Stories about Peshawar

180 million hearts broken… again

Jallianwala. Dhaka. Quetta. North Waziristan. Peshawar. Places change but stories remain the same. That doesn’t make the heartbreak any more bearable. The unanswerable ‘why’ still looms over our heads. Why this? Why now? Why us? Today’s massacre in Peshawar reverberates throughout the country. I cannot even fathom what the parents of the children are going through but I write to tell them they are not alone, it is the least I can do. It is the least I can do to at least try to reach a level of catharsis which will make me feel capable of ever feeling again, which will make me ...

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Humanity dies as Peshawar bleeds

This morning, as I opened my social media newsfeed, I was left completely mortified. At around 11.45 am, news about five to six militants who had carried out an attack at the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar was all over my newsfeed. Alarm bells started going off in my head. I have friends whose children go to that school. Immediately, I thought of ringing them up. But then I stopped. A thousand thoughts went through my head in those few seconds – what if they didn’t know about the attack just yet? Would I be causing panic? What if I clog up ...

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Pakistan’s fear of a local security check-post

Last month, Sajid, an engineering student from the University of Engineering and Technology, was shot in the head by a Frontier Constabulary (FC) constable. Different sources obviously claim different versions of the story. The security officials, however, have stated that Sajid refused to stop at the security check post after being flagged down repeatedly. The real story will only be revealed when an impartial investigation into the incident is conducted. Putting the validity of the versions aside, what concerns me today is the important ‘issue’, a daily ritual might I add, of passing through security check posts in the country. ...

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My father was an Ahmadi serving the Pakistan Air Force

On October 14, 62-year-old Mr Latif Alam Butt, an Ahmadi retired Pakistan Air Force (PAF) serviceman was gunned down at Kamra Air base, Attock District. He was shot due to his religious beliefs. My father was also an Ahmadi and a retired PAF serviceman, who also happened to die at the age of 62. But my father was not killed, only marginalised, for his religious beliefs. But he and Mr Butt share more than meets the eye. In 1965, when Mr Butt was only 13-years-old, my parents, newly married at the time, were making plans to start their married life at my ...

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Does Pakistan realise that TTP has joined hands with the ISIS?

Hardly four months ago, I blogged about whether Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) would be forming an allegiance with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). My assumptions became a reality when Shahidullah Shahid, now a former TTP leader, proclaimed his allegiance along with five other TTP leaders to the ISIS.  At the time that I wrote the piece, I was tremendously lashed out by various people on social media, who probably just read the main heading of the article or simply commented after reading other comments without having their own perspective on the topic at hand. Apart from the numerous comments that my memory conveniently ...

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Namkeen Mutton Karhai: A reminder of authentic Peshawari food

For those who don’t know, Peshawar is famous for its Namakmandi. Contradictory to the name, it does not have anything to do with salt but is known for its cuisine, particularly its karhai and tikka. What sets their food apart from the rest is the lack of spices in it, without which they still manage to create scrumptious dishes for their customers. One such dish, their namkeen karhai, is a simple and special one. A few days ago, my family and I decided to visit the Habibi Restaurant located in I-8, Islamabad. They offer some of the most delicious and ...

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Either pay attention to K-P or resign, Imran Khan!

A Sikh trader, Harjeet Singh, was killed in Peshawar. This was the fifth target killing of Sikh traders living in Pakistan; in 2014, two Sikhs were killed in Charsadda and two were killed in Peshawar. But the reaction to Harjeet Singh’s murder was very different. Sikhs have been living in Pakistan since the 19th century when Peshawar and Punjab were under the rule of Ranjeet Singh. While many other minority communities left Pakistan after the partition in 1947, a number of Sikhs stayed back and considered themselves safe in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA). However, after the recent killings, the scenario has ...

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Pakistan’s Hidden Shame: Exposing child sexual abuse and Pakistan’s ‘see no evil’ attitude

Pakistan’s Hidden Shame, a documentary exploring the widespread sexual abuse of children in the streets of Peshawar, is something one wishes every Pakistani would take time to watch, while imploring his or her own eyes to un-see it. The practice of ‘bachabazi’ (child prostitution), as it’s known around the country, is something most of us are aware of. It is an ignominious fact of life in Pakistan that has blended seamlessly among all the other facts we don’t like to talk about. The statistics are hair-raising. Of the estimated one and a half million street children in Pakistan, 90% have suffered sexual abuse. And for every 10 ...

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Is the ISIS really in our backyard?

One day, you see shalwar-kameez clad Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters in Iraq and Syria, and the next day you hear news of their fighters infiltrating Pakistan. Is there any connection? According to the Foreign Office (FO) of Pakistan there isn’t. Obviously. The FO, on Wednesday, denied reports regarding the presence and infiltration of ISIS, also known as ‘Daesh’, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and FATA region. But did this denial ring any surprising bells? After all, the same FO, along with the authorities, was oblivious to Osama bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad for many years, leave aside the ISIS. Yet, one has to ...

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If not sanity, let democracy prevail

Aristotle once said that democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers. To realise that very dream in my country of birth, I solely travelled across the continents to vote in the 2013 general elections. Pakistan, for the first time, was holding elections since its independence under civilian control and I, for the first time knew, who to vote for. For all the right reasons I decided to vote for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by Imran Khan. I pinned all my hopes on him, who swore to live by all the democratic values. But, just after ...

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