Stories about protests

“So, what’s Pakistan like?”

The old man had the most startling blue eyes, the kind that glittered in a wizard-like way. He was a contractual worker fixing some room in the building where I work, and I met him in the kitchen over my morning coffee. He asked where I’m from and widened his eyes. He didn’t comment on how good my English is, but how American my accent is (which I take no offence or pride in – it’s not the two years of Master’s in St Louis but all those American movies and TV shows I watch). And then he asked me ...

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Are the people of Balochistan not human enough for us?

Nations can be judged in times of tragedy. How they live, how they breathe and how they react to an atmosphere of fear, fire and blood, tells a lot about them. As a nation, which has seen years of relentless bloodshed, bombings, beheadings and coffins, the Baloch, Pakhtuns and Hazaras of Balochistan are amongst the most resilient people our region’s history has witnessed. They have been cut down, mauled, killed in their own homes – yet they do not react irrationally nor do they retaliate barbarically in return. Such resilience and patience is beyond compare in modern times. However, if ...

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I don’t support PTI but Imran Khan may be our only saviour against corruption

I, being a non-PTI supporter and voter, believe that Imran Khan’s upcoming protest on April 24th will go a long way in making millions of Pakistanis aware of the corrupt individuals governing our country. Since the Panama revelations, much has been written about our prime minister and his family’s substantial investments abroad. Some have argued that Nawaz Sharif has lost moral authority and should, therefore, make way for new leadership to govern our country. Others argue that Nawaz’s departure from the political realm would only damage political stability and the future of democracy. I, personally, believe that the questions the Panama Papers have raised may ...

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I took a roadtrip from Karachi to Muzaffarabad and discovered real Pakistan

Pakistan is a land of plains, plateaus, mountains and a rich cultural heritage. It also has an abundance of fruits and vegetables; an abundance which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. If marketed appropriately, Pakistan’s treasures can attract a multitude of tourists. This summer, I had the opportunity of taking a road trip from Karachi to Islamabad and then Muzaffarabad, allowing me to be stunned by Pakistan’s beauty first hand. Guava Cart at Phool Nagar, near Multan. Road trips are fun but can be extremely exhausting and require a lot of planning. Drivers must be well rested, your car should be ...

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Zahid Rasool Bhat, set ablaze for being a Muslim in Indian-administered Kashmir

Indian-administered Kashmir is on the boil against the mob killing of 18-year-old Zahid Rasool Bhat, who was attacked with petrol bombs on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway near Udhampur on October 9th, when he was travelling back to the valley from New Delhi. Bhat, the Kashmiri trucker, sustained serious injuries when the right-wing goons mercilessly beat him up and set him ablaze. Bhat’s killing raged violent protests followed by a shutdown on October 12th, called by the pro-freedom factions. The same day, the Jammu and Kashmir government had imposed strict restrictions in most parts of Kashmir to prevent protests against Bhat’s killing. However, Bhat’s body was ...

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Modi’s visit to the US is not as warm as it looks

From holding the title of the first person to be denied US visa and prohibited from entering US soil for nearly 10 years for his deliberate inaction in stopping the Gujarat massacre, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has certainly come a long way, judging by the warm welcome awarded by the Obama administration. His previous record of being a ‘severe violator of religious freedom’ has been conveniently shrouded with diplomatic immunity as he conducts flurry of meetings with American statesmen, prominent Indian Americans, and heads of Fortune 500 companies and tech corporations. Pakistani anchor Dr Shahid Masood hit the nail on the head when he compared Modi ...

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Blind the Kashmiri protesters: A new tactic employed by India

This is the story of a teenager. His face is disfigured. One eye is lost forever. I have not spoken to him in person since he is lying in a bed in New Delhi, while I sit and write this in Islamabad. But if you see his face the way I saw it when his story broke, you will not be able to forget it. And you will begin following his story updates more vehemently. He should not have lost his eye. Who loses an eye for carrying a placard, shouting slogans, and partaking in a peaceful protest for a political cause? I often ...

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Maybe you can learn a lesson or two from the APS embarrassment, Imran Khan

You know you have done something very, very wrong when distraught, infuriated parents who have lost their children can still find the strength to tell you they don’t appreciate your show of solidarity. That was exactly the public embarrassment that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan had to face when he bothered to show up at the reopened Army Public School, Peshawar – the scene of a heinous attack that killed over 130 children and shocked the nation last month. I hope that Imran Sahib and the PTI leadership uses this as a wake-up call that they have kept this nation, their own voters, waiting for ...

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#Ferguson: Was it only about being black?

The world has rallied around Ferguson after a grand jury refused to indict an officer for killing Michael Brown. Add the deaths of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, revisit past cases of police brutality such as Abner Louima (1997) and Amadou Diallo (1999), and what’s the result? Marches in New York City and Washington DC, and thousands of protestors demanding an end to racism and murderous cops. The international press magnifies this narrative and creates morality plays out of American drama. Shehzad Ghias wrote, “Racism is still prevalent in the United States.” Ahson Saeed Hasan stated, “Cops essentially have a license to kill!” These views are shared by many inside and outside the US. But are they flawed? Do ...

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My beautiful boys, my murderers

“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.” – Carl Sagan “We killed our mother because she was supporting them.” Read those words. Read them again. In fact, keep on reading them until you can find even the slightest hint of humanity in them. After all, they are the words from a son about his own mother. I have been doing that, in a desperate attempt to find at least some common ground between myself and these people. This was the line that ...

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