Stories about target killing

Celebrating Mother’s Day as a rejected son

As a rejected son, how do you celebrate Mother’s Day? Who enjoys the breakfast tray? Who receives the flower bouquet? That’s my story. But it’s not my biological mother who rejected me. It’s my motherland – Pakistan. So on this Mother’s Day, let me have a heart to heart talk with you – my motherland. You don’t want to accept my love; that’s your choice. I have learned to deal with that. But please answer my questions, for I have lots of them. Why did you abandon me? Why did you institutionalise hatred against me in schools, workplaces and houses of God? ...

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Bloody Karachi, bloody hell

And it has started again. The target killings, the burning buses, the protests, the funerals and the ‘peaceful’ mournings. They seem to stop for a week or two and start again in full fervour. Then the Shia Ulema Council, the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz or the Jamaat-e-Islami will protest – for Dr Aafia, Shia killings, target killings, extortion, Lyari gangsters, Sindh or some other damn thing. Sigh, sometimes it is just so damn exhausting. Sometimes, I wish Karachi had a superhero. Where is Sindh’s answer to Batman or Karachi’s own kryptonite man in red briefs? All we have are target ...

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Why must only the dead deserve attention?

In the past week of killings, arson and general mayhem witnessed in Karachi, many have raised a voice condemning the chaos that spread in the city following the murder of scores of its residents. Accusations and heated condemnations have been levelled, insinuations of gaining knowledge of the true perpetrators of these atrocities exchanged, and the general call for the ever-elusive ‘change’ raised in what has now become an abhorrently futile repetition of finger-pointing and ‘I told you so’s’. I, on the other hand, refuse to put up a false pretence of caring ...

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Emo kids get shot in Iraq

So I was going through the news a couple of days ago, and came across a rather odd piece of news – ‘Iraq emo killings raise alarm’. The first thought in my head was “whoa, did they run out of bombs?”. And the second was: – I have short hair – I wear black – I have a pierced lip. If I was in Iraq would they put my name on a hit list just because of the way I was dress? According to a news piece published in Huffington Post on March 11, 2012, these so-called ‘emo kids’ are being killed because as a ...

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Shia killing: If we tolerate this, our children will be next

Last week, I heard the news of the targeted sectarian killing of Jaffer Mohsin. The name didn’t ring a bell at the time, but later that day, when a friend told me that a fellow schoolmate’s father had been shot dead, it jogged my memory. I then realised that doctor Jaffer Mohsin was our friend’s father. That’s when the memories came flooding back. Back when I used to live near my school building, Dr Mohsin’s family lived in the lane next to mine. Like regular Pakistani youths who bond over a common love for cricket, his sons and I played the ...

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Predicament of journalists in Balochistan

Balochistan is often in the news because of its ongoing low-level insurgency, recovery of bullet-riddled bodies, explosions, target killings or the alleged presence of the so-called Quetta Shura. But very few people realise that the province has also become a very difficult place to work for journalists. In fact, ten journalists have lost their lives in the line of duty this year alone. Three of them lost their lives in explosions or after being caught in the crossfire, while the rest were killed in targeted attacks because of their professional work or perceived sympathies with the province’s suffering citizens. Recently, ...

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Muharram is your holiday, not mine

I am a Shia Muslim living in a country that offers me no security. While I agree that no one in Pakistan is really safe from the constant terror attacks, the recent acts of sectarian violence with absolutely no accountability paints a very bleak picture for me.  People, in general, tend to target people who are a little different from them, and this is the sad reality of life. In Pakistan, Shias are no exception. Aside from the obvious threat to their security, there are other things that worry us Shias, and make us contemplate about how open-minded our society ...

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A calamity shower

As monsoons arrived in 1857, Ghalib wrote to a correspondent: “Now that rains have been mentioned let me just say that [Delhi has witnessed in quick succession] a rebellion by the black, an assault by the white, a testing time of demolition of houses, a crisis caused by epidemic and a calamitous famine.” Our own season of abundant rains this year looks like a fair match. Briefly: a treacherous campaign by terrorist suicides, a quake called Zulfiqar Mirza, a crisis called target killing, a dengue fever epidemic and a calamitous rain. To be fair, the terrorist suicides are by now part ...

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Zulfigate: Mirza keeps Islamabad in a spin

The old joke about Islamabad being half the size of Arlington Cemetery and twice as dead is supposed to be truer than ever during Eid. I wouldn’t know because I wasn’t there. Neither, it seems, was anyone who actually matters. Interior Minister Rehman Malik was busy solving Karachi’s violence problem by doing his best Scrooge/Father Christmas impersonation and breaking little kids’ toy guns and then paying them thousands of rupees in compensation. Even young Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in town for his summer vacation, ran off to China to attend a conference. Islamabad might have been emptied of its transplanted residents but ...

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Eid: A time to celebrate

Where does the spirit of a holiday come from? Festivity and celebration is usually associated with things and with people one is surrounded by. But in a country like ours, which is marked by uncertain circumstances and constant upheavals, external stimuli does not provide sufficient reasons to celebrate. In the past the end of Ramazan was usually greeted with relief and pride as the long hours of fasting were behind us. This year however, people are questioning the reasons for celebration. It is heartwarming to see citizens sharing each other’s pain and hesitating to celebrate Eid even as hundreds have ...

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