Stories about Taliban

Will Sharif be able to follow Mahathir and Erdogan?

As I read some of the statements made by the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan, and the reactions following them, a feeling of deja vu overcame me. Haven’t I heard (all) this before? In the late 1990s, the former prime minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was facing an Asian financial crisis. Just like Erdogan is doing now, he blamed the West, the Jews and the currency speculators for the crisis and thus, restricted people’s right to freedom. Unsurprisingly, he was also accused of being authoritarian, anti-Semitic and a propagator of far-fetched but dangerous conspiracy theories. But these are not the only similarities between the two prime ...

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Of course, charging an ex-Chief of Army staff with treason will help us fight terrorism

After many hiccups and a long wait, the day has finally come and former president Pervez Musharraf has been indicted for treason. This is a new chapter in the history of Pakistan, for reasons both, good and bad. However, before going into the reasons and the impact of this verdict, I think it is pertinent to recap the situation that led to the imposition of emergency on November 3, 2007 – the alleged violation of Article 6 of the constitution. Since the matter cannot be considered in isolation, let’s begin from the presidential reference against the former chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry. The lawyers’ ...

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Our weapons must not be the reason children in Syria are dying!

I stood underneath the shadow of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. This grand symbol of the Ottoman legacy rested benevolently amid a vast courtyard filled with lush gardens, sparkling fountains and the excited murmurs of tourists. As I fully absorbed my surroundings, I felt a sudden tug on the hem of my shirt. I looked down to see a child standing in front of me, repeatedly pointing to something he held in his left hand. He was young of age, hardly thirteen-years-old. His worn out clothes and look of utter desperation were enough to betray the fact that he was not ...

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I hope MH370 has been hijacked to Pakistan

Speculations that MH370 had been hijacked to Pakistan hardly surprised me. Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney appeared on Fox News to explain how he believed the missing airplane could’ve landed ‘safely’ and ‘intact’ in Pakistan to be used for terrorism in the future. I had, in fact, been waiting for the media to start questioning whether the Taliban had played a role in the disappearance of the plane. And since Pakistan is globally considered synonymous with the Taliban, it was only a given that the media started wondering whether the plane had been hidden there. Even when the Tehreek-e-Taliban spokesperson denied ...

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Pak sarzameen shaadbaad

“Pak sarzameen shaadbaad” (Blessed be the sacred land) The old, rusty metal door made a creaking sound when the hunched attendant with crooked teeth and clubbed, callous fingers with dirty nails, opened it with a push of his shoulder. He took a drag from the cigarette hanging between his beetle nut stained lips and exhaled. The smoke made strange shapes before disappearing into the thick air. A lone, low wattage energy saver hung from the ceiling with a wire, the light it emitted made everything look ghastly. Not that there were many things worth seeing. The smell of tobacco got mixed with the strong ...

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Remembering Jalib, remembering his fight against dictatorship

There was a man who audaciously used to say, “Mai nahi Manta” (I refuse to accept) He was neither a bourgeois nor a feudal and surely, he was not patronised by any ‘third force’ (Teesri Quwwat) that has a hand in every incident that takes place in Pakistan. He was an ideologue, charismatic and an eloquent poet. Moreover, he was best known for his revolutionary zeal. He struggled for the restoration of democracy and human rights. His enthralling poetry elucidated the notorious rule of dictators. However, his poesy still befits today’s political setting. That man was none other than the great Habib Ahmed Jalib. Dastoor was ...

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Attack in Islamabad: Where did the Pakistan I grew up in go?

How many deaths will it take for our government to wake up and realise that our country is doomed if they don’t wipe out these terrorist groups once and for all? The recent attack in Islamabad sent shivers down my spine. My wife used to go to the katcheri (lower/district court) regularly to get documents attested just a few months ago. My younger sibling’s school is in F-8, not too far away from where the blast took place. I know I sound selfish at the moment thinking about what could have been, considering the dozen lives that were lost the other day. My heart goes out to the families ...

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An old Christian lady and a suicide bomber…

“You have to make sure you press this little red button twice near your left pocket, not more than three feet away from the target. You know how much three feet is, don’t you?” This last point of the instructions came out of the so-called engineer’s mouth for the fourth time, along with bad breath and an unpleasant smell that emanated from his clothes which had specks of gun powder in several places. The boys didn’t know his real name but his reputation as ‘engineer’ was rock solid among the other members of the secret cell. No one ever questioned the logic of ...

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A mother’s soliloquy: They ask me if I feel honoured…

People ask me how I feel. Do I feel honoured? Do I feel pride to have given birth to a hero? I would take off my clothes, if you could see the pain that grips my breast. My son died. 17 years and three months 12 days he lived. Add more! Add my nine months of labour; my pain for his life. Consider that night when I delivered him to this cesspool of a world. Where grass is green and the leaves turn brown, but men… huh! Men have been robbed of their old age. And you ask about pride? That the very last thing ...

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What did the US accomplish from the invasion of Afghanistan?

The year 2014 has marked the start of NATO’s withdrawal of its combat troops from Afghanistan, 12 years after the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban began, in the autumn of 2001. Many explanations were given as to why the invasion of Afghanistan was vital – from the necessity of finding and punishing the perpetrators of 9/11, to liberating Afghan women and eradicating the opium trade. Time and again, politicians and the media tried to legitimise the war in the eyes of the public. We were told in the weeks following 9/11 that the invasion was an act of self-defence, by former US president George W ...

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