Stories about Taliban

He Named Me Malala is the story of an ordinary girl who made a tough choice

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” This bit of wisdom comes from Paulo Coelho, in his bestseller, The Alchemist. The other day when I was watching the film He Named Me Malala, the incredible story of the youngest Noble laureate and activist for education from the Swat district of Pakistan, Coelho’s wise words echoed in my heart. I realised that once an individual decides to stand up with courage and conviction for a great cause, nothing can stop him/her from achieving their goals. One just needs to conquer the fear of failure. He Named Me ...

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“Is there any Shia here?”

Being a minority and living amidst a majority that is largely ignorant of your beliefs, you tend to become used to living around whispers. You pretend to not hear them sometimes and sometimes you speak up. But they haunt your consciousness, always. “Did you know she’s Shia?” “Shias aren’t really Muslims.” “Why are Shias into self-harm?” “Did you know they say bad things about Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA)?” In a gathering, when an ignorant question is flung into the air like a loose arrow, when the tongue waggles without restraint or understanding, caution fills the air and a problematic question follows, “Oops. Are there any Shias here?” The ...

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Is it terrorism itself or the cities where terror strikes that is more appalling?

The country’s capital was rocked by the deadliest terror attack it has seen in over 20 years. Dozens have been reported dead with some calling it a “satanic attack” and the world has not shed a tear. Yes, you have not posted or tweeted about it. You did not come up with any hashtags or express any condemnation. You just, perhaps, accepted it as a harsh reality and moved on because the capital was Beirut not Paris. The night before Paris was attacked, Beirut lost more than 40 lives and you moved on. You are not just the common Twitterati, you are the international ...

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She stopped the Taliban from shutting down her school by offering them tea

Suppose the Taliban barge into your house or place of work, and threaten you. You would be acutely aware of the fact that your life is in danger. They could put a bullet in you before you would be able to scream. You would know what the odds of your survival are, and you’d be completely cognisant of the fact that there is no way to escape the situation. You would be tempted to do one of two things: 1. Cower under the table or lock yourself in the bathroom and pray to God you don’t die today. 2. Or, stand your ...

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Karachi and the paralysis of imagination

You want to read about a vision of a just Karachi? The contract killer ($50 a hit) ripping up the road behind Disco Bakery on his Honda 200CC and the secret service colonel cracking skulls in a Clifton safe house will both cite one vision: Dubai. This happens to also be the vision of the one-armed Afghan refugee selling Beijing socks off a cart in Saddar bazaar and the unsexed Karachi Port Trust shipping agent waiting for shady clients to cough up cash so he can escape to Phuket. To borrow from an old Urdu election rallying cry, Chalo,chalo, Dubai, chalo (Come, come, let’s go to Dubai). Vision presupposes ...

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#ProfileForPeace defeats the mind games Shiv Sena tried to play by using Malala

Sometimes it is easy to forget the bond between Pakistan and India. Growing up in the Middle East, I had a number of Indian friends, and there was never an ounce of animosity between us, except of course, during a Pakistan-India cricket match. During one of these events, the passive aggressive jokes were as bare knuckled as they could get. We took great pleasure in beating the Indian cricket team during matches at Sharjah, while they enjoyed returning the favour at World Cup events. But even during these hot moments, empathy somehow found its way. After Pakistan was decisively beaten by India ...

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Why do Muslims play victims of free-speech but make excuses for apostasy and blasphemy?

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), as reported by The Express Tribune on September 1, 2015, initiated a nationwide campaign to ‘create awareness about the religion (Islam)’ by displaying billboards that, as ICNA spokesman Nadeem Baig stated, hopes to,“raise awareness about the faith and to dispel myths about the Muslim Americans”. The billboards contain messages such as how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) supports ‘peace, social justice and women’s rights’. Photo: Islamic Circle of North America Facebook page Yahoo News also covered ICNA’s crusade and the comments section got flooded by anti-Muslim vitriol. Such comments demonstrate that Islam has a poor image in ...

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We have not forgotten APS and we will not forget Badaber

The mosque in Badaber was the first mosque I ever prayed at. Eighteen years ago. It is now covered in blood. My father, Air Marshal Riazuddin Shaikh, was Air Commodore at the time. We lived in Badaber for a year and a half. That was when I decided that I wanted to be a pilot. An Air Force fighter pilot, like my father. But it wasn’t very long ago before I realised that I was just not cut from the same cloth these remarkable men and women are made of. Badaber, since the time I have known, has been a ...

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The filthy culture of bacha bazi in Afghanistan

The Afghans call this revolting act bacha bazi, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Young boys usually ostracised from villages by their families because they were attacked by a paedophile, wearing flowing colourful outfits clad in bells, dancing in seedy places for older turban wearing bearded Afghan men, only to be sexually assaulted after the contemptible night takes a drug and alcohol fuelled turn. The Guardian stated, “Dressed in a flowing shirt and long, red skirt, with sherwal pants beneath and small silver bells fastened to hands and feet, the dancer stepped across the floor, face hidden behind a ...

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Perils of over adulation

Despite being someone who considers himself a strong critic of Pakistan’s military, I do admire General Raheel Sharif and for good reason; he’s finally done what should have been done a long time ago. For years, the issue of militants had been in the spotlight, and despite their openly brazen acts, various governments in succession were unable to counter the menace effectively. The lack of will was astounding, but given the weak public support, due to obfuscating narrative which actually presented the Taliban as a ‘reaction’, was perhaps understandable. Moreover, it should also be remembered that any action against the militants actually required ...

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