Stories about terrorism

Mythbusting Peshawar: No longer a hotbed of drugs, AK-47s and terrorism

I recently had the honour of visiting the city of Peshawar in Pakistan, travelling through the panoramic mountains linked to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) border pathways which lead to Afghanistan. This was my first visit to the city and I must confess, I had various pre-conceived perceptions about the city and region. These preconceptions were largely fed by the British Foreign Office, which for many years had advised British citizens to be extremely cautious when visiting this region. There are various myths pertaining to Peshawar. Most people believe it to be a hotbed for terrorists and thus extremely unsafe to travel. This is ...

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I lost my cousin Sabika Sheikh to a mass shooting – gun violence is the new ‘terrorism’ and it’s very real

On March 14, 2019 I gathered with hundreds of students in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC. These students had walked out of their classes to join the National School Walkout demanding decisive action against the epidemic of gun violence in the US. A few hours later, a gunman entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and shot dead at least 50 worshippers and injured 47 more while live-streaming the massacre. Pakistani exchange student and my cousin, Sabika Sheikh, was killed when a gunman entered her classroom and killed her and nine others at the Santa Fe School in ...

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Dear India, here are 7 enlightening lessons to end the blame game. Sincerely, Pakistan!

The Pulwama attack was an unfortunate tragedy and an act of terrorism; one that should be investigated and the perpetrators held accountable. However, it seems that India is more concerned with upholding its anti-Pakistan narrative for a political agenda than actually trying to get justice or finding a solution for the Kashmir issue.  The already tense dynamic between the two countries has escalated quickly and relations seem worse than they have been in a long time. But while Pakistan tries to use diplomacy and backchannels to call for peace, India seems to be too busy beating the drums of war. ...

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With suspenseful politics and powerful acting, Bodyguard is television at its finest

Netflix from time to time cancels its low-rated shows, but the streaming giant is also constantly working to ensure that it provides its subscribers the best content available in the world. Hence, Netflix sometimes imports TV shows from across the borders to make rich content available for its customers. One of their recent imports was Bodyguard, a show produced by BBC and aired on BBC One. Netflix was quick to strike a deal for this offering as it became the most watched show on BBC since 2008. Bodyguard revolves around David Budd, played by Richard Madden (Game of Thrones), a war ...

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Suhai Aziz Talpur: Celebrated worldwide but mocked in her own country?

A week ago, three armed men attacked the Chinese consulate in Karachi. Before they could reach the diplomatic staff inside, the militants were killed in a police operation led by SP Suhai Aziz Talpur. The encounter also resulted in multiple casualties, including two visa applicants and two policemen fighting on the frontline. From CNN to Reuters, the news made rounds worldwide. Talpur is being glorified as the daughter of Pakistan, representing the face of bravery and women power. Restoring Talpur pride, her pictures are being juxtaposed alongside Faryal Talpur, who is currently embroiled in a money laundering case. Chinese media too is in ...

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Power to the people: The Kartarpur corridor has done what 71 years of dialogue could not

The symbolism is too significant to be missed. When India was observing the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai attacks on Monday, Indian leaders were cutting across party lines and laying the foundation for the Kartarpur road corridor in Gurdaspur, Punjab. This is perhaps the first time after Partition that both India and Pakistan are working together to complete one project: a corridor that connects both sides of the border and leads to the shrine of Guru Nanak Saheb. The corridor does not only have religious symbolism, it carries a lot of political weight that has the potential to rewrite the geo-political ...

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Tahir Dawar’s brutal murder and the possible existence of IS in Pakistan is a wake up call

Squeaking with laughter while speaking to a journalist, then concluding with a sardonic snide, Iftikhar Durrani, Imran Khan’s spokesperson, claimed with confidence that SP Tahir Dawar was “safe” in Peshawar on October 28th. Unfortunately, however, with the recent discovery of the policeman’s dead body, that arrogant snide should only linger as a haunting memory for the prime minister’s top aide. The note from the Islamic State (IS) found alongside the late SP’s body is what makes matters worse than one could potentially begin to imagine. The latter being so, specifically because the government has repeatedly claimed that neither IS nor any direct ...

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All Shahid Afridi did was ask us to look in our own backyard and do more – what’s wrong with that?

Shahid Afridi, though not new to controversy, turned into a bête noire recently when a video went viral of him suggesting that Pakistan doesn’t want Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) since it can’t even manage its own four provinces. He said that IoK should also not go to India and should rather be an independent entity. He further added that its occupation should end since it’s resulting in the loss of countless innocent lives. This statement, however, landed him in hot waters since many Pakistanis took offence. Pakistan ko Kashmir nahin chahiye – uss say apnay soobay nahin sambhal saktay: Shahid Afridi in ...

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“They hired a Pathan?! I thought it was for smart people”: Pakhtun stereotyping is not ‘just jokes’

I recently moved to the United States for my graduate studies. At the Denver International Airport, a large poster of Malala Yousafzai welcomed me. I wished this would not be the only time I felt at home, but I remained sceptical. Only recently had I read a news article about the increase in race and religion-based violence in America. I decided to reserve my judgement for later. Inadvertently though, this brought back memories of another relocation I experienced three years ago. On June 10, 2015, a week before I graduated from the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIK), I received a ...

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Rashid Khan, the Afridi of Afghanistan: When heroes emerge out of rubble

During my last visit to Karachi a few months ago, I spent some time going through the school assignments and homework of our family cook’s children. As I did so, I insisted on the importance of hard work in order to succeed in life. “You have to work extremely hard in school so you get good grades and then go to the army, as your father wants you to become a general in the Pakistan Army one day, InshaAllah,” I continued to lecture them. My words echoed the dreams and aspirations of not only our cook, but so many other ...

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