Stories about Russia

Dear US, before fixing the world, fix yourself!

At a time when the United States forces are grappling with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) scourge, it may not be the most appropriate moment to write this. However, recent events, such as the incident in Ferguson, Missouri, happening within the US, have prompted many to ask a rather critical question – does the US really need to go to foreign lands, sacrifice lives, dole out billions and play the role of a fixer when the country itself is domestically faced with issues of monstrous importance? As international affairs have significantly evolved, Washington continues to tow a somewhat outdated line. ...

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FCR: Man playing god with the people of Fata

FATA is home to approximately 10 million people. These people may be called ‘Pakistani’ citizens, but the reality is – they are not. Even after 67 years of independence, despite being a strategic part of Pakistan, the constitution of the country simply does not apply here. Why? Good question. What is worse is that the laws that do, in fact, apply are a set of colonial laws formulated and enacted by the British more than a century ago! Some of these date all the way back to 1893, when the Durand Line was drawn by colonialists. A single visit to Fata will demonstrate ...

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How to fall in love with a city: Embrace the adventure, Marco Polo ki aulad!

As I sit on the plane headed for Pakistan before moving to Paris, I silently grieve for what was home for two years and go over some of my most memorable moments as well as my mental notes about the place. Suddenly, on the jazz music channel (thank you, noise-cancelling headphones) I hear Carmen McRae crooning ‘The loveliness of Paris…’ and then Ella Fitzgerald ‘April in Paris’. All I needed was this nudge from the universe to begin to look forward to a new adventure. Sometimes we do things right instinctively. Sometimes we need a teacher. Sometimes we need to make a ...

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Of footballs ‘made in Pakistan’

As Pakistanis, by now we all know that while Pakistan is not playing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we are still part of this great event, watched by billions of people around the globe. In fact, I would say that we play a vital part in this year’s World Cup as the official FIFA footballs were manufactured and supplied by Pakistan this year. Here are four interesting parallels about the world ‘using and kicking our balls’ that will make you cringe, make you angry perhaps and then, hopefully, make you feel proud and hopeful as a Pakistani. 1. Our ‘balls’ are being kicked by ...

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Will North Korea consider this blog an “act of war”?

Facing what could be his harshest critic yet, Seth Rogen’s upcoming film, “The Interview”, has been rated 4.5 nukes by the fuming Supreme Leader of North Korea whom it has satirised.   A spokesperson for the dictatorial regime has accused the Obama administration, which allegedly ‘masterminded’ the movie, of “provocative insanity”, and deemed the movie an outright “act of war”. According to the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “If the United States administration tacitly approves or supports the release of this film, we will take a decisive and merciless countermeasure.” It is unlikely that the “merciless countermeasure” would be a caricature of ...

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Will we ever see a nuke-free world?

Despite numerous calls and rhetoric to move towards global nuclear disarmament, no significant progress has been achieved to this day. Instead, all these efforts have met with a tragic end. The recent Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report has shown a very dismal picture with regards to this. All nine nuclear states are currently in possession of 16,300 nuclear weapons, which includes 4000 operational ones. P5 countries, which include the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom, are upgrading their nuclear arsenal and spending a hefty amount on the development of new weaponry systems. Though, we have seen a ...

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If India supports freedom in Crimea, why not in Kashmir?

Over the past week after the Russian annexation of Crimea, global politics have completely changed. The annexation which took place after a controversial ‘referendum’ shows that the aspirations of people are more powerful than politically drawn borders. Yet, many political observers see the Russian backing of the referendum as damage control after Moscow lost its ally in former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych after many weeks of protests. India which is an important and old time ally of Russia, faces a new predicament and a new set of worries after the Crimean annexation, the dilemma being, do they back Russia – their oldest friend – or oppose it? ...

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Will Crimea’s ‘strategic importance’ cost Putin his political future?

The moment you log on to an international news channel nowadays, two stories frequently flash on your screens: the missing Malaysian airplane and Crimea – the climax of the Ukrainian crisis. Although the agonising search for the debris of flight MH370 seems to be in its final stages with the latest Australian revelations, the Crimean crisis is still far from over. In the wake of the latest developments, the Russian State Duma has approved the treaty of making Crimea a part of Russia. The US, EU and the West called it an act of aggression, Mr Gorbachev called it a ‘Soviet era mistake corrected’, the Chinese remained mum and the Russians called ...

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Can Vladimir Putin pull off the Winter Olympics safely?

A couple of deadly bomb blasts in Volgograd in two days killing 30, coupled with disastrous floods in Far Eastern Russia were enough for the Russian President Vladimir Putin to change his years-old ritual of addressing the nation on New Year’s Eve from the Kremlin. For us Pakistanis, such events have become so common that even a series of blasts on festivals such as Eid may hardly affect our routine – as long as we don’t suffer directly. But for Russia, these events, especially the blasts, are national tragedies. Timing of the Volgograd bombings Russia is nearly a month away from holding the much awaited Winter Olympics ...

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Is it time for Pakistan to reconsider the US as its ally?

Close to 50,000 deaths, over $100 billion in losses, and growing insecurity and fear among the citizens with each passing day. These are few of the highlights of Pakistan’s involvement in the US-led war on terror that has now been fought for more than 12 years.  This war which was initiated to target the militants in Afghanistan has haunted and continues to haunt, many innocent civilians, not only in Afghanistan but also in Pakistan. The United States, along with its allies, began this war to hunt down the 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden and to put an end to the Taliban regime and its activities. However, in ...

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