Stories about military

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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ZA Bhutto was put on trial, why not Musharraf?

There is no doubt that Pakistan has suffered at the hands of corrupt politicians since its very inception. These politicians came and led the state to ruin, forcing/enabling the military to intervene on multiple occasions. This ultimately led to a nation where martial law governed for more than half of its life. However, our history shows that these military coups were never successful for the country. Many wonder if these military dictatorships were more beneficial for Pakistan or for the foreign policies of the US. After all, General Ziaul Haq served the US and that helped the country, or so we thought until much ...

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The myth of Musharraf’s ‘economic boom’ needs to die

A recent article ‘Have you forgotten all that Musharraf did for you, Pakistan?’ by Mr Rafay bin Ali regurgitates a popular myth – dictatorship is better for Pakistan’s economy. The author uses cross-regime comparisons based on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) size to argue that Pervez Musharraf was the best thing that ever happened to Pakistan’s economy. Like all myths, this fable is also sustained by a crafty combination of truth and fiction. But it crumbles once we separate the flimsy truth from the falsehood that it conceals. To do this, we must analyse the methodological flaws in the framework used by the ...

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Egyptian verdict: They gave her 11 years in prison, she gave them a beautiful, victorious smile

As I scroll down my Twitter feed, a smile captivates me. The face had thousands of words, endless thoughts and most importantly tranquillity of soul. She isn’t a celebrity or a popular activist rather a girl next door, who wouldn’t be noticed in normal surroundings. Caged in an Egyptian courtroom with 20 others like her, she received an 11 years sentence for her crimes. The gravity of their offense lay in treading the forbidden path – ‘challenging dictatorship’ – a much greater sin than eating the apple. These young women, all in their teens and tweens, rounded up late last month were ...

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Will Musharraf’s treason trial help democracy in Pakistan?

Dictators and enemies of democracy would do well to listen to the great Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda’s advice,  “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.” It was more than a decade after the country’s first democratically elected popular leader, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged by a dictator that his daughter, Benazir Bhutto returned with an impressive mandate. Today, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has returned to the political driving seat after a decade, with almost a clear majority while the dictator who ousted him from power, lingers in a sub-jail. In an unprecedented move, Prime Minister Sharif’s government has initiated a case of high ...

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Peace talks won’t work. If they kill two, we must kill four

The year was 1989, I can’t remember the month though, but it was winter. I was 13-years-old, studying in Aitchison College Lahore. My late father, a brigadier of the Pakistan army, was commanding the Tenth Corps Artillery which was headquartered at Chaklala, Rawalpindi. I used to live in a boarding facility at the time and would visit our military home during vacations. I can’t help mentioning that those were very peaceful times, although it sounds a repetition in our country these days – everybody who is aged 30 and above says that quite often. I wish we could rewind or invent a ...

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At NUST: Fined for ‘wearing tight’ or no ‘dopatta’

As its contribution towards disciplining the youth of this country, the National University of Sciences and Technology (Nust) imposes fines on students for breaking their dress code. In their haste to fine students for wearing jeans and not wearing a dupatta they overlook something called grammar. No one is perfect, but when one is running an institution of higher learning perhaps one should have higher expectations. However, I digress. According to dawn.com, Nust has denied the report and stated only that students are instructed to wear ‘decent’ dresses. The fact, however, remains is that this isn’t the first time students have been fined at Nust or ...

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Asad Mushtaq is a hero! Winning a Sword of Honour isn’t easy

The Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst, founded back in the 18th century is part of the British Army which works as an officer training academy. It takes around 10% of its cadets from overseas and is one of the oldest military academies in the world that has seen iconic figures such as Sir Winston Curchill and our very own, Field Marshall Ayub Khan. Pakistan’s Corporal Asad Mushtaq, on August 9, 2013, not only graduated from this institution, but also bagged the highest award present there – the Sword of Honour. As an overseas cadet, attendance at Sandhurst military academy is only possible ...

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When there was a rat in the house

The family stood by like a nation. Mother was the intelligence. She knew all that took place – how many people entered the house, when they came in and when they left. Only she truly knew the quantity and quality of ration and what kind of sustenance was needed at any given point in time. She was also the government. Father was the army. He fixed leaks, changed bulbs and defended the territory from external threats. He was also the opposition. My sister was the media. She kept a strict check on the army and government. She was also the ...

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Our damaging obsession with F-16s

While there seem to be fewer reasons to honour our national holidays with each passing year, it’s always heartening to watch patriotic songs being played on every TV channel upon these days. The heart-warming lyrics and mesmerising tunes make us feel proud to be part of this great nation and remind us of the huge sacrifices made by our forefathers. Yet, these songs also bring to the forefront a certain kind of sadness along with feelings of desperation and hopelessness, like a loved one has tragically passed away. The videos of many of these patriotic melodies seem to be made with ...

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