Stories about Afghanistan

Have you forgotten what India did to Nepal and Kashmir, Mr Ashraf Ghani?

We were not very surprised when you, Mr Ashraf Ghani, at the Heart of Asia conference in India, conveniently forgot how much Pakistan has done for your country. You criticised Pakistan viciously and blamed it for the problems that you are facing and are not able to resolve. You must have been a young man when the Soviet Union invaded your country in 1979 and ruled it for nine years. While Pakistan immediately condemned the invasion, along with most of the civilised world, India supported the Soviets. When most countries, including Pakistan, refused to send their teams to the Moscow ...

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Should the Wheaton College Professor have been suspended for wearing a hijab?

Whether in Islamic theocracies or places with visible minority Muslim populations, from China to the United Kingdom, the hijab twists conservatives and liberals in their support or opposition to dress normally associated with fundamental religion. We see bullies “rip off” hijabs; one such incident recently took place in New York City. On the other extreme, groups like the Taliban declare, “wear hijab or be disfigured.” And they carry out such threats. Nushin Arbabzadah summed up this contrast in The New York Times: “Women may want to express ‘solidarity’ with Muslim women by covering up. But Muslim women don’t need to cover up. This act ...

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What Mr Modi can do to make life better for Indians

After the recent attack on the Uri military base, Mr Modi said that Pakistan and India should focus on the development of their own people. So I thought about what India could do to improve the lot of its citizens. Even after almost 70 years as an independent country, India is still an undeveloped nation. Estimates vary, but it can safely be assumed that at least 40% of Indians go to bed hungry every night.  That’s about half a billion people who need a dollar a day to survive, which translates into roughly $180 billion per year. This is something that should seriously ...

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An open letter to Indians

Dear Indians, As someone whose recent family history is very much a consequence of partition, I am no stranger to the divisiveness of Pak-India politics. Despite a shared history and culture, we stand today as two nuclear armed nations that have fought three wars against each other. Hatred for the other is fostered in both countries – neither India nor Pakistan is innocent as far as propagating hyper-nationalist aggression is concerned, but this time around, it feels slightly different. This time around, your government, sections of your media, and sections of your civil society (in concert with the government) are behaving in an exceptionally immature and dangerous manner. They ...

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Is Brahamdagh Bugti right in applying for asylum in India?

It’s popularly said that times change and so do people, but sometimes after years of changes, a lot does not change at all. In classical warfare, the shrewd commander would keep a force at the front as a façade and keep a surprise for his enemy. The surprise could be an ambush from the side, moats prepared to drown the infantry, a fire hazard to cut one part of the infantry from the other and create a kill zone and so on. Modern warfare introduced more brazen tactics such Hitler’s blitzkrieg, which caused massive damage to the Allied forces. It also gave us the ...

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Imran Khan risks being on the wrong side of history

With the encirclement of the South China Sea having been completed by the US and her allies (Japan and Australia), the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become crucial to China – more than Pakistan as well. India’s play on the other hand is not just post-Uri theatrics. With the recently acquired civilian nuclear technology and its offer to provide a base to Baloch separatists (Baramdagh Bugti citizenship case), it’s evident that our neighbours are willing to play hardball on behalf of the US, in order to up the ante on Pakistan. Add to this, the far from amiable attitude of our western neighbours (Afghanistan and Iran) ...

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How do Americans and non-Muslims view Eidul Azha?

This year, a controversy surrounded the arrival of Eidul Azha, the second most important holiday in Islam, involving the holiday’s date, as the Express Tribune reported: American Muslims on edge as Eidul Azha looks set to fall on September 11th. Muslims abroad, especially in the United States, faced the prospect that celebration would coincide with a day of mourning of those killed at the World Trade Centres. As a result, some Muslim leaders prepared for tension between their community and anti-Muslim bigots. In the New York Times, Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, said, “Our community is like, ‘What are we supposed to do?’ I should ...

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India must remember that Balochistan is not Bangladesh

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day Speech on August 15, 2016 raised the issue of Pakistan’s human rights violations in Balochistan. This has brought a new excitement in New Delhi, particularly among the right wing commentators as if India has finally found a solution to the Kashmir issue. Since the death of a charismatic militant Burhan Wani in the hands of the security agencies on July 8, 2016, Kashmir is witnessing unprecedented violent protest. Modi and his advisors hope that Kashmir unrest will come to an end if India starts spreading the fire in Balochistan. If Modi and his advisors really believe that the Balochistan threat will dissuade Pakistani ...

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Change begins at home: Stop blaming France for the Burkini ban

When I lived in Saudi Arabia, religious policing of women’s bodies was the norm. I remember a time when my mother and I were casually strolling down Suwaiket street – one of the most busiest and populated areas in downtown Al-Khobar – when we suddenly witnessed the religious police, most commonly referred to as ‘mutawa’ (or mutaween for plural) approach a young woman, and angrily demanded that she cover up, as she wore the abaya (full Islamic body covering), with the scarf resting loosely around her shoulders, her face and hair bare. When the woman, who was too shocked to speak or didn’t comply right away, ...

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Afghanistan-Pakistan-India: A Paradigm Shift: Understanding South Asia from the eyes of an ambassador

When a serving ambassador writes a book, it reflects not only an individual’s observations, but also mirrors the larger thought of the government or the country that he represents. Shaida Mohammad Abdali, the Afghan ambassador in India, is a rare breed of a diplomat, who has tried to delve into topical issues affecting South Asia. His book, Afghanistan-Pakistan-India: A Paradigm Shift, is an attempt to enter the terrain which occupies the mind space of many. However, not many understand the trajectories of the territory. The book comes at a time when tensions between India and Pakistan are high. Both countries are also ...

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