Stories about terror

Happiness scarred

There must have been a time in this country when the days drawing close to Eid-ul-Fitr were marked with joy; when faces reflected true happiness; when an air of celebration was felt across the nation; when households prepared for the festivities with gusto; when happiness was awaited for happily. There must have been such a time. Is this wait till Eid-ul-Fitr still a happy one today? Can we feel the air of festivity? Can we wholeheartedly hope to rejoice and celebrate? If your conscience is still alive, if your eyes still see and if your heart still feels, the ...

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Who needs a gun licence anyway?

When the state fails to protect life and property, anarchy rules the roost. Is that the depth to which we in Karachi have sunk? As much as we may like to disagree, a body count of 1100 over the first six months of 2011 makes a pretty convincing argument. As does the fact that the current spate of violence, with all its lulls and flares, doesn’t seem to be ending, no matter how many times Rehman Malik waves his magic wand or warns us to be careful of angry wives and girlfriends who, according to him, are responsible for ...

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Norway attacks: We will rise above through friendship and love

There is not a single day when we do not hear news of violence in Pakistan. Our country has been a survivor of terrorism since long. Thousands of children, women, and men have been killed; thousand of our soldiers have embraced martyrdom; and thousands of Pakistani citizens have been wounded in various acts of barbarism. So, while we are thousands of miles apart, we can still feel the sting of the Norwegian masses. Sufferings and sorrows of those in Norway and Pakistan are the same today. As we heal the wounds of our citizens, we are also sympathising with the ...

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Black metal, white terrorists and what Norway taught me

When I was 17-years-old, I was a trouble child. I was oscillating between depression and rage, my teachers and parents had no control over me, and most of all, I had a profound sense of being an outcast from the society that I lived in. To offset this overwhelming sense of alienation, I turned to the internet, my only window into a world outside my own. It was here that I actively sought to find meaning and to fill the gaping hole that my own society and culture could not fill. What I found, (amongst other things), was a one-man black ...

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Does terror have a religion?

Does the bomb have a religion? Does the blast discriminate among victims? In the recent serial blasts in Mumbai, a Muslim family lost a son who was in his early twenties and had gotten married just a couple of months ago. Is the pain of this family any less acute than that of many others who lost their loved ones but, belonging to a different religion or community? Terror has victims not a religion. The merchants of terror know no religion. When someone dies in a terror attack in India, it’s an Indian who loses his or her life, not a Hindu or ...

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US withdrawal: Implosion, or peace for Afghanistan?

All military campaigns have lifecycles. Some are short while others drag on for years but the end is always inevitable. It is this inevitability that currently overshadows American military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The war in Afghanistan has been America’s longest war. It has been costly in terms of money and lives for all countries involved. George W Bush invaded Afghanistan to avenge the 9/11 attacks; he also took the opportunity to take the war into Iraq, to pre-empt Sadam Hussain from using his alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction. After Bush’s two terms as the ‘war president,’ the ...

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Afghan pullout: Pakistan needs to revise its role

Opinion pages are full of analysis emphasising Pakistan’s role in bringing to an end the Afghan conflict, without whom, it is argued, the negotiations are bound to fail. The Pakistani establishment however continues with its short term, self defeating policies towards our neighbouring country. As a result our region will remain unstable and insecure after the United States (US) and its allies depart. Pakistan wants to ensure that the Afghan government remains pliant to its strategic needs. We want any negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict to include the Taliban, but on our own terms, keeping us in the loop. Non-Pashtun ...

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“Firing in Saddar! Turn on the TV!”

I live near Saddar, and every single act of violence that affects Saddar affects me too. I was waiting for my mom to come pick me up, obliviously laughing with my friends over some lame joke, unaware of what I was going to go through in the next ten minutes. I was at my school, waiting for my mom to come pick me up – and for a second, I thought I’d lost her forever. A guy came rushing up to us and said: “Firing in Saddar! Turn on the TV!” Normally, being a helpless Karachiite, I would have watched the news and ...

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The domino effect of terrorism

While the dictionary defines it as the “use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims there is no unanimous legal definition of ‘terrorism’ If it was up to me, I would define it as a continual dose of fear that creates uncertainty, distrust and melancholy. That melancholy triggers depression, which in turn gives birth to numerous psychological ailments. Recently, a noted psychiatrist from Peshawar, Dr Khalid Mufti, released a survey report, conducted under his supervision by an NGO called Horizon. According to the survey, 80 per cent of South and North Waziristan residents are suffering from mental illness while ...

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Karachi, my city of violence

Two nights ago, I heard sounds of blaring ambulances as I entered my house. The next day while I was on my way to work, my brother called me and told  me to turn back because the situation in the city might get ‘Orangi-ised’ by evening. The ambulances I heard had been carrying the bodies of two men shot at Johar Chorangi, just half a kilometer from my house. For once, I thought it wise to listen to my brother, and went back home. While I stayed at home I was only too aware that innocent people were dying and many ...

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