Stories about Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Women empowerment in rural Balochistan: Applause is louder and real when men and women clap together as equals

In December 2017, I paid a visit to the Kech District in Balochistan, during which I had a very stimulating interaction with members of the community organisations formed by the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP). However, the biggest surprise for me undeniably was to see the social mobilisation of local women, as they participated in the meetings alongside the male members of their village. Such a high rate of female participation in these meetings was a shock, to say the least, particularly given the conservative nature of the province of Balochistan. Decision-making here is a domain solely belonging to its men, ...

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Pakistan and Russia: From Cold War foes to budding allies?

It is no secret that Pak-US ties are experiencing a downward spiral. However, there is some good coming out of this mistrust between both countries. The ongoing tensions have motivated Pakistan to reach out to regional stakeholders other than China for potential partnerships, and one such partner being actively pursued by Islamabad is its former Afghan-jihad foe, Russia. Who would have thought that after almost three decades of Soviet disintegration and Pakistan’s active role in the former’s defeat in Afghanistan, both countries’ foreign ministers would be warmly embracing each other in Moscow? Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif – who recently concluded a three-day visit to Russia and signed a number of ...

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The Mashal Khan case verdict brings victory, hope and a lesson for Pakistan

The dawn of April 13, 2017 saw the might of a monster that was long nurtured in Pakistan. A monster of hate, intolerance, violence and one who misuses the blasphemy law as a tool of vengeance. This time the prey was Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old, mass communications student at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). The ghastly lynching done as a ‘great service’ to Islam was a manifestation that human beings are capable of carrying unimaginable proportions of barbarity, if they are driven by religious conviction and self-righteousness. The investigation that followed soon revealed that the allegation of blasphemy against Mashal was, in ...

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MQM-P vs PSP, PML-N vs PPP – Who will secure more ‘biryani’ votes in the 2018 general election?

The great comedian Umer Sharif once said that Karachi only has two seasons – summer, and hotter summer. Given the U-turn Karachi’s weather has taken over the past few weeks, from extreme cold winds to sweaty afternoons, he was right. Similarly, Pakistan also has two kinds of political seasons – elections and political turmoil. Another element similar between the two is that the first season transitions into the other only for a short while, and then swiftly returns back to its default setting. Since the 2013 General Election, Pakistan has been in a state of political and administrative commotion. The government ...

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7 reasons to look back at 2017 and be proud of Pakistan

2017 would be mainly remembered by the judicial verdict in Panamagate, whereby a sitting prime minister was sent packing by the Supreme Court, and the pervasive political turmoil that ensued as a result of that decision. There were many positive events during the year that would help us look back at 2017 with a fond smile. As we move closer towards 2018, here is some of the inspiring and reassuring news that came out of Pakistan: 1. Top of the sports world Anyone who knows anything about cricket will tell you that if there is one team that has the raw talent ...

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In Pakistan, we tackle gun violence by banning… art?

‘Art on wheels’ has become a normal sight for locals in Pakistan. The exterior of our trucks and rickshaws are covered with colourfully-ornamented calligraphy, prose and paintings. Due to its popularity, this particular art has expanded from vehicles to almost everything else; the interior of restaurants, clothing, bags, accessories, souvenirs, and crockery, amongst other things. On one hand, the art depicts our beautiful valleys and literature, and promotes patriotism as well. On the other, it depicts the not-so-beautiful, yet honest aspect of our society. Photo: Facebook/ Truck Art of Pakistan Art, whether in the form of our murals or ...

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NA-4: PPP, a party once truly federal in nature, getting votes from all corners of the country, today finds itself confined to rural Sindh

The constituency of NA-4 has given its verdict, giving Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) an important victory with a comfortable margin. Just like NA-120 was Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) litmus test of popularity after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, this by-election was PTI’s. This election was in many ways indicative of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) electorate appraisal of PTI’s performance in the province. The comfortable margin of this victory has rejuvenated PTI, and to a certain extent, has provided a glimpse of its electoral prospects in the upcoming general elections of 2018. However, this by-election was not just about PTI but also about its contenders, both at the ...

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Schools in India have become less about education and more about survival

It was a senseless murder so heart-breaking that only the most hardened could have remained unmoved. It has been more than a week since seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur was murdered in the washroom of Ryan International School in Delhi’s suburb of Gurgaon, just minutes after reaching school. The police say a school bus conductor has admitted to killing the child. In a gruesome CCTV footage, the child can be seen crawling out of the washroom, clutching his bloody neck because the attacker slit his throat. Thakur was dead before he reached the hospital. Now, this story is what everyone with a child in ...

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It wasn’t state facilitation but years of political neglect that turned FATA into an extremist stronghold

Whilst our civilian rulers have borne significant calumny for their dismal governance since the return of the democratic regime in 2008, there remain some feathers in the cap they can yet point to when juxtaposed with their military counterparts. Take the 18th Constitutional amendment for example. Since independence, successive military regimes have sought to consolidate power in the centre, perpetrating a phantom federation which in turn fuelled discontent and separatist-ism throughout the smaller provinces. The unitary propensity of the establishment also played a vital role in the East Pakistan debacle in 1971. The 18th amendment represented a break from this past, bringing about an inclusive administrative system by ...

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Why Uzma Ahmed’s narrative of her stay in the “well of death” is as fishy as it gets

Whether Uzma Ahmed’s story is true or a farrago of  a distortion of facts, misrepresentation and outright lies (Hail Shashi Tharoor ji), still remains a mystery. While she has her own version of the story, the videos shown in the Pakistan media of her nikkah prove otherwise. Besides, there are lot of questions and missing links. However, out of all the things, the one that is bothering me the most is her attitude towards Pakistan as a nation. Interestingly, even when the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj thanked Pakistan for the safe return of Uzma despite the troubled bilateral political relations between the two countries, ...

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