Stories about Osama bin Laden

16 years after 9/11: Its tragic memory, surreal aftermath and the insecure world it left behind

In 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, young men like me who had posed as ‘Marxists’ across the 80s were overwhelmed by a sense of both sadness and dread. And yet we knew that things in our beloved Soviet Union were not quite like what we had imagined – a socialist Utopia in which the working classes (the proletariat) had risen above economic, religious and social biases to consolidate their own rule according to the noble dictates of Marxist-Leninism. I was 22 in 1988 and about to head out to a university in Moscow on a scholarship. The plan was ...

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Can Pakistan’s economic stability and businesses survive Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar’s disqualification?

In one of his first public appearances, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was reported to have said the following: “During my tenure, the stock market increased from 19,000 to 52,000.”  So, is a rising stock market really a barometer of a strong democracy or just a number game for a selected few? We surely cannot say at the moment. To all the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) sloganeers, Nawaz is gone, but is prosperity, not tabdeeli (change), around the corner? Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was primarily the only major political party that was known for their pro-growth temperament. Despite never being able to complete their full term, businesses cheered on the so-called economic focus ...

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It wasn’t state facilitation but years of political neglect that turned FATA into an extremist stronghold

Whilst our civilian rulers have borne significant calumny for their dismal governance since the return of the democratic regime in 2008, there remain some feathers in the cap they can yet point to when juxtaposed with their military counterparts. Take the 18th Constitutional amendment for example. Since independence, successive military regimes have sought to consolidate power in the centre, perpetrating a phantom federation which in turn fuelled discontent and separatist-ism throughout the smaller provinces. The unitary propensity of the establishment also played a vital role in the East Pakistan debacle in 1971. The 18th amendment represented a break from this past, bringing about an inclusive administrative system by ...

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Trump’s ban on Muslims is just as offensive as Pakistan’s racial profiling of Pakhtuns

Not every Muslim is a terrorist but a significant number of terrorist incidents are conducted by Muslims. This statement is controversial and yet, deep down we all know that there is some sort of evidence for it. At least the terrorist incidents which are indiscriminate and use suicide bombings are overwhelmingly committed by Muslims. Of course, as already mentioned, this does not mean that every Muslim is a terrorist and in fact thinking in such terms would be overstretching and overgeneralisation, resulting in bigotry if endorsed by the general populace and institutionalised discrimination if incorporated into laws by the state. Donald ...

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Can learning Arabic really prevent terrorist attacks? PML-N surely thinks so

I suppose it is reasonable to assume that the men and women in our National Assembly are mentally fit – people who think and act rationally. We elect them every five years, hoping that they will solve our problems and make us proud of being citizens of Pakistan. But then, one of them says something completely absurd which makes me want to bang my head against the nearest wall and regret not going abroad after I graduated (those were the days when it was very easy to get a US visa). I am referring to a female member of the ...

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Back to Obama

Friday night, America and the world said goodbye to an era that we have known for eight years, the presidency of Barack Obama. Giving way to a radically different and unorthodox presidency, which makes the change all the heavier. As we ponder over the inauguration of Donald Trump, let us look back and see how the eight years of the Obama administration have been, what he has done and what he has accomplished, and figure out what his legacy will be. Obama presided over America during one of the tougher periods in its history. The previous eight years, namely George ...

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Army of One is so ridiculously offensive that it’s funny

When I saw the trailer on YouTube a month ago, I pitied Nicholas Cage; this man has not done a good movie in a long time and nowadays we only get to see him in memes and comics on 9GAG. So, thinking of good old movies (like Face/Off, Con Air and Leaving Las Vegas) has helped retain his credibility in my mind while watching any more of his stupid movies. Nonetheless, I watched it because I had nothing better to do at the time yesterday. So let’s come straight to the movie. The movie is more emotional and humorous than political. It covers the life of an ...

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The only country ‘sponsoring terrorism’ is the United States of America

News is meant to be serious and, apparently, so are the legal proceedings attended by lawmakers. Unfortunately, in our country, parliamentary proceedings are exceedingly boring but funny; not because of the content but because of the kind of characters who inhabit our parliament. A great example is Shah Sahib’s sadness at the murder of Junaid Jamshed which sparked a round of hilarious memes. What tickles my funny bone even more is when lawmakers abroad have long discussions about something absolutely absurd or condemning actions which their country is itself involved in. A recent example of this happened last week ...

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Zakir Naik has a large following in Pakistan: Should we be alarmed?

Indian preacher Dr Zakir Naik has come under a lot of scrutiny after it emerged that the terrorists who carried out the terrorist attack in Dhaka on July 1st may have been radicalised by his preaching. Zakir Naik’s Peace TV Bangla has been banned by the Bangladeshi government as a result. Peace TV has an ubiquitous presence all over South Asia, including Pakistan. Zakir Naik is seen as having taken over the mantle of Ahmad Deedat, a preacher who was wildly popular in the VCR age. Zakir Naik is said to be “Deedat Plus,” a title given to him by ...

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Novus Ordo Seclorum – Hindsight

“The more things change, the more they stay the same. Boundaries shift, new players step in, but power always finds a place to rest its head. History is written by the victor and here I am thinking we’ve won. You bring down one enemy and they find someone even worse to replace him. Locations change, the rationale, the objective. Yesterday’s enemies are today’s recruits. Train them to fight alongside you, and pray they don’t eventually decide to ‘hate’ you for it, too.” – General Shepherd. If you have ever been a fan of the First-Person shooter genre, you must have ...

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