muhammad.younas

Muhammad Younas

A human rights activist and freelance UK based journalist.

The car I bought

It was approximately 2am and the temperature was about three degree Celsius accompanied by a pitch-dark chilly night. A black coloured two-seater pickup took a sharp turn and then drove slowly into a quiet, murky, dimly lit street. The pick-up drove past the electric pole and pulled up near a house, where two men checked their guns and got out of the vehicle. One of them unloaded the pick-up’s boot while the other proceeded to climb up a 12 feet high electric pole which stood by the boundary wall of one of the houses. Upon reaching the top, the man took in the view of ...

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Train journey: A story about two ‘strangers’

“It’s a beautiful day,” he said, to break the silence. “Yes. It looks good,” she replied, smiling. “Yesterday was horrible. It rained all day. But now, it seems fantastic.” “I know.” “I wish I was outside, sitting in the sun and reading a book. I love sunny days. What about you? Do you like sun?” “Yes, I enjoy sunny days.” She answered, picking up her book. “You like crime stories?” “Yes, I do. But this one is a detective story book. I like detective stories.” “Me too. Have you read the latest book by James Armtek?” “No, I haven’t.” “You must! I’m sure you will like it. It’s a great book, ...

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Love thy neighbour?

“Are you okay?”  The question jolted Ahmed back to the present. He looked at his wife, Fatima who was looking at him in a concerned manner. She said, “Hello… I’m talking to you.” Ahmed sighed and replied, “I’m worried about the business, it’s not doing so well. What about you?” His wife took a deep breath before saying, “The headmistress has asked me to resign because of the threats to the school. And all the staff members want me to leave as soon as possible.” Ahmed nodded and said, “Well it’s a difficult time for our community. Customers have been avoiding our shop and I don’t know how to get them ...

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A visit to the Salvation Army

While handing me a letter, my wife says to me, “Tomorrow, you have the ‘writing for fun’ training from 10am until 3pm” I read the letter and then read it again. I thought the training venue was going to be the university but it was at The Salvation Army instead. Initially, I didn’t like the idea. I searched for the postal code of the address on Google Maps to find out the whereabouts of the building. To my surprise, the venue was literally a 20 minutes’ walk from my house, which was closer than the university. However, being the curious person that I am, I decided to ...

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I remember a Muharram in Quetta when we lived peacefully…

Gone are the days when Muharram was observed by nearly all Muslims belonging to different sects of Islam. Now it is observed strictly under security from law enforcement agencies. In Quetta, my neighbourhood used to be an example of religious harmony; non-Shiite Baloch, Brahvi and Pashtoon, all honoured the religious sentiments attached to the month of Muharram. Playing football, flying kites and sharing our lunches with our friends, regardless of what sect they came from, was a part of my everyday life as a child. There was no objection from my elders regarding my routine as they used to socialise with our ...

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October 31, 2013
TOPICS

When we were too poor to afford Blue Band margarine

I still remember the day that Blue Band margarine was introduced to Alamdar Bakery in my home-town of Quetta, Pakistan. The glossy silver packaging and the light blue printing stood out among all the other butter in the bakery’s refrigerator. However, I refrained from taking an interest in this new product since I was well aware that my parents would not be able to afford it. I continued to consume the inexpensive Liaquat Makkhan for breakfast even after the older brother of the baker recommended Blue Band with great zeal; I consoled myself by thinking that he was just trying to improve his sales. As the weeks ...

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Yorkshire: Where trays are ‘chrays’ and water is ‘wa-er’

One day, on our way home from school, my son asked me why English boys pronounce jacket potato as ‘jakei po-A-o.’ I didn’t have an appropriate, grammatical explanation for this very rational question. However, what I do know now is that north east England is famous for its English accent and is commonly referred to as the “drop T area”. Locals here conveniently forget to pronounce the alphabet ‘T’ while conversing. So, words such as ‘bottle’ become ‘bo—el’ and water become ‘wa—er’. Albeit, this might sound entertaining and funny, it can be a real nuisance for immigrants like myself. When I ...

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Balochistan bleeds: A Saturday that shook the province to the core

Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University is the only women’s university in Quetta. It was established in March, 2004 and approximately 3,000 female students are currently studying at this university. Last Saturday, something tragic happened that left these students scarred for life. Now, they worry if they will ever be able to pursue their dreams. Like any other day, students attended their classes, packed their bags and switched on their cell phones to mark the end of their school day. They were chatting, laughing and bidding their friends farewell as they made their way towards the bus that would take them home. ...

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Elections 2013: Will the ‘injured’ parties refuse the results?

The country goes to poll on May 11, 2013 to elect the new democratic government for the next five years. The Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Interim Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso have already assured the people of Pakistan that fair and free elections will be held. However, the ground reality might be different. Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf  (PTI) and other right-wing parties have enjoyed large public gatherings in Punjab, while other liberal political parties mainly, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Awami National Party (ANP), Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) and Baloch nationalist parties ...

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What will elections bring for Hazaras – more death?

It was October 5, 1999 when ex-education minister Sardar Nisar Ali was ambushed by “unknown” terrorists. His driver and personal bodyguard died on the spot, he, however, was fortunate enough to have survived the attack but sustained serious bullet injuries. This was the first terrorist attempt ever to be made on a prominent Hazara figure in Quetta in a democratic set up, led by the elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Soon after, leading Hazara businessmen including Sardar Saadat Ali, the younger brother of Sardar Nisar Ali started receiving life threatening calls known to be later on from the ‘alleged’ terrorists in Afghanistan. On ...

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