Stories about terror

What happened to Elizabeth’s daughter?

I know a 40-year-old woman named Elizabeth who has experienced first hand the reality of life as a minority in Pakistan. Every morning , Elizabeth and her 14-year-old daughter used to walk through the narrow streets of their colony to reach their workplace, a double storey kothi located in a posh area of the city. This was the routine of many women from the little Christian colony located near the ganda nala (dirty stream) in Islamabad. During these morning walks, two 40 years old men started following them in a car. They threatened to kill Elizabeth and her daughter if they didn’t ...

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Lynching Salmaan Taseer: Social justice by a ‘pious’ nation

Governor Salmaan Taseer’s murder at the hands of his own bodyguard has certainly rocked the proverbial Pakistani boat. Just four days into a new year – which the astrologers on the television told us would be a good one for Pakistan – a police guard turned his gun on the governor, riddling him with 26 bullets. The assassin was led away, smiling ear to ear at his accomplishment and leaving a trail of utter madness in his wake. Pakistan has had its share of turbulent times, and through the years we’ve found surprising ways of coping with them. We deny involvement, ...

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When swords and pens collide

Pakistan is the deadliest place in South Asia to pursue the profession of journalism. When one thinks of journalism as a profession, deadly is rarely the first word that comes to mind. Sadly, for 12 of our colleagues, that is exactly what 2010 proved to be. Suicide bombings, grenade attacks and indiscriminate fire by terrorists and anti-social elements took their lives, but there is a much more scary side to the story – one that every Pakistani needs to take note of. Two members of the fraternity were kidnapped and tortured, not by al Qaeda or the Taliban, but reportedly by ...

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The noble intentions of Salmaan Taseer

When people pass on, you are suddenly bombarded with memories. Both significant and insignificant, random phrases from different conversations and events flood in. With Salmaan Taseer, the only thing that flashes to my mind is his gallant, challenging smile.The smile that conveyed what his personality was all about – the lack of fear, the conviction in his own opinions, the zeal to do and say what he believed was correct and above all the refusal to back down under threats or pressure. The governor was one of the very few educated politicians who led and lived by his own set of rules. ...

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Burqa, bombs and intolerance

A look through the timeline of bomb blasts and terrorist attacks indicate that a majority of attacks in Pakistan are carried out by young men – some wearing vests, others using cars laden with explosives. I believe this spells out a legitimate case to ban young men, vests and cars from public places. After all, in a country like ours which is always on high alert for terrorist attacks, we can’t allow such security risks to roam about freely, can we? If you find my logic ludicrous, you might want to take a look at the recent debate on banning ...

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I don’t want to make New Year’s resolutions

With the start of 2011, everyone all over the world is busy finalising their resolutions for the new year and assessing their efforts at accomplishing, or perhaps failing, to meet their goals for the previous one. In my opinion, New Year resolutions may not be such a great idea for the people of Pakistan. The reason is clear and simple. Every morning, many of us leave for office, children leave for school, college or university, not knowing whether we will reach our destination safely or even return home safe and sound. Even those who stay at home fear for their loved ...

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The war on militancy that cannot be won

I admire the sheer abundance of the rhetoric that we are producing. It makes me believe that we have finally decided not to succumb to the ridiculousness we are confronting each passing day. However,  I often find this very rhetoric nothing more than a  colouring of the same biases and ideas that our ill-informed drawing room folk raise their voices about. The terrorists’ point of view I recently saw a video of an interview of a terrorist by a local private channel. I’m sure most of us have seen it, but for most of us, it was just another brick in ...

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Injustice for Dr Aafia once again

I cannot express how disappointed I am at the sentence that Dr Aafia Siddiqui received. She did not deserve to be convicted at all – if one looks carefully at the testimonies of key witnesses. There are also questions about the legitimacy of how she was picked up, but without even addressing these issues, I would just like to talk about the initial case and verdict which was given earlier this year. During the case an FBI firearms expert had expressed doubts whether the M-4 rifle, which was allegedly grabbed by the Pakistani neuroscientist to attack US interrogators in Afghanistan, was ...

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It’s high time India made an effort

We have fought numerous wars, we have exchanged many dead, we have brought enough misery upon our lives and continue to live close to the poverty line, only to maintain an aggressive yet defensive posture. We never let a chance go by where we are leveling blames on each other, and we make sure that any talk towards peace must fail miserably. Sadly, this time around it was first Pillai and then Qureshi’s fault! Pakistan has to realize it’s not as big as India and must look more towards its own economic standing, before eyeing a stronger, stable economy, and India ...

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