Stories about middle east

Dealing with Iran – Tearing down the walls of hatred and animosity

So we finally have a preliminary agreement, a structural framework on Iran’s nuclear program and a culmination of eight long days of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland that continued well past the self-imposed March 31 deadline. The talks involve representatives from Iran and the P5+1 – a group comprising of the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany. An inside source, who happens to be a part of the negotiation process, tells me that negotiators have been sitting on their butts for a week now, making an honest effort to push through the never-ending, long drawn conversations and arguments. While most are used to sitting ...

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The greater evil, Western hypocrisy or the ISIS?

“Third teenager has been caught trying to flee Australia to join Islamic State” – Daily Mail, UK Are they crazy? Insane? Traumatised? Or hypnotised? Who can think of leaving behind the luxurious life of western countries, including Scandinavia, and end up in a region where even getting a continuous supply of electricity is a rarity, where the western concept of freedom completely seizes to exist, and you simply do not know whether the next bomb hitting the ground will turn your surroundings into a pile of rubble. How on earth can somebody think of leaving Australia for countries such as Syria and Iraq, which are ISIS ...

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Mr Nawaz Sharif, the Saudi-Yemeni conflict is not our war to fight

As the Houthi rebels strengthen their stranglehold over the country, amid the surreptitious flight of the Yemeni president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the long raging civil war in Yemen has finally come into the international spotlight. Pakistan is, once again, at crossroads with Saudi Arabia, who is attempting to suck in inter-ethnic, inter-religious, and intra-sectarian conflicts into their black hole. The prospects of petro-dollars coupled with the longstanding romance between the Sharifs and Sauds, buoyed by a rise of the Pakistan Army as a bulwark against both domestic as well as international terrorism, in recent times, might have made the temptation of joining the Saudi alliance irresistible, but it is an alliance ...

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Ashraf Ghani – Bringing maturity back to international politics

Although no one will claim honestly, the new Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, for the most part, is a well-respected statesman amongst the Washington circles. Politicians are trained liars and Ghani’s predecessor was no exception to the rule. However, this guy is someone who comes across as less slippery, more adaptable to change and hence generally acceptable for his demeanours and policies. Earlier this week, Ghani was on his first official US visit as Afghanistan’s head of state. He is no alien to either US culture or politics. He studied, worked and played a prominent part in influencing Washington’s pre and post 9/11 Afghan policies. I ...

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On Frida Deguise ‘nuding’ her fashion line

Being happy in one’s skin is not an easy task. Being happy in one’s clothing is an almost impossible adventure. I have been told that the greatest form of happiness is to be one’s true and natural self. This is not a universal truth that I am preaching but merely a life lesson and something to live by. My good friend, Pramit, a leading journalist, and I were once working on a project together. It so happened that we were both invited for a breakfast meeting at the White House, a key location in our little town of intrigues and ...

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Why is PML-N allowing foreign funding for Pakistani madrassas?

Funding for religious seminaries in Pakistan has always been a difficult topic to cover. For one, most seminaries are unregistered, making it difficult to deduce the exact source of their funding. Even when seminaries are registered, questioning the source of funding remains a no-go area because of the sensitive topic of religion. Being the country’s largest province by population, the presence of a large number of religious seminaries in Punjab, both registered and unregistered, is natural. Eyebrows have always been raised when it comes to the influence of religious seminaries based in the province, but the source of funding received by ...

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King Salman: Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown

I was sitting at a Washington café when the news of the late Saudi monarch Abdullah’s passing broke. This café is one of the favourite hangout locations of Middle Eastern and Persian origin men and women of letters and those from the corps diplomatique. Throughout my adult life, I’ve been no admirer of the Saudi Kingdom. Other than the fact that for years I’ve personally vociferously raised my voice against the Kingdom’s horrendous human rights record as well as its fallacious policies toward other regional states, both Muslim and otherwise. I hardly ever paid attention to the fact that King Abdullah was ...

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In Saudi Arabia, oil will always be thicker than blood

It was the year 2000 and I was a young man studying in Canada. Having spent a majority of my life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for a change, I was enjoying the atmosphere of a country where people weren’t treated with disdain simply because of their nationality. Alas, even in Canada, it was difficult to escape Saudi mentality. I was socialising with a group of Middle Eastern students at a food court where we were all getting to know each other. When asked, I told them I was a Pakistani who had grown up in Saudi Arabia. While ...

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Imran Khan: Always a crowd pleaser

It was September 22nd of last year; one of the blackest days in the history of Pakistan. It was a day when the Taliban targeted a church in Peshawar with a pair of suicide bombers who ripped through a congregation 500 strong. The savage destruction that followed resulted in the death of over 78 Pakistanis with nearly 150 wounded. It was an act of terror in every sense of the word, and casualties included both women and children. We watched in horror on our television screens as tragic images of injured Pakistani worshipers flooded news channels. At first glance the aftermath resembled a butcher shop, ...

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She loved Pakistan too much…

My first interaction with her was back in late 2010. I read her letter-to-the-editor in Dawn, expressing her disappointment about her fellow students’ indifference to the prevailing conditions in the country and how the NED University of Engineering and Technology (NEDUET) administration, which boasts of maintaining a non-political environment at campus, fails to take notice of chalking done by a specific political group. The audacity in Ms Nabiha Chaudhry’s words made an impact on me. After finding her online on Orkut, I dropped her a message appreciating her bold stance and hoped that I would get to meet her, as my first year ...

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