Stories about United States

16 years after 9/11: Its tragic memory, surreal aftermath and the insecure world it left behind

In 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, young men like me who had posed as ‘Marxists’ across the 80s were overwhelmed by a sense of both sadness and dread. And yet we knew that things in our beloved Soviet Union were not quite like what we had imagined – a socialist Utopia in which the working classes (the proletariat) had risen above economic, religious and social biases to consolidate their own rule according to the noble dictates of Marxist-Leninism. I was 22 in 1988 and about to head out to a university in Moscow on a scholarship. The plan was ...

Read Full Post

“Nothing will happen to you as long as you are in this car!”

Born and raised in Karachi, I take great pride in my city of lights. You’ll always find me in the middle of a heated argument (mostly with Lahoris) about why Karachi is the best city in Pakistan. What’s not to like about this place? Karachi has the best food, the best malls, the best people and we also have a beach. Take that Lahore! But it took me four years of living in Lahore to realise that Karachi, as ideal as it was in terms of food and other attractions, wasn’t the safest place to live. Karachiites know the rules of living in Karachi. Do not use ...

Read Full Post

The only country that can realistically help India out of the Sikkim jam is Pakistan

Earlier last month, the Indian military showed up in the Dokalam region to stop the Chinese from building a road. This area falls under the Bhutan tri-junction which is a sliver of land where China, India and Bhutan meet. The incident came into light when some Indian pilgrims, on their way to Tibet, were sent back to the border. Since then, both countries have been providing their own version of the same tale. The eastern border of India with China is governed by an 1890 agreement brokered by the British. It has been fairly uneventful since then, except for the 1962 border skirmish between the two nations. Since the incident with the pilgrims, India and China ...

Read Full Post

Why don’t parents speak of the developmental challenges faced by their child the same way they do of their academic achievements?

We all want comfort and happiness for our children. From the time they’re born, we want our little ones to excel in life. In Pakistan, this desire usually translates into a narrow focus on achieving academic excellence, which is typically considered the most widely esteemed cognitive ability. While some parents do realise (and often lament) the potential negative effects of this academic ‘rat race’ on their own children, one aspect they often ignore is the pressure this creates on families of children with special needs – children who may be gifted in one way or the other but may not necessarily have the ability to excel in academics. This ...

Read Full Post

When Trump met the pope…

On May 19, 2017, Donald Trump landed in Saudi Arabia, to mark his first series of international appearances as the President of the United States of America. The itinerary read as follows; Saudi Arabia, Israel, The Vatican City, Brussels for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) leaders meeting and finally Sicily for the G7 summit. As one would expect, there were a myriad of talking points, just hours after Trump left his Mar-a-lago comfort zone. Firstly, from a journalistic point of view it was exceedingly hard to cover this trip. In Saudi Arabia, gender segregation is still at an all-time ...

Read Full Post

After the embarrassing treatment meted by the Saudis, is it time for “Go Nawaz Go”?

Pakistan has suffered yet another excruciating defeat on an international platform. With the recent verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistan could not have dealt with a more severe blow than the humiliating treatment shown by the Saudis at the Arab-American-Islamic Summit. Why? Because apparently we have an incompetent, self-serving, corrupt man serving as our prime minister. Though matters have gotten worse after his first two terms, we keep making the same mistake by electing him over and over again. There was a time when the top office holders of our state received warm welcomes no matter where they went. When Ayub Khan visited Saudi Arabia ...

Read Full Post

For the US, friends and enemies aren’t important, only interests are

Growing up, we form friendships, alliances and enmities in playgrounds and classrooms. There are clear rules that govern our interactions and attitudes towards those we call friends and those we regard as enemies or our friends’ enemies. It’s mostly cut and dry and there’s very little room for ambiguity. As we grow up, we begin to see shades of grey and the thick dividing lines that existed in our minds begin to blur. However, somewhere that conditioned perception of a clear demarcation between good versus bad and friend versus enemy persists in our psyche. International relations are complex. There are layers and subtexts that ...

Read Full Post

What is Afghanistan’s problem?

On Monday, the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, once again blamed Pakistan for the terrorist attacks in his country. The blame stemmed from a presidential statement following the Kabul terrorist attacks when Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, called President Ghani. Despite the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff’s offer to share intelligence and cooperation with Afghanistan, in order to curb terrorism in the region, the president blamed Pakistan for the terrorism in his country claiming that the terrorists were trained in Pakistan. Afghanistan has been going through a period of transition since the United States’ (US) invasion post 9/11, when the US and its allies ousted the ...

Read Full Post

Time magazine’s Person of the Year could also be an American president for the Muslim world

President-elect Trump represents invigorating new possibilities for the Muslim world after two Obama administrations characterised by an extraordinary degree of United States (US) withdrawal and disengagement from the Muslim majority world. This was a result of multiple events such as turning a blind eye during the 2009 Velvet Revolution, becoming a first passive and later impotent bystander during the 2011 Arab Spring, engaging hasty relations with Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt revealing the US administrations inability to distinguish Islam from Islamism, and the fin de siècle, the paralysis at the mounting power of Daesh, the complete disinterest in the ...

Read Full Post

Is the Pak-Cheen dosti really that zindabad?

‘Pak-Cheen Dosti Zindabad!’ is a household anthem, isn’t it? A sea-pack, sorry, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) appears to be Pakistan’s Achilles heel. Under this partnership, Pakistan is to receive a $51 billion investment over the course of three to eight years in the form of power projects, roads and railway upgrades, transmission lines, infrastructure, hospitals, technology and much more. Undoubtedly, such an investment is a welcome sign for Pakistan but the deal is strategically far more important to China than it is to Pakistan. We were on the brink of dragging the over-burdening economy with no imminent increase in exports, tax revenues, ...

Read Full Post