Stories about terrorists

Why schools, colleges and universities?

As I am watching the attack on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda unfold on live television, I am forced to relive the horror of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Army Public School (APS) attack which took place approximately a year ago. For the millions of Pakistanis who witnessed that attack on live television, APS is a scar that is not going to heal. I can only pray for the students at Bacha Khan and their families. Vehement protest, which perhaps is the best emotion to represent our feelings, will fall on deaf ears like the hundreds of similar protests across Pakistan following other ...

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The loving humanitarian efforts of an American in Pakistan

Due to frequent media images of violent anti-American protests as well as repeated travel-safety warnings from the State Department, most Americans avoid visiting Pakistan. However, Todd Shea, the founder of Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS), has adopted Pakistan as his home and is running several welfare projects there. I learnt about Todd Shea on Facebook several months ago when I was browsing through a list of ‘People you may know’. Pleasantly surprised to learn about the humanitarian work he was doing in Pakistan, I began to closely follow CDRS activities on social media. The 2005 earthquake and the great need to help its victims brought Shea to ...

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Dear Allah Mian, in 2050 I wish…

“Baba, what’s a beheading?” “Hmmm?” my father asked from behind the newspaper he was reading. I knew he wasn’t listening. “A beheading.” I repeated. Baba hastily put the paper down and looked at me. “Where did you hear that word?” he asked incredulously. “In the news. ‘Beheading of a girl in Afghanistan’. She was in my class, I mean, the same class as me. Class three.” “Mahnoor, I’ve told you to change the channel when such news appears, haven’t I?” Baba asked sternly. His face looked strange. He looked angry yet worried at the same time. “It wasn’t on TV Baba. It was on Facebook. I read the ...

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When the Pakistani media decided to exploit a painful tragedy like APS

It is difficult to imagine what it is like to be one of the parents of the 122 school kids brutally murdered during the Army Public School (APS) massacre in Peshawar. On the morning of December 16, 2014, these families said goodbye to their children as they left for school, and a few hours later, were shattered by the news that their loved one(s) had been mercilessly gunned down by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists. I know of parents broken after losing their child to a terminal disease, and eventually found solace. The slow torture of witnessing a brave beloved helplessly battle such an illness is ...

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365 days, 13 hours, and 45 minutes ago my brother, Arham, left us

Three hundred and sixty five days, 13 hours, and 45 minutes have passed since that incident. Sometimes, the whole film of that day rolls back on my mind’s tape and I see myself wandering around the Combined Military Hospital (CMH). How can I forget those 25 minutes? It was then that my dad walked inside the hospital to enquire after my brother. When he came out, I asked him, “Abu! Kuch pata chala?” (Dad, did you find out anything?) I can’t forget the moment in which my father mustered the courage to say out loud, “He is dead.” I couldn’t believe my ears; even though the words were so simple, ...

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Why I’m glad I didn’t punch the guy who called my dad a terrorist

Fourteen years ago, I almost beat the living snot out of a kid in my high school. It was the last class of the school day, and everyone was glued to the TV in the room, trying to wrap their heads around what kind of a psychopath could fly planes into the World Trade Centre and murder all those people. At that point it was clear it was a terrorist act and talks about the US bombing countries in retaliation were already happening. The teacher walked out of the classroom for a second to make some copies of a homework assignment, and when she ...

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Remembering Shuja Khanzada, the true patriot of Pakistan

Patriotic, graceful, sharply dressed, eloquent, polite, and charming, this was my first impression of the Punjab Home Minister Colonel (retd) Shuja Khanzada. I first met him as a colleague in the Provincial Assembly of Punjab in 2008. I was 27-years-old and Khanzada became an inspiration at first sight. His careful selection of words, composure, integrity, and infectious optimism were something to look up to for newcomers in the infamous field of politics. Khanzada was one of the politicians whose presence made me believe, and repeatedly assert that there are several sincere, patriotic, and honest people in our assemblies, only they fail to get much public attention owing to lack of ...

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In Sindh, our children’s lives are not as valuable as that of a politician’s

After the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar carnage, schools throughout the country were under constant threat. Most vulnerable were the schools of Karachi where there were a few instances of letters, coffins and even bullets thrown in schools in order to intimidate the authorities and school owners and create an environment of fear and paranoia. However, the government did not mobilise its security apparatus to secure the schools and instead relied heavily on the schools to take care of their own security. Instead of withdrawing police from VIP protocols and deputing them in sensitive areas, the provincial government displayed insensitivity by asking the schools to beef up their security by employing the services of private ...

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The question remains, why was Yakub Memon hanged?

The Supreme Court is an institution of the state. An independent Supreme Court does not mean that judges would not be cognisant of the political implications of their decisions. As the products of the society they live in, it would be unrealistic to expect the judges to make decisions devoid of any political, religious, or social influences. The Judicial Commission in Pakistan must have factored in the political ramifications of their decision, and the Supreme Court of India must have factored in the political ramifications of their decision while deciding Yakub Memon was to be hanged. Memon was pronounced guilty on September 12h, 2006 for ...

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Was what happened in Charleston terrorism?

In wake of the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, terrorism expert Brian Phillips asks and answers five questions based on initial reports of the shooter and the massacre. 1) Is this terrorism? Yes. There are many definitions of terrorism, but most definitions have four elements in common: Violence; Perpetrated by an individual or non-governmental group Political, social, or religious motivations; Intimidating a wider audience than the immediate victims. By this definition, the massacre in Charleston, SC, on Wednesday, was clearly a terrorist act. The violence is evident in the death toll of nine people. The perpetrator apparently was not a soldier or official acting on behalf of a ...

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