Stories about Salala

Will Uzair Baloch be treated as a political ally or gangster?

After the arrest of Uzair Baloch, numerous questions have arisen which must be answered by those relevant to his political and armed existence in Lyari. I have personally been a part of various meetings which hosted Uzair Baloch as chief guest. These meetings included audiences with the likes of political individuals and renowned journalists. Surprisingly, these individuals have great relations with the gangster from Lyari. In a strange twist of fate, I had a personal encounter with this infamous man. I, along with a few of my friends were attending a Baloch cultural day in Lyari. During the event, I received a ...

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Drones strikes and Obama, two things I’m not voting for this year

After what seems like a quick four years, elections are only a month away in the United States and the two candidates are Mitt Romney of the Republican Party and the current President who is up for re-election, Barack Obama. Whether the American citizens like it or not, Pakistan is a strategic ally in the so-called ‘war on terror’ and relations with Pakistan have never been so important. Pakistan also has its share of issues and dissatisfaction and hatred for the United States is definitely one of them. Of course, this year election year is important not only for ...

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America, apologise!

Let’s cut right to the chase. The US government should apologise for last November’s tragic raid at Salala. I say this for three reasons. Firstly, Pakistani soldiers were killed by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) firepower. Though the details remain unclear, and the incident may have been just a terrible accident, regardless of how it happened, the bottom line is that Pakistanis who should not have been killed were in fact killed. When such incidents occur in Afghanistan, and Afghan troops are killed by US or Nato troops, Washington describes them as “friendly fire” accidents and promptly apologises. America’s refusal to ...

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Its not time to “move on”, Mr Panetta. Not yet

The US government continues to remain predictable  and resort to its usual clichés. Yesterday, the Pakistani state was asked to  “move on”. No, Defence Secretary Panetta, we were not asking for closure after a cheerless  breakup, rather, demanding some much needed accountability for the killing of our armed forces which was reasonably against all precepts of international law. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, has  nonetheless, predictably but unacceptably, all but ruled out an apology over an air strike last year that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and badly set back efforts to improve US-Pakistani ties. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) airstrike that ...

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China and Russia can free us of the US

Pakistan is looking to the East for help. We are pinning our hopes on regional cooperation through blocs such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation ( SCO). This bloc boasts support from two major regional powers –Russia and China. Why should we support this alliance, one might ask. To them, I would like to state simply, we need this to free ourselves from the stranglehold of the US. We have numerous reasons to support this alliance. For instance, despite all cooperation and the consequent suffering, Pakistan continues to face immense pressure from America. The recent episode of this series of pressure came when Pakistan suspended the Nato supply ...

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Start the rails: Of the NATO supply route

About six months have passed since the tragic incident at Salala by the US-led Nato forces followed by the closure of Nato supply routes to Afghanistan through Pakistan. All major parties, except government allies, found an opportunity to shine their politics on the issue. They would not tire of announcing large-scale protests and long marches if the government opened the route. On the other hand, the US and Nato are repeatedly asking Pakistan to open the route which means that either there is no alternative for them to take equipment to their forces or it is more expensive to export it ...

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What will Grossman’s visit achieve?

On the face of it, Pakistan and the United States are inching closer to a possible reunion as US Special Envoy for the Af-Pak theatre, Marc Grossman, is set to reset the volatile relationship with Islamabad. But there is a lot more to the equation than what meets the eye. The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has presented its recommendation to the parliament, and the defence and cabinet committees are set to endorse the new terms of engagement with the United States. Despite all the fuss, it seems that there is no fundamental change in the relations between these strange ...

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Hafiz Saeed: Missing pieces?

Hafiz Saeed, a mujahid and philanthropist in the eyes of many Pakistanis is basking in the limelight thrown on him by the US State Department when it placed a $10 million reward for information leading to his conviction under the Reward for Justice Programme. Saeed’s followers point towards the fact that because he demanded for the closure of the Nato supply route, the personal vendetta has been unleashed. The reality, however, is not that simple. Lashkar-e-Taiba, believed to be a militant arm of Jamatud Dawa, was designated as a foreign terrorist organisation in December 2001 by the US while its ...

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Pak-US ties and those who matter most

At a joint sitting of the parliament the debate is on. The representatives of the people of Pakistan are discussing the new set of terms of engagement with the United States in the aftermath of the November airstrike on Pakistan’s Salala check post. A joint parliamentary committee on national security dished out some 40 recommendations which ostensibly would lay the basis on which the future Pak-US relations would stand. One runs through the proposals and after a lot of sifting through three visible contours emerge. 1) The US must submit an unconditional apology for the strikes; 2) the drone attacks must end ...

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A tribute to my cousin, a brave soldier

A Nato attack on the Pakistani check post in Salala left 24 soldiers dead and 12 injured. Normally, these figures are mere numbers to me; with the war on terror, so many people die everyday that I am a bit desensitized about news of death. On November 26, 2011, the otherwise meaningless number of those killed held all the meaning in the world to me. You see, amongst the 24 dead was my dear bhai.  My dear cousin Captain Usman Ali died in this unprovoked attack by Nato forces. As I reflect on the transience of life, everything Usman bhai ever said to me keeps playing ...

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