Stories about Iran

Iran and Iraq may not be tourist hot spots, but they offer a spiritual journey like no place else

I was recently invited to a trip to Iran and Iraq by a group of close friends from Lahore, and as I had never been to these states before, I decided to take the opportunity to visit the shrines frequented mostly by Shia pilgrims. After all, how else was I going to be able to travel through war-torn Iraq (where the Islamic State has only recently been defeated) and gain access to the heavily sanctioned country of Iran? Mesopotamia – the cradle of civilisation and home to many Imams of the Islamic world – has been off-limits to most ...

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Erdogan embraced Trump’s politics to stay in power – has it finally failed him?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s embrace of Donald Trump-era populist politics not only appears to be nearing its inevitable end, but apparently has done Erdogan no favours in the long run. In mid-July 2016, an attempted coup in Turkey carried out by a faction of Turkey’s armed forces led to what can only be described as a brutal crackdown, as Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) crushed any potential resistance with an iron fist that made even some of history’s former despots pale in comparison. Barely two weeks after the coup, Turkey dismissed close to 1,700 military personnel ...

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Why Israel is pushing for Pakistan and India to go to war

On February 27th, Israeli news publication Haaretz reported that India’s Air Force had used Israeli-made bombs in its recent Line of Control (LoC) violation against Pakistan, citing local news websites which had been briefed by Indian security sources. The reports allege that ‘five Mirage jets armed with Israeli-made Spice 2000 smart missiles attacked what New Delhi says was a terrorist training camp’ in Pakistan. While quietly hidden by the mainstream media, it actually transpires that Israel is a key weapons supplier to the Indian Army, with its current relationship estimated at approximately a billion dollars each year. In fact, India has ...

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PTI’s vague and static foreign policy will only worsen Pakistan’s standing in the world

Historically, Pakistan’s foreign policy has been a domain in which elected governments have been allowed very little space and scope to work in. Our founding father envisaged a foreign policy based on peaceful relations with our neighbours – including India – and one that would value our sovereignty. Contrary to his vision, Pakistan has not been able to devise a balanced policy that can be termed entirely beneficial for its own national interest. The current government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also finds itself in a position where Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is symbolically heading foreign affairs while ...

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The crown prince’s visit is one of Imran Khan’s greatest accomplishments yet

The hugely successful visit of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ) to Pakistan a week ago represents one of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s greatest foreign policy accomplishments yet, because it proved that his country’s ‘balancing’ act between regional powers is capable of turning latent rivals into trusted partners. The Emirati breakthrough The Pakistani and Arab media are celebrating MBZ’s hugely successful visit to Pakistan and lauding the $6.2 billion support package he provided to the South Asian state. The personal camaraderie between the Emirati leader and the Pakistani prime minister was on full display for the whole world ...

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Could the withdrawal of US troops make the Afghan war worse?

President Donald Trump’s shocking announcement that he was first withdrawing troops from Syria, and then Afghanistan, has drawn almost compete outrage from the mainstream media. US Defense Secretary, James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis more or less resigned in protest. The Guardian called Mattis’s resignation a “bad day for America”, describing him as a “voice of reason” in the White House. This is, of course, the same military general who once exclaimed that it is “a hell of a lot of fun to shoot some people,” referring specifically to the Afghans.  The proposed withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has individually been confirmed by a US ...

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Arbaeen: “If you want to see humanity living and breathing, experience this walk”

The 40th – or Arbaeen in Arabic – holds great significance in the traditions of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Ahle Bait (AS). Arbaeen marks the completion of Ashura, the day when Imam Hussain (RA) was martyred on the planes of Karbala. Since then, his followers and lovers walk to their beloved as they feel his plight as their own. The walk particularly takes place in the memory of the return of Imam Hussain’s (RA) family from Syria, after getting freed from the shackles of Yazid. People from different parts of the world participate in this event, which remained banned ...

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Zia thought he was going to China to sell his liver, but he didn’t know what was waiting for him

Being a journalist in Pakistan, I frequently come across crimes committed, sentences pronounced, culprits getting caught, and in many cases, culprits getting away. Thought I may not be physically present every time, I rely on certain ‘sources’ within the respective setup to bring forth the facts, if not the whole truth. On July 30th, I was contacted by one of my sources within the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) who informed me about a poor soul and a ring of criminals caught at the airport. I asked for adequate information on the issue, and in response, I was not only ...

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In the US-China trade war, Pakistan and the global economy will be the casualties

The year 2017 ended on a positive note, with some major economies leading the “broadest synchronised global upsurge since 2010”, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Markets reacted positively to the improved global economic outlook, giving rise to a flare of optimism in the investor community. Halfway through 2018, however, and the global economic scenario now paints a different picture. China just lost its spot to Japan for the second largest stock market in the world, amid rising tension over the trade war concerns between the two major superpowers. Donald Trump seems to be on board to fulfil his promise ...

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Did Real Madrid just cost Spain the World Cup?

Spain, a country of more than 46.3 million people, is located in Europe’s lberian Peninsula and is known for rich historical background. The country remained a cultural centre of the continent for a long time, and is being famously known for things like Pablo Picasso – one of the most influential artists in the history – Flamenco music and dance, bullfights and fantastic beaches. On the global stage, one of the most prominent things Spain is known for is football – more precisely because of La Liga, the premier football league in the country. The league arguably has the two best ...

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