Stories about Taliban

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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Happy Birthday, Malala

In a recent social media diatribe (the ones where everyone’s faith is fired up or as a friend once put it, ‘angrily typing curses and calls for Jihad from their mothers’ basements in Bradford’, and anyone against these noble agendas is a spawn of the devil), an old friend descended to defend the ‘good Taliban’, opposing drone strikes and how liberalisation is ruining Pakistani people. It’s almost mathematical; the kind of arguments that pile up in this side of the spectrum. Aafia Siddiqui is the daughter of the nation. Kashmir is ours. Taliban don’t really exist – it’s all a smokescreen because America wants to ...

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Stop blaming FATA and take responsibility for the IDPs, Pakistan

After months of dithering, the Pakistani government finally approved the long-awaited offensive against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) last week. The decision came in the wake of the audacious terrorist attack on the country’s largest airport that reportedly killed at least 29 people. While the decision is a welcome move, the way it was arrived at revealed the ‘reactive’ nature of and the laxity and arbitrariness associated with the country’s policy-making process. Given the existential threat it poses, terrorism should have been the foremost priority of the new government and therefore must have been dealt with in a more pro-active and robust way. Unfortunately, ...

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Don’t ignore your IDPs, Pakistan!

The military operation in Swat five-years-ago led to the displacement of approximately two million Pakistanis, who had to abandon their homes, commodities and lives overnight to a bleak and uncertain future. Facing obscurity, these two million refugees trekked to safer locales with infants and elderly in tow. According to United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) statistics, released as of September 11, 2012, there were 160,063 families still resigned to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) status, of which 12% (18,783 families) were still residing in camps and 88% (141,280 families) were residing in host communities two years back. Though the World Food Programme (WFP) assisted ...

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Will Zarb-e-Azb bring peace to Pakistan?

After much dillydallying, useless discussions and utterly unsuccessful peace talks, Pakistan has, finally, launched a “decisive” operation, code named Zarb-e-Azb, against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in the North Waziristan Agency. The Pakistan Army claims that around 180 Taliban have been killed so far, with dozens other captured and their safe havens and ammunition depots taken out, in jet bombings and face-to-face skirmishes. All exit points from North Waziristan Agency have been cordoned off and the Taliban are not being given any opportunity to slip to adjacent areas and elude the fire. There is a growing impression that the Taliban have been cornered. However, the ...

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Understanding the ‘good Taliban’ and ‘bad Taliban’

Just as social media flooded with a surprisingly positive wave of military operation support, there were a few who did not quite seem happy. One of them, ironically, happens to be my friend. “Don’t be so happy, Sultana. Our government has failed to conduct fair negotiations with them, and with this operation, there will be far worse consequences. You will regret attacking them.” The remark came as a surprise. It made me pause. I stood frozen with a smile from the last moment of unity left hanging in the air. Suddenly, I felt uncomfortable. I felt I was standing face to face with ...

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10 years ago we told you not to wage war in Iraq, who will stop the bloodshed now?

It was a chilly February morning in 2003 when my sister and I trudged into central London with a couple of school friends to voice our utter revulsion at the upcoming Iraq invasion that was being planned by Tony Blair and George Bush. There were people from all walks of life; the elderly, the disabled, the very young and very frail out in the millions to scream at the top of their lungs,  ‘No war! No war!’ The atmosphere was electric and people rallied together with a unified message knowing full well that war would completely destroy the region. So more than ten ...

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All the best, Pakistan, we are with you!

What do you do when your neighbour’s house catches fire? Do you sit by, try to extinguish the fire using water or hasten its destruction by throwing petrol in it? Pakistan, our neighbour, my dear friends, has been afire for the last 12 years. Verily, it is one of the biggest victims of terrorism, duh. Statistics reveal an alarming rise in the number of fatalities due to acts of terrorist violence in the Islamic Republic in recent years. As per the data available with the South Asia Terrorism Portal, as many as 52,409 people, including women, children and brave security personnel, lost their ...

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Why Obama’s America needs Modi’s India

India’s image has altered considerably over the past few years in the eyes of the Western world due to the increasing influence with regards to global economic growth, steady consolidation with the international market economy, orientation of nuclear weapons, delivery capability of national defence strategies and effective introduction of new technologies of communication. In order to pursue its interest of maintaining its status as a super power, America needs to sustain long lasting and strong relationships with India. By calling India a ‘very important strategic partner’, the US hopes the new Indian government will help in the sustenance of their ‘enduring partnership’. The support and cooperation of India’s new Prime ...

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From India: It wasn’t us, Pakistan!

I was sitting on Facebook when a friend of mine, a very patriotic Indian, messaged me informing me of the airport attack in Karachi. I replied expressing shock and grief, a feeling he reciprocated. We, the educated youth of India who love the music of Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and have no qualms with Ali Zafar starring in Bollywood movies, only empathise with victims of terrorism anywhere in the world. Terrorism has been affecting our own country since the late 1980s; starting with the killings and forced displacements of Kashmiri Hindus, followed by a series of ...

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