Stories about Taliban

Is there a need for peace talks?

The Government of Pakistan has been notified by the Mohmand Agency group of the Taliban that they have killed 23 Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers who were kidnapped four years ago from Shongari checkpost in Mohmand Agency. It is ironic that this incident took place during ‘peace talks’, with both sides hinting at the prospect of a positive outcome within a few days. Ironic? Unexpected? While flipping through TV channels a few days ago, I realised that all I could see was that certain militant outfits had somehow managed to win the media war against the State of Pakistan. The only thing I seemed to have come across continuously were ...

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Killed for enjoying music? What is the truth?

Kohistan is a settled district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the predominantly non-Pashtun Hazara Division. It stretches to about 7,500 square kilometres on both, the east and west of the Indus River. The population of Kohistan is over 550,000 and the people speak Shina and Kohistani – both of Dardic origin. However, like the controversial video scandal the culture, history and ethnography of Kohistan is a mystery for the common Pakistani. Western Kohistan was a part of Swat-Kohistan in the district of Swat but back in the 70s it was made a separate district as was eastern Kohistan. Interestingly, the Kohistan district has two judicial systems in practice. Western Kohistan is ...

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Down memory lane: Peace talks have never been ‘peaceful’

“The Romans never allowed a trouble spot to remain simply to avoid going to war over it, because they knew that wars don’t just go away, they are only postponed to someone else’s advantage.” These wise words were spoken by Niccolò Machiavelli – the Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. According to historical documents, when the Jews revolted against the Roman Empire inspired by ‘religious fervour’, the Romans responded with an intensity rarely witnessed in ancient history. The campaign against the uprising reached its final stage in AD72 in the province of Judaea with the Romans advancing ...

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A woman’s perspective: Pakistan must not negotiate!

As a woman, you grow up under the shadow of men. You look up to them to make important decisions for you. Ranging from how you have to eat and address your peers to what you should be studying, who you should be marrying, how to protect your body, your offspring, what’s the appropriate time for you to hang up the phone to how fragile your reputation is in a patriarchal society such as ours. Your self- worth becomes a bit of a joke – a paradox and a concept that Pakistani women, quite obviously, are still struggling with. Are we ...

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Peace talks or muscle power, that is the question

Pakistan may finally be getting more serious about tackling its militancy problem. But don’t get your hopes up. For years, the US government has pushed Pakistan to crack down harder on militancy and for years, Islamabad has largely refused. Instead, it has dithered as extremist violence has spread across the country. Last week, investigative journalist Umar Cheema revealed that Pakistan’s previous government used a secret counter-terror fund to purchase jewels, rugs and even sacrificial goats. Yet the tides may be turning. Last week, Pakistan was rocked by a rapid succession of bomb blasts, including attacks on consecutive days that killed Pakistani soldiers in the northwest and ...

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Putting journalists behind bars (or in coffins) – the loss is yours!

Last week, a delegation of foreign journalists visited our newspaper’s thrice-attacked office in Karachi, Pakistan. As we hustled to make them feel comfortable while simultaneously trying to explain the newsroom dynamics, one of them asked us in a matter-of-fact tone. “Do you support the current government?” There was a nervous silence as each of us lingered over the question for a few seconds. Until one of my colleagues responded, “We try and support no one. Our job is to report things as is.” All of us nodded in unison. In a simple sentence, she had summed up the essence of what journalists all across ...

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Five ways to improve US policy in South Asia in 2014

If there’s one word that defines South Asia in 2014, it’s transition. Elections are scheduled in three countries – Afghanistan, India and a controversial one already held in Bangladesh on January 5. Newly elected governments face their first full year in office in four others – Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan. And hovering over this all is the international troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Amid this change and uncertainty, Washington’s chief objective for South Asia will remain the same – attaining stability. It’s an admittedly ambitious goal in a region cursed by interstate and intrastate tensions alike, and flushes with security threats that range from ...

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We do not deserve people like Aitzaz Hassan and Chaudhry Aslam

This blog post is perhaps more directed towards the voters and members of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), than to anyone else. It is written for those who do not see banned militant outfits as legitimate threats to Pakistan. This is for all those people who have been led by their leaders to believe that certain terrorists were previously die-hard patriots. For all those who fail to read between the lines and do not realise how their leaders have, on every occasion, very cleverly manipulated their statements and, in ...

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RIP Chaudhry Aslam: The man who walked through fire

I walked into the newsroom and everyone was buzzing. There was a blast in Hassan Square and someone was dead. It’s Karachi so you know, this stuff happens every other day, but it wasn’t just any other day and it wasn’t just someone. It was Chaudhry Aslam. The Taliban finally got him. After God knows how many attempts, they finally got him. In 2011, they blew up his house and then in January 2006 there was an assassination attempt made on him at Gizri by gunmen associated with a big political party. Chaudhry Aslam’s house bombed. Photo: AFP I grew fond ...

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18 mind blowing quotes by Pakistani politicians in 2013

Last year, our nation went through many a tragedy. From being held hostage by terrorists to being engulfed by sectarian violence, the terror spree has gone on without any breaks. In this madness, we have had our politicians providing us their ‘pearls of wisdom’. While this year we have missed the late Pir Pagara, Zulfiqar Mirza, Pervez Musharraf, Rehman Malik and the like, who had given us truly memorably comments regarding national security in the past, I was still able to collect some quotes which managed to become top headlines. Here is how our leaders and politicians have shared their valuable opinions ...

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