Hamza Mannan

Hamza Mannan is a freelance writer and his work has appeared across various newspapers.

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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Budget2013: Research and Development in Pakistan

The initial prognosis of the recent budget by pundits is positive, with the phrase “business-friendly” or some other variant prefacing their every breath. While that’s an italicised development from past years, let’s hope there is a noticeable change in the fields of research, development and technology as well. To say the least, Pakistan has had its share of intestinal economic and political disruptions. Incessant wars, military rule, flogged bureaucracy and corruption represent some of the determinants of Pakistan’s snail-paced economic growth. Recognising these factors, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar during his budget presentation speech invoked the word “development” 26 separate times, but ...

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You voted and you won!

Dear Pakistan, When you walked into the polling booth, you didn’t vote for an individual party or a candidate; you voted for Pakistan. Congratulations on winning! This was one of the bloodiest electoral contests in memory, yet you persisted. The past five years for you were engulfed with markers of dissonance: The unforgettable lawyer’s movement, the NRO crisis that threw the nation in turmoil, Salman Taseer’s unfortunate murder, the Abbottabad fiasco, Memogate and the expulsion of Ambassador Haqqani, the atrocity at Sallala and the resulting NATO supply route blockade, the disqualification of former prime minister Gilani, Malala’s shooting and the subsequent outpour of ...

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Welcoming our next prime minister: Mian Nawaz Sharif

The Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) alongside Gallup released a thorough report on March 4 on public opinion in the run up to the spring elections. By all measures, it was the most representative survey conducted during this election cycle, with over 9,500 people surveyed, in more than 200 urban centres and 300 villages, across all four provinces and nearly 100 districts. The sample included Pakistanis of all backgrounds, income-level, education, linguistic group, and geographic region. For those who may not have the time to read the lengthy report, a concise summary is as follows; Nawaz Sharif is likely to be your next prime minister with Imran Khan’s PTI ...

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February 2, 2013

Why the UN fails humanity in Kashmir

Kashmir is an open-air cemetery sprinkled with corpses of hopes and dreams, ambition and laughter, on which government officials shovel piles of “investigations” to hide the truth of long-standing crises. There are over 500,000 Indian troops patrolling the Kashmir Valley. It is the most militarised zone in the world, bearing the highest soldier-to-civilian ratio for any given territory. In the past twenty years, thousands of Kashmiris have disappeared, over 70,000 have died (only since 1990), and countless women and children have become orphans and widows. New graveyards flourish in Srinagar, with epitaphs that bear the journey of resistance. The inscription on the ...

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President Obama’s inauguration and messages of unity

The 44th President of the United States was publicly sworn in to his second term on Monday, January 21, 2013. It was the second time, in as many days. Because the constitution demands an official swearing in ceremony to take place on January 20, both Vice President Joseph Biden and President Obama took part in a quiet ceremony the day before. President Obama became the 17th President to have started a second term in office, following in the footsteps of former President George Bush and Bill Clinton. 800,000 people — young and old, rich and poor, gay and straight, Black and White, ...

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If a Muslim can head India’s Intelligence Bureau, can a Hindu ever be DG ISI?

Salman Khurshid, Altamas Kabir, Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi, Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Syed Asif Ibrahim. The Khan brothers, Imran Hashmi, Saif Ali Khan, the Pathan brothers, Sania Mirza. (The roll call continues…) Though the names on the second line may perhaps be more familiar, the names that shine bright on the first line are of keener interest. Unlike in Pakistan, some of India’s highest political perches are occupied by Muslims. Yes, the God-fearing Musalmans. Take Salman Khurshid, for instance. He was recently appointed to serve as Foreign Minister of India, a position which likens him to the soon-to-be Secretary of State, John Kerry, and on our ...

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