Stories about Azad Kashmir

Why India may not be a big fan of Pakistan’s new visa policy

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘Naya Pakistan’ just passed legislation loosening the country’s previously difficult visa procedure. This legislation allows most of the world’s nationalities to either receive a visa on arrival or electronically, which will not only boost tourism and facilitate business dealings, but also show the international community that Azad Kashmir is truly free and not ‘Pakistan-occupied’ as India falsely alleges. This is all part of Imran’s ‘Naya Pakistan’ vision of revolutionising his country’s domestic and foreign affairs. This legislation is expected to immensely boost Pakistan’s tourism industry and facilitate the clinching of international business deals along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The ...

Read Full Post

How Modi convinced India to celebrate a ‘surgical strike’ that never actually happened

Sparta, a warrior city in ancient Greece, was known for the ferocity of its soldiers. But while its soldiers might have been the best in the ancient world, its citizens were not far behind when it came to verbal jibes, particularly one-liners. For instance, Philip II of Macedon, father to Alexander the Great, had conquered almost every other Greek city-state. Sparta was the only one left, and that too, a relatively weak state without walls. Obviously, Philip II dispatched a messenger who delivered the Macedonian King’s message, “If I invade Lakonia you will be destroyed, never to rise again.” The Spartans ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan is ‘Asia’s best kept secret’ – what will it take to reveal it globally?

“The thing about tourism is that the reality of a place is quite different from the mythology of it” – Martin Parr. Pakistan, unfortunately, is a country that has been at the receiving end of such mythology and perception for a good while now, even as things on ground have changed quite drastically over the last few years. According to the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), terror-related incidents have declined 58%, from 2,060 incidents in 2010 to 681 in 2017. These figures are testament to the success of our Army during the massive military operations conducted in the northern areas of ...

Read Full Post

How did Peshawar Zalmi become PSL’s biggest franchise?

The third edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is about to start in less than two weeks’ time, which is why, as the tournament nears and we mark our calendars, it is understandable that the cricket craze in the country is reaching its optimal level.   Just like any other franchise-based competition, PSL thrives on the involvement of cricket fans, as the more fan following it manages to attract, the more money is pumped into the overall structure of the tournament. The competition managed to achieve just that through the first two editions, and in this endeavour its franchises ...

Read Full Post

There is no genuinely liberal political party in Pakistan today

At times, the electoral landscape – which by the way is still dominated by apparently moderate parties – is cited as an example of Pakistan’s resilience against growing fundamentalism. It is often claimed that Pakistan has never voted for religious parties and this is trumped as some kind of evidence of moderation or even quasi “liberalism”. Without sounding over pessimistic or critical in a self-fledgling kind of a way, I beg to refute this perception. I think the electoral landscape is misleading. Yes, while it is true that Pakistan has not become Iran, it is by no stretch of the imagination still a ...

Read Full Post

As an Indian army soldier, this is what I wanted to say to a Kashmiri child, but couldn’t

I have been to Kashmir. No, not as a tourist. I have lived there. I have worked there. I was part of the heavy military instrument of the Indian State in the paradise, guarding it from the heaven dwellers themselves. And some mischievous neighbours too. As a 21-year-old, with the might of one of the biggest militaries in the world behind me and its command pinned on my shoulders, its determination manifested in the AK in my hand, I have roamed the towns and villages with authority which none of the Burhan Wanis or Bhatts or Wazirs or Bhans or Wattals or anybody else whose land ...

Read Full Post

Did you ban cow-slaughter in Kashmir right before Eid to offend Muslim sensibilities?

As soon as the Indian authorities are done congratulating themselves over the arrest of the Kashmiri anti-nationalist figurehead, Asiya Andrabi, they can start explaining how they intend to win Kashmiri hearts and minds through an expanding list of despotic restrictions being imposed upon the people. The firebrand chief of the all-female separatist group, Dukhtaran-e-Millat or “Daughters of Faith”, was recently arrested from her Soura resident over a bizarre list of charges. These include the crime of waving the Pakistani national flag and singing the Pakistani national anthem, as well as slaughtering a cow in stark protest of the newly-revisited law against banning of cow ...

Read Full Post

I am a Sindhi and I have no sympathy for PPP anymore

Thar’s veteran politician, Rana Chandra Singh, once commented on the size of Umerkot’s Lanba ground in Dhatki, “Lanba ground Kachhi menhan Bhari ya Bhutto re Dikri.” (Either the southern rain has the power to fill the Lanba ground, or the daughter of Bhutto.) Those were the days when Sindhis, both Muslims and Hindus, chose to name their children after the famous Bhuttos. There are many Zulfikars, Bhuttos and Benazirs in Sindh and people once took pride in such names. Similarly, when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged, many who had named their children Ziaul Haq, changed their children’s names immediately. Now, you will rarely come across a person named Zia in Sindh. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) represented the people; PPP represented the ...

Read Full Post

Why India didn’t want us to have Kashmir

When one mentions Kashmir, all that comes to one’s mind are lush green fields, mountains, rivers, and valleys. Derived from Sanskrit, according to folk etymology, the name ‘Kashmir’ actually means desiccated land. ‘Ka’ means water and ‘shimeera’ means desiccate. The mention of water in its name takes me back to my Pakistan Studies class where we discussed Kashmir and its strategic importance. After visiting Kashmir, however, I can now clearly see why India didn’t want us to have this small piece of land that is rightfully ours. Bursting with streams and rivers, the natural beauty seen in Kashmir is unparalleled. [caption id="" align="alignnone" ...

Read Full Post

Dear Khaled Hosseini, will you be Kashmir’s saviour?

Dear Khaled Hosseini, I regularly follow your page and have read all your books. I must say, it’s been an honour. Recently, I saw a short video, some narrations, and a few pictures of your work regarding Syrian refugees. I am impatiently awaiting a detailed account and I am more than desperate to uncover the reality about the Syrian refugees. Being a Kashmiri and residing in Karachi and Lahore, I dare invite your pen to a misery which is larger than the academic and legal definition of a refugee. The United Nations (UN) probably calls them Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and hence the title drops to a lower ...

Read Full Post