Stories about terrorism in Pakistan

One month later, sifting through the sands of Sehwan

“May the curse of God be on the enemies of Qalandar. May the enemies of Ahle Bait (the family of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)) be always cursed”. It is 5am. After paying my respects at the shrine of Bodla Bahar, the disciple of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, as per tradition, I head to the shrine of his murshid (spiritual master). The vehement tabarra (cursing) mentioned above is the first thing I witness as I stand outside the closed gates of Qalandar’s shrine. A malang attired in black beats his fists into his chest as he mourns the blast that happened on February 16, 2017, one month ago, at ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan, the pistachio to my kulfi

And so my friend, my point was – what is so awesome about Pakistan? I’m a bloke who thrives on chaos but answering this question before buggering off on a new adventure would have resulted in a droopy, “I don’t know mate, cricket?” Personally, I can’t bear a game of ball and sticks any more than a warm drink on a hot summer’s day. What a contrast Pakistan is, and here’s why. The terrorists will kill me By all the unglamorous artworks the armchair experts of the world were painting of Pakistan, I was in line for a beheading, a bombing or a ...

Read Full Post

Is Pakistan ready for mock drills in malls and hospitals?

Imagine you are a cardiac patient lying on a hospital bed, waiting for a specialist to decide whether you are fit enough to undergo triple bypass surgery. All of a sudden there’s commotion and you see people running around and someone shouts, “Bomb, bomb! Run outside!” There is pandemonium everywhere. You see patients being taken away by hospital attendants, and you almost have a heart attack, waiting for someone to carry you to safety. You pass out and when you come back to your senses, you find out it was just a mock drill, carried out by “experts” to find out how the hospital ...

Read Full Post

In Pakistan, tolerant Islamic voices are being silenced

Last week, only three days after a suicide bomb went off in Lahore, an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) supporter struck a crowd of Sufi dancers celebrating in the great Pakistani shrine of Sehwan Sharif. The attack, which killed almost 90, showed the ability of radical Islamists to silence moderate and tolerant voices in the Islamic world. The attack also alarmingly demonstrated the ever-wider reach of the ISIS and the ease with which it can now strike within Pakistan. ISIS now appears to equal the Taliban as a serious threat to this nuclear-armed country. The suicide bombing of the ...

Read Full Post

Terrorist attacks? Sectarian violence? Civil strife? Maybe if we arrest Nasir Khanjan and ban Valentine’s Day everything will be okay…

As a writer of some notoriety, I received a message yesterday including some choice expletives. When pressed about the reason as to why I deserved such “kindness”, I was told that I targeted our Pakistani values with one of my posts. After questioning this person for 20 minutes, my assailant could not name a single value I was targeting.

That is the beauty of blaming somebody over something as intangible as values, honour or image – you do not have to prove anything. You can mask your dislike for something under the pretence of national concerns. My popularity is nothing compared to that of Nasir ...

Read Full Post

How will the Quetta Inquiry Commission Report help us if our officials don’t read it?

August 8, 2016 came with a devastating tragedy for the people of Balochistan, especially for the lawyers’ community therein. The president of the Balochistan Bar Association, Mr Bilal Anwar Kasi, was murdered not far from his home in Quetta. The murder, as it turned out, was only the first of two terrorist attacks. Mr Kasi was killed to lure citizens to the hospital where another tragedy struck. A suicide bomber detonated his vest amidst a congregation of lawyers gathered for their departed friend and colleague. Seventy perished, 112 were injured; most of them lawyers. The tragedy that befell Quetta that day did not just claim ...

Read Full Post

Can we please talk about Quetta?

Can we talk about Quetta? They called Quetta the fruit garden of Pakistan, once. You read about it in your social studies class as the ninth-largest city in Pakistan; it was a capital, and capitals are revered. But no one ever talked about Quetta outside of textbooks. Monday night, October 24, 2016, cadets at a police training academy in Quetta awoke to a terrorist attack that killed 61, and injured more than 120. The dead bodies piled up, young men in the prime of their youth, young men that fall in the same age bracket as our brothers and sons, our husbands ...

Read Full Post

Dear India, our actors don’t need Bollywood to become stars

Dear Soumyadipta Banerjee,   I don’t know if it’s the right thing to be writing you a letter, since you might be endorsing a cut-off of all sorts (of written collaborations between our countries) after so emphatically bashing the cultural ones. It might not even be the best time for you since I see your fellows are caught up in a frenzy of misjudging the Pakistani markings regarding the ammunition used in the Uri attacks. But I write to you because it’s necessary. You might not have singled out Fawad Khan in your letter but I evidently am addressing this to only you, ...

Read Full Post

How will the Kulbhushan Yadav case affect Pakistan’s relations with India?

A video showing the confession of the detained Indian spy has gone viral on social media. It is not just a video featuring a confession. Recently, we had Mustafa Kamal expose the internal workings of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) in his confession on the media which became a huge affair. This video outrivals the former big confession because it involves a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent directly. Kulbhushan Yadav, a serving Indian naval officer and a suspected RAW agent was arrested by security forces while he was trying to cross over in Pakistan at the border from Iran. His confession has revealed disturbing facts, confirming ...

Read Full Post

My patient refuses to undergo treatment for cancer

Patient’s Name: Pakistan Chief Complaint: Pains, high fevers, insecurity, depression and weight loss. History:  Pakistan is a 68-year-old patient, well known to our oncology service, here to see me in clinic again for an acute flare of the above-mentioned symptoms. Briefly, the patient has been plagued with cancer for the last many years. It has lost over 50,000 of its cells to tumour growths all over its outside body, mostly concentrated in the head and neck area. Over a year ago, the patient visited one of my colleagues with a huge tumour that had revealed itself in its Peshawar territory. The tumour engulfed 144 healthy, vibrant cells. And now, the ...

Read Full Post