Stories about war on terror

Painting happy portraits won’t erase your past, George W Bush!

Pablo Picasso once said, “Painting is a blind man’s profession. He paints not what he sees but what he feels; what he tells himself about what he has seen.” The 46th ex-governor of Texas as well as the 43rd former president of the United States (from 2001 to 2009) and now an artist, George W Bush has surprised the world with his first ever solo art exhibition ingeniously titled ‘The Art of Leadership – A President’s Personal Diplomacy’. The exhibition opened at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas and it will run from April 5 through June 3, 2014. Former president Bush, who has taken ...

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Afghan malangs: Keeping the country’s mystic roots alive

In Afghanistan, there is a special group of people called the malangs. This is an Afghan word which describes men who live a very austere and dangerous life and who are happy with the hardships they endure. A malang is somewhat like the Afghan version of a shaman. They have been part of the Afghan society for centuries and have been forced to live an extremely hard life. These harsh circumstances are not just because of the wars; these people are neither accepted nor respected in the Afghan society. The main reason behind such ill treatment is that in mainstream Islam, shamanism (or anything like ...

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Drone strikes: We’re humans, not bugs waiting to be squashed

Recently, a charity organisation in the UK by the name of Reprieve, along with the Foundation for Fundamental Rights (FFR), helped a group of artists install a giant portrait of a child victim of a US drone strike in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), using French artist JR’s ‘Inside Out’ movement. Since humans seem like ‘bugs’ when viewed by drone operators, and like bugs, they are mercilessly crushed by drone strikes, the idea behind this initiative labelled ‘Not a Bug Splat’ was that it would arouse empathy and humanity in drone operators when they spot the face of a child. Source: NotABugSplat It is quite heart-rending ...

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Four Pakistani conspiracy theories that are less fictitious than you’d think

Last year, Pakistani journalist Nadeem F Paracha published an article titled Malala: The real story (with evidence) on the website of Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper. The article argued that schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot not by the Pakistani Taliban but by the CIA – and with blanks. The shooting had been completely staged. The triggerman? Robert De Niro “posing as an Uzbek homeopath”. Paracha was clearly satirising Pakistani conspiracy theories but some of his countrymen took him quite literally. One obscure newspaper, The Lahore Times, even published an article which was later removed from its website, reporting Paracha’s article as fact. Dawn eventually posted a disclaimer noting that the article was fictitious. One ...

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So you think Pathan jokes are funny? Read this!

 The screen of my touch phone glowed and it beeped. I picked it up and it said, “One new message received.” There was a text message and it read something like this. Man: “What’s the difference between a radio and a newspaper?” Pathan: “Yaara (dude), the major difference I can think of is that one can wrap chapattis in a newspaper but not in a radio.” The moment I finished reading it, my cell beeped again. And this time it read, “A man was drowning in the sea. Tourists stood on the ship, helplessly watching the man frantically gasp for air. Suddenly a Pathan, standing on the deck, jumped into ...

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Aao bacho sair karain tumko Pakistan ki: Not an ordinary nursery rhyme…

There is a very famous poem, by a very famous poet, written in a more hopeful and exuberant time. It has been set to wonderful, cheerful music and is taught to children everywhere. And in the video below, a child sings something that sounds very much like it. But listen carefully. The music has the same happy lilt, but the words are horribly different. So different, in fact, that a few people I showed this video to were seriously offended at what they consider to be a serious perversion of a great piece of art. The original poem and its English translation ...

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Pervez Musharraf: Defending a patriot from cowards and liars

Many people like to ask me questions about why I support former president Pervez Musharraf. As part of the questions, they like to pepper in the misinformation that the Pakistani media has presented to the public for consumption. During one such discussion on Facebook, I was asked the following: The question cum comment “According to you, Khalid Muhammad, what were the positives and negatives of Musharraf’s tenure? People consider him to be the reason for drones, missing people (Aafia Siddiqui), Bugti murder case, Lal Masjid, all that happened to Pakistan after 9/11 (and) the current shortfall of electricity and gas. Suicide bombing took ...

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Is it time for Pakistan to reconsider the US as its ally?

Close to 50,000 deaths, over $100 billion in losses, and growing insecurity and fear among the citizens with each passing day. These are few of the highlights of Pakistan’s involvement in the US-led war on terror that has now been fought for more than 12 years.  This war which was initiated to target the militants in Afghanistan has haunted and continues to haunt, many innocent civilians, not only in Afghanistan but also in Pakistan. The United States, along with its allies, began this war to hunt down the 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden and to put an end to the Taliban regime and its activities. However, in ...

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On the 5th anniversary of the Mumbai attacks, let us take an oath

Five years ago, it was the worst of times for my neighbouring country. Mumbai, India’s commercial hub was under attack. The eve of November 26, 2008 was one of the bloodiest days for India. When the calendar marked November 29, the death toll exceeded 100 people.  Everything was deplorable. The entire Indian nation was mourning and rightly so. It was the worst of times for my country as well, as the whole Indian government and the media turned hostile towards Pakistan and built war hysteria. The attackers were reported to come from my soil. This was a shocking revelation. The after-effect of ...

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President Obama: The only Nobel Laureate guilty of war crimes

It is a champion of human rights, it is a champion of science and technology. It is a champion of arts and humanities. It is the forerunner in world economy and is a central figure in the global power politics that shape the future of nations. It is also guilty of more war crimes than you can imagine. It is probably the only country in the world that lives and breathes paradoxes. It witnessed its people occupying Wall Street but at the same time, keeps denying the Geneva Convention and the International Court of Crimes. When it comes to its own evils ...

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