Stories about NATO

Prison break: Lessons to learn from Bannu

A brazen attack by militants on the Bannu central jail that led to the escape of 384 inmates, including several hardcore Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan members, shows just how much of a threat trigger-happy fighters pose to provincial and state-run institutions. Their ability to strike any target at will is scary indeed. Time and again they have demonstrated their prowess by targeting Nato supply terminals smack in the centre of the settled district in Peshawar. And now the central jail attack in Bannu has proved beyond doubt that all government claims of having curbed militancy are nothing more than shallow political statements ...

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Hafiz Saeed: Missing pieces?

Hafiz Saeed, a mujahid and philanthropist in the eyes of many Pakistanis is basking in the limelight thrown on him by the US State Department when it placed a $10 million reward for information leading to his conviction under the Reward for Justice Programme. Saeed’s followers point towards the fact that because he demanded for the closure of the Nato supply route, the personal vendetta has been unleashed. The reality, however, is not that simple. Lashkar-e-Taiba, believed to be a militant arm of Jamatud Dawa, was designated as a foreign terrorist organisation in December 2001 by the US while its ...

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Why announce a bounty on Hafiz Saeed?

Why now? At a critical moment in the US-Pakistan relationship, with parliamentary debate raging in Pakistan about how to realign relations with Washington, and with the United States desperate to forge some level of cooperation with Islamabad to help move toward the elusive endgame in Afghanistan, why announce a bounty for “information leading to the arrest or conviction” of living-openly-in-Lahore Hafiz Saeed? This is, after all, a man Washington and New Delhi regard as a terrorist, yet whom many in Pakistan regard as a heroic symbol of defiance toward the United States, an essential strategic asset, or both. In short, Washington’s ...

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Defy Pakistan: How the right-wing turned rogue

The Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) is a tightly-held multi-party alliance of some 40 parties representing all shades of the country’s religious right-wing. It is led by veteran cleric Maulana Samiul Haq, who is popularly known as the father of the Taliban. The alliance is founded upon a single anti-US agenda, to drive out the Nato forces in the region and sprang up soon after Pak-US relations took a nosedive post the Salala bombing. After some low-key, closed door seminars on Pak-US relations, the alliance took to rallies, the first of which was staged at the Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore. This rally was an ...

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A visit to Shahbaz airbase: All is well…

I reached Shahbaz airbase along with several other journalists and senior Pakistan Air Force officials, to inspect the 36 new F-16 C Block 52 fighters. We were accompanied by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Chief of Air Staff Rao Qamar Suleman. We toured the revamped base where the recently acquired aircraft will be housed, and which has reportedly cost the government over $5 billion! I could not see any American soldiers at the airbase, which is only 345 km away from Kandahar, Afghanistan. Everyone, including both the army and air force chiefs, appeared to be grateful to the United States ...

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Pakistan’s trouble can never be India’s gain

We don’t see Pakistan speaking in one voice very often; different stakeholders react differently to a given situation depending upon their interest and political leaning. However, the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers at the hands of Nato a few weeks ago united the Pakistani population in their collective grief. People sick and tired of the western design demanded in one voice a complete overhaul of the relationship with the US. But this development has elicited varied reactions in India. Some vocal sections have reacted with glee at the discomfort of its western neighbour. Below is an excerpt from a blog published ...

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A tribute to my cousin, a brave soldier

A Nato attack on the Pakistani check post in Salala left 24 soldiers dead and 12 injured. Normally, these figures are mere numbers to me; with the war on terror, so many people die everyday that I am a bit desensitized about news of death. On November 26, 2011, the otherwise meaningless number of those killed held all the meaning in the world to me. You see, amongst the 24 dead was my dear bhai.  My dear cousin Captain Usman Ali died in this unprovoked attack by Nato forces. As I reflect on the transience of life, everything Usman bhai ever said to me keeps playing ...

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Islamabad diary: ‘Neto, Zadari’ rhetoric and nothing else to say

The first thing you notice at a rally organised by religious parties is that they are not very good at spellings. Placards at the Jamaatud Dawa protest at Aabpara on Friday were long on enthusiasm but short on literacy. They demanded that “Neto” must go, vociferously “condomed” its attack and called on “Zadari” to resign. Their synchronised singing wasn’t much better. Chants against the US would have been easier to make out had the participants started and ended their sloganeering at roughly the same time. For such a party, the JuD at least managed a good turn out and ...

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The US media’s (biased) version of the NATO attack

While the Pakistani media paid serious attention to NATO strikes on a check-post near the Afghan border, the US media seemed to defend the incident with its biased reporting. A blog on the TIME magazine website rejected the concept of a proper border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The post states that: “there is no well-defined difference between the Pakistani military and anti-American insurgents crowded along (the) rugged frontier.” The report by Mark Thompson concludes that the American forces mistook Pakistani forces as Taliban militants by accident and were confused about the border demarcation between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Perhaps Thompson does not know that the ...

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Qaddafi: From hero to devil

The late Moamer Qaddafi was regarded a hero in Libya till the uprising started against his regime in February this year. People respected him as one of their spiritual and even revolutionary leaders. Nobody in Libya thought even in their wildest dreams that one day Qaddafi would not only be removed from power, but also killed ruthlessly and that too at the hands of Libyans themselves. Early on Thursday, Qaddafi was killed when new regime forces launched a final assault on his home town Sirte. The former dictator was wounded as he tried to flee the scene, with injuries to his head and legs. Video footage showed his bloodied body ...

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