Stories about Swat

Malala vs APS survivors: Do our children have to compete to be our heroes?

It was in 2014 – while I was studying for my Masters in Europe – that a German classmate of mine, upon getting to know I am from Pakistan, showed me a picture of Malala Yousafzai receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. I can recall chatter in the classroom of European students about Malala’s bravery, and the hardships she faced as she pursued an education in Pakistan. This was one of the rare moments of my life when I took great pride in belonging to the same country as Malala, and for all the activism that I do, including this very piece, I believe ...

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Kumrat: Pakistan’s magical valley that will keep a part of you, until you return again

Kumrat is a newly explored valley in Upper Dir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), which became a popular tourist destination after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader, Imran Khan, showed up there to boost tourism in the province. While a group of friends and I were chalking out a plan to explore the northern areas of the country this summer, we too decided to visit Kumrat in light of its growing popularity. Our journey started from Mansehra, and we travelled through Battagram and Shangla to reach Swat. Given our arduous itinerary due to the time spent in Mansehra, Malam Jabba and Kalam, ...

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How the two-faceted mindset of moderate Muslims ends up aiding militancy and terrorism

In recent years, there have been growing concerns that Islam’s major problem, as well as the world’s, is Islamic radicalisation, since Islam is one of the major and fastest growing religions of the world. These concerns are being voiced in various countries and have yielded various reactions ranging from apologetic defence (whereby some of the western liberals interpret it as a ‘reaction’ to the US hegemony) to outright xenophobia. Radicalisation is a major problem and there is no question about its lethal potential to inflict harm in the form of religious extremism and terrorism. However, though present, it is not as widespread in the Islamic world as is ...

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Lahore Se Aagey: Don’t miss this roller coaster ride

Subtle comedy has never been Pakistani cinema’s forte; there are only a handful of writers who have successfully managed to pull off the art of subtle slapstick. Last year’s release of Karachi Se Lahore received mixed response from the audience. Some couldn’t stop laughing and loved it, while some thought it was needlessly dragged with dry humour. Whatever the response, most thought it was one of a kind; a Pakistani rom-com featuring a road trip through Pakistan – definitely not something the local audience has ever seen before. Director Wajahat Rauf was content with the response he got and hence decided to make a sequel, ...

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23 reasons why I love Pakistan and you should too!

In a country with a population of over 188.2 million people, a lot can go wrong, but a lot can go right too! Here is a list of 23 things that make Pakistan home. 1. The men Photo: AFP We may belong to a patriarchal society, but not all men are alike. They don’t all suffer from the disease of misogyny. True gems like Abdul Sattar Eidhi, Ansar Burney and Imran Khan also exist in our society, individuals who play a pivotal role in the betterment of society. 2. The women  Photo: AFP Contrary to the patriarchal outlook of ...

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He Named Me Malala is the story of an ordinary girl who made a tough choice

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” This bit of wisdom comes from Paulo Coelho, in his bestseller, The Alchemist. The other day when I was watching the film He Named Me Malala, the incredible story of the youngest Noble laureate and activist for education from the Swat district of Pakistan, Coelho’s wise words echoed in my heart. I realised that once an individual decides to stand up with courage and conviction for a great cause, nothing can stop him/her from achieving their goals. One just needs to conquer the fear of failure. He Named Me ...

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Children’s Day: They belong in schools, not factories

Some of us are liberals while others are conservatives; some of us are righteous Muslims while others are humanists. We have created labels and have given birth to unnecessary clashes, but what most of us have failed at doing is work. We are ready to speak but we are not ready to act upon our words. As John F Kennedy once said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future”. This quote perhaps sums up not only the importance of children, but also the need to turn them into such individuals that our future may be secured, because it ...

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Why Pakistan is just as beautiful as Switzerland

Pakistan is beautiful, it is utterly blessed! We don’t just say it… it actually is. When it comes to breathtaking landscapes and mind-blowing sceneries, Pakistan is absolutely matchless. You think Switzerland is the most stunning place on this planet? Think again… 1. Gwadar, Balochistan Photo: Parhlo website 2. Bara Pani, Deosai Photo: Parhlo website 3. Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir Photo: Parhlo website 4. Shangrila Lake, Skardu Photo: Parhlo website Photo: Parhlo website 5. Deosai Plains, Northern Pakistan Photo: Parhlo website 6. Dudipatsar Lake Photo: Parhlo website 7. Fairy Meadows at night [caption id="" align="alignnone" ...

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Chagharzai and other valleys: An epiphany in itself

Every now and then, we hear someone singing odes to the beauty of Pakistan’s North-West regions. Be it by one of those recent sing-along tourism promos running on nearly every news network these days, after a prolonged wave of violence in Malakand Division, or some bunch of local yahoos who’d just returned from a trip from any of the numerous valleys and lakes. The fact remains that the actual beauty and splendour of these areas is still quite underrated, despite all such praises. Even though the last few years’ armed conflicts have labelled the entire region as a no-go zone, ...

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Today, let’s celebrate Malala Yousafzai

“Live, Malala!” I remember seeing this line somewhere on social media when Malala was shot. I remember sitting anxiously, watching the television, while channels aired the live coverage of Malala being shifted to a hospital in England for treatment. I remember the moment I found out that she was shot. I couldn’t believe my ears. I couldn’t believe the news. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. October 09, 2012 – almost exactly two years ago, she was returning from school when a masked gunman had asked her name and shot her at point blank range thrice. Thrice. She was just 14. There were many ...

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