Stories about war

Media and the national interest

When talking about the role of Pakistan’s media in the aftermath of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s killing in Abbottabad in a unilateral action, I recall English poet John Milton’s words: “When complaints are freely heard, deeply considered, and speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty attained, that wise men look for.” The role of our national media became very significant, not just after OBL’s death, but immediately after the 9/11 attacks, which changed public opinion not only in Pakistan, but also across the globe. In terms of the war on terror, the media has strengthened democratic ...

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We who fight monsters

Remember that last scene in the movie Titanic when the ship is sinking but the band of musicians carries on playing the song “Nearer My God to Thee”? It’s routinely cited to illustrate the utter imbecility of men blinded from the obvious. I have thought of it the same way — except, now, when I try to write these lines. Now, I really wish I could do what those men did. Detach myself from the situation and go on to talk about poetry, and point out the niceties of form and imagery. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed but ...

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Judge Khalida Rashid: A Pakistani to be proud of

She was a regular girl from  Peshawar who grew up to be appointed  president of an international tribunal for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. Khalida Rashid, who was recently appointed as the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, is a source of pride. Rashid was born in 1949 in Peshawar. She obtained her LLB degree from Khyber Law College, Peshawar in 1969 and her Masters in Political Science degree from Peshawar University in 1971. She was inducted in the NWFP (now Khyber-Pukhtunkhuwa) judiciary in 1974 as the first female Civil Judge. In 1979, she was promoted ...

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Mideast peace process: Hampered throughout history

The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal that concluded on April 27, 2011, was a good omen for the stalled Palestine peace process. Both factions displayed commitment to resolve the outstanding issues and reached an agreement on forming an interim government for holding of legislative and presidential elections. But the news of the resignation of George Mitchell as US Envoy in Middle East dashed the hopes of any progress on the peace front. Mitchell enjoyed the reputation of being a “tireless advocate” of peace, but his extraordinary skills failed in the face of Israeli obduracy. A few days ago, US President Barrack ...

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NY’s reaction to Osama’s death: The other side of extremism

Growing up in Lahore, the monsoon was my favourite season – those muggy, motionless afternoons when the air suddenly exploded into a river of orange rumbling down from the sky, leaving jungles in its wake. In the Bay Area, every balmy day of the year was beautiful except for the miserable characterless spluttering they called “rain.” In Ithaca, my favourite season was Autumn – a fire dance in the sky, bold and blazing, curling flames at your feet. And, in New York, it has to be spring, the teenage of nature, blooming poetry from every stem, every lilting branch a breathtaking ballet ...

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Peace in our times

I read two columns on the trot this morning – one by Ataul Haq Qasmi and the other by Nazir Naji – and ended up sadder than I already was. The fact is I try my best but there are times when what is happening around you just cannot be ignored. Such are the days we live in. The stunning incidents in Karachi have cast a pall of gloom and all kinds of apprehensions assail the people. Only the other day we saw Lt Yasir Abbas, a handsome youth, being lowered into a grave with military honours at a barren ...

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Indo-Pak relations: Back to normal

After the recent brouhaha over cricket diplomacy, it looks like India-Pakistan relations have again slipped into their comfort zone of allegations and counter allegations. Last month, as I saw Manmohan Singh and Yousaf Raza Gilani in Mohali, I was reminded of David Grey’s song “This year’s love had better last.” But then, in typical Ross and Rachel-esque fashion, statements by our diplomats have begun to resemble “We were on a break” and “No, we weren’t”. The fact that Osama Bin Laden died only complicated matters. Soon after the news of Bin Laden’s death spread, Indian news channels went into overdrive. Predictably enough, ...

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With or without Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden may have died on May 2, 2011, but his relevance to global jihad and war against terror had ceased the day al Qaeda got its first recruits. Today, not only the graduates of religious seminaries, but also the urban middle class youth in Pakistan and most Middle Eastern countries is steeped in radical ideas and us-against-them thinking. This, more than the hunt for Osama, should have been the cause of concern for the Coalition of the willing. With Osama gone, they’ll have Ayman al Zawahiri and after him, someone else. The top slots on their list of most-wanted men ...

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Women, war and the world

We have had the war on terror, the war on poverty, the war on racism, the war on drugs, the war on Islam, the war on piracy, the war on war, and finally, fledgling but fierce, the war on Express Tribune blogs. These are all proxy wars, phony wars, smokescreen wars which obscure the real conflict, much like a rant from Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho diverts our attention from his team’s failings after he’s lost a match. There is a real war to be fought. The big war. The only war. The war to usher in eternal peace for humankind. The war ...

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Some answers, please

So the world’s most wanted man is dead, terror in the world is a thing of the past, and everything will be all hunky-dory from here on. Or, has a new can of worms just opened up? Now is the perfect time to look back at the almost ten-year long Afghan War and re-examine the war on terror, specifically, the winners and losers. The United States has gotten rid of public enemy number one, and given Obama an unexpected popularity boost. However, with Osama bin Laden gone, a new face will have to be found for the enemy. For Pakistan, ...

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