Stories about Peshawar

How will COVID-19 impact tourism in Pakistan?

Before we begin, let’s address the elephant in the room: the COVID-19 pandemic has sucked the normalcy out of almost everyone’s life. That being said, this pandemic shall pass eventually, and there is little value in spinning endless conspiracies and rhetoric around it.  While the country was gearing up for the revival of its tourism sector, the global travel advisories, suspension of major flights, and subsequent transformation of hotels up and down the country into quarantine sectors have essentially robbed us of an otherwise promising season. Yet this unforeseen delay may be a blessing in disguise for the tourism sector as it ...

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Why Afghanistan should leave Pakistani Pashtuns alone

Successive Afghan governments, since Pakistan’s founding in 1947, have remained self-proclaimed champions of Pakistani Pashtuns’ rights. The basis on which Afghan officials (and part of the public alike) have shown interest in Pakistani Pashtuns is the assumption that Pakistani Pashtuns are an oppressed people. The source of the oppression, the argument goes, is the Punjab province. Bilateral Afghan-Pakistan tensions did not begin after the 1978 communist coup in Kabul or the subsequent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, when Afghan Mujahideen and refugees fled to Pakistan. Afghan-Pak tensions had begun in 1947, when Afghanistan started insisting that Pakistan give ...

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Ahmad Shah Durrani and the misconceptions surrounding the Third Battle of Panipat

Today Panipat is a bustling city in Haryana state, but on January 14, 1761 it was the site of an epic battle — known as the Third Battle of Panipat — between Ahmad Shah Durrani (also known as Ahmad Shah Abdali) and the commander of the Maratha army Sadashiv Rao Bhau. The battle has been referenced, albeit usually inaccurately, by Hindu extremists to play the victim card, and to drive the wedge between Hindus and Muslims. Lately, the Bollywood film ‘Panipat: The Great Betrayal’ has also drawn a great deal of attention to Durrani, whom many in Afghanistan and Pakistan ...

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Why does Balochistan have a dearth of trained psychotherapists?

It was an uneventful day at work when I got a query from an acquaintance asking for a psychotherapist or clinical psychologist in Quetta. I asked everyone I knew in connection to this and exhausted all my options only to find out that there were no practicing psychotherapists or clinical psychologists in the region. It came as a shock to me, after all, why did this major city of Balochistan not have a single clinical psychologist? And what about the rest of the province?  Years passed and somehow this notion remained trapped in my mind, and the requirement for referrals for ...

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Will you march for climate change?

I first met Greta Thurnberg, the 16-year-old Swedish school girl who is now inspiring young people all over the world to protest against the climate crisis, back in December 2018 at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference. Hair tied in two pigtails, she looked much younger than her age, was extremely shy and spoke haltingly in English on several forums at the conference held in Poland. Thurnberg speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference held in Poland Sure, the media was following her around even then, but no one imagined she would become such a huge ...

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Police Martyrs Day: Remembering Safwat Ghayur, Pakistan’s Man of Steel

While undergoing training at the Civil Services Academy (CSA) in 1998, we, the officers of Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), received a congratulatory letter from Safwat Ghayur. This was our first formal introduction to the officer who was the then Course Commander of National Police Academy (NPA).  I had heard his name before but met him only when we reported to the NPA. A thorough and professional police officer, Ghayur was an equally outstanding trainer. He would spend the entire day with us in training; from the morning mile run till the last activity of the day at around 7pm, ...

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Mythbusting Peshawar: No longer a hotbed of drugs, AK-47s and terrorism

I recently had the honour of visiting the city of Peshawar in Pakistan, travelling through the panoramic mountains linked to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) border pathways which lead to Afghanistan. This was my first visit to the city and I must confess, I had various pre-conceived perceptions about the city and region. These preconceptions were largely fed by the British Foreign Office, which for many years had advised British citizens to be extremely cautious when visiting this region. There are various myths pertaining to Peshawar. Most people believe it to be a hotbed for terrorists and thus extremely unsafe to travel. This is ...

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From APS to Sahiwal: Does Pakistani media have an empathy problem?

Humans are not naturally empathetic creatures – a primary reason behind cataclysmic wars, the rise in extra-judicial killings, as well as the growing hostility towards people escaping calamities. As the world spirals into chaos, the ability to consciously acknowledge the condition of individuals undergoing distress and mentally processing their misery has nearly vanished. But then again, did such an ability exist to begin with?  There is a silent conflict between those struck by a persisting crisis and those privileged enough to smoothly slither their way out of it unscathed. Humans are prone to living completely autonomous lives, but it seems ...

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Four years down the road to redemption: APS – the school of the 144

One hundred and forty four. On December 16th, we lost a 144 warriors. I had my Islamiat exam that day. I came back to Godley with a sense of accomplishment. It was over. The tyranny that Ziaul Haq’s fundamentalism had bestowed upon us was over. I distinctly remember talking to a close friend about the late General’s obsessive infatuation with religion, and “how none of us really needed to learn religion through such biased sources”. And as irony would deem it fit, it wasn’t over. And the way it showed shook me to the core. On December 16, 2014, progeny of ...

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In conversation with Faysal Manzoor Khan, the man behind Pakistan’s dramas and its culture

Unsung heroes often work behind the camera, working relentlessly to ensure everything is on point. It starts with a paper and pen and ends with a compilation, a script. It is about time I shine the spotlight on Faysal Manzoor Khan, a talented Pakistani producer and content creator responsible for the entertainment we regularly witness on screen. He has made a mark nationally with many successful and acclaimed dramas that Pakistanis hold dear to this day. As Faysal unveils his personal side, he speaks to me about his past achievements and future projects. Tell me about yourself! I was born on ...

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