Stories about target killing

Obama is not the only hypocrite

A few weeks ago, there was a great outrage when the killing of school children in the US state of Connecticut, USA was compared to the tragic deaths of children killed in drone attacks in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. An article in the Guardian succinctly described the gloom felt all over Pakistan as children lose their lives as collateral damage. All criticism was regarded impassively by US diplomats who are rumoured to have ignored similar sentiments expressed by the NYU-Stanford report on drones. If our fury is directed towards the unfair attention and outrage felt for the loss of ...

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Are you a real Karachiite?

Imagine this. You’re lying down, dead beat from a long day and really not looking forward to yet another monotonous day ahead of you. No, not because you hate your boss but more so because your boss hates you. You’re done surfing through all the 87 useless channels that your beloved cable TV operator provides. You refresh your Facebook profile one last time on your supposedly ‘smart’ phone, hoping for a new notification, friend request, or a wall post ─  anything. You put on your PJs and hop into bed. The last two minutes before you slumber, that’s when your ...

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Recognising journalists: Only an international trait?

On October 31, the Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ) Pakistan was awarded a human rights award by a German organisation in a ceremony held in Berlin. The union president, Safdar Dawar, a native of Miramshah, North Waziristan, accepted the award on behalf of the union, his fellow journalists in Fata and all his colleagues who were killed while on duty. When I first met him, he shared with me the story of his abduction by the intelligence agencies in Khost, Afghanistan in early 2000. He was released nine hours later following intervention by some influential people, and after he was ...

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How my heart pines for home

It was barely six months ago that, my wife and I walked through the immigration desk at Karachi’s Jinnah Terminal en route to Europe. Having moved out of Pakistan almost four years ago in search of a better future, I am now used to the whole drill. The pre-travel jitters are all but drowned by the overwhelming emotions of having to leave your folks behind, yet the prospect of getting away from all the insecurities that plague this country fill you with a strange vigour. Strange because this vigour does not last long and within a few months you start to ...

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The Vice Guide to Karachi will not render my love for the city void

Recently, I came across a documentary – the Vice Guide to Karachi – a short film based on the heart of Pakistan. Shot during the recent Lyari operation, this five-part documentary shows one of the many sides to this big city. Describing Karachi as an ultra-violent metropolis of Pakistan, the documentary specifically revolves around the problems that have given the city the title of being the most violent. In 2011 more than three times as many people were killed in Karachi than the number of people killed in American drone strikes. This statistic stated early on sets the whole tone for the documentary. It serves to provide an ...

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Celebrating Mother’s Day as a rejected son

As a rejected son, how do you celebrate Mother’s Day? Who enjoys the breakfast tray? Who receives the flower bouquet? That’s my story. But it’s not my biological mother who rejected me. It’s my motherland – Pakistan. So on this Mother’s Day, let me have a heart to heart talk with you – my motherland. You don’t want to accept my love; that’s your choice. I have learned to deal with that. But please answer my questions, for I have lots of them. Why did you abandon me? Why did you institutionalise hatred against me in schools, workplaces and houses of God? ...

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Bloody Karachi, bloody hell

And it has started again. The target killings, the burning buses, the protests, the funerals and the ‘peaceful’ mournings. They seem to stop for a week or two and start again in full fervour. Then the Shia Ulema Council, the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz or the Jamaat-e-Islami will protest – for Dr Aafia, Shia killings, target killings, extortion, Lyari gangsters, Sindh or some other damn thing. Sigh, sometimes it is just so damn exhausting. Sometimes, I wish Karachi had a superhero. Where is Sindh’s answer to Batman or Karachi’s own kryptonite man in red briefs? All we have are target ...

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Why must only the dead deserve attention?

In the past week of killings, arson and general mayhem witnessed in Karachi, many have raised a voice condemning the chaos that spread in the city following the murder of scores of its residents. Accusations and heated condemnations have been levelled, insinuations of gaining knowledge of the true perpetrators of these atrocities exchanged, and the general call for the ever-elusive ‘change’ raised in what has now become an abhorrently futile repetition of finger-pointing and ‘I told you so’s’. I, on the other hand, refuse to put up a false pretence of caring ...

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Emo kids get shot in Iraq

So I was going through the news a couple of days ago, and came across a rather odd piece of news – ‘Iraq emo killings raise alarm’. The first thought in my head was “whoa, did they run out of bombs?”. And the second was: - I have short hair - I wear black - I have a pierced lip. If I was in Iraq would they put my name on a hit list just because of the way I was dress? According to a news piece published in Huffington Post on March 11, 2012, these so-called ‘emo kids’ are being killed because as a ...

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Shia killing: If we tolerate this, our children will be next

Last week, I heard the news of the targeted sectarian killing of Jaffer Mohsin. The name didn’t ring a bell at the time, but later that day, when a friend told me that a fellow schoolmate’s father had been shot dead, it jogged my memory. I then realised that doctor Jaffer Mohsin was our friend’s father. That’s when the memories came flooding back. Back when I used to live near my school building, Dr Mohsin’s family lived in the lane next to mine. Like regular Pakistani youths who bond over a common love for cricket, his sons and I played the ...

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