Stories about military

Understanding the ‘good Taliban’ and ‘bad Taliban’

Just as social media flooded with a surprisingly positive wave of military operation support, there were a few who did not quite seem happy. One of them, ironically, happens to be my friend. “Don’t be so happy, Sultana. Our government has failed to conduct fair negotiations with them, and with this operation, there will be far worse consequences. You will regret attacking them.” The remark came as a surprise. It made me pause. I stood frozen with a smile from the last moment of unity left hanging in the air. Suddenly, I felt uncomfortable. I felt I was standing face to face with ...

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The importance we (don’t) give our country

When one thinks about Pakistan, what is it that comes to mind? For some, it’s a land with troubled tribal areas or a cradle for terrorism. For many, it’s a haven for corrupt politicians, backed by a corrupt legislation and a flawed constitution. And for others, it’s just a mistake that Mr Jinnah made 67 years ago. If you ask a young, college-going boy about what Pakistan is to him, he will probably say that it’s, “A country in which I was born, raised and taught the tricks of getting my way in the world either by hook or by crook. A ...

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The serendipitous serenity of Swat Valley

Swat was a land alien to me, until I got the chance of visiting the beautiful valley with my brother and a friend. We decided to take a bus to Mingora and then travel on our own from there. The image I had in mind of the valley was a Kashmir-ish land, in internal turmoil, as the people struggle to keep their cool with the military and radical presence. I was prepared for an unwelcoming vibe from the locals. However, while we bargained with a local Hi-Ace driver, Abdul Rashid, to give us a short tour of the land, his demeanour and polite behaviour made ...

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Of course, charging an ex-Chief of Army staff with treason will help us fight terrorism

After many hiccups and a long wait, the day has finally come and former president Pervez Musharraf has been indicted for treason. This is a new chapter in the history of Pakistan, for reasons both, good and bad. However, before going into the reasons and the impact of this verdict, I think it is pertinent to recap the situation that led to the imposition of emergency on November 3, 2007 – the alleged violation of Article 6 of the constitution. Since the matter cannot be considered in isolation, let’s begin from the presidential reference against the former chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry. The lawyers’ ...

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Pakistan beyond Bin Laden

In her most recent article in The New York Times, Carlotta Gall, has shunned the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and military establishment of Pakistan in an attempt at assessing the troublesome relationship between Pakistani institutions and Islamic extremists. The article titled “What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden” explicitly accuses the ISI of harbouring Islamic extremists for its own selfish reasons, with a special mention of Osama bin Laden who she believes had been under the protection of the ISI until he was killed during the raid on his compound in Abbottabad in 2011. Considering the blatancy with which Gall points fingers ...

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Five strange things all Pakistani fauji’s do

In countries like Pakistan, army officers are treated with a special kind of respect and having a fauji (soldier) friend is considered to be an honour. I am sure many people know what it feels like to have a friend who is either a Gentleman Cadet (GC) or a ‘leftanent’ as a lieutenant is usually called. It’s a feeling that cannot be explained in words. However, in my case, the ratio of fauji friends is quite high since I have grown up in the company of many ‘army boys’. Hence, in recognition of my fauji friends and their efforts, I decided to write something about their exhausting and ...

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MQM: Misunderstood even after 30 years

On March 18, 1984 the first political entity for the Mohajirs called the All Pakistan Mohajir Student Organisation (APMSO) evolved into a full-fledged political party now known as the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM). The party was renamed to Muttahida Qaumi Movement in 1997. And tomorrow, March 18, 2014 it will be exactly 30 years since the MQM came into existence. However, the question remains – out of all political parties in Pakistan, why is the most intensely negative judgement directed towards the MQM? There is no simple answer to this question. However, in order to get to the crux of the issue, one needs to take ...

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International Women’s Day: My induction into the Pakistan Air Force

It was August 7, 2000 when a group of 40 girls entered the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Academy for the first time, in such a large number, as lady cadets or female cadets. And it changed the course of our armed forces forever. Until only a few years ago, females could not think of joining the coveted PAF as anything more than a doctor. The first opportunity for women to work in a ground based job came when the post of commissioned officer was opened for admissions, at one of PAF’s many ground support branches. However, they were still not ready to take female pilots; ...

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North Waziristan operation: Peace talks were never going to work anyway!

After much hue and cry about the peace talks, things ended up as most people predicted – the militant group would not let go of its savage ways and the federal government’s peace initiation would eventually go down the drain, fuelling military action from our armed forced. On February 16, 2014, the TTP beheaded 23 FC soldiers. This was the last straw for our forces and the government retaliated by directing the Pakistan Air Force to launch airstrikes in North Waziristan, killing 40 militants. This is the first time our Air Force has launched airstrikes in the region since 2007. A fantastic ...

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A strong man

He really hated elbows on the table. It made him feel as angry as when they hid his cigarettes. But he had no choice in the matter. It was a conspiracy hatched by three women, against him, and not just any three ladies, but three headstrong, exceptionally sensitive and explosive women. So he let it go. But the matter of elbows on the table really got his goat. How difficult was it to just rest the forearms at an angle of 45 degrees with the wrists dangling gently over the cutlery? It wasn’t hard. He had done it for 28 years ...

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