The post-colonial history tells us that Uncle Sam has been more of a destabiliser than a divine presence in the region. Pakistan has been a close ally of the US since the 50s. But has the Islamic country been a real beneficiary by playing the western world’s game in South Asia? In its blind desire to get military parity with India and neutralise the existential threat from its eastern neighbour, Islamabad became a front for Washington in the NATO’s war against communist Soviet Russia. As a result, Pakistan, a newly born country, lost its strategic autonomy quite early in its life and became a pawn in the larger game ...Read Full Post
For those as yet unaware of the legend, Darul Uloom Haqqania is a large religious seminary located in Akora Khattak in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). It was founded in 1947 by Maulana Abdul Haq, a prominent scholar of Hadith who had trained at the Darul Uloom Deoband, the centre of Deobandi Islam in undivided India. It remained, till the start of the Afghan-Soviet war, a somewhat respectable institution that stayed away from politics and controversy. The students and administration of the seminary even played an important role in ensuring security and safety for the engineers and labour crews of the massive Karakoram Highway project. ...Read Full Post
If the army has cleared the agency of all militants, then what is there to hide in South Waziristan?
The Pakistan Army has been fighting valiantly against the scourge of terrorism. There can be no words that can fully express the debt of gratitude that one feels towards our soldiers for having done what they have done to protect the people of Pakistan from the nefarious designs of these “holy warriors.” That being said, what comes next is an arduous task. The frontier of Pakistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) will continue to pose a challenge unless and until something is drastically done on a political and national level to integrate them fully into Pakistan. They must not be ...Read Full Post
The US drone program in Pakistan killed over 200 children, how is it any different from the APS massacre?
Last week saw a lot of flurried comments once again condemning US drone strikes in Pakistan. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif in a meeting with United States Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, on May 25, 2016, expressed concerns over the US drone strike in Balochistan on May 23rd in which Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was reportedly killed. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had criticised the US drone strikes earlier, describing them as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. In an adjournment motion submitted by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar to the Senate, he said the issue would alter the security calculus ...Read Full Post
The second amir of the Taliban, Mullah Mansoor, has been dispatched to the hereafter by a hellfire missile fired from a Reaper drone or so claim the Americans. Others can neither confirm nor deny. Our own government is going through the same old motions. Denial. Conveniently a passport has been found unscathed. It is amazing how sturdy and fantastically fire-proof the material Pakistani passports are made of. If nothing else, this shows true ingenuity. Our passport might be considered the second or third worst passport in the world, but at least it can survive a drone attack. Imagine the potential. ...Read Full Post
Cut off my locks….my pretty black locks…. Throw away my frocks….my pretty bright frocks…. I will ditch my bangles and my dainty shoes…. I will run as a boy and let myself loose…. They will spare my life if I turn into a boy… And if I remain a girl, they will kill my joy… Birds of a feather flock together. But if you aim to fly high, you have to leave the flock first. Such a bird is Maria Toorpakai. Her life is nothing short of a Khaled Hosseini’s novel; the war struck her home town, the high profile political family and the strangest dream ...Read Full Post
August 26, 2011, an ordinary day. I was driving to work on the same road in Lahore that I took every day, and my mind was busy with the mundane. A car blocked the road, but I didn’t give it much thought. Then five masked men put a gun to my head, pulled me out of the car and my world spun horribly out of control. Right now, I can’t tell all of the details of my capture or my release for security reasons. Someday I hope to be able to recount the full story. But I can say for ...Read Full Post
On May 11, 2016, Bangladesh hanged Motiur Rahman Nizami, the 73-year-old leader of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. He was the leader of the militant group Al Badr. The searing irony of this saga is that Pakistan’s ruling elite in 1971 outsourced the safeguarding of Pakistani nationalism to unsavoury characters from the Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing when Jamaat-e-Islami itself had opposed tooth and nail the creation of Pakistan just 24 years earlier in 1947. The brigands of Al Badr were launched by the Pakistani military against a Bengali population which had in 1947 stood unwaveringly with Mr Jinnah and the Muslim League in the Pakistan Movement. In 1965 the same ...Read Full Post
I lost my friend on Saturday night. He was sipping tea at a Chaikhana (tea shop) with two colleagues when four men on bikes showed up and showered them with bullets. He received five bullets in his upper body and was shifted to a hospital in critical condition before he was finally moved to the Agha Khan hospital for treatment. Khurram Zaki – the activist, the blogger, the progressive ideologue, the wall of perseverance against the rising tide of sectarian violence, a devoted father and a good friend – was martyred before the clock struck 12 am. One never really ...Read Full Post
Spirituality is no guarantee of salvation; it does not make you immune to the ordinariness of life. The yellow garb or white robe does not lift you from your prejudices and pettiness. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Ramdev, the popular spiritual gurus of India with a large following have proved this point. Their conduct establishes how they have made spirituality a business, a resource that is exploited to get closer to political power. They use their support base as a constituency to strike a bargain with the ruling class and indulge in political brinkmanship. A spiritual guru is normally silent and maintains ...Read Full Post