Stories about Peshawar

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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My heart bleeds for thee, little cherubs of Peshawar

O little cherubs of Peshawar, I am sorry for thee: thou departed from this world too soon, To thy heavenly abode. But I am content, for thou shalt at least be safe in heaven, That is bereft of earthly demons.   I am sorry for thee, thou must have gone through immense pain, And suffering at the hands of mindless beasts, Who came to thy school on a bloody feast, Inflicting gaping wounds on thy little, fragile bodies.   What was thy fault, thou must have wondered? Thou were good at studies; thou wouldst do homework on time, Thou were disciplined and punctual too, Besides being messengers of peace.   Thou were no children of a lesser ...

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Peshawar School for Peace: Making the peacemakers of tomorrow

The barbaric attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, where innocent souls became victims to mindless horror, still resonated in my head like as if it happened yesterday. The incident left me hopeless, broken and bordering on cynicism. However, recently, that hope was rekindled. In the backdrop of security crises and bloodshed, I came across a project in this beautiful city that made me a believer again. I have been to Peshawar as a kid but as I don’t have any memory of it, I would say that this was my first trip to Peshawar. Like any other person visiting ...

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Digital Youth Summit 2015: Helping Peshawar become more tech-savvy

Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), is gearing up to host the region’s largest gathering of techies, entrepreneurs and designers – the Digital Youth Summit 2015 (DYS). First organised in 2014, it is a joint venture of Peshawar 2.0, World Bank and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IT Board. Popularly known for its hospitality, Peshawar is one of the oldest existing cities in Asia. This tells the story of its resilience, and its ability to survive and stand tall even in the most testing of times. However, this is an age where the most likely cities to survive and remain on the global map would ...

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Zimbabwe’s visit to Pakistan: Dawn of a new era?

“Daarhion ne phir marwa diya hai” (The beards [bearded men] have gotten us into trouble again) These were the first words I heard on a dreary school morning as news of the attackon the touring Sri Lankan team made the headlines. A desolate shroud enveloped Zinda Dilan-e-Lahore as news broke that the bus carrying the touring Sri Lankan cricket team was fired at by a coterie of Kalashnikov toting ‘na maloom afraad’ in broad daylight. The nearby elite would hear of such incidents up in the agencies next to the Afghan border and seldom, the Taliban types would make it as far as Peshawar, but a gun massacre somewhere as central ...

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