Sameera Rashid

Sameera Rashid

A research analyst, blogger and a graduate of King's College, London, in public policy.

The silent river, gone deaf with old age

When Rustam strolled on the sun-soaked sandy shores, Siberian cranes, bearing cumulous clouds in their black beaks, dripped heaven’s dew – his hair was flecked with golden hues. Casting long shadows through sorrowful, sad songs, cranes moored fishermen’s boats, which had set sail to find oysters, encrusted with the Devi’s pearl white love. Not long ago Rustam, piping melancholy notes on a bamboo flute, had netted moonbeams in a fishnet. To his astonishment, began flickering on the boat sails white Devi’s image. His quest, life-long, perhaps encompassing his previous lives, was manifesting before him – in shadows and in flickering ...

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Overcoming adversity and reopening schools in Swat

As one travels, on the highway, from Peshawar to Swat, the lush green fields, dotted with tall poplar trees, appear breath-taking, and gradually the silhouette of the mountains become visible. The low-lying mountains gain height and the sound of water springs, gushing from the crevices of rocks create a melancholic music. Photo: Sameera Rashid   On a winding road from the Chakdara to Mingora, people are seen crossing the clear waters of river Swat, on makeshift bridges, and plum trees with delicate pink flowers bloom on the roadside orchids. Photo: Sameera Rashid Not only does Swat cast its ...

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Munawar Hassan, our fallen soldiers and citizens ARE martyrs

Some time ago a small, market town in England called Wootten Bassett attracted national and international media attention. The town was granted Royal Patronage and even US President Obama appreciated their actions. The people of Watton Basset showed honour and respect to their dead soldiers, who were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whenever the bodies of British troops were brought to an air force base and they passed through this town, the townsfolk showed their respect with spontaneous gestures; businesses stopped, passersby lined the pavements, taking off their hats and standing in silence. The honouring of the fallen soldiers by the people of ...

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Dear Imran Khan, where were you when my church was attacked?

Dear Khan Sahib, My name is Fouzia*. Other important facets of my identity are that I am a Christian school teacher, born in Peshawar and I incidentally happen to be a Pakistani. To a politician, the fact that I am Pakistani should be most the important, yet in a country ravaged by militancy, where religious extremists have usurped the limited secular space, my faith perhaps carries more weight and authenticity. After this brief introduction, Mr Imran Khan, I want to tell you my story, but I must warn you in the beginning that it is a tale of anguish and pain. ...

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Bring Aafia Siddiqui back, but make her trial transparent

Yesterday, major newspaper publications flashed a news report that the US has shown willingness to transfer Aafia Siddiqui, serving prison sentence in Texas, to Pakistan after signing of prisoner swap agreement. The US has proposed two conventions: the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad as a pattern for signing of the agreement. Let us have a brief look at these conventions to understand the conditions under which Aafia can be transported to Pakistan. Both conventions provide that the sentence of the person accused shall be enforced in accordance with the ...

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Is India attacking its own citizens under the umbrella of ‘anti-terrorism’?

Narendra Modi, adept at spinning catchy phrases that neatly fit into newspaper headlines, recently lampooned Congress leadership for its political gimmickry of wearing the ‘burqa of secularism’ and ‘hiding in a bunker’ in any crisis situation. In simple words, Modi implied that Congress leaders should stop using the ‘Muslim Card’ or playing the bogey of ‘secularism under threat in India’. But events of the past few days indicate that secularism is indeed facing a mighty threat in India, not only from Narendra Modi’s right-wing politics, but also from the security-centric policies of secular parties that seek to amass excessive state powers against ...

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Badam Zari: The first Pakistani tribal woman to stand for elections

The much-vaunted democratic transition has taken place in Pakistan. Caretaker set-ups have settled in the centre and the provinces are to hold free and fair elections.  Similarly, candidates have also swung into motion, filing nomination papers, appearing before the Election Commission staff for pre-poll scrutiny and, most important of all, arranging funds for the election campaign. However, one event stands apart, amidst the din and uproar, of the initial phase of the election campaign: A female candidate has filed nomination papers to stand for NA-44 constituency, falling in Bajaur Agency. Badam Zari has made history by daring to move out of the confines of ...

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Murdering a baby

On a cold afternoon, reading the news item about female foetuses found in a garbage drum, I cringed with horror and pain. It’s too late though; no one can do anything about these innocent victims now. These girls could have grown up to be beautiful women who could have shouldered the pain and responsibilities of their parents. If only they were given a chance. Deemed as burden before their birth, they were aborted and thrown out into the trash. A female child does not saddle her parents with misery or affliction; she is a joy for the soul. If only ignorant people ...

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Could Kamran Faisal’s death have been prevented?

Kamran Faisal, an official of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling of his hostel room a few days ago. His family and colleagues have refused to accept his death as a suicide, terming it a ‘premeditated murder’. A number of texts, which he sent a few days before his death to his friends have been leaked to the media; these reveal his concerns for his personal safety. Sources reveal one text message that chillingly captures his frustration and dilemma with the pressure tactics employed by senior officials of NAB: “DG HR want affidavit in back date ...

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From the mouth of a Hazara

On January 10, 2013 more than 100 people, a majority of them Hazara Shias, were killed in bomb blasts in Quetta. The killing prompted a four-day long sit-in by the families of the victims.  I just wish that I could have sat with the mourning families at Alamdar Road to protest against the ongoing killing of Shia Hazaras. I talked to a few people in Quetta, and a classmate of mine narrated to me the stories of mourning and scenes at Alamdar Road through emails. My classmate’s young married cousin perished in the bomb blast at Bacha Khan Road. Here I will try to accurately narrate the story of grief I was told of that young ...

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