Stories about drones

Why Pakistan needs Imran Khan

It’s been a long journey for Imran Khan. He founded his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 1996, and for many years made no real progress. Many mocked him. The Guardian journalist Declan Walsh dismissed him as ‘a miserable politician’, whose ideas and affiliations had ‘swerved and skidded like a rickshaw in a rainshower’. PTI did make a limited amount of progress in the 2013 General Elections, when it emerged as the second largest party by national vote and with 30 parliamentary seats. Furthermore, Imran’s party secured control of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). But none of this was enough to challenge for national ...

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The US drone program in Pakistan killed over 200 children, how is it any different from the APS massacre?

Last week saw a lot of flurried comments once again condemning US drone strikes in Pakistan. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif in a meeting with United States Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, on May 25, 2016, expressed concerns over the US drone strike in Balochistan on May 23rd in which Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was reportedly killed.    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had criticised the US drone strikes earlier, describing them as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. In an adjournment motion submitted by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar to the Senate, he said the issue would alter the security calculus ...

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Welcome to the game of drones

The US President, Barack Obama, acknowledged on Friday that civilians should not have been killed in drone strikes. He went on to say that the US administration is now cautious on striking where women or children are present. Gee thanks, Mr President. It took President Obama close to eight years to acknowledge this fact. Drones might be the third most annoying thing in the sky after mosquitoes and plastic bags caught in the breeze. Despite being a nuisance, the US president loves them. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, not only has he launched more than eight times the drone strikes his predecessor did, ...

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Mr Qaim Ali Shah, you have faced tremendous injustice at the grimy hands of this public

What do you do when you have more money than the poor masses of your country can even imagine? You make it rain, of course. What do you do when you travel through helicopter and there are no helipads in your poor, impoverished country? You descend from the skies when you so desire. Remember, the world (read Pakistan) is your oyster (read parking space). Our beloved Sindh Chief Minister, Qaim Ali Shah, is being chastised for landing his helicopter in the middle of Niaz Stadium and disrupting an under-19 cricket match. People are saying that he is disrespectful, high-handed and embodies VIP culture in Pakistan. ...

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Showing off Pakistan’s achievements in 2014

2014 was like any other year for Pakistan in the last decade, with socio-political and religious excesses taking the lion’s share of space in the newspapers of the country. And yet, despite being overshadowed by dismal news, there was no dearth of winning moments for our country. In retrospect, this may just prove to be the year in which the foundation for a consolidated effort was laid, in the country’s quest to reclaim its lost glory of the 1960s. Progress was made in all domains of life. Some of those winning moments are herein under presented: Admittedly, in a country forever ...

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24 absurd beliefs Pakistanis have

Norms are beliefs about how members of a group should behave in a particular context. They are informal and often ‘invisible’ understandings and rules that govern a group’s behaviour towards particular religious, social, cultural, political and socio-economic triggers. Norms generally define what is acceptable in a society or group and are the building blocks for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, ideologies and narratives. These rules are generally implicit. In addition to what is considered normative in societal, political or cultural context, there are smaller groups within a society which endorse a particular norm. On one hand, norms define how to move, what to wear, how ...

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The problem with “collateral damage” in a “surgical air-strike”

The questioning gaze of that drone victim, who lost one of his family members – with eight others injured – on the fateful day of October 24, 2012, in a drone strike at South Waziristan, still haunts my memory every time a new strike occurs. Just today, four more people were killed in North Waziristan; they too shall be termed as “collateral damage” of a “precise air-strike” against “terrorists” hiding in the “safe havens”, and forgotten or not even talked about as individual human beings in the first place. When will this loss of innocent human life stop? Who will make the American government accountable for this ...

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Should she have declined the Nobel Peace Prize?

 The Nobel Peace Prize is given to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”. I wonder which work of young Malala Yousafzai fell within any of these three criteria. To be fair to her, Malala did not ask for the Nobel Peace Prize, nor did she lobby for it. In all probability, her handlers did, because for them, it was the crowning glory of the agenda they have been pursuing through her ever since she was whisked away from ...

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ISIS and the cycle of open-ended US strikes

A Pentagon official, soon after launching an offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Khorasan, and the al Qaeda in Syria, said, “Islamic State battle could take years”. This was the first instance when the United States “officially” intervened in Syria using Islamic State’s preamble. And with that, Syria became the seventh predominantly Muslim country to be attacked by a Nobel laureate – US President Barack Obama. This latest campaign boasts fighter jets, especially the problem laden F-22 Raptor, tomahawk cruise missiles, drones and bombers. The United States is also joined by five other Arab states – namely United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan ...

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For IDPs, the light at the end of the tunnel is a freight train coming their way

The much-awaited operation to clean the north western part of the country has finally started. It will hopefully rid us of the disease that has infected our country and as a result, the locals will hopefully be able to live without the constant fear of militants and hovering drones. However, due to the intensity of the operation, residents have been forced to leave their homes and live as refugees in camps in their own country; camps that are merely making ends meet for them. Hussein Khan, once a resident of Mir Ali in North Waziristan and now living in the Bannu refugee ...

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