Stories about US

60 years ago Saadat Hasan Manto knew what Pakistan was in for today

“I have seen him;  On the cleanest roads, in a dust-covered amazement;  In the gathering storm of blind, overturned cups; Tossing the empty bottle he shouts, ‘Oh world! Your beauty is your ugliness.’  Booms becoming the noise of chains, The world stares back at him, Their bloodshot eyes rattle with the question, ‘Who nabs the pillar of time, By the noose of his drunken breath? Who dares to break into dim corridors, Of twisted conscience? Who intrudes upon poisonous dens, Of demonised souls? Through icy glasses his rude glance, Chases us like a footfall, Foul monster! Bang! Bang!” (A poem for Manto - Majeed Amjad) The man who saw beauty in the world’s ugliness and for whom this poem ...

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K-P schools, taking ‘guns’ into their own hands

It is almost been a month since December 16, 2014. A new year has begun, the political diatribes are proceeding in full swing, the civil-military nexus is repeatedly flashed across screens, the debates on military courts and capital punishments are continuing, and this week, the schools have now reopened across Pakistan. However, parents are asking the question: Are our children safe? It is a terrible thing to ask that question. You are not sending your child to war; you are sending them to school. To sit and wonder whether terrorists will barge into your child’s school and indiscriminately kill innocent young human beings, to ...

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Over 2000 people have been massacred in Nigeria, but do you care?

As world leaders gathered at the French capital to march in solidarity with France following a brutal attack on its citizens by terrorists, something far more atrocious and horrifying in scale and severity unfolded in north-east Nigeria. Boko Haram militants massacred over 2000 persons, mainly women, children and elderly people. While in France, the militants attacked to avenge the publication of the cartoon of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), in Nigeria, Boko Haram militants have a different agenda: to implement Sharia law and turn the country into an Islamic state. For the latter, the motive is much stronger and hence, much more vicious. But this campaign is not ...

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How long will the US assist Pakistan?

State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki went off the cuff last week to announce that Pakistan has not received any development assistance from the United States since 2013. That was news – Pakistani papers Express Tribune and Dawn headlined it. But it was wrong. Congress released funding to Pakistan in September 2014.  Under the “Kerry-Lugar-Berman (KLB)” bill, Congress authorised $1.5 billion in development assistance for Pakistan for five years, from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2015. But because USAID must get Congressional blessing of its program plans before it gets the money, money rarely comes through in the year it is budgeted for. So Pakistan received funds ...

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Why #IAmNotCharlie

There is no “but” about what happened at Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015. Some people published some cartoons, and some other people killed them for it. Words and pictures can be beautiful or vile, pleasing or enraging, inspiring or offensive; but they exist on a different plane from physical violence, whether you want to call that plane spirit or imagination or culture, and to meet them with violence is an offence against the spirit and imagination and culture that distinguish humans. Nothing mitigates this monstrosity. There will be time to analyse why the killers did it, time to parse their backgrounds, their ideologies, their beliefs, time for sociologists ...

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Dear Pakistan, let America and Saudi Arabia fight over oil prices because it works in your favour!

Oil prices are way down these days. Crude oil prices have fallen by more than $50 per barrel in international markets in the last six months. From $115 in the middle of June, 2014, the price of a barrel of crude oil has fallen to $65, as of the second week of December. On November 27, 2014, the prices took a definitive downward turn when Saudi Arabia – the largest and strongest member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) – refused to mitigate production. And since none of the other OPEC nations are cutting back, there isn’t a way to eliminate the current ...

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Held by the CIA, a fictional account

Dear World, My father went missing while on a market errand three years ago. Our wait for him was endless. The law enforcement authorities were approached to find him. Days after filing a missing person report, we were contacted by someone in the government that he was in the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was fine. We were told that he’d return soon and was just being interrogated for something. I was just 10-years-old at the time. I hung on the hope that he’d be back in a few days. But those around me, especially my family, didn’t ...

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If you are the US, you can get away with anything. Even torture.

States exist for their own well-being. They have their self-interests. Domestic and foreign policies define and dictate state acts and omissions on the world stage. In the post 9/11 order, state-to-state interaction has undergone an incredible amount of change with the entire gamut of international relations now at the mercy of a few role players. The United States of America, of course, holds the centre stage, in a global effort against the spread of religious fanaticism and waging a war on terrorism. That being said, the recently released report detailing the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) tactics of interrogation after September 11, ...

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#BlackLivesMatter, but not in the US?

It’s been a terrible, stressful and shameful time. We’ve hung our heads in despair, taken to the streets to protest and made our voices heard in the media to bring home the point that the scourge of racism in the US is back with a bang. Having lived here for almost a quarter of a century now, I’ve personally never felt so disappointed and disgusted with the way things have turned out with respect to race relations. The past few years have increased the frequency and intensity of tensions created due to obnoxious handling of incidents that could have been easily avoided had better ...

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Remember, remember, the fourth of December!

I remember that day. It was December 4, 2009. The residents of Rawalpindi were in shock. How could a mosque right next to the military headquarters, surrounded by military bungalows with a busy local market nearby be attacked in broad daylight? There were frantic calls made; mothers called their children’s schools, fathers held their sons by their hands in the mosques and brothers who had not spoken for years hysterically reached out to each other. First the family, then friends, then colleagues… was everyone we knew fine? They weren’t. Rawalpindi is a small city. A family member, a friend, a colleague, a friend of ...

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