Stories about drones

Doomed to a life of drones

Shattering sounds of broken glass and screams of sirens poured into Ali’s ears; and hot, blazing flames leaped before his eyes; he could not say with assurance whether that was an hallucination or some frightening reality. A little while ago, he had been plucking yellow, juicy apricots from a tree in his courtyard. Suddenly, a predator flying in the air threw fire in the direction of his house. Those sounds came back to him and were mingled with low, moaning human sounds. Ali shut his eyes tightly and attempted to move his body. A loud groan escaped his mouth. Hearing his ...

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PTI’s Peace March: Give credit where it is due

Waziristan, a centre point for drone attacks by US-led NATO forces, is a place from where thousands of residents were misplaced internally and had to lodge their families to safer places of Pakistan. Waziristan, a place that is forgotten even by its own rulers. Recently, Imran Khan, Chairman Tehreek e Insaaf, led a ‘Peace March’ to South Waziristan along with the citizens of Pakistan, local media, his own party workers, and above all, foreign journalists and anti-war activists from the West.  This march started from Islamabad on Saturday October 6, 2012. The motorcade drove across Talagang, Chakwal, Kundian, Mianwali, Karak, Dera Ismail ...

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‘Firaaq’: When the suppressed resort to terrorism

Since the year 2004, Pakistan has seen its North-West tribal agencies recurrently get bombed by American drones. After a total of around 300 drone strikes, about 3000 people have lost their lives. Though the United States proudly claims these attacks to be instrumental in eradicating the terrorist activities in the region, drone strikes still invite the debate as to whether they actually serve this purpose and this purpose only. More so, a wide majority of Pakistanis─ the tribal population included─ question the casual use of Pakistani air-space by the American military. Though people complain that these attacks ridicule the sovereignty of Pakistan, there ...

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Why are we allowing the Taliban an easy victory?

Call it brutality, insanity or ignorance, but what happened on June 25, 2012 will be remembered as yet another defeat in this war against terror which we are supposedly fighting. News stories day before yesterday stated that Taliban insurgents from across the border in Afghanistan – with the help of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – attacked a military patrol area in the Upper Dir district. Six soldiers were killed in gun battles and eleven went missing after the attack. Moreover, seven soldiers were reported to have been beheaded. Sickening and medieval, but so true and common in the Pakistan of today. An official of the security forces said that ...

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Al Libi’s death: Another milestone in war against terror

The second in command of al Qaeda, Abu Yahya al Libi, was reportedly killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan on June 4. The Obama Administration has already hailed al Libi’s death as another significant milestone in the drive to root out terrorists from their safe havens in Pakistan. Meanwhile, our Foreign Office has again let the US authorities know that the drone strikes violate our country’s sovereignty. At this point, I think it would be worthwhile if we asked ourselves why the US resorted to using these Predator drones in the first place. The Americans claim that they have broken ...

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Drones at the science fair

I see that generally people are not happy with the situation in the country, especially with what those at the helm of affairs are doing. One may easily notice that every second SMS is based on an effort to ridicule some of our “statesmen” and when the senders of these SMSs cannot name these Lord Voldemorts they use the terms like “you-know-who”, as done in Harry Potter. But in the sea of all this hopelessness we have been thrown into by these ‘civil and military’ parasites, there are some islands of hope. Recently, one happened to come across some innovations and ...

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Where is Ayman Al-Zawahiri?

When I woke up this morning, I was taken aback by the front page of The Express Tribune, with shining white letters reading “Deliverance” which announced that the revolution had succeeded at last. When I think of Egypt, images of the 2007 drone attack that struck a seminary and killed 80, mostly minors, come to my mind. The prime target of that attack was Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the long lost al Qaeda leader who hails from Egypt and was reported to be in Pakistan. Zawahiri has sent out audio or video messages regarding almost everything that Qaeda has ever considered as ...

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Drone attacks: Unlawful killings, double standards

A recent report indicated that the US was considering expanding drone operations in Pakistan to now encompass areas surrounding Quetta. Pakistan vociferously rejected the expansion and said the US would not be allowed to expand the areas where drones operate. Drone attacks have a history stretching back to 2004, when they started as part of George Bush’s war on terror. An independent tally by New America Foundation, shows that there have been 199 reported drone strikes in northwest Pakistan with approximately 103 in 2010 alone. The records state that till today between 1,276 and 1,955 individuals were killed, of whom around ...

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US rule book: America’s precedent for illegal attacks

Having lived in the US for the majority of my adult life, I have seen the numerous positive aspects of American society that are missing in Pakistani society. Their support for ‘freedom of speech’ and their judicial system are precedents that I hope are followed in Pakistan someday. That being said, America has also set some dangerous precedents by its actions and inactions in the recent past.  It is these precedents that undermine their efforts in Pakistan and make Pakistani’s even view their goodwill efforts with skepticism. If America wishes to improve its relationships with the Pakistani people, it must ...

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