Stories about terrorism

“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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The good guns of Balochistan: Why fighters like Nawab Din Bugti dropped their pens and picked up guns

“No one likes to pick up a gun instead of a pen, until one is forced to save his family and honour,” Nawab Din Bugti, a guerrilla commander in the Bugti Aman Force (BAF) turned member of the Balochistan Levies, replied to a question about why he did not complete his education and picked up a gun instead. Nawab in the BAF A muscular man with a thick, black and curly moustache, though not very tall, Nawab talks with a smile on his face until he starts talking about his enemies, whom he recognises as the goons of ...

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17 years later, can the US grow out of the 9/11 mindset?

Just about a couple of days ago, on the eve of yet another 9/11 anniversary, I was telling a friend how painful these past 17 years have been for the US. What happened that dreadful September morning was nothing less than a shock to the American system; a jolt of unprecedented proportions that we, as a nation, still haven’t been able to get over or recover from in more than several different ways. September 11, 2001 changed America and the rest of the world forever. It tore apart the settled norms and values. It uprooted age-old beliefs that America must ...

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Damage control: Why Imran Khan needs to put foreign diplomacy before domestic issues

In the globalised world of today, the foreign policy of any state is the most vital component to its progress. This is how states interact with each other and negotiate their interests, as you have to figure out how to fulfil your national interest while also giving other states a way to fulfil theirs. In Pakistan, it has been the control over foreign policy that has been the cause behind major rifts between civilian governments and officials of other institutions. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were all elected leaders thrown out of power due to their efforts ...

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General Elections 2018 from the eyes of a 12-year-old Pakistani girl

In my house, my family loves watching news channels, they have become our favourite TV pastime. Exposed to daily news constantly, I am the only girl in my class who is interested and quite informed when it comes to my country’s politics.  This love for current affairs pushed me to utilise my summer vacations in the best possible way by critically analysing and following the pre and post-election scenario in our country. I hope you will like my thoughts on it, as this is coming from a 12-year-old girl, who is the future of this country and it is important how ...

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Home Fire: A Muslim love story for the modern world

The latest novel by Kamila Shamsie has won numerous accolades, the most recent one being the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction. The novel, based on the Greek tragedy Antigone, delves into the modern-day spasms of jihad and terrorism, and also examines the concept of loyalty, belief and love. Not having read Antigone, Home Fire came across as a juxtaposition of the notions that have been shuffling in religious and political debate of late. The cover of the book – one of the most profound covers out of the books in my possession – is a simple maze of red-orange fire with two ...

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Mulk unmasks terrorist attacks and Muslims in India, but can it do justice?

From the 1969 Gujarat riots to the 2014 Assam violence, Muslims in India have frequently become victims of violence at the hands of its Hindus. Many a times, Muslims who were born in India and are actually Indians have been questioned about their patriotism and loyalty to their country due to their religion. The film Mulk, whose trailer was released recently, revolves around a similar issue and stars Rishi Kapoor, Prateik Babar, Taapsee Pannu, Ashutosh Rana and Rajat Kapoor. The trailer shows a Muslim family whose son is a suspect in a terrorist attack, which leads to the entire ...

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Pakistan’s FATF grey-listing should not come as a surprise to anyone

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary meeting in Paris has reportedly decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list; a decision that has surprised many in Pakistan. Pakistan has been kept on the so-called grey list which includes countries accused of financing or aiding terrorism. The FATF was established in 1989 – with its headquarters in Paris – and its main objectives include combating financing of terrorism, money laundering and other elements pertaining to the integrity of the international financial system. Even though Pakistan has surely not done enough to get off the grey list, the FATF failed to bring ...

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With Donald Trump’s travel ban 3.0, is America any safer?

Today, the Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban to be fully enforced. This ban restricts visas from eight countries, including six Muslim-majority nations. The premise: ‘national security’. But does such a ban really make Americans safer? Here are five points all Americans need to understand. 1. Religious extremism, not Islam, is the real threat There is no denying the fact that religious extremists, and terrorist groups like the Islamic State (IS), pose a grave threat to the United States. These groups pervert religion for ulterior geo-political agendas. Their violent rhetoric – advocating for the killing of homosexuals, ‘blasphemers’, apostates and anyone who disagrees with ...

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