Stories about soldiers

Remembering war hero Air Commodore Rashid Bhatti: an outstanding soldier and father

My dad was not a martyr. I didn’t lose my dad to the country in his death. I lost him to the country in his life. That night, and every day, I stand proud because of that. Pakistan and India have once again come to the brink of war after the revocation of Kashmir’s special status by the Indian government. This follows the recent tension earlier this year, when Indian and Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight over Kashmir on February 27, 2019, a day after Indian jet fighters carried out airstrikes inside Balakot. Pakistani fighters shot down two Indian planes ...

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Married to an “alien”

The threat of extremism appeared on the horizon about a decade and a half ago, plunging Pakistan into a different kind of war. The Armed Forces, until then, had been concerned with tackling and keeping malicious forces in check at the borders, but now they had a new enemy much closer to home. Each bombing and suicide attack has caused us great pain and we have lost thousands to senseless chaos since then. December 16, 2014 seemed just like another nightmare, but this incident had the entire nation in unparalleled shock. I remember the disbelief as I heard reports of terrorist ...

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A tribute to remember

She was sitting outside when the sound first reached her ears. Her gnarly hands gripped the chair firmly. Staggering, she got up and walked towards the sound. The melody grew louder, different voices rising and falling. Melancholy gripped her. As a few minutes passed, the song reached its peak moments. And then the sound died abruptly. Puzzled, she hurried into the room. Her husband stood in the middle of the room, gripping the remote firmly. He glared at the television set with contempt. But Naghmana Bibi was not discouraged by his anger. She saw what others could not see. They saw his proud head, ...

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War is beautiful: Does photography glamourise war?

Forty years ago, Susan Sontag, in an essay for the New York Review of Books, wrote, “To photograph people is to violate them… Just as a camera is a sublimation of a gun, to photograph someone is a sublimated murder.” This and other essays backed her argument that photography was “essentially an act of non-intervention” that shared “complicity” in “another person’s pain or misfortune”. Photo: www.worldpressphoto.org Significantly, Sontag noted that Nick Ut’s (Huỳnh Công Út) photo of Kim Phuc, a naked South Vietnamese girl with arms spread, wracked in pain from napalm, “Did more to increase the public revulsion against the ...

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President Barack Obama is probably the best president America has ever had

After listening to the debate of prospective presidential candidates, from the Democratic and Republican parties, one can’t fail to notice the stark difference in their leadership styles with the present incumbent. President Obama presents a dignified image, a vision backed with impeccable integrity coupled with great communication skills. Perhaps, these qualities are enough to set him apart from the aspiring candidates. Although, it would be too early to assess his performance as the president, since he will be demitting from his position in January 2017. Regardless, one can’t resist the temptation of revealing a scorecard of his achievements and failures during his two terms tenure. Obama’s inclusive ...

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Siachen: Taking theatre to the peaks of greatness

I read somewhere if you continuously compete with others you become bitter, but if you compete with yourself you become better. Anwar Maqsood definitely believes in this because he has outshone his previous plays Pawnay 14 August, Sawa 14 August and Dharna with his latest Siachen. Siachen has outdone every brilliant quip and taken this theatre performance to the peaks of greatness! The director Dawar Mehmood doesn’t reveal anything beyond the vague prelude ‘about 20,000 feet away from God Himself’ on the play’s Facebook page. It is the story of a group of soldiers stationed above the clouds, showcasing their struggle in sub-zero conditions, ...

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The brilliant minds of our insurgents

As Zarb-e-Azb moves towards a ground offensive in Miranshah, bomb disposal units are assigned the daunting task of safely detonating troves of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) precariously stacked in numerous factories scattered across town. A junior military officer, part of one such unit, reflected on a mission he had successfully carried out earlier in the day. Referring to the IED composition, he said, “They (TTP) are damn experts, awesome work. Brilliant minds how they use local materials urea and the likes to make IEDs, awesome. I wish I could get trained by them”. Simply by an apt assessment of the adversary’s skill set, in this case ...

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My husband is deployed in the inhospitable terrain of Waziristan

Nowadays, various television channels have taken to playing emotional songs about sons and fathers joining the army, going on active duty and dying at the line of duty. It might be motivating for the general public, but what happens to the families of these soldiers can be comprehended neither by the channels nor by their producers. It is very difficult to satisfy a three-year-old when she asks, after watching the song, if her father is going to meet the same tragic fate because she believes that her father is the bravest. It is difficult to answer her question when a lump in the throat is ...

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Don’t take your soldiers for granted

*Saf Shikan post is one of the few posts at Siachen glacier that is inaccessible by animal transport. Hence, all the transport of ammunition and food items is done through man-portering, mostly because the gradient of the post is impassable by mules and because the approach to the post is over looked by the enemy sitting just a few meters away. Saf Shikan is located 18000 feet above mean sea level at a gradient of approximately 30 to 40 degrees. An officer’s 6x3x4 feet (LxWxH) igloo, shelter made from discarded jerry-cans and PSP sheets, and a 9x6x5 feet shell-proof bunker ...

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Should war be celebrated?

On the walls along MA Jinnah Road, I came across certain graffiti, a bold approval in red paint, which read, “Pak fauj qadam barhao, hum tumharay saath hain” (Take a step, Pakistani Army, the people are with you) This was a reminder for every passer-by that it is the duty of every Pakistani to support its army engaged in Zarb-e-Azb, the on-going military operation in North Waziristan. In the past few months, there has been a shift in the rhetoric pertaining to the army; the protector has become the saviour, the last resort has become the beacon of hope and force has become the ...

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