Stories about United States

Which US presidential candidate will be good for Pakistan?

While the US presidential nomination circus is going on in full swing, people back in Pakistan ought to wonder who the best man or woman would be for Pakistan. Let us be very honest, Pakistan does not figure very prominently on the radar of most of these presidential candidates. However, the fate of these presidential elections is very important to Pakistan. The amount of aid we receive to the approval of our ever growing nuclear program and the continuous supply of and upgrades to our military hardware depends very much on the man or woman at the oval office. On the Republican ...

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We know more about Tashfeen Malik today than we’ve ever known about any of the other 354 shooters

Have you heard of a guy named Kenneth Morgan Stancil III? The man who confessed to the mass shooting that took place in April 2015, at the Wayne Learning Centre in Goldsboro, North Carolina, USA? Do you know which school he went to or where he developed such a ‘lone-wolf attitude’? ‘Lone-wolf and not extremist, obviously; he was white. Do we know who radicalised him or why he became so intolerant towards his very own society? Do we know why he deemed killing people the only way to prove his point? No, we don’t. Because back in April, when this incident took place, none of these ...

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#IStandWithAhmadis, and so should you

Here in Pakistan, we often feel affronted by the mistreatment of the minorities overseas, we identify with racially, religiously, or culturally. Any occurrence of a mosque defiled, or a Muslim man or woman being abused in the West, is quickly shared across social media captioned with angry messages. This, of course, is fair enough. As someone who considers himself to be a member of this planet rather than defined by race or religion, I feel humanity should know no boundaries. That being said, it is difficult to fathom how the volume of our outrage is directly proportional to the distance of the ...

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My life as a Muslim in the West’s ‘Gray Zone’

Some months ago, I gave a reading from my most recent novel in Scottsdale, Ariz. During the discussion that followed, a woman asked me to talk about my upbringing in Morocco. It’s natural for readers to be curious about a writer they’ve come to hear, I told myself. I continued to tell myself this even after the conversation drifted to Islam, and then to ISIS. Eventually, another woman raised her hand and said that the only Muslims she saw when she turned on the television were extremists.  “Why aren’t we hearing more from people like you?” she asked me. “You are,” ...

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Making sense of terror attacks anthropologically

On the evening of November 13, 2015, Paris suffered the worst terrorist attack in modern European history, killing over 120 people. The scale and sheer barbarity of the attacks is unprecedented. The French society is in trauma. The world is in shock. Paris, still reeling from the aftermath of the deadly Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year, will no longer be the same city. From holding vigils to changing Facebook display pictures in French flag colours, the attacks have prompted an exceptional display of solidarity with the victims by the global community. The western leaders have been quick in showing support for Paris, calling it ...

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What if gun control isn’t solely to blame for mass shootings in America?

With alarming regularity, shootings in America make the news across the planet, sometimes every other week. Horrific visuals of mayhem, tragedy, and pain fill our TV screens as we try to understand how the most powerful nation in the world helplessly suffers like this month after month, year after year. We look at the statistics where only the United States amongst its peers sees mass murders take place with any regularity, and wonder what the hell is going on. On the left, American politicians would have their citizens believe the problem simply stems from a lack of gun control, and the ...

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The filthy culture of bacha bazi in Afghanistan

The Afghans call this revolting act bacha bazi, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Young boys usually ostracised from villages by their families because they were attacked by a paedophile, wearing flowing colourful outfits clad in bells, dancing in seedy places for older turban wearing bearded Afghan men, only to be sexually assaulted after the contemptible night takes a drug and alcohol fuelled turn. The Guardian stated, “Dressed in a flowing shirt and long, red skirt, with sherwal pants beneath and small silver bells fastened to hands and feet, the dancer stepped across the floor, face hidden behind a ...

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Why my father devoted his life to jailbirds, and so will I

A poor person isn’t one who has no money or riches, but the one who holds no love in his heart for those who are suffering. This has been my father’s motto ever since I can remember. My father has devoted his entire life to the well-being of prisoners in Pakistan, be it Muslims or Christians. I grew up watching him attend to his duties at the prison and working amongst prisoners for their betterment, and I always used to wonder why he worked with them. Why did my father have this particular job? Why was he not a ...

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Why won’t you let Ruwa Rehman Talk, dammit?

Shut up… shut up… shut up… just shut the f*** up… That’s how it starts for many sex abuse survivors in Pakistan when they finally draw the strength to reach out from the void and tell their story. “Chup hojao. Shhh. Bas ab tum nay mujhay bataya hay magar aur kis hee ko nahi batana.” (Just keep quiet. You’ve told me, now don’t tell anyone else.) If this fails, the angle of attack changes on the survivor. “Apni izzat ka socho. Tum say kon shaadi karey ga?”  (Think of your reputation. Who will marry you?) Sometimes, especially when the perpetrator is a close family member, ...

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1965: You didn’t win the war India, but neither did we, Pakistan

There is no doubt that the 1965 Indo-Pak war over the status of Jammu and Kashmir ended in a United Nations (UN) mandated truce that compelled India to accept the ceasefire on September 21, 1965 while Pakistan agreed to it on September 22, 1965. The Tashkent peace agreement constrained Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistani President Ayub Khan to quit all territorial claims and pull back their armies from the disputed terrain to pre-conflict positions by February 25, 1966. Although it is also evident that the conflict was halted with a truce due to the policies of the US and the Soviet Union – who were engaged in the Cold War at ...

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