Stories about situation

Taliban and al Qaeda were creations of the United States, what about ISIS?

After chasing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) out of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown just about 100 miles from Baghdad, ISIS was supposed to be on its way out. The Iraqi forces held their own, as their prime minister famously claimed having won the ‘psychological battle’ against the jihadist group. But if events over the past few weeks have indicated something, it is that the ISIS is no ordinary foe. For its sheer, brutal efficiency and an unnerving desire for the creation of the caliphate, it is scarier and more strategically organised than any terrorist group that has ever come before it. It ...

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An open letter to Junaid Jamshed

Dear JJ Sahib, First of all, condolences for the recent situation you find yourself in. It is most unfortunate that our first correspondence be in times that are possibly troubling for you. With the formalities out of the way, I have a confession to make – I really could not care less about your situation. Why then am I writing you a letter? Like others from my generation, I grew up listening to your songs. I met you 15 years ago, backstage after a concert. I was a star-crazed teenager and you were, well, a star. You gave me a hug and laughed ...

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In defence of the ‘fat person’ sitting next to you on a plane

The hardest thing to do is to empathise with a person who is causing you inconvenience; to contain your righteous anger, with a self-reminder that the person doesn’t intend to bother you, and is probably as uneasy about the situation as you are. Some time ago, Rich Wisken wrote an acerbic letter to the airline company, Jetstar, complaining about being made to sit next to an obese gentleman on a flight from Perth to Sydney. He’d spent the duration of his flight periodically arguing with the flight-attendants, and heaping insults on the passenger next to him. In his letter to the company, he referred to ...

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Israel, Palestine and a lifetime of violence

The past few weeks have seen a sharp rise in tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, following the tragic death of three Israeli teenagers and the consequent revenge killing of a Palestinian teen. The ultra nationalist zeal instigated by these recent events has led to a potentially catastrophic situation with a looming threat of an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza strip. By Wednesday, Israel had carried out close to a hundred airstrikes that had resulted in the deaths of over 80 Palestinians. Similarly, Hamas had fired over 300 rockets into Israel during the same period and called all Israelis “legitimate targets”. As the escalations increase ...

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Of course, charging an ex-Chief of Army staff with treason will help us fight terrorism

After many hiccups and a long wait, the day has finally come and former president Pervez Musharraf has been indicted for treason. This is a new chapter in the history of Pakistan, for reasons both, good and bad. However, before going into the reasons and the impact of this verdict, I think it is pertinent to recap the situation that led to the imposition of emergency on November 3, 2007 – the alleged violation of Article 6 of the constitution. Since the matter cannot be considered in isolation, let’s begin from the presidential reference against the former chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry. The lawyers’ ...

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To survive at NADRA you must (not) obey the law?

NICOP and Smart NICOP facilities were started by NADRA in an attempt to assist overseas Pakistanis who send a considerable amount of their income to Pakistan and invest in the country despite the deplorable situation here. Here is the sad story of my pursuit to get this card.  My first attempt:  On October 20, 2013, I made my first attempt to acquire the Nicop. For that, I went to the Nadra office at Deans Trade Centre in Peshawar. After having spent two hours waiting in the queue at the token counter, I was told by the officer that the Nadra Dean Centre office did not accommodate applications for the ...

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Steps that can save your life during a hostage situation or a bomb blast

In an emergency situation regarding terrorism, being prepared can make a difference between life and death. Such events can turn from a scarring memory to a compelling  anecdote which you can share with your friends, if you know how to react. Here are some guidelines that will help you ensure that if, God forbid, such an event does come up, you are prepared to handle it. 1. The immediate response to an attack a. First and foremost, keep your distance from the source of the blast or attack. Avoid standing in large crowds after an attack, as there is always a ...

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Towards a relatively peaceful existence

Theoretically speaking, a civil war is a situation whereby two or more groups of a country’s population are engaged in an armed conflict to amass central power. Bearing the definition in mind, there remains no doubt that we seem to be heading towards one. The Geneva Conventions of 1949 explain the nature of a civil war in Article 3, as a situation whereby: “insurgent civil authority exercises de facto authority over the population within a determinate portion of the national territory.” Different groups and factions in Karachi are known to have strongholds in different areas of the city. Residents of these areas ...

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The army is not the bad guy

One of the key traits of a leader is to have perceptual objectivity – to be able to understand and articulate the point of view that each party brings to a conflict situation, and to develop a full comprehension even if it differs from one’s point of view. Yes, I’m a son of military person. No, I’m not here to defend the ‘holy cows’ that are the military just because of my dad. Yes, I chose not to join military because I did not agree with their policy and organisational culture. I stand for open and ‘objective’ criticism of the military and full ...

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Boys should not die because of dog bites

To see your patient succumb to his last few breaths, while you stand helplessly facing the family is indeed the most testing time for a physician, especially when the patient is a 10-year-old playful child who you have known personally. I recently had the tragic experience of dealing with such a situation. Helpless as we were, we could not reverse the symptoms of Rabies, a deadly virus which is contracted through a rabid animal contact (zoonotic disease). My 10-year-old patient was bitten by a rabid dog 25 days ago while walking home from school. The unprovoked attack is typical ...

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