Stories about Taliban

Let them fight

As a feminist, I never thought I’d feel sorry for Junaid Jamshed. Yet here I am, feeling unhappy that he was physically assaulted at Islamabad airport by short bearded men, who comically enough, looked like they should have been carrying the ring to Mordor, instead of shouting at the pop-star-turned-preacher in loud nasally voices, “Gustakh-e-Rasool!” (blasphemy!) It is almost as if someone had decided to take up a particularly difficult challenge. Man 1: “I bet you can’t make the public feel sympathy towards Junaid Jamshed.” Man 2: “What? Junaid ‘women can’t drive’ Jamshed?” Man 1: “Yes, no one likes him.” Man 2: “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!” Let’s be frank. ...

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Imran Khan hasn’t carried balls since he stopped playing cricket

(Author’s note: Blog and blog title refer to cricket balls only. Puns not intended). Here we go. Another day, another Imran Khan statement reflecting a worryingly right-wing mind-set. This much is clear: Like the countless who voted for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) in the last General Elections, I shall not be voting for a political party that is full of so much hot air it should be floating around the world, that holds a country hostage through street politics, that is both outsmarted and manipulated, that consistently panders to the single biggest threat in the history of this country: the religious preachers. There is a ...

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Why I will not celebrate Mumtaz Qadri’s execution

The rumours had been floating around since the beginning of the year, but not many outside a close-knit group really knew when it would happen, if at all. Then, before his crusaders could get a whiff of what was on the cards, his family was called in one last time, and at some ungodly hour before dawn on Monday, the patron saint of religious violence – Mumtaz Qadri – was hung at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. As a recap for those of you who don’t know (and I suspect there will not be many): the man in question killed Salmaan Taseer – the Governor of ...

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Is prayer a better way to deal with depression than treatment from a mental health professional?

I’d like you to take a moment to imagine two people. Both follow the same religious scripture, with equal regularity yet one interprets the passages as peaceful instructions on life, while the other sees them as commands to violently confront anyone who disagrees with certain worldviews. The disparity is drastic. They read the same words, yet the comprehension is as different as a chalk or cheese. When we speak of the religious extremism that plagues the world and its driving factors we rightly mention political unrest, education, socioeconomic backgrounds, violent text, the mullah culture, and more, but what we fail to talk about ...

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Are ISIS recruits in Afghanistan a threat to Pakistan?

Afghanistan can perhaps be labelled as one of the most war affected country in the world. Peace has seldom been achieved since the Soviet invasion. After the end of the Soviet occupation, the country saw severe infighting over power which led to major internal armed conflicts. The fact that Afghan groups who took arms against the former USSR but later turned to each other for support is not a surprising story. By nature, Afghans are a tough people, they have further been hardened by a war they fought against an extremely powerful foe. It was only natural all major players involved in ...

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Is Afghanistan making a mistake by excluding India from the peace process?

The International Crisis Group, an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation for resolving conflicts around the world recently convened a meeting on Peace and Security in Afghanistan under the aegis of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, on January 23 and 24, 2016, in Doha, Qatar. This was the second kind of such meeting organised by Pugwash to explore possible solutions to end the bloodshed in Afghanistan. Doha Conference At the Doha meeting, around 55 participants were present to discuss the possibility of hammering out a framework for a national reconciliation in Afghanistan. In a surprising development, the representatives of the Afghan Taliban, who had attended ...

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Karachi will, for time and memoriam, be divided along lines of caste and ethnicity

I find it rather problematic to fashion a semblance of a concrete structure from the conundrum that is Karachi’s metropolis. The metropolis I speak of comprises not of sky-scrapers and high-rise buildings that brush against the clouds and billboards lit with neon lights. On the contrary, the metropolis that harbours the heart of Pakistan lives and breathes, just like you and I. She breathes with the quivering, ragged gasps of an invalid. She inhales mouthfuls of air contaminated by generations of ignorance and growing dissent, and punctuated by the overpowering stench of rotting human remains. The city that once stood ...

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Yes, President Obama, Pakistan will remain in turmoil thanks to you guys

Most analysts explain politics through the chessboard analogy. Let’s delve into it for a basic understanding, even though the analogy is self-explanatory. The chessboard lays out 16 pieces, eight special and eight simple (read infantry/grunts/poor youth from rural backgrounds/cannon fodder – take your pick). The aim of the game is to save your king and kill the opponent’s king and the analogy is that all politics is akin to the moves played out on a chessboard. I am, however, inclined to believe that this analogy no longer holds true, even though it still does give us a rudimentary idea of ...

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Why schools, colleges and universities?

As I am watching the attack on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda unfold on live television, I am forced to relive the horror of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Army Public School (APS) attack which took place approximately a year ago. For the millions of Pakistanis who witnessed that attack on live television, APS is a scar that is not going to heal. I can only pray for the students at Bacha Khan and their families. Vehement protest, which perhaps is the best emotion to represent our feelings, will fall on deaf ears like the hundreds of similar protests across Pakistan following other ...

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The loving humanitarian efforts of an American in Pakistan

Due to frequent media images of violent anti-American protests as well as repeated travel-safety warnings from the State Department, most Americans avoid visiting Pakistan. However, Todd Shea, the founder of Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS), has adopted Pakistan as his home and is running several welfare projects there. I learnt about Todd Shea on Facebook several months ago when I was browsing through a list of ‘People you may know’. Pleasantly surprised to learn about the humanitarian work he was doing in Pakistan, I began to closely follow CDRS activities on social media. The 2005 earthquake and the great need to help its victims brought Shea to ...

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