Stories about Peshawar

Is your bakra a terrorist?

A week ago or so you were perhaps meandering in the bakra mandi; looking for the perfect specimen to take home. You inspected 20 plus bakras, clutched each animal’s jaw to find out if your bakra-to-be has two or four teeth and sturdy horns – sharp enough to butcher other bakras in the mandi. You inquired about the weight of half a dozen cows, and went to check out that one camel in the neighbourhood also. After loitering around, you finally got down to business, put on your crafty airs and negotiated a deal. You walked out of the mandi with a strong looking, cinnamon dusted bakra. As you ...

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Pakistan Super League: The right people for the right job at the right time

By now everyone knows that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is planning on conducting its first ever international tournament in UAE, the T20 Pakistan Super League (PSL), which will be played from February 4 to 24,  2016. The logo launching ceremony was held on September 20, 2015 and a star studded dinner announcing the commencement of PSL was held in Lahore last week, suggesting that PSL activities are in full swing already. Plenty of renowned international stars have signed up for the tournament, including the hard-hitting batsman and ‘Man of the Series’ of World T20 2010, Kevin Pietersen, who announced his arrival through a video message on social ...

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Lifting the veil on the TTP in light of Badaber

Where the attack at Badaber Air Force base in Peshawar and the loss of lives is a national tragedy, it is also a forceful message to those out to undermine the strength of Pakistan to back off. Although the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack, it is imperative to analyse the incident in a much wider context. Just as our friends in India promptly hold Pakistan responsible for every little brawl or bang that occurs in their country, our public/media too should move to the forefront in assuming that these same ‘friends’ could very well have been party in some capacity ...

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Women’s Excellence Month: The shushing and shaming ends now

No matter how much the world wants to, it cannot sweep women under the carpet, dust off its hands and pretend it never happened. Gender equality is still an issue. But the misogynists would have you believe otherwise. Even though the world has advanced in various fields, human rights seem to be the point where evolution screeches to a halt. I have had my fair share of confrontations with patriarchy. There were times when my strength surprised me. And there were times when I hung my head in resignation. Every woman knows that when she stands in a ring against ...

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Don’t deny it, Pakistan. We are responsible for the teenage couple’s suicide!

Sadly, there is nothing unusual about teenage suicide. Nothing new about the reason behind it either. Recently, two teenagers, aged 15 and 16, killed themselves at their school in Karachi, apparently because they were ‘in love’ and did not expect their families to consent to them marrying each other. According to The Express Tribune, the boy shot the girl first as per her request before pulling the trigger on himself. The young couple had left behind two suicide notes for their parents. Both of them said that they were aware that their parents would never allow them to get married which is ...

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Dear Hamza Ali Abbasi, Mahira Khan, Reham Bhabi and Ayyan Ali – Hi!

Open letters are the new ‘in’ thing. Everyone, while not busy taking selfies or engaging in internet wars, is writing them. Unlike personal letters that are addressed to and only read by the person intended, these have a universal appeal. Hence, I decided to write a few of my own, a series of them in fact. Here is the first one: To Hamza Ali Abbasi from an Online Jihadi. Hazrat Hamza Ali Abbasi Sahib, My heart sank when I saw the trailer of your upcoming movie, Jawani Phir Nahin Ani. And it sank even further to the bottom of the very pool you were seen ...

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Pakistan, a nation filled with tolerance and forgiveness

Now and again, we are reminded that it’s impossible to politely engage everyone on this planet and no tolerant society should ever try doing that. It is important to begin by recognising that religious intolerance has a number of dimensions within it. Sources of religious intolerance, for instance, can be the actions or policies of governments and/or the actions or beliefs of individuals or groups in the society. Targets of religious intolerance can include members of specific religions or religion in general, people who choose to change or disregard their religion, and even the people randomly victimised by religion-related terror or armed ...

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Why I have lost all respect for Imran Khan and PTI

In the 2013 general elections, I wholeheartedly and proudly voted for Imran Khan. It was the first time that I was eligible to vote and my excitement was beyond measure. Alongside this, I was smitten by Imran’s passionate speeches and lively rhetoric. I was too young to understand that his words were just that – mere words. And even though many people asked me to reconsider my decision, I still went ahead and stamped the bat symbol on the ballot paper. Today, I regret making that decision. On Wednesday, July 22, 2015, Imran lauded the Afghan government’s efforts to start a dialogue with the ...

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Children’s Day: They belong in schools, not factories

Some of us are liberals while others are conservatives; some of us are righteous Muslims while others are humanists. We have created labels and have given birth to unnecessary clashes, but what most of us have failed at doing is work. We are ready to speak but we are not ready to act upon our words. As John F Kennedy once said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future”. This quote perhaps sums up not only the importance of children, but also the need to turn them into such individuals that our future may be secured, because it ...

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5 things I learnt after moving to Pakistan

When I made the decision to move to the notorious land called Pakistan, because of my husband’s job, there were mixed reactions from the community (to say the least). My non-Pakistani and non-Muslim friends were terrified for my safety and were keen on reminding me of the short list of communities; their concerns involved my husband’s salary, the tough humidity, and the eternal inconvenience of load-shedding.  Ignoring all concerns, I decided to take on the adventure and assured my friends that I was happy and ready for anything. Boy did I lie. I was terrified – but very much in love. I had ...

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