Stories about USA

Abbottabad Commission Report: An apt summary of why we may be a “failed state”

Now that we know the details of how we harboured the world’s most wanted man for nearly a decade, before letting a foreign power invade our territory without being detected, let alone countered, the term “failed nation” has a deeper resonance for us. Osama Bin Laden entered Pakistan in 2002, and after loitering in Peshawar, Swat and Haripur, made a cozy, comfy, illegal home with his wives, children and grandchildren in Abbottabad. Here, he helped plot al Qaeda initiatives through electronic communication. Protected from arrest and tortured by the laughable incompetence of Pakistani law enforcement agencies, he encouraged his grandchildren ...

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Negotiating with the Afghan Taliban is a good idea

Recent news of the Taliban opening an office to facilitate negotiations captured headlines across the world. First, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai reacted with indignity to the decision made by the Taliban leadership to open an office under the banner of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan. Karzai then announced that Afghanistan will not be participating in peace negotiations with the Taliban. What followed was last week’s bombing by the Taliban at the Presidential Compound, believed to be the most secure area in Afghanistan. The negotiations so far have been inconsequential. No prisoners swapped, no eleventh-hour deal, no power-sharing agreement. There exist only desperate pleas from Secretary Kerry ...

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Drone-fare: A clueless rant

As a Pakistani, it is safe to be ranting out against drones. However, if you happen to be an international relations graduate, you are often at loggerheads with your patriotism and reality. The question of legality concerning drones is a myriad of crisp talks and writings. The major issues encircling the drone debate, under international law’s spectrum, are questions regarding national sovereignty and targeted killings. It is common knowledge now (bless the Wikileaks!) that under the mutual agreement between the then US administration and former president Pervez Musharraf,  Islamabad was obliged to provide the relevant information for the predator drones to ...

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NSA and PRISM: Say a wrong word and you’re on the watch list

Edward Snowden, a former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA), has created a nightmare for the United States government by leaking information about a programme called ‘PRISM’. The programme, run by the NSA, essentially aims at comprehensively monitoring all calls in and out of the US. It sifts through huge amounts of user data collected from cyber big wigs such as Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. Once the agency has this wild amount of data, it uses a sophisticated tool called ‘Boundless Informant‘ to make sense of it. I must admit, the uproar as a result of the PRISM leaks is ...

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In an explosive world: On making India a part of the Nuclear Supplier’s Group

On May 18, 1974, India conducted its nuclear test. It reaffirmed the international community’s fears that nuclear technology and materials provided for peaceful purposes can be used in nuclear weapons. In 1975, in order to curtail such gross misuse Canada, France, West Germany, Japan, Soviet Union, United States and United Kingdom got together and formed the Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG). The purpose was to regulate the nuclear trade so further diversions like India’s don’t take place. Forty years later the situation has changed. France, Russia, the UK, and the US are campaigning to make India a member of the NSG. The motives are simple; the huge ...

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President Obama’s speech and the continuation of drone strikes

President Obama delivered his much anticipated speech on counter-terrorism at the National Defense University, at Fort McNair in Washington, on Thursday. In the days before the address the focus was mainly expected to be policies governing drone attacks. According to White House officials, the speech would particularly give procedural details explaining the process leading up to decisions to use drones in counter-terrorism. It was also said that the remarks would outline, in detail, this administration’s counter-terrorism policies. Pakistan has had a long and violent relationship with American drones since 2004, the fifth year under the presidency of Pervez Musharraf. According to ...

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Is Israel really Pakistan’s enemy?

Growing up in Peshawar, a slightly conservative city of Pakistan, my sentiments as a child were nothing different from those of others in most parts of the country. I had a slight disliking for India, and sheer hatred for Israel. Words such as ‘Jewish lobby’, ‘Zionists’, ‘Freemasons’, and many others – whose meanings many of us did not even know – kept ringing in our ears through religious scholars, teachers, friends and peers, and we used to associate all of them directly with Jews, especially Jews of Israel and those having major shares in US corporations. The Indian intelligence agency Research and ...

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From Houston to Golimar

The abrupt decision to move to Karachi from Houston was distressing. The realisation that it would be a move from Houston to Golimar was even more distressing. The enduring flight bore anticipatory thoughts of what this foreign land would hold for me, if anything at all. Western media had successfully accomplished its goal of tarnishing Pakistan’s image in my eyes. This would be the first time I travel to Pakistan in 12 years after having lived abroad for all of my life. As I walked out of Jinnah International Airport, the putrid stench of the third-world hit me like a sucker punch, nearly ...

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Investing in underdeveloped sector

Usual jokes about private equity resurfaced on social media as soon as the news of former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, joining Solamere Capital — a private equity firm his son set up in 2008 — emerged on March 6. Romney’s unsuccessful bid for the White House last year is attributed, in large part, to the Democrats’ ‘propaganda’ against private equity as well as Bain Capital, which the former presidential hopeful co-founded and led as CEO until 1999. So what is it that makes private equity professionals so bad in the eyes of American liberals? A simple answer would be that they ...

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Rest in peace Hugo Chávez

Hugo Chávez, the revolutionary, charismatic, socialist leader of Venezuela succumbed to cancer on Tuesday, March 5. He was 58-years-old. As a skinny-twelve-year-old, with big feet, played with his siblings in the Venezuelan border town of Sabaneta, he must have had hopes and dreams for his future. But who would have had the foresight to imagine that this ambitious boy would grow up to be one of the most electrifying presidents the region had seen? Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was born on July 28, 1954. He was raised by his grandmother after he and an older brother were placed with her following ...

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