghan population.” In fact, all eight candidates in this presidential run are from ...

Read Full Post

Why do we need peace talks if we have the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO)?

 The Government of Pakistan is in the process of carrying out a dialogue with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – they who have been hiding in Pakistan and have attacked the Pakistani armed forces, national strategic places and killed more than 50,000 people of Pakistan. Despite these facts, the government continues to pursue these ‘negotiations’. The recent Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO) bill, approved by the presidential house, gives full support to the armed forces to take action against state enemies who are waging war against Pakistan from within the country’s borders. Therefore, the question then is what was the need for such a bill when the ...

Read Full Post

Do we need madrassas in Pakistan?

Pakistan has undoubtedly become a difficult place to live in with death penalties for the weakest of the weak while terrorists and thugs are acquitted and walk free.  It is quite true that those who believe in absurdities are the ones who commit atrocities. Blasphemy or what ‘they’ term blasphemous is one such absurd idea that provides the basis for committing atrocious acts in Pakistan. The death sentence given to a young Christian man, Sawan Masih, is a great example of such an atrocity committed in the name of ‘blasphemy’ under Pakistan’s rigorous blasphemy law. Sawan Masih, a cleaner, was arrested last year in March in ...

Read Full Post

Will Sharif be able to follow Mahathir and Erdogan?

As I read some of the statements made by the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan, and the reactions following them, a feeling of deja vu overcame me. Haven’t I heard (all) this before? In the late 1990s, the former prime minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was facing an Asian financial crisis. Just like Erdogan is doing now, he blamed the West, the Jews and the currency speculators for the crisis and thus, restricted people’s right to freedom. Unsurprisingly, he was also accused of being authoritarian, anti-Semitic and a propagator of far-fetched but dangerous conspiracy theories. But these are not the only similarities between the two prime ...

Read Full Post

Of course, charging an ex-Chief of Army staff with treason will help us fight terrorism

After many hiccups and a long wait, the day has finally come and former president Pervez Musharraf has been indicted for treason. This is a new chapter in the history of Pakistan, for reasons both, good and bad. However, before going into the reasons and the impact of this verdict, I think it is pertinent to recap the situation that led to the imposition of emergency on November 3, 2007 – the alleged violation of Article 6 of the constitution. Since the matter cannot be considered in isolation, let’s begin from the presidential reference against the former chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry. The lawyers’ ...

Read Full Post

Our weapons must not be the reason children in Syria are dying!

I stood underneath the shadow of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. This grand symbol of the Ottoman legacy rested benevolently amid a vast courtyard filled with lush gardens, sparkling fountains and the excited murmurs of tourists. As I fully absorbed my surroundings, I felt a sudden tug on the hem of my shirt. I looked down to see a child standing in front of me, repeatedly pointing to something he held in his left hand. He was young of age, hardly thirteen-years-old. His worn out clothes and look of utter desperation were enough to betray the fact that he was not ...

Read Full Post

I hope MH370 has been hijacked to Pakistan

Speculations that MH370 had been hijacked to Pakistan hardly surprised me. Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney appeared on Fox News to explain how he believed the missing airplane could’ve landed ‘safely’ and ‘intact’ in Pakistan to be used for terrorism in the future. I had, in fact, been waiting for the media to start questioning whether the Taliban had played a role in the disappearance of the plane. And since Pakistan is globally considered synonymous with the Taliban, it was only a given that the media started wondering whether the plane had been hidden there. Even when the Tehreek-e-Taliban spokesperson denied ...

Read Full Post

Pak sarzameen shaadbaad

“Pak sarzameen shaadbaad” (Blessed be the sacred land) The old, rusty metal door made a creaking sound when the hunched attendant with crooked teeth and clubbed, callous fingers with dirty nails, opened it with a push of his shoulder. He took a drag from the cigarette hanging between his beetle nut stained lips and exhaled. The smoke made strange shapes before disappearing into the thick air. A lone, low wattage energy saver hung from the ceiling with a wire, the light it emitted made everything look ghastly. Not that there were many things worth seeing. The smell of tobacco got mixed with the strong ...

Read Full Post

Remembering Jalib, remembering his fight against dictatorship

There was a man who audaciously used to say, “Mai nahi Manta” (I refuse to accept) He was neither a bourgeois nor a feudal and surely, he was not patronised by any ‘third force’ (Teesri Quwwat) that has a hand in every incident that takes place in Pakistan. He was an ideologue, charismatic and an eloquent poet. Moreover, he was best known for his revolutionary zeal. He struggled for the restoration of democracy and human rights. His enthralling poetry elucidated the notorious rule of dictators. However, his poesy still befits today’s political setting. That man was none other than the great Habib Ahmed Jalib. Dastoor was ...

Read Full Post