Stories about Army

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 ...

Read Full Post

Indo-Pak ties: A case of inflated egos, deflated brains

One can always trust the Indians and Pakistanis to make their battles about their inflated egos. The end point is no surprise; Siachen, the world’s highest battleground testifies to the sheer stupidity and irrationality in vogue among the khakis and non-khakis on both sides of the border. The story goes that the Siachen saga was hatched at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi, where some Pakistani generals decided that they better lay claim to Siachen before India does. So, they ordered Arctic-weather gear from a shop in London, which also supplied the Indians as well. Whether this was bad luck, or ...

Read Full Post

Why sending bureaucrats’ kids to govt schools won’t work

Would forcing government servants to send their children to public schools help improve the quality of education? While such a populist measure seems well intentioned and simple enough, it betrays our continued ignorance of how education works or at least how it should work. Now don’t get me wrong. I strongly believe that state schools need to be expanded and improved. I believe that schools should be palaces. However, the factors that contribute most to improving the quality of education, measured in terms of examination performance include, the quality of teachers, supportive parents and the financial standing of the student’s household. In ...

Read Full Post

Let’s not forget my brothers, the men of Siachen

The sentries changed duties and the humble started preparing to bow before their Lord, oblivious of the misfortune they were about to meet.  Just about the time when darkness cracked and light approached, with an intimidating thump and a spine chilling swish, thousands of tons of glistening snow descended on the 150 helpless souls, crushing and destroying all that came in its way. The entire Battalion Headquarter was gone within seconds and I, along with thousand others, lost their brothers in arms. Once again we are left to mourn and bewail the deaths of the brave sons of the soil, ...

Read Full Post

Honouring heroes: A tribute to the men of Siachen

Disaster and tragedy struck the Siachen glacier in the early hours of the morning of April 7, 2012. More than 135 of our finest were buried under snow and suffered a painful death. This is the biggest avalanche that has struck our army men over the last 20 years and a loss that cannot be measured in words. One can hardly imagine living under such extreme conditions, leave alone suffocating under over 80 feet of snow. It is a terrible tragedy indeed. The army’s presence in Siachen is especially close to my heart as my late uncle was stationed there a few years ...

Read Full Post

Siachen tragedy: Is a glacier worth their lives?

Once again, we are lamenting the death of soldiers; the brave sons of the soil who were tragically killed at the highest battlefield in the world, while we slept comfortable and warm in our cosy beds. It is indeed a great tragedy to hear that such young men have been crushed under tonnes of snow – men who could have done so much for their country and for their families. What a painful way to die, and what an unjust way to reward all that they have done for us. They, of all people did not deserve this. Yes, the casualties may be 135 (124 ...

Read Full Post

Bahria University: Arsalan Bilal’s hunger for justice

Ask the administrators of Bahria University Islamabad, who have reportedly expelled Arsalan Bilal from the University for threatening staff members by forwarding a poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. It appears irrelevant to the administrators that the same e-mail was forwarded to his friends, class fellows and family members. Yet, Faiz’s poetry is a reason good enough to warrant expulsion if a teacher is added to the mailing list. Bahria University has also declared Arsalan Bilal “psychologically unstable,” even though they are no experts in psychiatry. If so, the university appears to have ...

Read Full Post

For the family of a dead soldier

Standing outside a hospital corridor, opposite the nursery, I was waiting for my wife to return from the operating theatre after giving birth to our second child. Anxiety was in the process of being replaced by happiness, and I was enjoying the quiet moment. A few minutes later, a nurse brought another newborn baby boy, and some ladies (presumably the family of the infant) followed the nurse. One of the ladies, who looked like a typical grandmother, stood out from rest of the crowd. There was something not quite normal about her. She was relentlessly wiping away tears, saying things like, Mein ...

Read Full Post

Why the Pakistan Army makes state policies

It is difficult to assess whether the Pakistan Army is naïve or strategically calculated to step in the Supreme Court on the Memogate scandal. Obvious, however, is the fact that the critical step has brought the Army out in public, where previously only politicians and bureaucrats were mocked and sorted out. The Pandora’s box has popped open and an influx of articles criticising the unlimited power of the armed forces on defense, foreign and domestic political policies of Pakistan have been unleashed. While political pundits have declared the notion that the army makes the foreign, defense and domestic political policies of Pakistan as a ‘fact’– ...

Read Full Post

Welcome to the war in Balochistan

In 2007, those of us journalists working on news desks could see from the daily reports pouring in from Swat and Fata that the situation had turned dire; that there was a war upon us that we, the media, could see, but which the general population would not wake up to, at least not until it reached their doorstep. Due to Pakistan’s overt involvement in the US war on terror, the lid on that battleground blew open fairly soon, but even back in 2007 we could see that there was another deadly war front opening – the war in Balochistan. ...

Read Full Post