Stories about military

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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Jinnah’s letter to Pakistan: Who do I hold accountable?

My precious, Where do I begin? Where do I end? 68 years ago, you two breathed your first – I remember it like it was yesterday. It wasn’t ideal. They thought you two wouldn’t be able to make it, but you did. I was such a proud father – the effort, the commitment, the resolve, it all had finally paid off. After the euphoria died down, it was time to snap back to reality. The challenges ahead were steep, but both of you had my unwavering support. My health was giving up on me and I knew I did not have a lot ...

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Punjab is Pakistan and Pakistan is Punjab

As 83 mutilated corpses are found in Balochistan, I further lose hope in our crumbling system and the state. A state which has failed its citizens over and over again.  Every man with an empty head and fickle mind is trying to formulate his own creed and ideology. It is tantamount to saying, in the presence of various man-made beliefs, that it is hard to follow one ideology with zeal and enthusiasm. The case of Pakistan is verily the same. In Pakistan, people are blind followers of false narratives, whether enforced by the mighty army or by the corrupt and incompetent politicians. I pity the ...

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Blind the Kashmiri protesters: A new tactic employed by India

This is the story of a teenager. His face is disfigured. One eye is lost forever. I have not spoken to him in person since he is lying in a bed in New Delhi, while I sit and write this in Islamabad. But if you see his face the way I saw it when his story broke, you will not be able to forget it. And you will begin following his story updates more vehemently. He should not have lost his eye. Who loses an eye for carrying a placard, shouting slogans, and partaking in a peaceful protest for a political cause? I often ...

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A pro-poor budget with the rich in mind? Cute, Mr Ishaq Dar, cute!

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” – Joseph Goebbels Goebbels was one of the most prominent propagandists during Hitler’s era; the man was a magician. I mean, if someone can sell Hitler and his ideology to millions of people at a time, then he definitely deserves respect. And therefore, I virtually have the same respect for our long line of finance ministers, who have the guts to come on television every year, present a horrendous budget for the common man, and then dub it “ghareebon ka budget” (poor people’s ...

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Dear American Media, the Israel-Palestine conflict is your doing

Dear American Media, I’m just asking you to tell America what’s going on in Gaza. Reveal without decreasing Palestinians to dehumanised numbers and rough generalisations, as have oppressors all through history. I am not requesting that you quit loving Israel but rather give Palestinian suffering the same weight as Israeli enduring, and report all the facts. I understand.  This is hard for you. You’ve been recounted to one tale about the Israeli-Palestinian clash your whole lives.  However, you’ve most likely started to notice that the latest advancements do not generally line up with that story. You realise that accusing Israeli government approaches can be harmful to American politics, and you are ...

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Why can’t we bring back Ali Haider Gilani or Shahbaz Taseer?

Ali Haider Gilani, son of former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, was abducted on May 2, 2013 during an election rally from his hometown, Multan. His secretary and bodyguard were both killed, and soon after that, the election campaign of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in Multan crumbled. The authorities claim that Shahbaz Taseer, son of late Salman Taseer, is also imprisoned under conditions as bad as Ali. The locations of both the political figures is said to be somewhere in Afghanistan, but has not been confirmed as yet. Yesterday, Yousaf Raza Gilani received an anonymous telephone call from Afghanistan and it happened to ...

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The army may be helping Gilgit-Baltistan but where is the Pakistani government?

Trekking is my craze, hiking is my pastime and mountaineering is my obsession. And to observe and do research about the conditions of people belonging to Pakistan’s neglected regions is something that I like to do. So you can understand my excitement when, last summer, I availed the opportunity of visiting Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), also largely known as the northern areas of Pakistan. I went up to a height of 17,000 feet, well beyond tree-line, whereupon I came across something spectacular. I witnessed the glory of the Pakistan army, helping its people out even so far above ground. I saw officers of the military doing ...

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Will Russia survive under Vladimir Putin?

In an interview with the Russian and foreign media on January 19, 2014, Vladimir Putin remarked: “Sometimes it is necessary to be lonely in order to prove that you are right”. But has Putin’s self-righteousness actually been efficacious for Russia? The alteration of the foreign policy decision-making structure by Putin allowed him to emerge as the central decision-maker ever since he stepped into power. Policy matters were assigned to secondary actors composed of an informal circle of loyal associates to Putin. The inner circle of Putin loyalists are power hungry and in such a system, the effectiveness of policy is lost. Corruption is enhanced ...

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Dear ZAB, this is what you have left behind

Dear Great Leader, I’m writing to you to wish you a happy 87th birthday. Sorry I’m a bit late but, hey, it’s the thought that counts… Right? After all, in these sombre and remorseful times, it’s difficult to keep one’s head straight. Too much in today’s Pakistan is out of sync with the changing realities. It’s a sad situation, one that is testing people’s patience and crushing their souls. You want to know what else is sad? It’s the political party that you created in the 60s that shook the foundations of a terrible dictatorship; the organisation that glued together a broken nation ...

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