Stories about war

Welcome to the war in Balochistan

In 2007, those of us journalists working on news desks could see from the daily reports pouring in from Swat and Fata that the situation had turned dire; that there was a war upon us that we, the media, could see, but which the general population would not wake up to, at least not until it reached their doorstep. Due to Pakistan’s overt involvement in the US war on terror, the lid on that battleground blew open fairly soon, but even back in 2007 we could see that there was another deadly war front opening – the war in Balochistan. ...

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India and Pakistan: Sharing one soul

Recently, I was in India to attend a course on environmental journalism hosted by a renowned New Delhi-based NGO. One day, I was at one of Delhi’s social clubs and ran into a retired Indian general, Maj-Gen Ashok K Mehta, to be precise. We ended up having quite an interesting conversation. He said that he was in the Indian Army during the 1971 Pakistan-India war and that he had been in contact with several Pakistani prisoners of war. One of them, he said, was a senior officer, who on the day the Pakistani forces surrendered to the Indians, wrote in ...

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Love and tears for Dhaka

My stepfather, Afzal Ahmed Syed, is a generally quiet and inward man who occasionally breaks from his reticence with humorous insights about the world. He does this not through fanciful and elaborate explanations, but in pithy quotes or by reciting a shaer. As many thoughtful commentators on his life and poetry have suggested, much of my father’s poetic vision has been shaped by his experience as a witness to immense political tragedies like East Pakistan’s violent rebirth as Bangladesh in 1971, the Lebanese Civil War, and the ethnic and sectarian violence that overwhelmed Karachi in the 1990s. Musharraf Farooqi, my father’s ...

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Nuclear Iran is not in Pakistan’s interest

Since the International Atomic Energy Agency issued its latest findings on Iran’s nuclear program and activities, policy-makers in the West and the United States in particular are weighing their options on how to respond to Iran’s continued defiance of its Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations. The Islamic Republic’s nuclear program has possible military dimensions and its stated “peacefulness” lacks credibility. Alarm bells in Israel have been ringing for a long time and a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear sites seems imminent. Not much is being discussed in Pakistan about the implications of a nuclear Iran, precisely due to Pakistan being consumed by its ...

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Will Israel go to war?

From operations like the 1948 War of Independence to the Suez Crisis, from its great victory in Six Day War in 1967, to legendary action in Sinai during the Yom Kippur War, the Israelis have proved that they are the best at their job. The country has shown time and again that it is capable of doing the impossible for the security of their citizens. One more thing which we observe is that for national security, the Israelis can even make sacrificial lambs of their allies. During the 1967 War with Egypt and Syria, the Israeli Air Force knowingly bombed ...

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Favouring India isn’t easy

Without cordial relations between Pakistan and India, peace in the Asian region will always remain a distant dream. Trade is the only thing  that can tie the two nations together. We know that war is not the solution to our problems and we have realized this in over 60 years of enmity. Thus, it came as a relief to me and many others, I am sure, when  a historical move on October 2, in the meeting of the Federal Cabinet of Pakistan approved a proposal granting India the status of “most favoured nation”. The step has come ...

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Anna Hazare, you are not welcome in Pakistan

Not long ago, international media saw the rise of a new star; a man who vowed to reincarnate the principles of Gandhi, who is respected universally for his passion for peace and non-violent political activism. Well, we too were happy to see, despite the mudslinging that Ziaul Haq and his prodigal children did towards Gandhi, a man who would strive for peace. We hoped his anti-graft movement would come to Pakistan as well. Moreover, we prayed that the Pak-India border would be adorned with flowers and candles rather than barbed wires. However, today all of my hopes suddenly evaporated when I ...

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Pakistan’s love-hate relationship with the US

Once upon a time what united Pakistanis was hatred against India. Now the nation has set its sights higher: it is now the US that brings out the worst passions in us. India has quietly receded to the background despite the fact that it is busy building dams on rivers allotted to Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty and is massively upgrading its army’s arsenal. On the other hand, the US, which has come to our aid every time we started a needless conflict, has become enemy number one. Had the US not forced India to cease fire during the ...

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America loves me, America loves me not

It seems the world has moved on. While Europe is busy trying to save its drowning economies and make sure the Euro doesn’t fall, Middle Eastern states are basking in the light of Arab Spring. But almost a decade on, we are still floating in the abyss created by the war against terror. Let’s face it: Pakistan is a conundrum for the US. We are like the US’ illegitimate relationship which it cannot live with or without. Pakistan’s geopolitical value makes it a clinical yet irritable factor in this war against terror. What the US needs to understand is that it will ...

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Why we cannot win against the Taliban

The Islamic fundamentalists are on a slow path to victory. Faced with unsurmountable odds after 2001, nobody would have thought that this group of a few men would be able to stage such a comeback. It’s a funny thing, because many Taliban and Al-Qaeda commanders who are interviewed say that the fact that they are winning seems unreal to them. It sure is unreal – how can a small group with minimal access to advanced weaponry and technology, as compared to their enemies, be winning? The statistics are incredible; 80% of Somalia is under the control of al-Qaeda; 60% of ...

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