Stories about militancy

Saudi Arabia: No country for Pakistani brides

The untoward behaviour from the Saudi government of reportedly laying off 30,000 illegal Pakistani workers hit yet another ebb when Saudi men were recently banned from bringing brides from four nationalities including Pakistan that is amongst the relegated list. Other countries languishing in this ill-famed category are Bangladesh, Burma and Chad. A cursory glance at the names of aforementioned countries makes me wonder how insignificant Pakistan has become in the greater scheme of things. It reduces Information Minister Pervez Rasheed’s recent claim, during a conference held to discuss Gaza, about Pakistan being the world’s sixth largest force to reckon with to a mere ...

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Brother, you are from Pakistan and you don’t speak Arabic?

One of the biggest advantages of living abroad is the chance to hear what people think about your country. I have been living in Germany for the last three months and during this short stay, I have made friends from different regions of the world. At first, it appeared mystifying, the fact that everyone that I had met, knew something about Pakistan. It is no surprise that with the ongoing situation in Pakistan, where every day there is horrifying news that in the imagination of people I have come across, Pakistan comes closer to being an aberration. Wishfully, I often think ...

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Iss parcham ke saaye talay

It’s been more than a decade since I have felt safe in my own country. Through times, I have experienced phases that this country has seen, but never have I seen such a demanding situation that seemed never ending. But now, finally, there seems a light at the end of this tunnel – maybe children will be able to play on the streets again… like I used to. Now, finally, we are taking the war to the enemy. I remember the day Lal Masjid was attacked. There were many discussions on various forums about whether the government was right in taking action ...

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Kashmir will celebrate the Indian cricket team’s loss, no matter who they play against!

Meerut is not Srinagar by Shivam Vij published on March 7, 2014 justifying sedition charges on 67 Kashmiri students by a private university in Uttar Pradesh India, is a new addition to journalistic literature on Kashmir. Premised on the ‘exodus ’ of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990, the author draws anachronistic comparisons of two contextually disparate events. In theory, if there is any Kashmiri nationalism, it is of the state sponsored variety. Kashmir’s association with cricket is only occasional. It is not the win of Pakistan but the loss of India against any cricket playing nation that revives interest for cricket in Kashmir. India’s loss is a temporary ...

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Aerial firing: “If Shahid Afridi’s brother can do it, so can I!”

After an indubitably glorious victory against India in the Asia Cup this past Sunday, ardent Pakistani fans, all across the world, have indeed found various ways to celebrate this euphoric occasion. While some celebrations are fun and safe, others are not. I am referring to the infamous aerial firing or, in other words, firing bullets into the air, which is a common practice in many places and cultures around the world within South and Central Asia, the Middle East and South America. While aerial firing is a widespread practice throughout Pakistan, it is particularly customary in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) region where gun ...

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Peace talks or muscle power, that is the question

Pakistan may finally be getting more serious about tackling its militancy problem. But don’t get your hopes up. For years, the US government has pushed Pakistan to crack down harder on militancy and for years, Islamabad has largely refused. Instead, it has dithered as extremist violence has spread across the country. Last week, investigative journalist Umar Cheema revealed that Pakistan’s previous government used a secret counter-terror fund to purchase jewels, rugs and even sacrificial goats. Yet the tides may be turning. Last week, Pakistan was rocked by a rapid succession of bomb blasts, including attacks on consecutive days that killed Pakistani soldiers in the northwest and ...

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The Taliban must not be painted as violent savages

“You have no option but to take direct military action.” This was the advice given by John F Kennedy’s top military aide at the height of the Cuban missile crisis which brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war. The future of the world hinged on Kennedy’s acquiescence. After the Second World War, global politics were dominated by the political, ideological and power clash between the Americans and the Soviets. Communists were painted as violent savages to the Americans who were made to fear communism. However, the idea of communism gained ground in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union grew as a global superpower. Following ...

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Ansar Abbas: The blast tore his arms but not his spirit

Pakistan has been a hotbed of terrorism and militancy for almost a decade now. In this period of time, more than 50,000 people have become victims of terrorism with the north western areas being especially vulnerable to militancy and bloodshed. Many Pakistanis see the country’s future as dark and hopeless, however, Ansar Abbas is not one of them. Syed Ansar Abbas, aged 30, is one of the many victims of terrorism that has plagued Pakistan. He lost both his arms in a suicide attack in Dera Ismail Khan. However, despite such a grave and life-altering tragedy, he is still hopeful and ...

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Meeting Sri Lanka’s ex-army chief

After meeting former chief of army staff of Sri Lanka, General Srilal Weerasooriya, I was curious to know what he thinks of the ongoing Afghan war, as well as the US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. I was also interested in discussing issues related to militancy in Pakistan with General Weerasooriya, who spent months with former president General Pervez Musharraf in the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, Abbottabad in the late ’60s. He told me that Pakistan cannot get rid of militancy until it succeeds in stopping neighbouring countries’ involvement in its territory. General Weerasooriya made it clear that the Pakistani ...

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Afzal Guru: How India made a militant out of a med-student

Afzal Guru was hung on Saturday. As predicted, the Indian political fraternity and intelligentsia not only welcomed, but applauded the development. They saw it as a culmination of the legal process-the law of the land taking its due course. News channels repeatedly telecasted the footage of the attacks on the Indian parliament as if to convince themselves and their viewers that justice had finally been served. To borrow the words from the Supreme Court judgment, “the collective conscience of the nation” has been satiated. On the other hand, the reaction in Kashmir has been the polar opposite. Emotions resembling anguish, pain, desperation ...

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