Stories about Army

My cousin Yaser isn’t dead

A month after Yaser (better known as Lieutenant Syed Yaser Abbas Shaheed) lost his wallet, he received a letter along with his identity card. It was an apology from the guy who had stolen it. He wrote that it was the dire need for money that had forced him to steal, that he was really ashamed and would return him the amount if and when his circumstances changed. I’m sure that though his feelings of remorse would have grown now that Yaser has left, the letter writer can draw some comfort from the fact that he had at least apologised. But ...

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PNS Mehran attack: United we stand?

Does the maxim ‘United we stand, divided we fall’ hold true for us, only as a nation? It’s very evidently true for us, if we are part of the military forces. Just how can the intruders jump into the naval base and create havoc of such great magnitude. Unthinkable and unimaginable. Karachi, my city was under attack, and one feels extremely out of focus, when our armed forces, our jawans, who spend their entire life guarding our lives and our borders, evidently get attacked by people we know as Taliban. This is in reference to the recent attacks on them. But ...

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Apologies, Lieutenant Yasir Abbas

I have always been a supporter of the extravagant budget spending on Pakistan’s defence. The high global ranking of our military has always served as reason for me to maintain my stance and argue in favour of the forces. In debates with friends and colleagues, I have, several times, flaunted the fact that if there is one great thing about Pakistan, it is our defence. Unfortunately, this all changed recently. Little did I know that the forces I talked so highly of would miss an ‘unknown’ number of people jumping in to one of the most valuable bases in ...

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Chechen killing: Trigger-happiness?

I was standing close to the crime scene when the paramilitary troops and police opened fire on the five Chechens who were lying injured near the Frontier Corps picket strangled in barbed wire near Killi Khezi, Quetta. One of the wounded women was pleading for mercy by waving her hand. Television footage clearly covered this particular moment. The heavily armed personnel seemed to be too confident before resorting to opening fire, hastily, without verifying whether the foreigners were terrorists or innocent. The intense firing forced me to remain behind the DSNG which was parked about 30 yards from the picket. Some ...

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Unattended IDPs: Fodder for terrorists

Fifty five year old Haji Khatab Khan has lived in the Jalozai refugee camp near Peshawar as an IDP for the last two years. On June 7, he will face the dreary reality of returning to what once used to be his home in Bajaur Agency, but the homecoming will not be festive. “Security forces demolished our houses in Mamond [Tehsil of Bajaur Agency], so where should we go now?” he beseeches, adding that he wants compensation to rebuild his house that was destroyed in the army operation to wipe out militants from his area. The situation is alarming. A blogger ...

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Women, war and the world

We have had the war on terror, the war on poverty, the war on racism, the war on drugs, the war on Islam, the war on piracy, the war on war, and finally, fledgling but fierce, the war on Express Tribune blogs. These are all proxy wars, phony wars, smokescreen wars which obscure the real conflict, much like a rant from Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho diverts our attention from his team’s failings after he’s lost a match. There is a real war to be fought. The big war. The only war. The war to usher in eternal peace for humankind. The war ...

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13 worrying facts about Pakistan and terrorism

1. Abbottabad is a military town that is home to three Pakistan Army regiments and thousands of military personnel and that is dotted with military buildings. The land mostly is owned by the Pakistan Army and retired army officers. 2. The house Osama lived in was 800 yards from the gate of the Kakul Military Academy, an army run institution where top officers train. The compound, which is worth $1 million, was surrounded by 12 to 18 feet high walls topped with barbed wire. 3. The map of the regions shows sections of nearby land marked as “restricted area,” indicating that ...

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Solution is internal: Stop blaming the US

Pakistan, it seems, is divided between those who glorify and those who demonise America. Some will construct elaborate theories to prove how America is hell bent upon destroying Pakistan while others would be willing to ignore the most strategic blunders of American administrations. Truth, I believe, lies somewhere in the middle. I don’t know how Brigadier (retired) Shaukat Qadir can state with mathematical certitude that “the US establishment (Pentagon/CIA) is compelled to destabilise Pakistan,” but reading similar analyses from Islamabad, I get a feeling that some within Pakistan’s ruling elite want to shift their servile alignment from the USA to China. Qadir ...

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Girls just wanna… go to Risalpur

My best friend wants to be an air force pilot. She (yes, it’s a she) has wanted to be one since she first watched Top Gun. She can tell you the model number of any jet and its year of make by just looking at a picture. While everyone else our age stalks the Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums) website, she has the Pakistan Air Force website as her ‘most visited’. Risalpur is her future home. During the past six months, I have been forced to memorise the lyrics of “Highway to the Danger Zone” and google its 1980s Pakistani ...

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Can’t kill, detain or release militants? Frame a legal policy

Despite Islamabad’s cartwheels and somersaults, the mud of extra-judicial killings in terrorism hotspots is sticking. The US government’s report on human rights violations in Pakistan said nothing new; Islamabad’s refutation was predictable. But in the absence of a coherent strategy to deal with captured militants, the frustration of the military as well as rights activists is growing. While the military describes the status of the General Kayani-commissioned report on the video depicting the gunning down of six civilians by men in uniform as ‘ongoing’ and insists it will figure out – eventually – what to do about those found guilty, ...

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