Stories about Army

Swat Summer festival: A summer retreat, to the heaven on Earth

The glaciers melt; the streams from them gush with fresh water. The Swat River and its tributaries spurt. The fruit laden orchards of peaches, apples, apricots and plumps bloom. The whistles of gypsies, seasonal nomads, buzz and the bells of sheep ring. This is summer in Swat. Since the last successful military offensive against the Swat Taliban the military in Swat arrange festivals in the valley. These events of entertainment are meant to revive tourism in the valley and to present a soft image of the idyllic landscape to the world. And of course one objective is to prove that Swat ...

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Horrors of 2007 in Swat: We need the Army

Yesterday I was reading The Express Tribune, when my eye caught an interesting statement made by the new elected chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). He was boldly talking about pulling out the Pakistan Army from the Swat. I will refrain from criticising any party directives or policies here; all I want to do is to provide a clearer picture of the situation in Swat, and let the people be the jury of such an action. I remember when the Pakistan Austrian Institute for Hotel and Tourism Management (PAITHOM) was targeted by the Taliban in the Swat valley in August 2007. This kind of Taliban was ...

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Man dead for falling in love: Parachinar is taking us back to the stone ages

A couple of weeks ago I read a blog post which delved into the rich prospects of the jirga system, its history and advantage to those who don’t have quick and easy access to the legal system in Pakistan. A couple of weeks ago, it made me ponder over my inflexibility towards accepting it as a system of justice – today I hold a strong stance against it. Having practiced in the courts of Pakistan, I understand first-hand the issues that the common man would face in his quest for legal justice; acute delays, unending legal costs and corruption within the ...

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Drone strikes kill militants, others kill the innocent

While the whole nation is engrossed in the drama being performed by Dr Tahirul Qadri in Blue Area, something more serious and disgraceful is going on in our beloved country. I don’t really know what the media is saying about what happened yesterday morning in North Waziristan, or if it even qualifies as something worthy of being reported in the media. I know of this incident solely because it involves the family of a close friend. At around 8.30am. yesterday, a Pakistan Army gunship helicopter appeared in the skies above Hassukhel, a small village in Tehsil Mir Ali, North Waziristan. The helicopter ...

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Has Hindi become our national language?

Recently, interviews were held for admission at the newly established Cadet College Sarwakai in South Waziristan. It was then that a tribal child, being interviewed by an army officer in Urdu, shocked the interviewer. The child was asked why he was eager to join cadet college. “Sir, I want to join the Army”, replied the child. “Why do you want to join the Army?” asked the interviewer. The innocent child replied, “Sir, main apne desh ki raksha karoon ga.” (Sir, I will protect my country.) The innocent child had no clue that these were not Urdu words, rather he had replied in pure Hindi instead of his national language! ...

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A beginner’s guide to Pakistani liberal politics

For the past one year, I have met quite a few people who are termed in Pakistani politics as “liberals”. Personally, I find this quite refreshing as I am from the generation who grew up during Zia’s era; the generation which was mainly inspired by our armed forces and characters like Mehmood Ghaznavi. However, based on my prolonged discussions with the liberals, I have managed to devise a five-step approach for the layman towards becoming a liberal in Pakistani politics. Step 1: Question the Two-Nation Theory: This is the most important and basic step. You must question why India was divided and ...

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10 things Pakistanis hate to hear

One of the biggest disadvantages of living in a nation as homogeneous as ours is that it is very seldom that you get to hear alternative narratives on history, religion, culture and society in general. People who try and present narratives that are different from the main stream are labelled as agents, heretics or even worse, traitors. Here I have made a list of ten things that average Pakistanis just don’t want to hear. 1. America and Israel cannot be blamed for all the miseries of the Muslim world in general and Pakistan in particular. For a country that was hand in ...

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For my nano

It has been a while now since my grandmother passed away, and I can’t stop thinking about her. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that she is gone.  My Nano lived a content life. She saw good times and bad times; got married really young, and saw her husband go off to a war just a few days after the wedding. She witnessed the creation of Pakistan and lived through the last minute inclusion of Gurdaspur in India, and the sudden helplessness that followed it as her husband’s family migrated to Lahore. My grandfather was an ...

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Upholding the law, undermining the ballot

Pakistan has always been a tough case for those who like to see democracy as a black and white affair; either a country is a democracy or it is not. The periods in which elected governments have held power have been described as “quasi-democratic”, “sham democracy”, “civilian autocracy” and other such unpalatable terms. However, many were looking towards the completion of this particular elected government’s term as a historical first in Pakistan’s intermittent democratisation process. Would the term completion have amounted to mere symbolism and what does the judicial ouster of the Prime Minister imply for Pakistan’s political future? From a ...

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Pindi’s Orwellian water crisis

With fuel and electricity shortages already rampant, one of the least surprising local stories in recent weeks was that water is in short supply in the capital and Rawalpindi. The latter has a much more acute shortage, around 15 million gallons a day or 26% of total demand. While an inexact measure, working on the assumption that one in four Pindi residents doesn’t have any water, one can get a better grasp of how bad things are. One may wonder, quite justifiably, why nobody saw this coming. Well somebody did and for once, it wasn’t just the experts, but the government. In ...

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