Stories about military

Budget 2017-2018: Is Pakistan really on the upward trajectory?

With much fanfare and hoopla, Ishaq Dar and company announced the annual budget for the nation this past Friday. It was budget as usual, delivered with haughty claims of turnarounds and opportunities within reach. Even before the budget had been announced, the Ministry of Finance had been subliminally pushing figures into the media to soften any surprises. While Pakistan missed its growth target of 5.7% from last year, it still achieved a growth of around 5.3%. This puts the country in the company of companies that are over $300 billion dollars in size.  The year over year (YoY) growth, while lower than the target, is still the ...

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Why do Pakistan and India always have their daggers drawn?

Pakistan and India are locked in the conviction that each one wants the other’s destruction. Repeating the incantation is patriotic, questioning it, borderline seditious. Each country believes that its violence is only a defensive response to the other’s malevolent initiative. Both nations have separate historical markers to support their points of view and risk engaging in what each believes would be a just war. This smouldering fire is kept alight by the capability theory of judging intent by capability assessment. US General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the 1990 First Iraq War coalition, believes that, “… You … judge your enemy based upon capabilities, not intent, you have to look at ...

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What is so similar about Pakistan and Turkey?

You have a neighbouring Islamic country whose government you don’t seem to like much. You would appreciate if its rulers changed. The United States of America shares the same opinion as you. They want you to help settle a few scores of their own. You collect motivated youth from around the world, all aligned in a certain sectarian direction. You provide them with military know how, modern weapons and defence strategies, in your own backyard. You send them charging to your neighbour, hoping that these motivated proxies will overthrow their government for you. While doing all this, you never calculate the ...

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Will Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ be just another glorified World War movie?

Faux-clever and quasi-mysterious to some, while pseudo-intellectual and cine-snob to others; irrespective of the amount of criticism levelled at Christopher Nolan over the years, we can all agree that The Dark Knight-famed filmmaker is one the most famous people alive. Whenever probed for a favourite director, most of the film students I teach would invariably come up with Nolan. Now whether that is a real reflection of his work or simply a by-product of his popularity is up for debate, but what we cannot deny is the cine-cult status that Nolan enjoys. So whether you like it or not, an early peek into ...

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IDEAS 2016: For the elite, by the elite

Like every year, a proud tradition has come about again; one where government officials and army generals hold highly sophisticated weapons in their hands and pretend to target invisible enemies – so the foreign dignitaries they are trying to entertain are impressed enough to purchase the firearm in question for big bucks – because, well, these steel toys do not come cheap. The place is flocked by bureaucrats, generals and a whole lot of politicians in one place having a good time and appreciating the deadliest weapons produced by a third world country. Although this is seen every year under the name of International Defence Exhibition ...

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The idea behind Suicide Squad is way better than the finished product

I don’t think there was any movie this summer that was as widely hyped as Suicide Squad – the third film in the DC Extended Universe’s (DCEU) cannon of films – after 2013’s Man of Steel and this year’s Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice. And you can understand DC wanting to hype up the movie considering how disappointingly Batman VS Superman fared earlier this year, critically and commercially. So, Suicide Squad; the premise is fairly simple. Viola Davis plays Amanda Waller, a high-up government agent who decides to assemble a taskforce containing the worst of the worst; rogues, thieves, ...

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I, for one, am glad that General Musharraf was allowed to leave the country

It is embarrassing to admit it but when General Musharraf took over in 1999 through a bloodless military coup, one did support the aims and objectives he laid down in his famous seven point address. I, as a 19-year-old living abroad, was particularly thrilled by Musharraf’s invocation of Kemal Ataturk because I felt that only a military man like him could undo the damage done to Pakistan by General Ziaul Haq’s military regime in the 80s. All our hopes were dashed slowly but surely during the decade of Musharraf’s rule. The lesson to be learnt is that military rule follows ...

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Burma’s democracy is on a military leash

The refugee crisis isn’t new and as long as there are wars, insurgencies, ethnic cleansing in the name of religion, cast or creed, this will surely not end anytime soon. The world has been watching millions of refugees pouring in from Syria for shelter. There have been mass coverage and debates in the media regarding the influx of refugees on European soil. Some politicians are giving speeches on how the refugees can be a threat and a burden. It is true that while some countries opened their doors, there were some hesitant in letting any refugees in, and yes, there ...

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A tale of two narratives: The Pak Fauj narrative and the Pak Liberal narrative

In my life, I’ve heard two broad narratives. The Pak Fauj narrative and the Pak Liberal narrative. Today I find myself at a point where I think it’s critical for these two conflicting narratives to converse. Unfortunately, the champions of each narrative begin conversing with a direct assault to the other. One end despises the jogger wearing NGO Aunty, even though many NGOs have done wonders for poverty alleviation. While the other bashes generals for their “plots”, forgetting that officers pay for such properties over the entire course of their career and that officers don’t earn all that much. One says, our voices ...

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Wagah Border ceremony: Choose one identity over another

For almost 3,000 kilometres, the border fence between Pakistan and India runs from the sea to the great mountains of the north.  It is lit by 150,000 flood lights, which glow bright orange from space, scarring the solace of the desert and the shared cultural history of the millions who live in it.  It is broken in the hinterlands of Punjab by the Wagah Border Crossing. While the border itself is a product of the violent geo-political dynamic between the countries, this passage across it undermines its absoluteness and highlights its complexity. The border separates the two countries, bisecting a culture and its people – governed ...

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