Stories about Palestine

Is Venezuela the new Afghanistan?

Three days ago, the first United Nations (UN) rapporteur to visit Venezuela in 21 years told British media outlet The Independent that US sanctions on Venezuela are illegal and bordering on “crimes against humanity” under international law. No one in the international media will say it, but sanctions are always the precursor to war. Never mind Washington’s barbaric sanctions on pre-2003 Iraq, which are estimated to have killed 1.7 million Iraqi civilians, including 500,000 children. Not many people acknowledge this fact, but before the Pearl Harbour attack during World War II, the US had targeted Japan’s rapidly developing economy heavily with economic sanctions, forcing Japan to respond ...

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#SahiwalEncounter: Is that all we are now, “human shields” and “collateral damage”?

I don’t intend for it to sound sensational, but there were four bullets in a 13-year-old child’s body that were paid for by our tax money. This would be an appropriate time to question our security policies. Four people were recently shot dead by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel on a highway in the Sahiwal district. The incident resulted in the deaths of the driver and three members of a family, including both parents who have left behind three orphaned children. Counter Terrorism Deptt (CTD) opens fire on a car in Sahiwal and kills 4 people while 3 kids miraculously survive. ...

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The “desperate” begging bowl is no longer metaphorical

The saying ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ is quite clichéd, and yet it teaches a lesson from an individual level to that of societies and nations. To states, it is a reminder that while there may not be a choice when it comes to taking foreign aid, it inevitably compromises their sovereignty. Pakistan has remained trapped in the vicious cycle of taking short-term loans from international bodies for decades. Throughout his electoral campaign and even after assuming power, Imran Khan constantly maintained that the biggest hindrance towards Pakistan’s development is debt servicing and taking external loans. In his first speech ...

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If US foreign policy were consistent, America would be bombing Israel right now

The Syrian civil war, we have been told, began as part of the Arab Spring and really took hold when Syrian government forces allegedly opened fire on protesters across the country in early 2011. This pattern of indiscriminate violent behaviour against civilians has been a talking point in the western media’s regime-change narrative. The media often goes so far as to claim that the government led by Bashar al Assad has lost all legitimacy. What, then, should we make of Israel’s decision to open fire on protesters in the Gaza Strip this past week, killing over 60 protesters and wounding 2,700 more in the process? According ...

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Israel and US are ‘champions’ of human rights, but not when it comes to Palestine

Almost a month ago, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeted to show solidarity with the Iranian women protesting against Iran’s hijab laws, mentioning that he stands by those who stand for ‘freedom’. As we counter Iran’s aggression, we should always remember the brave people of Iran: their suffering, their hopes, their courage. Women are jailed for removing their hijabs. Students are tortured and shot for advocating freedom. We stand with those in Iran who stand for freedom. — Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) March 6, 2018 Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s ambassador to the UN, also said something similar in January of this year when ...

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Remembering Habib Jalib: the torch-bearer of resistance through poetry

There is no doubt the languages of Pakistan are rich when it comes to resistance poetry. One need not look far; in Urdu alone, names such as Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmad Faraz, Josh Malihabadi, Kishwar Naheed, Fahmida Riaz and Zehra Nigah come right up. Then there are names such as Shaikh Ayaz, Attiya Dawood and Amar Sindhu for Sindhi; Mir Gul Khan Naseer for Balochi; Ustad Daman, Ahmad Rahi, Ahmad Salim, Nasreen Anjum Bhatti, Najm Hosain Syed and Fakhar Zaman for Punjabi; Janbaz Jatoi and Shakir Shuja Abadi  for Seraiki; and Khan Abdul Ghani Khan, Qalandar Momand, Khatir Ghaznavi, Farigh ...

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The Pakistan Army and Iran: A new dawn or a message for the Saudis?

The Pakistan Army has been drawing closer to Iran under its new chief, General Qamar Bajwa. Is Pakistan moving out from under Saudi Arabia’s orbit? Something quite remarkable happened with regards to Pakistan’s defence diplomacy recently – Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa, made an official trip to Iran. It was the first visit by a Pakistani army chief in almost three decades. General Pervez Musharraf visited; not in his capacity as head of the armed forces, but rather as a president attending a regional summit. Similarly, General Raheel Sharif visited in January 2016, but it was just for a couple of ...

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If Sridevi gets more coverage than Syria, that is your fault, not the media’s

Pakistanis are a dissatisfied nation. On a superficial level, they care a lot about issues affecting the Muslim world and want to highlight the injustices being faced by Muslims all over the world. However, this concern usually seems to be a reaction to attention received by other issues. Take for instance, the two recent incidents that occured simultaneously and divided opinions yet again. On the one hand, Syria was being bombed; hundreds of civilians killed as a ceasefire was ignored and hospitals were under attack as well. On the other, Bollywood superstar Sridevi breathed her last, and the events surrounding her death ...

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India and Israel’s “humane” strategy: Why kill them quickly when you can give them a slow, painful death?

Amnesty International India recently launched a postcard campaign calling on the Indian government to ban the use of pellet guns in Jammu and Kashmir. Indian authorities argue that pellet guns are non-lethal and continue their use. There is some truth to India’s claims. Pellet guns overwhelmingly blind, injure, and maim, but do not instantly kill. They are, therefore, posited as more humane and acceptable instruments of crowd control. A similar logic is behind Israel’s use of rubber bullets in Gaza. The question then arises: Are India and Israel actually being more humane? Or is there a political strategy behind their decision to blind and maim Kashmiris and Palestinians, as opposed to ...

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Iran-Turkey is not an alliance, but an incredibly realistic and meaningful partnership

The two greatest imperial foes of the Ottoman Empire were Russia and Iran (Persia). While the Russian empire collapsed in 1917, the Ottoman empire in 1922 and the Iranian in 1979, the modern successor states of the Russian Federation, Republic of Turkey and Islamic Republic of Iran continue to constitute towering Eurasian powers whose influence only continues to grow. This is not surprising in and of itself, but what is surprising is that these three great Eurasian powers continue to expand in terms of regional influence, but not at each other’s expense. Turkey’s rapprochement with Russia continues to dominate headlines, not ...

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