Stories about terrorism

Three years ago, 132 children returned from school as martyrs. Three years ago, 144 families were left incomplete.

Last year, a freak accident happened, where my toddler, while playing in our lounge, tripped and face-planted herself on to the floor. Her front tooth was pushed back inside her gum, there was a lot of blood, and we had to rush her to the emergency ward. Long story short, she is fine now but that incident still sends chills down my spine. The horror of watching her in pain still gives me goosebumps. And then I shudder to think how mothers who see their children suffer more immensely must feel. I wonder if they ever overcome the feeling of helplessness. ...

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With its Basant-like aura, the #CokeFest transported me to the old Lahore of the 90s

Despite living outside of Pakistan for almost three years now, I am still a hard-core desi at heart. The ‘desiness’ gets stronger if you are not just from Pakistan, but also from Lahore, and happen to be married to another Lahori, who is homesick more often than not. The Lahori inside my husband is so headstrong that a daig (large pot) at Data Sahib‘s shrine is the key to all our woes and worries. Despite studying in the UK and spending most of his professional life outside Lahore, he still compares the falooda he eats anywhere with the one he used ...

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Hazaras: The Rohingyas of Pakistan?

Last week, when I was planning a trip to Quetta for training, Mujeeb Hashmi, a friend from work, asked me to wear shalwar kameez, not only to the airport but also whenever I went out and about in the city. Hashmi, being a veteran filmmaker, has been to almost every habitable area of Pakistan – so I had to pay heed. He also warned me to be wary of certain localities within the city such as Hazara Town and Alamdar Road, given the violence witnessed by the city in the past. He was right. Quetta made a great first impression on me – ...

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If you have seen Mission Impossible, Jason Bourne or Taken, then you have already seen American Assassin

With James Bond and Jason Bourne on a temporary hiatus, and Jack Reacher likely on a permanent one, the espionage and spy-thriller market in Hollywood has been left largely untapped. So it makes sense that American Assassin ‒ based on the first book in a long-running series of spy novels by author Vince Flynn ‒ would swoop in and try to make easy money at the box office. Dylan O’Brien, star of the Maze Runner series, plays Mitch Rapp, a man on a path of vengeance. The film opens two years earlier on a beach in Ibiza, Spain where Mitch ...

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Can Islam and democracy coexist in today’s world?

Germany has given its verdict and elected Angela Merkel for the fourth consecutive term. Her victory has relieved many as her popularity took a nosedive after her brave decision to take in refugees in 2015. However, at the same time, the reduced margin of her victory has also raised alarms. The German far-right party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), has accumulated 13% of the total votes, becoming the first such party to win so many seats in more than 50 years. The improvement in its vote tally is remarkable, given the fact that it only won 4.7% of the total votes in the 2013 elections, narrowly missing the ...

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India couldn’t beat us in 1965, can’t beat the stronger Pakistan of today either

In the early hours of September 6, 1965, India initiated an unannounced military offensive against Pakistan. General Jayanto Nath Chaudhry’s self-confidence had gone a “peg” too far. His famous dream of “drinking at Lahore Gymkhana” that evening was soon shattered by brave Pakistani troops. India did gain some territory, but ended up losing a lot more. Pakistan’s unexpected response and India’s heavy losses of men, material and territory brought the Indian confidence-plus-ambition down several notches and suddenly, negotiations became an option. The Tashkent Agreement ended hostilities and the (mis)adventure came to an end. It wasn’t the first misadventure and it certainly wasn’t to be ...

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US-Pakistan-Afghanistan: The gloves are now off

Like millions of Americans, I watched President Donald Trump’s speech from my living room on August 21, 2017. It is the third time an American president has addressed our nation on Afghanistan, now the longest war in American history. To those of us familiar with the region, the speech was business as usual, with a few notable changes. But for those Americans with loved ones in Pakistan, the president’s speech was a plainspoken warning – fall in line Pakistan, or face the consequences. Taking the speech to its furthest extrapolation, without change, Pakistan will soon face US sanctions. Certainly for Pakistan, clouds are gathering. The Trump administration ...

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England is home to international cricket, despite terror attacks, but Pakistan isn’t?

It will be difficult to forget Pakistan’s ascendancy in the recent ICC Champions Trophy, given the perpetual celebration that has ensued since the country’s improbable victory against India. Mohammad Amir will be one of Pakistan’s bowling mainstays in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. Photo: Getty In addition to waxing nostalgia about his personal prowess on the field, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif embraced the national cricket team in Islamabad with all the expected pomp and pageantry. This seems justified in a country whose cricketers flourished in England despite the limitations of the system that produced them. Thus, we revelled in Fakhar Zaman’s audacity to challenge premier pace attacks despite inexperience; in Hassan Ali’s guile ...

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A Kashmiri’s letter to all Indians: An attack on Amarnath Yatris is an attack on Kashmir

Dear Indian citizen, I am writing this with much pain and grief. I’m left with no words of condemnation for this dastardly brutal act that was carried out to kill innocent Yatris devoted to their faith. My purpose of writing to you is not to condemn the act alone, but to let you know that we, the people of Kashmir, are equally pained and our heads hang in shame due to the act of a few. This act is against our ethos and composite culture of religious harmony. Terrorism has no religion, and unfortunately, we have been the worst sufferers of it –witnessing brutality, mental pain and ...

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How the two-faceted mindset of moderate Muslims ends up aiding militancy and terrorism

In recent years, there have been growing concerns that Islam’s major problem, as well as the world’s, is Islamic radicalisation, since Islam is one of the major and fastest growing religions of the world. These concerns are being voiced in various countries and have yielded various reactions ranging from apologetic defence (whereby some of the western liberals interpret it as a ‘reaction’ to the US hegemony) to outright xenophobia. Radicalisation is a major problem and there is no question about its lethal potential to inflict harm in the form of religious extremism and terrorism. However, though present, it is not as widespread in the Islamic world as is ...

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