Stories about Burma

#SahiwalEncounter: Is that all we are now, “human shields” and “collateral damage”?

I don’t intend for it to sound sensational, but there were four bullets in a 13-year-old child’s body that were paid for by our tax money. This would be an appropriate time to question our security policies. Four people were recently shot dead by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel on a highway in the Sahiwal district. The incident resulted in the deaths of the driver and three members of a family, including both parents who have left behind three orphaned children. Counter Terrorism Deptt (CTD) opens fire on a car in Sahiwal and kills 4 people while 3 kids miraculously survive. ...

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The Iraq intervention ensued and we said “never again” – yet here we are, silent, when it comes to intervention in Myanmar and Yemen

“The world has abandoned us,” was the message that was sent loud and clear last year to the global community from the victims of Aleppo, Syria. There were clear reports of chemical attacks against inhabitants, including children, perpetrated by the Syrian regime. Yet, the international community watched helplessly as rebel-held parts of Aleppo, the largest town in Syria, descended into a humanitarian catastrophe. While the crisis received reasonable coverage in international media, it failed to mobilise large-scale demonstrations in western capital cities. There were more people gathered in front of the French Embassy to mock the burkini ban than there were to ...

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Hazaras: The Rohingyas of Pakistan?

Last week, when I was planning a trip to Quetta for training, Mujeeb Hashmi, a friend from work, asked me to wear shalwar kameez, not only to the airport but also whenever I went out and about in the city. Hashmi, being a veteran filmmaker, has been to almost every habitable area of Pakistan – so I had to pay heed. He also warned me to be wary of certain localities within the city such as Hazara Town and Alamdar Road, given the violence witnessed by the city in the past. He was right. Quetta made a great first impression on me – ...

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Rangoon is an example of how a gifted director is wasting his talent

There’s a line in the film where Saif Ali Khan tells a British officer, “We’re actors; we know how to convince people.” I am sorry to burst your bubble here Chote Nawab, but regrettably your statement falls completely flat on its face if the said performers are asked to work with a wearingly long and complicatedly patchy screenplay. Saif Ali Khan in Rangoon (2017)Photo: IMDb At 167 minutes, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Rangoon isn’t just a drag but also tediously stuffed with a hotchpotch of multiple storylines. Rangoon takes us back to 1940s Hindustan, against the backdrop of contrasting independence ideologies of dovish Mahatma Gandhi and hawkish Subhash Chandra ...

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Is the killing of Rohingya ‘ethnic cleansing’ or Muslim genocide?

A campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslims is being carried out by Burmese authorities in the western state of Arakan. The Burmese troops have slaughtered children, raped women, as well as killed and shot men. They have burned and looted houses. They have forced people to cross the river into Bangladesh, which is one of Burma’s neighbouring countries. The Rohingya group, numbering about 1.1 million people, is seen as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. A huge number of people from the community have poured across the border for several years to seek asylum in one of the refugee camps near Cox’s Bazar. Moreover, ...

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Will China’s military overhaul be able to compete with the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division?

The size of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), its past  performance and the Republic’s economic super power status have periodically got Washington’s knickers in a twist, much to the glee of the United States’ military-industrial sector. The South China Morning Post’s report of a prospective overhaul of China’s land troops to acquire a rapidly deployable force on the lines of the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division (101st) promises as much. The plan also involuntarily activates latent Sinophobia – even though the ambitious project is obviously a very long haul – with success hanging on China’s crucial choice between conscription and professionalism. Milton Friedman (1912-2006), Nobel laureate ...

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Russia: The one country the US cannot bully

This week US Foreign Secretary John Kerry met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Russian Black Sea resort, Sochi – the same place where the Winter Olympics took place, which the West boycotted – for the first talks since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis back in the autumn of 2013. Kerry held discussions for more than four hours with Lavrov before he sat down with President Putin. Among the topics discussed were the themes which the US cannot handle without support from Russia, i.e. the Iran nuclear talks and the situation in Yemen and Libya. But apart from these topics, ...

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In Saudi Arabia, oil will always be thicker than blood

It was the year 2000 and I was a young man studying in Canada. Having spent a majority of my life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for a change, I was enjoying the atmosphere of a country where people weren’t treated with disdain simply because of their nationality. Alas, even in Canada, it was difficult to escape Saudi mentality. I was socialising with a group of Middle Eastern students at a food court where we were all getting to know each other. When asked, I told them I was a Pakistani who had grown up in Saudi Arabia. While ...

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Saudi Arabia: No country for Pakistani brides

The untoward behaviour from the Saudi government of reportedly laying off 30,000 illegal Pakistani workers hit yet another ebb when Saudi men were recently banned from bringing brides from four nationalities including Pakistan that is amongst the relegated list. Other countries languishing in this ill-famed category are Bangladesh, Burma and Chad. A cursory glance at the names of aforementioned countries makes me wonder how insignificant Pakistan has become in the greater scheme of things. It reduces Information Minister Pervez Rasheed’s recent claim, during a conference held to discuss Gaza, about Pakistan being the world’s sixth largest force to reckon with to a mere ...

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Mong Chow: Karachi gets a taste of Burma

Burma is a culture-rich country nestled between India, China, Bangladesh, Laos and Thailand. Their cuisine is as rich as their culture and I have had the pleasure of enjoying some staples and delicacies during my growing years, mainly because my grandmother is Burmese. The key components of Burmese cuisine have been greatly influenced by the neighbouring country’s eating habits, the most notable being India, China and Thailand. That being said, Burmese cuisine is notably different from any others you might have come across, be it the sublime taste or the rich colourful presentation. A single bite can be hot and sweet, salty ...

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