Stories about Taliban

Zimbabwe’s visit to Pakistan: Dawn of a new era?

“Daarhion ne phir marwa diya hai” (The beards [bearded men] have gotten us into trouble again) These were the first words I heard on a dreary school morning as news of the attackon the touring Sri Lankan team made the headlines. A desolate shroud enveloped Zinda Dilan-e-Lahore as news broke that the bus carrying the touring Sri Lankan cricket team was fired at by a coterie of Kalashnikov toting ‘na maloom afraad’ in broad daylight. The nearby elite would hear of such incidents up in the agencies next to the Afghan border and seldom, the Taliban types would make it as far as Peshawar, but a gun massacre somewhere as central ...

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To save Pakistan, we have to let go of the idea of Pakistan

“We are fighting a fight for Pakistan.” This is an oft repeated statement from politicians, military personnel, bureaucrats and journalists. Let me tell you unequivocally, we are losing the fight for Pakistan. In our attempts to salvage an archaic idea of Pakistan, an idea relegated to the back shelves of the global landscape, we are losing the Pakistan that we have. We will not win this war in North Waziristan, we will not lose this war in Lahore, we will either win or lose this war in the minds of our countrymen. Yes, that is what they are, our countrymen, and every single ...

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Pakistan must not pay the price for PM Nawaz’s honour

The government of Saudi Arabia has formally asked Pakistan to help militarily in the on-going crisis in Yemen. And Pakistan has been quick to offer its aid to the Saudis. Now this is not based on strategic necessity for Pakistan, even though there is an argument that the Saudis could do with the extra help on ground. The reasons why Pakistan has been so keen to get involved are rather more prosaic. Also, much more misguided. They are largely grounded in the personal relationship that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has with the Saudis from the time they persuaded the then president, Pervez Musharraf not ...

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Pakistan’s unstable, schizophrenic relation with Afghanistan

Pakistan and Afghanistan enjoy a ‘brotherly’ relationship that is nothing less than a theatre of the absurd. It has had its highs and lows and has had moments when people have scratched their heads and wondered about the emotionally unstable, schizophrenic handling of bilateral affairs by their erratic and volatile leaderships. With an extremely porous, almost non-existent border featuring a treacherous terrain of hills and rugged mountains standing between the two countries, the people of both lands have endured hard times since decades now. As if the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 70s was not enough with a massive influx of refugees spilling into Pakistan throughout the 80s, ...

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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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