Stories published in October, 2012

We are not Malala, we may be the Taliban

In order for terrorists to flourish, they need more than guns, funding and a geographical location to operate in – they also need an ideological space to occupy and work inside. That is how they persist; that is how they can win. This fact is one which the majority of Pakistanis have yet to come to terms with: the fact that we ourselves are often individually culpable and involved in the war being waged against the terrorists in our country. Tragically, we are often knowingly or unknowingly on the wrong side of the ideological front. Nowhere has this been better illustrated ...

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Taliban antics: Why cant we ever be ready, Pakistan?

As the streets of Pakistan begin to fade their recollection of the wreckage and hostility that came with retaliation against the anti-Islam video “Innocence of Muslims”, another catastrophe has shaken the Pakistani populace to its core. Malala Yousufzai’s attempted assassination has left everyone in the country, and abroad, outraged at the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for its blatant atrocity. Both of these events have shown the power that public outrage can have in making the government take notice of an act. While the anti-Islam video and Malala’s assassination attempt are separate occurrences, one cannot discount the idea that the Taliban’s violent resurgence ...

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Looper: A time travelling masterpiece!

If you have yet to see the time travelling masterpiece, Looper, then I would advise you to stop reading for there are spoilers ahead. While I ascribe to the theory that movies should be given some leeway in their depiction of reality, it is a movie after all and it is always fun to go back and analyse them. Time travel stories are always tricky and usually filled with paradoxes. Looper, unfortunately, suffers from this problem as well. Looper essentially has four different timelines. Timeline 1: This is the original timeline and here loopers do not exist. We do not know what ...

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A visit to Greg Mortenson’s school in Korphe

The allegations of fraud against Greg Mortenson were troubling to thousands of firm supporters of his mission to educate children, especially girls, in the isolated regions of Pakistan. For those who don’t know who Greg Mortenson is, he is a humanitarian and the author of Three Cups of Tea, a New York Times best-seller. He is also a mountaineer and in 1993, he decided to climb K2. In his journey through northern Pakistan, he ended up in Korphe, a small village. He was in a terrible state and the locals of Korphe took care of him until he recovered. Mortenson, ...

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Announcing Washington’s latest scheme to light a fire under Pakistan’s economy

A prominent Pakistani journalist once quipped that conspiracy theories are Pakistan’s only growing industry. Clearly he’s not familiar with the booming American flag business. The well-established textile industry is racked with inefficiency, and emerging pharmaceutical and telecommunications sectors remain works in progress. Yet the production of US flags is flourishing. One prolific producer claimed to churn out as many as 500 flags per hour. “Our sales are on fire,” another proudly declared. Yet another boasted of huge profits. The fiery followers of Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Jamaat-e-Islami are particularly eager customers. Though the highly flammable products occasionally have tragic consequences, consumer demand remains insatiable. “We’re burning through ...

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The poster girls of Pakistan

“Am I less precious than Malala?” says the caption on the photo. “Am I less patriotic? Then why don’t you speak out for me?” The photo shows a rosy-cheeked girl with silky brown hair and a maimed leg, who has been purportedly injured in a drone attack. This is Laiba, the poster girl of the Taliban-sympathisers, propped up in response to the outpouring of grief and sympathy for Malala, who by this time has been consecrated by liberals as a heroine who stood up to the Taliban, the epitome of all hope for girls’ education in Pakistan. The point that Laiba ...

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What about our future generations?

Malala Yousufzai is an embodiment of the kind of hope and resilience that we have invested in our youth. News of the attempt on her life caught up with us in a sickening wave of realisation that our leniency towards lurking extremist elements has allowed them to poison the essence of who we are as a nation and what we once stood for. The 14-year-old child took two bullets in broad daylight for taking a stance against the Taliban — a militia that has, over the years, strived to curb female education. While, according to sources, her condition has been stable ...

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When cricket was white and pure

Lord’s, 1982. When Imran Khan threw the ball to Mudassir Nazar, a collective groan went up. England were nine without loss as I watched sitting on the rickety benches positioned on the cover boundary. Sarfaraz Nawaz had gone off from a suspected side strain. Nazar, as he ran into bowl, looked like Shoaib Akhtar from where I was. I saw him bowl, saw the batsman leave and Wasim Bari dive behind the stumps but I didn’t see the ball. Suddenly, England were nine for three – Randall, Alan Lamb and David Gower all back in the hut. Pakistan went onto ...

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The PTI’s disappointing antics

On Thursday, many of us questioned the desirability of ‘democratic rights’ for certain supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). This happened after the editorial staff at The Express Tribune experienced the most abominable episode of cyber harassment at the hands of frenzied PTI supporters. Email after email clogged up staff inboxes, bearing messages which said that the party will “use its immense popularity to boycott the Tribune website”. The object of wrath was the story published on October 11, regarding the PTI chief’s sensational statement, in which he claimed that the war in Afghanistan was tantamount to jihad by Islamic militants. Messages ...

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Terrorists out of compulsion, not choice

As I hail from Dera Ismail Khan, with the recent peace rally by PTI, I have rediscovered my home town’s importance in terms of trying to convince people to shy away from extremist activity. Dera Ismail Khan was basically a Saraiki majority area but the very generous dwellers of this district have humbly welcomed terrorism affected migrants from almost all the adjoining tribal areas, to the extent that Saraiki speakers are now a minority. Without going further into the issues related to the city, I would talk about the problems of people living in the city. There is no family recreation, ...

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