Stories about attacks

Dear Comedy, when did you go from mere jokes to demeaning mockery? Yours truly, Ali Gul Pir

Dear comedy, It is time to acknowledge your stake in my sanity, your ability to keep me hopeful in tough times and your power to not let me take life too seriously. I love how you take the world’s most tragic, absurd and unjust news and turn them into awesome memes (jokes) which make millions of people laugh. When I was a child, I would repeatedly ask my mom to read out the jokes from her weekly magazine to me. I would memorise them so I could tell them later in school or to other adults. Earlier on in life, I understood ...

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The Pakistani state has failed in protecting its citizens in Quetta

The atrocities against the legal profession in Quetta As our nation fast approaches its day of independence, the profession most closely associated with the struggle for freedom has paid the ultimate price. The blast at the Civil Hospital, Quetta, constituted not only a tragic loss of life, but an attack on the last defenders of the rule of law and the basic rights promised to us all on the eve of our independence. This will undoubtedly further bruise the morale of those earning their livelihood fighting for the rights of people protected under the Constitution of Pakistan. The struggle for the ...

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Soaked in scarlet for Eid: Today’s bystander could be tomorrow’s victim

The last one week has seen attacks in six different cities of the world, all of which have been claimed by the so called Islamic State, and all of which have made headlines across the globe. People of various religious and denominational persuasions lost lives. They were targeted by the so-called Islamic State loyalists, inflicting carnage that knew no religion or nationality. These attacks should reinforce that IS can represent anything but an Islamic State. If there are any IS apologists even in Pakistan, then they have a lot to ponder upon in finding justifications in defence of the indefensible. The attack ...

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Making sense of terror attacks anthropologically

On the evening of November 13, 2015, Paris suffered the worst terrorist attack in modern European history, killing over 120 people. The scale and sheer barbarity of the attacks is unprecedented. The French society is in trauma. The world is in shock. Paris, still reeling from the aftermath of the deadly Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year, will no longer be the same city. From holding vigils to changing Facebook display pictures in French flag colours, the attacks have prompted an exceptional display of solidarity with the victims by the global community. The western leaders have been quick in showing support for Paris, calling it ...

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Should Malala be blamed for Gaza too?

Consider this: Pakistan is in the midst of a war on terror. Swat is in control of Maulana Fazlullah, who is now the chief of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Radio is banned, schools have been forced shut and a barbaric (read: Taliban’s) Sharia law has been imposed. In all this, a brave 12-year-old risks her life to tell the world what girls like her are going through. Fast forward two years. Her blogs on BBC and activism for the cause of education infuriates perpetrators of terrorism who attempt to assassinate her. She survives against all odds, and has now won many accolades and awards for her work and ...

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An Indian in Pakistan

A simple white shalwar kameez, a pair of traditional Peshawari shoes and a black jacket. The packed hall of about 900 people exploded into thunderous cheers and a standing ovation. Young boys and girls jumped up with excitement, thumped their tables and filled the air with whistles. The welcome befitted a rock star. The man in white moved to the stage and commenced speaking. He spoke clearly, simply and in elegant Urdu; every member of the audience could understand him. His thoughts were crystal clear; he stood for a multi- cultural and secular framework, believed in a corruption free society, ...

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If you blame Bilawal solely for the famine in Thar, then blame Imran for the suicide attacks in KP!

Ever since the Thar crises, I have seen a flurry of newspaper articles condemning Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and in fact, likening it to a party of Pharoahs. Many PPP haters have actually taken a sinister delight in the tragedy and have used it to find justifications for their hatred of PPP and also to further whip the public sentiments. I am not a Jiyala and hence it is not my job to come up with an apologetic defence for PPP. Any famine is partly an administrative failure and hence the incumbent government should face the heat. However, at the same ...

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On the 5th anniversary of the Mumbai attacks, let us take an oath

Five years ago, it was the worst of times for my neighbouring country. Mumbai, India’s commercial hub was under attack. The eve of November 26, 2008 was one of the bloodiest days for India. When the calendar marked November 29, the death toll exceeded 100 people.  Everything was deplorable. The entire Indian nation was mourning and rightly so. It was the worst of times for my country as well, as the whole Indian government and the media turned hostile towards Pakistan and built war hysteria. The attackers were reported to come from my soil. This was a shocking revelation. The after-effect of ...

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President Obama’s speech and the continuation of drone strikes

President Obama delivered his much anticipated speech on counter-terrorism at the National Defense University, at Fort McNair in Washington, on Thursday. In the days before the address the focus was mainly expected to be policies governing drone attacks. According to White House officials, the speech would particularly give procedural details explaining the process leading up to decisions to use drones in counter-terrorism. It was also said that the remarks would outline, in detail, this administration’s counter-terrorism policies. Pakistan has had a long and violent relationship with American drones since 2004, the fifth year under the presidency of Pervez Musharraf. According to ...

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Boston Marathon blasts: Is terrorism Muslim?

Last time I checked, terrorism had no nationality or religion. It was defined as the senseless slaughter of innocents by perpetrators of violence. No matter what causes these terrorists claim to endorse, the damage they inflicted was not supposed to represent the teachings of the religion they identified with or the country they hailed from. All that tolerance is only in theory though. When we hear of attacks and blasts by violent groups, we tend to assume everyone who is associated with the belief system which these extremists recognise is tainted by their malicious intents. With the Boston Marathon blasts only ...

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