Stories about militancy

Police Martyrs Day: Remembering Safwat Ghayur, Pakistan’s Man of Steel

While undergoing training at the Civil Services Academy (CSA) in 1998, we, the officers of Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), received a congratulatory letter from Safwat Ghayur. This was our first formal introduction to the officer who was the then Course Commander of National Police Academy (NPA).  I had heard his name before but met him only when we reported to the NPA. A thorough and professional police officer, Ghayur was an equally outstanding trainer. He would spend the entire day with us in training; from the morning mile run till the last activity of the day at around 7pm, ...

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As a person who was almost radicalised, I urge Britain to accept Shamima Begum

The events of 9/11 were not restricted towards the US only; they changed the whole world, including the thoughts of my generation. I was merely an 18-year-old who had recently finished college back then and was looking forward to pursuing journalism. This was not the era of electronic media in Pakistan, so the only way we could get updated was by relying on cheap newspapers. With the kind of content I went through during the first couple of years of the Afghan war, anyone my age would have easily fallen prey to the menace of extremism and militancy. And ...

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How the two-faceted mindset of moderate Muslims ends up aiding militancy and terrorism

In recent years, there have been growing concerns that Islam’s major problem, as well as the world’s, is Islamic radicalisation, since Islam is one of the major and fastest growing religions of the world. These concerns are being voiced in various countries and have yielded various reactions ranging from apologetic defence (whereby some of the western liberals interpret it as a ‘reaction’ to the US hegemony) to outright xenophobia. Radicalisation is a major problem and there is no question about its lethal potential to inflict harm in the form of religious extremism and terrorism. However, though present, it is not as widespread in the Islamic world as is ...

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Why conditional state funding of madrassas can be a sound policy move

A heated debate has ensued over the allocation of PKR 300 million to Darul Uloom Haqqania by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government in the 2016-17 budget announced recently. The critics view this as a reward for a seminary that is notorious for its regressive world view and alleged support for violent extremism that earned it the title of ‘University of Jihad’ from Washington Post. Yet, there are plenty of reasons why conditional funding of madrassas, if pursued with caution, can be a prudent policy move by the provincial government to tackle religious extremism.   It is important to remember here that ...

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Why just stop at teachers and students? We all need guns

I am sick of dominating women. Nobody ever talks about the real victims of patriarchy and misogyny – the men. Men have set such an impossible standard of chauvinism that it is impossible to match up. There is so much pressure on men to force women to do things just so that they stay socially relevant. Think back to school, how many times did you laugh at a poor kid being bullied only because you did not want to be the one being laughed at? All men in the world are that kid! I see movies like Revolver Rani, and all I ...

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Pakistan cannot afford to kick its Afghan refugees out

Pakistan’s recent policy of repatriating illegal Afghan refugees from its soil, as a reaction to the Army Public School (APS) attack in Peshawar, is being appreciated in many circles around the country. Many believe that this step would lead to a decrease in the wave of militancy that is currently gripping Pakistan. These circles believe that Afghan refugees have injected the so-called “Kalashnikov culture” in Pakistani society; that they have introduced heroin and other drugs in Pakistan, which has destroyed millions of young lives. To these people, the root cause of every crime in Pakistan is these refugees. To them, ...

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Showing off Pakistan’s achievements in 2014

2014 was like any other year for Pakistan in the last decade, with socio-political and religious excesses taking the lion’s share of space in the newspapers of the country. And yet, despite being overshadowed by dismal news, there was no dearth of winning moments for our country. In retrospect, this may just prove to be the year in which the foundation for a consolidated effort was laid, in the country’s quest to reclaim its lost glory of the 1960s. Progress was made in all domains of life. Some of those winning moments are herein under presented: Admittedly, in a country forever ...

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Chagharzai and other valleys: An epiphany in itself

Every now and then, we hear someone singing odes to the beauty of Pakistan’s North-West regions. Be it by one of those recent sing-along tourism promos running on nearly every news network these days, after a prolonged wave of violence in Malakand Division, or some bunch of local yahoos who’d just returned from a trip from any of the numerous valleys and lakes. The fact remains that the actual beauty and splendour of these areas is still quite underrated, despite all such praises. Even though the last few years’ armed conflicts have labelled the entire region as a no-go zone, ...

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Za Pakhtoon Yum: A mind-altering foray into Pukhtun life and culture

So far, our dramas have revolved around the vicious circle of poverty, a miserable daughter-in-law suffering at the hands of her evil in-laws, societal customs, dowry issues, giving birth to a male child or the perfect ‘rishta’ (proposal). Indeed these are issues which need to be addressed in dramas or movies, but there are other issues that require our attention as well. With the passage of time, we, Pakistanis, have come across many complex issues segregating our society into small groups, each intolerable for the other. We have issues ranging from the Shia-Sunni to the Punjabi-Pukhtun, anti-women empowerment to pro-women empowerment, even from the pro-Malala ...

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Muslim is the new black

This past Monday I watched CNN’s Don Lemon question Sam Harris sympathetically, almost apologetically, about Ben Affleck’s defence of the Muslims of the world. Lemon asked Harris loaded questions, encouraging him to spew his ignorant half-true rhetoric about Islam. And this claim I do not make condescendingly, rather Harris’ knowledge appeared lacking because of its biased subjectivity rather than studied objectivity on the subject of Islam, his simplistic rambling sounded amateurish and very myopic. A discussion on religion within the same religion is fundamentally complicated, let alone in comparison to other religions, hence to make the dialogue intellectual and fair, the media must play a responsible role and have ...

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