Stories about Bin Laden

It wasn’t state facilitation but years of political neglect that turned FATA into an extremist stronghold

Whilst our civilian rulers have borne significant calumny for their dismal governance since the return of the democratic regime in 2008, there remain some feathers in the cap they can yet point to when juxtaposed with their military counterparts. Take the 18th Constitutional amendment for example. Since independence, successive military regimes have sought to consolidate power in the centre, perpetrating a phantom federation which in turn fuelled discontent and separatist-ism throughout the smaller provinces. The unitary propensity of the establishment also played a vital role in the East Pakistan debacle in 1971. The 18th amendment represented a break from this past, bringing about an inclusive administrative system by ...

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Hafiz Saeed is not Nawaz Sharif but as a citizen of Pakistan he has the same rights

Punjab Home Department has released a report stating that two Pakistanis are the next target of RAW, India’s intelligence agencies. The first gentleman, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, is known to the world as the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. The second man, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, is known to the world as head of Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), organisations blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267. JUD and FIF are also placed on the watch list of the Government of Pakistan and are affiliated with another banned organisation called Lashkar-e-Taiba. The report suggests that RAW intends to ...

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Noam Chomsky versus Sam Harris: Rationale versus hate

Sam Harris is butting heads again – this time with Noam Chomsky. He recently blogged an email exchange he had with the great man himself; an exchange which, as with most things with Harris, quickly degenerated into crassness. That this torture-advocating anti-theist would, of his own accord, publicise such classless piffle over the web, expecting quite possibly a tsunami of approval from his fans, betrays a curious audacity one may only encounter in a special breed of omniscience-claiming cult-runners. Of course Harris can be absolved of such an indictment – no cult-runner is he. But he may well be drifting perilously close to ...

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Osama bin Laden for the West: From ‘warrior’ to ‘militant’

Have you ever wondered if the international media works for an agenda? I’m sure you have. We all do. We have come across many instances where biases in western media houses have been pronounced loud and clear, so such inferences are only natural. Media’s shifting portrayal of Osama bin Laden over the years is just one testimony of that. Being a media studies major, I have studied about the agenda-setting theory, which discusses how the media sets up particular agendas and then feeds news pertaining to that angle to its viewers. It’s all about understanding the underlying story behind a ...

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Abbottabad has more to offer than Osama bin Laden

Only months ago, whenever I had to tell anyone that I resided in Abbottabad, I was, more often than not, met with a catatonic pause. Apparently, only geography-buffs knew what this was and even less knew where this was. But then happened the notorious Bin Laden episode, and that spared us the agony of having to go through Abbottabad’s location every single time. However, the dimension of interrogation sported an altogether different angle. Many now seem curious as to what living in Abbottabad is like. ‘Isn’t it dangerous?’ ‘Are there other terrorists too?’ ‘Do you feel secure?’ These are some of the more common questions ...

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Bin Laden killing: Whither objective journalism?

I remember the general reaction in the newsroom the day the news of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden broke. There was relief, felicitations of ‘Mubarak ho!’ and the excitement of covering what was perhaps one of the biggest stories of the year. Throughout the day, and the days following the incident, I noted people’s reactions. While some openly celebrated the news, others quietly welcomed the news with relief, adding however that it was against their principles to celebrate death. Sure, there was shock and anger against the political and military leadership and condemnation about the violation of Pakistan’s ...

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The market for conspiracy theories

What was limited to marginal audiences in the past has now transformed into a huge commodity. Following every ‘big’ incident in any part of the world, it sells the most – conspiracy theory. In Pakistan, conspiracies theories are constantly evolving. You can get to any conclusion whatsoever, and come up with any analysis on a given situation. It will sell, provided you have a platform to market your theory. The favourite platform for a conspiracy theorist is a television talk show. The real disseminators of such theories, however, are local language newspapers. Deriving their credibility from the conspiracy-theory-based talk shows, the vernacular ...

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With or without Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden may have died on May 2, 2011, but his relevance to global jihad and war against terror had ceased the day al Qaeda got its first recruits. Today, not only the graduates of religious seminaries, but also the urban middle class youth in Pakistan and most Middle Eastern countries is steeped in radical ideas and us-against-them thinking. This, more than the hunt for Osama, should have been the cause of concern for the Coalition of the willing. With Osama gone, they’ll have Ayman al Zawahiri and after him, someone else. The top slots on their list of most-wanted men ...

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Obama-Osama dilemma: I choose Edhi

The news of Osama Bin Laden’s death was broken to the world by US President Barack Obama on Sunday. However, the covert operation to kill Bin Laden was undertaken thousands of miles away in an upscale town of Pakistan. On paper, it seems fitting that the country where Bin Laden was hiding should have taken part in the secret operation, but with regards to this particular incident, the US simply did not trust Pakistan.  CIA director Leon Panetta said on Tuesday that Pakistan could jeopardise the mission and “alert the targets” if Islamabad took part in the mission. Many will ...

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Bin Laden notwithstanding

How does one relate the three days of discussions on novels, short stories, poetry, music and paintings at the Art Council with the context? It has been open season for terrorism for a while now but Osama bin Laden’s killing was a bolt from the blue. The Lahore Arts Council, however, went ahead with a literary and cultural conference to the delight of many and surprise of many others. I was reminded of the good old days, and some bad old days. There was a time when Justice SA Rehman used to be the chairman and somebody from the art ...

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