Stories about war on terror

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 ...

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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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Are vehicle attacks the new form of terrorism?

The horrific events this week in Spain and Finland are a tragic recurrence of major terror incidents in the western nations. Once more we bear witness to the sort of nihilistic savagery that indiscriminately murders innocents with impunity. Let us be very clear about this. Those who carried out these attacks are not just murderers, they are immoral ingrates who have slaughtered the citizens of a nation that took them in and gave them the opportunities their own countries had failed to provide them. In 2017 alone, there have been numerous terror attacks involving vehicles. From the London Bridge attack, to the Drottninggatan, Stockholm attack to the Paris attack ...

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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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What better way of diverting attention from Donald Trump than by blaming Pakistan for all the ills of the world?

The world awoke earlier this week to another one of Donald Trump’s controversial insinuations. I call this an insinuation because the American president didn’t make any official statement himself, but had senior members of his staff hint at the possibility of his administration “hardening the line” against Pakistan. The revelation made to Reuters comes across as nothing new. Pick up any article printed in any paper from any country about the US-Pakistan relationship and you will find the exact same content, phrases, threats and arguments. It usually revolves around the US lamenting that Pakistan is not doing enough and is in cahoots with militant groups that are bent upon hampering the ...

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Why do students in American high schools resort to humiliating Muslims and people who aren’t white?

When the student body president of a Northern California high school won his campaign after posting an Islamophobic joke, I was not surprised. It is part and parcel of American high schools to reward students for racism, particularly when the school administration isn’t interested in protecting vulnerable students for the sake of ‘keeping the peace’. By overlooking racist and toxic behaviour, schools inevitably normalise racism, misogyny, and heterosexism, all of which lend to bullying and cheapen the lives of many young people at these schools. And it’s not only the oppressed or the so-called victim who is negatively affected by this situation, but the oppressor as ...

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Barack Obama’s legacy is not of change, or even of hope

Last week, Barack Obama made his first public appearance after stepping down from office earlier this year. Back in his home territory of Chicago, where the former president started out as a community organiser before gaining nationwide recognition as an up and coming senator, Obama spoke in front of an audience of young people at the University of Chicago where he had taught law for years before entering into politics. The former president discussed the necessity of young people becoming involved in their communities and bridging the divide that’s cut a bloody schism across the nation. Hillary Clinton and Donald ...

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I support the Compulsory Education of Arabic Bill 2015

Recently, a friend asked me if I had seen the movie ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. Being averse to things I have no real interest in, I told him I see it every day. Surprised, he asked me what I meant, to which I replied,  “In Pakistan, we are all to some level masochistic. Either that or we are just plain servile. How can we be bombed, killed, raped and beaten into submission every day and just go on with our lives as if nothing is happening?” Pakistan has a history of insurgency and violence, which reached its peak during the ‘War ...

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An open letter of gratitude to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Dear most reverend archbishop, Justin Welby, I am not sure how I am supposed to address you; may I call you the reverend father? This seems more appropriate considering the impression you’ve left behind after your visit to Pakistan. Reverend father, you are the head of a worldwide Anglican community which includes Pakistan. You landed in our country last Friday night and, despite the protocol, you did not attend many meetings with the high and the mighty. One official courtesy call to the Foreign Office Minister, Mr Sartaj Aziz was necessary. The purpose behind your visit to Pakistan becomes evident when ...

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Are American airports justified in their paranoia?

I keep wondering, scratching my head in awe. Is it paranoia? Is it a schizophrenic existence that we have come to accept as a way of life? Or, is this edginess just something that has incrementally increased over a period of time and has now become a part of our national DNA? Yes, I’m talking about life in the US of America where, of late, it literally needs a mere drop of a hat to trigger local, regional and, at times, national panic attacks followed by unstoppable seizures that scare the hell out of people. Beyond the September 11th attacks, America has been at ...

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