Stories about Taliban

Measuring a massacre – Should we mourn for longer? Louder?

Out of a student body of a little over 1000, 132 children are dead. At a moment like this, how do you quantify tragedy? If a thousand children were standing in line, every tenth child was shot and killed. One in 10. “One in 10 children worldwide has no access to schooling.” One in 10 families whose children went to Army Public School (APS) probably wish this statistic applied to them. “There are 1.6 hours of dream consciousness for every 16 hours of waking consciousness; this means that your chance of dreaming at any given moment is one in 10.” There is a one in 10 ...

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The death penalty is justified today

Two recent terrorist attacks have proven to be a watershed in our history.  First, the unfortunate siege at the Karachi airport which resulted in the loss of many innocent lives and thereby, creating a proverbial consensus among many Pakistanis in support of a military operation. Since then, there have been debates on what a successful military operation entails. The commentators have regularly suggested that a military solution must accompany certain policy changes such as terminating the distinction between good Taliban and bad Taliban, reversal in our Afghan policy and developing a counter-terrorism strategy.  However, it failed to mark any seismic shift in our policies. The second is Tuesday’s massacre ...

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Red is such an ugly colour on green

My Facebook timeline is black. It’s so black that every time a coloured photo appears on it, I am taken aback and even angered; how anyone can think of posting anything other than black? Black is an appropriate colour for today. I think if grief and shock to the point of being numb would have a colour, it would be black. I want everything to be black; I want my mind to go black, and I keep trying to make it do so, but it insists on flashing bright red with images of the beautiful children of my country, murdered in cold blood. They ...

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To the Taliban, We are Pakistan and we will never forgive you

You can burn down our schools, tear the lives of families apart and ask minors to recite the kalma before you shoot them in the head. You can wage a war against humanity, impose a rule of tyranny and redefine oppression. Your guns can shoot, but their voices will never echo louder than the resolve of this nation. Your flames will burn out, but a nation will still emerge from its ashes, even if it is battered, bruised and beaten. You will run out of lives to give, but there will always be a Pakistani ready to lay his or hers down for ...

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180 million hearts broken… again

Jallianwala. Dhaka. Quetta. North Waziristan. Peshawar. Places change but stories remain the same. That doesn’t make the heartbreak any more bearable. The unanswerable ‘why’ still looms over our heads. Why this? Why now? Why us? Today’s massacre in Peshawar reverberates throughout the country. I cannot even fathom what the parents of the children are going through but I write to tell them they are not alone, it is the least I can do. It is the least I can do to at least try to reach a level of catharsis which will make me feel capable of ever feeling again, which will make me ...

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Humanity dies as Peshawar bleeds

This morning, as I opened my social media newsfeed, I was left completely mortified. At around 11.45 am, news about five to six militants who had carried out an attack at the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar was all over my newsfeed. Alarm bells started going off in my head. I have friends whose children go to that school. Immediately, I thought of ringing them up. But then I stopped. A thousand thoughts went through my head in those few seconds – what if they didn’t know about the attack just yet? Would I be causing panic? What if I clog up ...

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Remember, remember, the fourth of December!

I remember that day. It was December 4, 2009. The residents of Rawalpindi were in shock. How could a mosque right next to the military headquarters, surrounded by military bungalows with a busy local market nearby be attacked in broad daylight? There were frantic calls made; mothers called their children’s schools, fathers held their sons by their hands in the mosques and brothers who had not spoken for years hysterically reached out to each other. First the family, then friends, then colleagues… was everyone we knew fine? They weren’t. Rawalpindi is a small city. A family member, a friend, a colleague, a friend of ...

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Will Islam be judged if Aasia Bibi is executed?

Aasia Bibi, mother of five, sits in prison hoping one last appeal will save her from death row. If she is executed, as with the lynching of Shahzad and Shama Masih and the assassination of Salman Taseer, Islam will be judged. In such cases involving religion, to believe that ‘all of’ or ‘none of’ Islam supports blasphemy laws or the ideology of the Taliban, Daesh, Boko Haram, etcetera, suggests intellectual laziness at best and bigotry at worst. But it’s reasonable to examine some of Islam. The questions become those of quantification – how many Muslims subscribe to blasphemy laws, honour killings, suicide bombings, and ...

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Talking out loud – Islam needs a reboot

At the very outset, let me clarify that I am neither a religious scholar nor do I have disciplined knowledge about the Muslim faith. The views expressed in this article are purely based on the perspective that one has developed over the course of the past many years. This is by no means a critique of a faith that millions of folks all over the world follow. To begin with, as paradoxical and contradictory it may sound, amidst all this opulent irreverence, the Muslims claim that there is a ‘back-to-religion’ movement the world over, as a reaction to the incessant indulgence ...

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In Iran, a woman cannot watch a volleyball match?

The two recent alarming incidents of women rights abuse in Iran has awestruck the entire world, and yes, as cynical as it may sound, like all the other stories, these two shall be forgotten soon as well. One woman named Reyhaneh Jabbari gets executed for murdering her alleged rapist and the other British-Iranian woman, Ghoncheh Ghavami has been sentenced to one year in prison for watching a volley ball match. Yes, watching a “volley ball” match is a crime in Iran. The authorities deny this to be the reason for her detention and are accusing her of “spreading propaganda against the state”. Yes ladies ...

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