Stories about war

Remembering war hero Air Commodore Rashid Bhatti: an outstanding soldier and father

My dad was not a martyr. I didn’t lose my dad to the country in his death. I lost him to the country in his life. That night, and every day, I stand proud because of that. Pakistan and India have once again come to the brink of war after the revocation of Kashmir’s special status by the Indian government. This follows the recent tension earlier this year, when Indian and Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight over Kashmir on February 27, 2019, a day after Indian jet fighters carried out airstrikes inside Balakot. Pakistani fighters shot down two Indian planes ...

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I dedicate this Pakistan Day to my grandfather, a PoW, and my father, a war veteran

Lieutenant Colonel Shuaib was posted in Bahawalpur, West Pakistan when he was informed of his new assignment in East Pakistan as G1 to a three-star General. This was in the late 60s, when tensions were high between the East and the West wing of Pakistan. As is usual with army postings, he packed up and left to report to his new posting. His family of six – a wife and five children – were supposed to follow him soon. As fate would have it, before his family could arrive and the house could be furnished with belongings that would later be ...

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A militarised media and the dangers it poses to India’s ‘democracy’

Media is the new military in India today. TV stations are barracks and war rooms, where the discussions are not based on news but give pointers on how to wage war and defeat the enemy nation. Narendra Modi-ruled India is run by a militarised media that broadcasts not news but only jingoism and war hysteria. This has become the language of a large chunk of Indian media that had never demonstrated such blatant anti-minority, anti-Kashmiri, anti-secular and liberal bias. A systematic demonisation of Muslims, Kashmiris and sane voices in India has started after the Pulwama terror attack that claimed more than ...

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Dear India, here are 7 enlightening lessons to end the blame game. Sincerely, Pakistan!

The Pulwama attack was an unfortunate tragedy and an act of terrorism; one that should be investigated and the perpetrators held accountable. However, it seems that India is more concerned with upholding its anti-Pakistan narrative for a political agenda than actually trying to get justice or finding a solution for the Kashmir issue.  The already tense dynamic between the two countries has escalated quickly and relations seem worse than they have been in a long time. But while Pakistan tries to use diplomacy and backchannels to call for peace, India seems to be too busy beating the drums of war. ...

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Red Birds: A lament to love, a rant against war and an ode to pacifists

Red Birds is about the destruction that inevitably follows love. Many say this Mohammed Hanif novel is an anatomy of the wars men wage and the carcasses of pain women and their children must sweep up, each with their own indignities, but I don’t. I am sure it is an ode to the unloved. Take Major Ellie for instance, the mediocre white man who is the glorious pilot of a plane that could buy say, a city in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan. Ellie wipes out cities with the courage of his right thumb prompted by an X ...

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Audacious, hypnotic and intense, Kangana Ranaut was made to play the Queen of Jhansi

Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi chronicles the tale of one of India’s most prominent historical figures. Manikarnika, better known as Lakshmibai or the Rani of Jhansi, was one of the foremost freedom fighters of the 1857 rebellion. The allegory of Rani of Jhansi has personally fascinated me for as long as I can remember. Hence, writing even a review of a film based on her gallantry gives me great bliss. A warrior queen riding a horse, a sword in her hand, a child strapped onto her back, Manikarnika is an old-fashioned, simplistic film underlining the core values of bravery, valour and ...

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What a ‘great’ start to the New Year

Amongst the silence, a flash of light rose into the air, exploding into a colourful flower of glitter. It was followed by several other explosions that lit up the midnight sky. The crowd roared, screaming, “Happy New Year!” Music blasted in the background as people danced and cheered. They shared their New Year’s resolutions, as it was a beginning of a new chapter of their lives, where they had to decide if they wanted to be a new version of themselves and live life to its fullest, or just continue with their same old routines. Large LED hologram animals danced in the ...

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From honouring our martyrs to a mere date on the calendar – have we forgotten the importance of Defence Day?

It was August 14th a few weeks ago, and with the newly elected government, Independence Day was fervently anticipated this year. People rejoiced over Naya Pakistan and await the change that was promised. A little over three weeks later, Pakistan commemorates Defence Day ─ now just another day, for so many of us across the country. Just over two decades ago, Defence Day used to be an annual public holiday. It ceased being so, when the then government categorised September 6th as a counterproductive day off; I believe this was circa March 1997. As we speak, the only sign of the importance of ...

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Kamran, a soldier eternally

The heavy breathing, bewildered expressions, and tears welling from the eyes of the three people surrounding Kamran saddened him. He didn’t know what to say, how to respond, what reasons to give. After all, he was clueless himself. The silence was silently injuring everyone’s hearts from within. This silence had to be broken, and thus Kamran spoke in the most wavering voice. “Why won’t any of you say anything?  Isn’t it enough for you all that I’m finally here?” No one knew how to answer. Finally, after a long pause, Ammi spoke in an almost inaudible voice. “Yes beta. Of course, we’re ...

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The Breadwinner: A story unafraid of uncomfortable truths

The women and children of Afghanistan have perhaps paid the price of war most heavily. The ongoing conflict leaves nearly half of the children in Afghanistan out of school, while 87% of women in Afghanistan experience physical, sexual or psychological violence during their lifetime. It is against this backdrop of war and devastation that we find the heartfelt film, The Breadwinner. Based on the book of the same name by Deborah Ellis and produced by Angelina Jolie, the film follows the story of 11-year-old Parvana (Saara Chaudry), who navigates her life disguised as a boy, and attempts to survive ...

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