Stories about kashmir

The day the heavens shook

March 28, 2004 Azad Kashmir was a world of beauty, splendour, tall mountains and green trees. “Papa! I love Kashmir! Can’t we live here forever,” Jahanara said innocently. Majid only laughed in response. He didn’t want to upset his little daughter by telling her that couldn’t be. Majid was an army officer. He got posted to new cities every two years. So far, Kashmir had been Jahanara’s favourite place. But she was only 11-years-old and had yet to see and explore most of Pakistan. Apart from the breathtaking landscape of Kashmir, Jahanara loved the place because of Afsah. She was the same age as ...

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Why is India worked up about the Pakistan-China bus service?

On October 31st, India formally protested the proposed launch of a bus service between China and Pakistan because the service would “operate between Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir” under the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC). The official spokesman noted that India held the China-Pakistan Boundary agreement of 1963 as “illegal and invalid” and views the service as a violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. If all this sounds tough and uncompromising, it is. But it is hardly consistent and not especially helpful. The Karakoram Highway, over which the service will be run, has been around since the late 60s and ...

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Black Day: Without international mediation, there can be no lasting peaceful resolution in Kashmir

The impasse that is the land of Kashmir – which Allama Iqbal described as “heaven on earth” – has shown little signs of abating, with only escalations in sight. On October 21st, thousands of demonstrators marched on a village in Kulgam, where Indian forces were battling an unaccounted number of suspected Kashmiri fighters. This led to a shootout in which Indian troops killed at least 14 youths and injured at least 30 others in the Laroo area of the Kulgam district, in an attack that included pillaging and destruction of the neighbourhood, according to local police and military officials in the ...

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The “desperate” begging bowl is no longer metaphorical

The saying ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ is quite clichéd, and yet it teaches a lesson from an individual level to that of societies and nations. To states, it is a reminder that while there may not be a choice when it comes to taking foreign aid, it inevitably compromises their sovereignty. Pakistan has remained trapped in the vicious cycle of taking short-term loans from international bodies for decades. Throughout his electoral campaign and even after assuming power, Imran Khan constantly maintained that the biggest hindrance towards Pakistan’s development is debt servicing and taking external loans. In his first speech ...

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A lesson for Kashmiris from Manan Wani: “We cannot let the occupation manoeuvre us any longer”

As I pursue my PhD, more often than not I find myself going through and posting on social media on matters ranging from political and social issues to, of course, poetry. However, when Manan Bashir Wani, a PhD scholar at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), joined the Hizbul Mujahideen earlier this year to fight the Indian occupation of Kashmir, I found I had nothing to say. The reason for my silence was primarily the knowledge that from the day one becomes a freedom fighter in present day Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), they don’t get to live for more than six months. Added to this was ...

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How Modi convinced India to celebrate a ‘surgical strike’ that never actually happened

Sparta, a warrior city in ancient Greece, was known for the ferocity of its soldiers. But while its soldiers might have been the best in the ancient world, its citizens were not far behind when it came to verbal jibes, particularly one-liners. For instance, Philip II of Macedon, father to Alexander the Great, had conquered almost every other Greek city-state. Sparta was the only one left, and that too, a relatively weak state without walls. Obviously, Philip II dispatched a messenger who delivered the Macedonian King’s message, “If I invade Lakonia you will be destroyed, never to rise again.” The Spartans ...

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Talks on, talks off: Modi, a prisoner of the past, is afraid of peace

Does the Indian government have a coherent policy towards Pakistan? Is ‘adhocism’ now the mantra followed by India’s foreign policy?  After the abrupt cancellation of talks between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan by New Delhi, the aforementioned questions – which were only whispered earlier – are now being raised loud and clear.  India has not been taken for such a ride by its own government before, the way it is under the Narendra Modi regime. Never before has a party with such an overwhelming majority treated its own people so shabbily. What the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has been doing ...

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India’s undeclared emergency: Dear BJP, arresting a citizen for calling you ‘fascist’ makes you… a fascist!

Dissent breathes life into a democracy, which is why when you stifle free speech, you strangle your democracy. Sadly, freedom of speech and democracy have never felt as suffocated in India as they feel today.  The latest example of this is the detention of 28-year-old Lois Sofia at an airport in Tamil Nadu, for the crime of shouting a slogan against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The incident escalated because Sofia shouted in front of the Tamil Nadu BJP Chief Tamilisai Soundararajan, “Fascist BJP government down, down.” This is a normal way of expressing displeasure and discontent with the functioning of ...

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Rawalakot, Kashmir is known for its beauty but it should be recognised for its exceptional women

The sound of the phrase, “women are not allowed to work” was so unfamiliar to me, until I reached university. I grew up seeing progressive, working women, like my mother and other relatives, in the society. I am from a small town in Kashmir called Rawalakot, situated in the northern region of Pakistan. This area is known more for its beauty and less for its exceptional women. Women of this area are termed exceptional because despite the existence of an ingrained patriarchal society, they have paved way to be achievers in life. According to the annual socioeconomic report of Kashmir, Azad Jammu Kashmir at ...

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From a politician to a statesman: In an era of dirty politics, Imran Khan’s speech was a breath of fresh air

I started following Imran Khan when he used to be that kid who had a penny in his pocket but wanted to buy everything at the grocery store. He had one seat in the parliament, but he roared his opinions like one was more than enough. From one seat in the parliament for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to winning five seats as ‘Imran Khan’ alone, he has come a long way. All eyes were glued to the television screens when he first addressed the nation as the prime minister in waiting. Challenges awaiting Imran and his party are piled up like ...

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