Stories about middle east

The story of Hyderabad, Sindh

Hyderabad is one of those cities where the magnetic pull of nostalgia can be felt to a maximum, owing to the ever glorious landmarks of a bygone era. It is one of those cities where the past silently trudges along with a noisy and loud present. Apart from its new face where it is adorned with high rise buildings, bustling, busy markets thronged with heavy locomotive traffic; there is another face where the past lurks behind colonial buildings, hiding under electrical wires and large hoardings. The same old face can be seen written over the aged, gnarled and wrinkled face of ...

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If you think the niqab is a choice, think again

In my recent article, ‘Our national dress is the shalwar kameez, not the niqab’, while examining countries in and around the geographical vicinity of the Middle East, I lamented the loss of cultural riches such as art, music, various religious festivities, as well as heritage sites like ancient temples and monasteries to a single fast-spreading inflexible ideology. To drive the point home, between a dozen countries, I compared various cultural garments with the full single-colour veil called the niqab, also known as the abaya or the burqa. The contrast was startling. On one end were 12 aesthetically delightful national dresses varying ...

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Saudi Arabia and Iran need to show the same level of political maturity as Pakistan

Saudi Arabia’s decision to severe its diplomatic ties with Iran were ill timed, especially because the world is witnessing a growing escalation of conflict in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Instead of working closely on solving the crisis in the Middle East, they have only managed to strengthen the hands of all those forces that don’t want to see peace in the region. Furthermore, this will embolden terror outfits such as ISIS, who will readily take advantage in the already febrile region. With the recent detente between the United States and Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iran could have grabbed the opportunity ...

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With or without the F-16s, Pakistan will remain a regional game changer

Fighting Falcon F-16, an American built multi-role fighter jet, has enjoyed a deep-rooted relationship with Pakistan for over three decades. Thanks to its design, it offers an almost complete solution to the tactical and narrowed strategic demands of a compact Air Force like Pakistan’s. Its matchless aerodynamics and upgraded avionics put it a notch above its peers of third generation fighters. The prime factor of its marriage to Pakistani Air Force is its war tested (Afghan-Soviet) history. It was the first advance jet fighter of the American region that became the green tail, replacing the renowned F-86, the Sabre. F-16, just after its induction, was very promptly ...

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To defeat the ISIS, America needs to get Saudi Arabia on board

In the aftermath of the Paris tragedy, people are asking whether ISIS’s attempt to strike at public places is part of their deliberate strategy to attack liberal western values. The argument gains credence especially when one finds ISIS chose soft targets like a concert hall, a sports stadium and restaurants in Paris, a city which they described as a “den of prostitution and vice”, to instil fear in the minds of the people. Samuel Huntington, a well-known political scientist, wrote in his insightful and classic book “The Clash of Civilisations and Remaking of the World Order”, “… the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and ...

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UAE’s National Day: Why are we celebrating a place like Dubai?

United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently celebrated its 44th National Day on December 2, 2015.  As expected, Pakistanis residing in the UAE took part in celebrations too. Pakistan’s fascination with Dubai, is not uncommon, or hard to understand. Dubai has always been positioned to be Middle East’s answer to the West’s glitz and glamour –skyscrapers galore, an economy that is home to global brands, and jobs that apparently promise a life from rags to riches – all in the pseudo comfort of supposedly Islamic settings. To the religious-minded, it offers Shariah Law and the comfort of being next door to Saudi Arabia, the self-proclaimed centre ...

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Following the evolution of biryani, all the way to New York City

Derived from the Persian word ‘Birian’, biryani is a spicy rice and meat dish which is prepared by mixing layers of rice, meat, tomatoes, fried onions, spices, and food colour. Biryani making is an art – one has to know how long rice should be cooked for, before it can be arranged in layers along with the meat and tomatoes. The rice can become soggy if boiled excessively, or even remain undercooked if not boiled for an appropriate amount of time. All biryani lovers take their biryani very seriously. They feel irked if the biryani isn’t yellow enough or if there’s no ...

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#ProfileForPeace defeats the mind games Shiv Sena tried to play by using Malala

Sometimes it is easy to forget the bond between Pakistan and India. Growing up in the Middle East, I had a number of Indian friends, and there was never an ounce of animosity between us, except of course, during a Pakistan-India cricket match. During one of these events, the passive aggressive jokes were as bare knuckled as they could get. We took great pleasure in beating the Indian cricket team during matches at Sharjah, while they enjoyed returning the favour at World Cup events. But even during these hot moments, empathy somehow found its way. After Pakistan was decisively beaten by India ...

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Revisiting Jeremy Corbyn’s Pakistan moment

I took a photo while Jeremy Corbyn – a British politician who is the leader of the Labour Party and the Opposition, and is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Islington North – Naila Hussain, and I were leaving for lunch in a rickshaw in Karachi, where we had gone to attend the World Social Forum in 2006. Tariq Ali, along with Corbyn, were one of the highlights of the forum. Dr AH Nayyar introduced me to Corbyn, since his elder, more radical brother was in Dr Nayyar’s research group at the Imperial College in London). Having heard Corbyn, Tariq Ali and ...

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The Gulf States are defecating gold, but can’t offer relief to Syrian refugees?

The first time I came across these images I was overcome with grief. Later, the sadness was replaced by outrage, but the tears continued to flow. Strangely, all I can do now is remark on how beautiful this toddler is, even in death. Photo: Reuters His name was Aylan Kurdi and according to CNN he was only two-years-old. He, along with his four-year-old brother, Galip, and mother Rehen, drowned after their boat capsized near the Greek island of Kos. This family of refugees was trying to find their way to Canada. Reuters reports that their father, Abdullah Kurdi, was understandably distraught, “I was holding my wife’s hand. ...

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