Stories about Obama

The Republican threat

Several weeks ago, US presidential candidates from the Republican party descended on Washington to participate in a televised debate on foreign policy. They wasted no time in unleashing a torrent of invective about Pakistan. Michele Bachmann described it as “a nation that lies, that does everything that you could imagine wrong.” Jon Huntsman declared it “a nation-state that is a candidate for failure.” Rick Perry contended that “they’ve showed us time after time that they can’t be trusted.” Some of the nastiest language came from the two frontrunners. “Help us, or get out of the way,” warned Newt Gingrich, “but don’t complain ...

Read Full Post

Is Imran Khan the real deal?

In 2008, America thought electing an African-American president was the solution to all its problems. “Yes, we can” became the order of the day. More than his policies, it was the colour of Obama’s skin that grabbed people’s attention — not just in America, but the world over. Everyone figured a black man in office would “obviously” look out for the American underdog. Today, the average American sentiment towards Obama, and what the country is now terming his “failed policies”, overshadows any sympathy that may have voted him into power in the first place. Which brings me to Imran Khan. Popular ...

Read Full Post

Of politicians and social networks

With Rehman Malik declaring that 70% of the recent violence in Karachi can be attributed to (incredibly angry) wives and girlfriends and Jamaat-i-Islami declaring that Malik needs to see a doctor, the lines between farce and reality have been fairly blurred. If not the usual suspects, it’s the new Sindh home minister saying that the multifarious problems of Karachi can be solved using a ‘wand of love’. Harry Potter couldn’t have been happier to hear that ethnic divides, riots, tyre-burning, killings, strikes, loadshedding and the like could be solved with a loving wand. But just when we thought it couldn’t get any ...

Read Full Post

Pak-China friendship: How special is it?

In the aftermath of the Osama Bin Laden disaster, Pakistan has been scrambling to come up with a response to counter the piling pressure. The pressure, mostly in form of tough questions being raised from across the world, is something Pakistan is not used to managing efficiently. And, in its moment of need, as always, our prime minister decided to reach out to our allies, China, and got on a plane for a quick state visit. The whole purpose of the visit was apparently to show the United States (US) that Pakistan has the support of China. This is ...

Read Full Post

Obama-Osama dilemma: I choose Edhi

The news of Osama Bin Laden’s death was broken to the world by US President Barack Obama on Sunday. However, the covert operation to kill Bin Laden was undertaken thousands of miles away in an upscale town of Pakistan. On paper, it seems fitting that the country where Bin Laden was hiding should have taken part in the secret operation, but with regards to this particular incident, the US simply did not trust Pakistan.  CIA director Leon Panetta said on Tuesday that Pakistan could jeopardise the mission and “alert the targets” if Islamabad took part in the mission. Many will ...

Read Full Post

Osama’s death: Good for you, President Obama

Common sense dictates that we in Pakistan should feel an enormous sense of relief following Osama’s death. The mood however, has been sombre due to a number of reasons: – The fact that he was found in a secured compound not far from a military academy in Abbotabad – The fact that Pakistan is slowly being torn to pieces by the American media – The fact that we cannot turn to our military and security establishment for honest answers – A very real fear of what the future may hold Everyone is bracing themselves for a spike in bombings and attacks. Too much blood ...

Read Full Post

An American perspective: Osama’s death is not Obama’s victory

When Osama bin Laden was killed, I was at a dinner party given by an award-winning author, munching on sweetbread and chatting up brilliant filmmaker, writer and activist types. Though I’m in the country where Bin Laden was tracked and killed, for me the news ironically came from America. I read about his death in an email from Mississippi shortly after waking. My American friends are bombarding my Facebook wall – “What’s it like to be there right now?” Honestly, I feel happy, scared and fairly apathetic. As I rode to work,  I watched Defense pass outside my window—the mosque, the ...

Read Full Post

Talking about revolution: The domino effect

Strolling down the streets of Cairo, I notice the elegant mansions lining the banks of the river Nile and the well-heeled Egyptians in cafes. But the rows of slums and crowds of animated, ragged beggars running alongside asking for “baksheesh” were hard to miss. The yawning gap between the disempowered and the prosperous is all too evident in this bustling and colourful city. But the Cairo I remember from a long ago visit hardly bears any resemblance to the pulsating and fearless Cairo of today. Crowds roaring back at low-flying fighter jets in an effort to intimidate; valiant protestors forcing police back as ...

Read Full Post

What Obama didn’t say to Pakistan

On Wednesday morning at 7AM in Pakistan, all eyes were on America. As I cradled a steamy cup of coffee and willed the morning mental fog to drift away, I eagerly took in an invigorating State of the Union address from President Barack Obama. “In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living” I was inspired.  Had it not been for the morning cobwebs tying me down, I might have belted out a “Yes, we can!” To every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: if you want to make a difference in the life of ...

Read Full Post

Zardari-Obama meeting: 30 minutes in vain?

US President Barack Obama spared only 30 minutes for a meeting with our president this Friday. And even after those 30 minutes, the same drone (no pun intended) of mutual cooperation and cordial relations was discussed. The White House statement summarised the meeting by saying: “The discussion focused on our shared efforts to fight terrorism and promote regional stability, specifically on the importance of cooperating toward a peaceful and stable outcome in Afghanistan.” The only new development seemed to be Obama’s statement saying that he “is looking forward to visiting Pakistan later this year.” That is what our government seemed to be jubilant ...

Read Full Post