Stories about Taliban

Hazaras: The Rohingyas of Pakistan?

Last week, when I was planning a trip to Quetta for training, Mujeeb Hashmi, a friend from work, asked me to wear shalwar kameez, not only to the airport but also whenever I went out and about in the city. Hashmi, being a veteran filmmaker, has been to almost every habitable area of Pakistan – so I had to pay heed. He also warned me to be wary of certain localities within the city such as Hazara Town and Alamdar Road, given the violence witnessed by the city in the past. He was right. Quetta made a great first impression on me – ...

Read Full Post

Benazir Bhutto’s assassination was carefully planned, politically motivated and amply funded – but who did it?

Every movie buff has their favourite action movie star – mine is Mark Wahlberg. He has acted in several high octane, action-packed and successful movies. For our purpose, I’d like to remind my readers of one of his more subdued films, Shooter. The film follows the story of a sniper living in exile who is coaxed back into action to prevent a plot to kill the president of the US. Unbeknownst to him, the people who brought him in to help them are the ones who were involved in the whole conspiracy to begin with. If you haven’t seen the ...

Read Full Post

Why Pakistan’s policies regarding Afghanistan and the US need to be more Pakistan-centric

President Donald Trump’s new strategy for Afghanistan requires a rethink of Pakistan’s policies towards both the US and Afghanistan. President Trump laid out a new policy for the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan earlier this week. The strategy lacked specifics but stated that it would focus on the primary mission of getting rid of terrorists and its supporters from Afghanistan. The speech also contained harsh words for Pakistan including statements to the effect that US support would be conditional for Pakistan. The support depends on Pakistan helping the US in its primary mission and in taking out safe havens for the terrorists like the ...

Read Full Post

O’ Parachinar, your loyalty is not enough for Pakistan

Addey, my grandmother, would reminisce about memories of her father with pride in her eyes and say, “I was a little girl of seven and the memory of him sitting in a room and sewing green coloured clothes and the flag of Pakistan with his own hands before the Partition is still afresh in my eyes. He used to write letters to Mohammad Ali Jinnah on behalf of the people of Parachinar to express his willingness to join Pakistan. He received directions by him in return for the Pakistan Movement in this tribal region. He travelled on horses along with other companions from Parachinar to Delhi to meet Jinnah ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

If no major non-Arab nation has supported the Saudi bloc, so why pressure Pakistan, Saudi Arabia?

As is often the case in regional conflicts, outside players may feel compelled to toe the line of one of the parties. Thus, in the latest conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt (also known as the Saudi bloc), Pakistan finds itself walking a diplomatic and economic tightrope. That is, until the last few days, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told King Salman of Saudi Arabia that Pakistan will not be taking sides in the conflict. As this commentary will illustrate, I believe that this is the commendable choice as it is in Pakistan’s interest to remain neutral, if not lean, towards Qatar based ...

Read Full Post

Why a ban on Qatar may not be in the interest of the countries joining forces against them

While the announcement that several Middle Eastern counties including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Yemen were outright banning all relations with Qatar, the fact that they actually did it has had reverberations across the globe. Saudi Arabia declared a complete ban on all air, sea and land routes into and out of Qatar while UAE and Bahrain demanded the expulsion of Qatari diplomats from their countries. At last count, Libya and Maldives had joined the growing chorus against Qatar. Qatar is a tiny emirate jutting out as a peninsula from Saudi Arabia towards Iran. While it is a member of the international oil supplying nation group Organisation ...

Read Full Post

Why Uzma Ahmed’s narrative of her stay in the “well of death” is as fishy as it gets

Whether Uzma Ahmed’s story is true or a farrago of  a distortion of facts, misrepresentation and outright lies (Hail Shashi Tharoor ji), still remains a mystery. While she has her own version of the story, the videos shown in the Pakistan media of her nikkah prove otherwise. Besides, there are lot of questions and missing links. However, out of all the things, the one that is bothering me the most is her attitude towards Pakistan as a nation. Interestingly, even when the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj thanked Pakistan for the safe return of Uzma despite the troubled bilateral political relations between the two countries, ...

Read Full Post

Imran Khan might be “honest” but he can never be what’s best for Pakistan

There was a time when I used to literally worship Imran Khan. For me, one of the proudest moments in my life as a Pakistani was when Imran lifted the World Cup above his head. Immediately following the triumph, I went to the market and danced with all those who had gone crazy. Pakistan has always starved for international recognition (in a positive way) and therefore that moment has been permanently ingrained in the collective psyche of the nation. It was an adulation, which was like the attitude of millions of current Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters who dominate social media and ...

Read Full Post

Who is the real winner in Af-Pak tensions?

Recently, when Pakistan decided to move heavy artillery towards the Afghan border, many wondered if a full-scale war was about to be initiated between the two countries. Surprisingly, Kabul refrained from retaliating when Pakistani forces shelled terror camps on the other side of the border. It was hard to fathom such an action as Afghanistan has always been considered “a brotherly neighbour”. Where India has always remained our nemesis, Afghanistan now might well be pilfering the former’s title of being our “arch rival”. So how did we end up in this mess where brothers have turned into fierce rivals? Firstly, since 2001, both the countries have fuelled a never-ending cycle of blame game. This ...

Read Full Post