Kashmir will be to India what Palestine is to Israel

India’s revocation of Indian-occupied Kashmir’s (IoK) relative ‘autonomy’ embodies everything that its new Israeli ally wishes it could do to Palestine, such as eliminating its separate political status and giving non-residents of this disputed territory the right to buy property there as part of its long-term plan to wage demographic warfare against the locals. Yet few around the world seem to care, even though the global activist community would be in an uproar if the self-professed Jewish state even talked about doing what the Hindu extremist-led one just did in real life. Ending of Article 35-A in Indian Occupied Kashmir seems to ...

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#StandWithKashmir: Why India repealing Articles 370 and 35A is a cause for concern

Even for a region so accustomed to state aggression and the constant violation of civil liberties, the recent Indian actions in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) are unprecedented. In the span of a few days, India sent thousands of new troops to the region, put many parts of IoK under curfew, closed down essential institutions like schools, universities and hospitals, suspended all communication services, put prominent Kashmiri leaders like Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti under house arrest and asked all tourists to leave the state. All this, and much more, was done under the pretext of a terror threat to the annual Hindu pilgrimage of Amarnath ...

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The deepening crisis: child rights in a negative society

On July 17th every year, we celebrate the ‘World Day on International Justice’. Over 120 countries adopted this statute at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Rome, creating a permanent international court to task criminals. The anniversary is for taking a day out to reflect on the successes and challenges of bringing justice and countering violence. The recent United Nations (UN) casualty report has greatly undermined the gravity of the deepening crisis clearly demonstrating undue favouritism to certain countries that have been accused of the violation of child rights. One of the biggest casualty counts is the Yemen crisis, led by Saudi Arabia ...

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Can Pakistan be polio-free?

People who know me well know that I often compulsively compare and contrast India and Pakistan by virtue of not just their close proximity, but because I consider both countries as my home. When the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared India polio free on March 27, 2014, after it had not had a single case since 2009, I was filled with great pride. Knowing that India is densely populated, afflicted with poverty and has poor access to healthcare for millions, polio eradication was indeed something to celebrate. But as in every such situation, I naturally wanted to know how long it ...

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Allowing dual nationals to contest elections: Another U-turn or another gimmick?

In what can be called another U-turn, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, decided to allow dual nationals to contest in Pakistan’s elections. It is hard to believe that this is the same party that has previously criticised its political opponents for keeping dual nationalities and for having vested business interests abroad. Imran, during his dharna (protest) days and throughout his time as a member of the opposition, had told the nation that when elected representatives stash their wealth abroad, have dual nationalities and/or business in other countries, they cannot serve ...

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Imran-Trump meeting: A step in the right direction on the million-mile journey

Here’s the good news – Imran Khan and Donald Trump’s face-to-face meeting was cordial, to say the least. There was no bromance or physical gestures of affection, which Imran’s Indian counterpart is known for, but all in all, not a bad first step towards normalising relations between the two countries. Considering what happened in November last year – i.e. the Twitter fireworks that essentially tore apart any hope or chances of rapprochement or reconciliation – other than showing a few signs of nervousness, Imran handled the most unpredictable character ever to grace the halls of the White House pretty ...

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It’s not Jadhav who is in prison; the subcontinent is the prisoner of paranoia

If anyone thought that India and Pakistan’s reaction would have been different had the verdict in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case been different than what it is, then they are being delusional about the postmodern history of the Indian subcontinent. We are now conditioned to react without thinking. Both of us derive pleasure in humiliating each other – be it on the sports field or in the arena of politics. Newspapers on both sides of the border painted their pages with the titles that suited their national interests. Indian media celebrated the verdict in the same way they did when Prime Minister Narendra Modi ...

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Economic road map: Imran Khan should eat, sleep, breathe (and dream) exports

The government has plethora of tasks at hands, and naturally so since it paraded a picture-perfect dream in its election manifesto. The scorecard, however, had been deteriorating, even before the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was at the helm of affairs. Twenty months and counting, the Rupee has lost almost 50% of its value and interest rates (borrowing costs) have increased to 13.25%. Have hopes of a quick improvement in the livelihood of the middle-class that voted for this government faded away only to resurface for a better long-term hope? There are no quick fixes for Insafians and Pakistanis. That said, in the ...

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Pakistan and its BLA conundrum

The United States (US) has stated that the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) will now be considered a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGTS) group.  BLA has long been blamed for carrying out deadly attacks against its opponents, Pakistan’s security forces and labourers from other provinces, but it has been the recent spate of violence which catapulted the organisation into the spotlight. It appears that the attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi last year and a deadly attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar earlier this year, has led to the US State Department declaring that,  “BLA is an armed separatist ...

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From the jungle to the cage: Pakistan’s culture of keeping exotic animals as pets

I have been fighting against the mistreatment of animals in Pakistan for years now. Alongside other animal activists, however small in number, I have been trying to promote kindness and empathy towards all animals, domestic and working. However, what we activists did not anticipate was the sheer extent to which the sinister culture of keeping wild animals as pets in homes has become rooted in Pakistan. Lions, tigers, cheetahs, deers, bears, wolves, and more recently, giraffes can be found in various neighbourhoods in cities like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, among others. While this has been a cause for concern for decades, it appears ...

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