Stories about Osama bin Laden

This Eid, there was no spirit of sacrifice for me

Six-year-old Osama ran hurriedly down the stairs of his apartment, as did the other kids. Children came rushing out of their houses, some from their homework and others from their video games. Mothers shrieked and grandmothers grumbled but to no avail. The street was soon swarming with kids of all ages and sizes, running towards something that seemed to possess a magnetic prowess. At length, the Pied Piper of Pakistan stopped, and the children stood around it, anticipating the descent of the much awaited cow. Excitement was widespread in the crowd, every child and every man was discussing in hushed ...

Read Full Post

Is the ISIS really in our backyard?

One day, you see shalwar-kameez clad Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters in Iraq and Syria, and the next day you hear news of their fighters infiltrating Pakistan. Is there any connection? According to the Foreign Office (FO) of Pakistan there isn’t. Obviously. The FO, on Wednesday, denied reports regarding the presence and infiltration of ISIS, also known as ‘Daesh’, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and FATA region. But did this denial ring any surprising bells? After all, the same FO, along with the authorities, was oblivious to Osama bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad for many years, leave aside the ISIS. Yet, one has to ...

Read Full Post

Homeland is NOT Islamophobic

Based around an American prisoner of war’s conversion to Islam and his suspected descent into the terrorist fold, five time Golden Globe-winning series, ‘Homeland’ is widely acclaimed by critics for its top-notch political commentary and a devoted performance by the show’s CIA heroine, Claire Daines. It’s not as uncontroversial among the American Muslim community, however; gaining a mixed response primarily because it has been accused of legitimising Islamophobia by portraying many of its antagonists as radical Muslim terrorists. What’s also feared is that Homeland will incorrectly portray Pakistan, the setting of its upcoming fourth season. Yet I personally think it’s unfair to simplify Homeland as an anti-Muslim ...

Read Full Post

Brother, you are from Pakistan and you don’t speak Arabic?

One of the biggest advantages of living abroad is the chance to hear what people think about your country. I have been living in Germany for the last three months and during this short stay, I have made friends from different regions of the world. At first, it appeared mystifying, the fact that everyone that I had met, knew something about Pakistan. It is no surprise that with the ongoing situation in Pakistan, where every day there is horrifying news that in the imagination of people I have come across, Pakistan comes closer to being an aberration. Wishfully, I often think ...

Read Full Post

Pakistani airports: Heading for paralysis?

A person belonging to the procurement department of a military-related setup once told me an interesting story about how the US had banned the sale of F-16 spare parts to Pakistan and had blacklisted the concerned setup. A metallic plate of some specific calibre was urgently required for the F-16s and they had run out of any other options. Out of utter necessity and desperation, one of the officers from the organisation called up a blacksmith from Gujranwala and asked him to forge the plate. The blacksmith was able to forge an exact copy of the plate and for much less money, ...

Read Full Post

To all the leftist liberals and the beghairat brigade, my blood is still green!

Nostalgia is a funny thing. It’s like looking through the window of a bullet train passing by downtown of a metropolis at night. You only see the well-lit boulevards and tall skyscrapers while the darkened slums are blurred out of view. Today, when I look back at my 29 years in Pakistan, I can’t remember the pitch dark slums of the late 80s or early 90s. The memories that have remained or those which my brain has chosen to record are the ones where only the metaphorical boulevards and skyscrapers remain. Before a myriad of Pakistani television channels sprung up, before a number ...

Read Full Post

Three Muslim films Pakistanis must watch

Pakistan might not have the best movie industry in the world but Muslim countries across the world have managed to spread some truly phenomenal messages and cultural insights through their films industries. The Iranian cinema’s popularity in European film festivals and their recent Oscar win, is but one example of Muslim cinema’s increasingly transforming and often very realistic nature. In light of that, here are three thought-provoking films from different Muslim film industries that are sure to leave you pondering upon the many facets of Islamic beliefs and Muslim cultures. They will also highlight the drastic parallelism between foreign Muslim societies and ...

Read Full Post

Don’t blame the youth for Sulaiman Lashari’s murder

A walk along this city’s empty streets is not an easy one. It has become customary to bathe the city streets in blood every day. The time is not far when graveyards will no longer be accommodating. Once known as the city of lights, it is only death, nowadays, that has the last laugh here. In this city, the recent cold-blooded murder of Sulaiman Lashari, a young boy, at the hands of another young boy, Salman Abro, is a horrific shocker. Unfortunately, this incident is not the first of its kind. In the recent past, murders at the hands of youngsters have attracted a lot of ...

Read Full Post

Imran Khan, Tahirul Qadri and Sheikh Rasheed: Recipe for disaster?

In January 2013, Dr Tahirul Qadri, author of a renowned fatwa against terrorism, held Pakistan’s capital hostage for several days while making a categorical litany of demands that had to be met within 15 minutes by the government “or else”. It was a four-day-long drama but the crowd of 25,000-60,000 remained remarkably peaceful. A similar carnival is coming to town again. This time not only does it feature Dr Qadri and his followers, but the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Shiekh Rasheed and the Jamaat-e-Islaami’s (JI) alliance as well. It’s a peculiar bunch but that is often what makes the carnival more appealing – one ...

Read Full Post

The resurgence of Lal masjid and honouring knowledge with ignorance

The Crusades were an example of a diminishing empire declaring war on an ever-expanding opponent using religion as a pretext, even though the motives were actually territorial and economical, and the actions of its soldiers more satanic than godly. The Muslim world was at its peak around this time, its libraries a source of light for the world, its share of scientific output unmatched, and its religious zealots confined to the fringe. Western writers have described one of the Crusader leaders’ orders following the sacking of Jerusalem as ‘kill every man, woman and child, but spare the dogs’. That same kind of ...

Read Full Post