Stories about Pak-US

A year in America, and what I learned over there

It was in 2006 when I came to know of Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program. It is a scholarship program for students aged 15-16, allowing them to spend one academic year in the United States, where an American family hosts the student. My uncle mentioned that his 15-year-old daughter had gone to America for a year to study in an American high school on a YES scholarship. My dad asked me: “Do you want to be an exchange student in America too?” Being just twelve, I had at least three more years before I could apply to the program. However, the idea ...

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American life through the eyes of a Pakistani

Today, it is common for young Pakistani men and women to go to the United States of America for higher education. My friends ans I are a part of this percentage of Pakistan. Let me be the first to tell you that it’s not that easy to get there in the first place. You apply to countless universities; receive lots of rejections and a few acceptances. It is then up to you to decide where you want to go. Are you a big city type of a person? Or would you prefer a more of a small-town feel? Once you have finally ...

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Sino-Pak relations: Beyond the rhetoric

Just a day after the US suspended $800 million aid to Pakistan, a news story appeared in major newspapers of the subcontinent. In Pakistan it read, China has pledged support to Pakistan when US has suspended its assistance. In India it read, Pakistan would be leaning on the Chinese to fill in the gap created by suspension of US aid and the Chinese would acquiesce. What actually happened was that Hong Lei, spokesman of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while answering questions during a routine briefing responded to a US aid suspension question in a very measured way. While avoiding commenting on ...

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Pak-US relations: The lies of the allies

US Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter recently gave a major policy speech – or so we expected before it happened. Coinciding with DG ISI Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha’s visit to Washington, the talk given at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad covered a lot of ground. From renewal of relations to perception building, from drone attacks to economic aid, a host of issues was addressed in the speech and question/answer session that followed. But as someone present on the spot, I failed to find anything new in Munter’s words. Granted that after the Raymond Davis episode, the ambassador needs a fresh start in his efforts to ...

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Raymond Davis ka Khuda Hafiz

Raymond Davis, the man who almost single handedly sent Pakistan into a new free-fall of conspiracy theories has made his getaway in true spy movie form. He sneaked out of jail and was flown out to *London the very day he was indicted for double murder by Pakistan’s courts — a decision that was turned around in the blink of an eye following pardons by the families of his victims. Personally, I am glad to see this diplomatic quagmire come to a close. Given our diplomatic ties with the United States, the release of Davis was inevitable; it was always just ...

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Forget Aafia, we’ll keep Davis

On Monday, Waseem, the brother of one of the men Raymond Davis has been accused of murdering, announced that he was open to an exchange involving Dr Aafia Siddiqui and Davis. Later, Aafia’s sister Dr Fauzia and mother seconded the idea. They are not alone. Calls to exchange Aafia for Davis emerged soon after the American was arrested. To me, these do not make much sense as both cases are completely different cases. Aafia was tried and sentenced to 86 years in a US prison on seven charges. Davis, on the other hand, has been accused of shooting two Pakistani citizens ...

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Raymond Davis: Who dare point a finger at an American?

Earlier this week a US ‘diplomat’ shot two Pakistani men in broad daylight. Despite the dramatic nature of events there have been rational elements in our society who are still trying very hard to look at the issue objectively. In the interest of presenting a fair picture the media has produced criminal records of the men who were shot, there have been those who have tried to justify Raymond Davis’ actions by saying that Qartaba Chowk, the area of the shooting was unsafe and there are even some who have maintained that a ‘gora’ in Pakistan is always at risk. While many ...

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Wake up America, Islam is not the enemy

“Pakistan is going down.” This was the headline that appeared on the screen on a CNN broadcast as I prepared to board the 16 hour New York – Lahore trek, returning to a country I’ve grown to love deeply but that the newscaster was condemning as the most dangerous country on the earth. Squirming tirelessly on the flight, I thought about all that’s happened over the past few months I’ve been in Pakistan – and particularly the flooding gap between the liberals and radicals, which the international media has so loudly proclaimed – and felt an overwhelming sense of restlessness. How could the international ...

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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 ...

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Drone attacks: Unlawful killings, double standards

A recent report indicated that the US was considering expanding drone operations in Pakistan to now encompass areas surrounding Quetta. Pakistan vociferously rejected the expansion and said the US would not be allowed to expand the areas where drones operate. Drone attacks have a history stretching back to 2004, when they started as part of George Bush’s war on terror. An independent tally by New America Foundation, shows that there have been 199 reported drone strikes in northwest Pakistan with approximately 103 in 2010 alone. The records state that till today between 1,276 and 1,955 individuals were killed, of whom around ...

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