The British and Pakistani Armies: Sharing Both a Personal and Institutional Future

The long relationship between the British and Pakistani armies is transforming, from one based mostly on pomp, ceremony and personal friendships, to one based on shared strategic interests. The Pakistan Army can sometimes be more British than the British Army, at least when it comes to pomp and ceremony. Its cavalry officers have the best horses, and they play in the top polo competitions in Argentina and England; many of their sons go to Britain’s top boarding schools; and they even fashion their moustaches in the same manner as Field Marshal Herbert Kitchener. According to Carey Schofield in her book … Continue reading The British and Pakistani Armies: Sharing Both a Personal and Institutional Future

Pakistan: When blasphemy charges make no sense

If we thought we had seen the worst of what the blasphemy laws of this country could be used for, we really had not seen anything until the very unusual, very outrageous current case of as many as 68 lawyers being booked for the ambiguous ‘crime’ of committing blasphemy. In what can only be termed absurdity, the Punjab police has charged the largest number of people ever for a single blasphemy case after the same lawyers protested when one of their colleagues was detained by the police. Now, one wonders how a blasphemy case is applicable to a protest and … Continue reading Pakistan: When blasphemy charges make no sense

TTP’s ambiguities

The purported Taliban intention to hold talks with the government and the government’s desire to bring the talks to some logical conclusion have fallen flat owing to mismanagement and lack of trust between both the parties. The inevitability of the lack of trust cannot be argued about any further. The frustration of Chaudhry Nisar with the Taliban’s committee for its flip flop method of working out a peace deal has revealed the absence of common areas of interest between the government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Whatever has been done to appease the TTP by the government such as releasing its … Continue reading TTP’s ambiguities

How the US created, and lost, Afghan war

It was a typical Kabul morning. Malik Ashgar Square was already bumper-to-bumper with Corolla taxis, green police jeeps, honking minivans, and angry motorcyclists. There were boys sellingphone cards and men waving wads of cash for exchange, all weaving their way around the vehicles amid exhaust fumes. At the gate of the Lycee Esteqial, one of the country’s most prestigious schools, students were kicking around a soccer ball. At the Ministry of Education, a weathered old Soviet-style building opposite the school, a line of employees spilled out onto the street. I was crossing the square, heading for the ministry, when I saw the suicide … Continue reading How the US created, and lost, Afghan war

Waiting Game

While government negotiators distance themselves from talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a high-level meeting on Monday morning, chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif, agreed to formalise an agenda for a final push in talks with the terrorists, even as a series of attacks in Karachi and other parts of the country over the last two days left several people dead. An explosion killed three peace committee members in Landikotal on Sunday, while a small bomb exploded inside a Karachi seminary on Monday, killing three children. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar reportedly told the meeting that either the talks needed … Continue reading Waiting Game

Pakistan Army should be part of peace talks with TTP

 Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq suggested on Friday that army officials should be included in the peace process so that talks between the government and Taliban could be fruitful. Haq said that the both negotiating committees have no empowerment and they were working as messengers. The government and the army should give authority to the committees, he said, adding the failure (of the talks) will be a failure for Pakistan. Haq also said that there was no other option except peace talks with Taliban for restoring peace and eliminating terrorism from Pakistan. He said that the national economy has been destroyed and … Continue reading Pakistan Army should be part of peace talks with TTP

Taliban Ceasefire Over!

  Only three days after Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan informed the nation that the ‘peace talks’ with the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) were about to enter a “comprehensive” phase, the TTP has announced that it will not be extending the ceasefire. Considering how much time and effort the good minister spends defending terrorists before the people they routinely kill, they really ought to be more considerate towards him. He says that Islamabad is a safe city, and they bomb the capital within a week. He claims that the peace talks are about to enter the next level, and they decide against … Continue reading Taliban Ceasefire Over!

The business of religion

It is rather simple; when man is hushed into servitude, silenced from laughter, pleasure and inspiration, he will have nowhere to go but the worship house, the seminary of suppression. There is a distinct rawness to today’s modish brand of Islamic radicalism one just cannot reconcile with the antiquity and supposed perfection of the faith-based cosmos mankind has demonstrated its devotion towards for centuries. Man has not been made for the moment and neither has his history on earth been a rehearsal for some macabre epilogue written in authoritarian blood. This newfangled approach to institutionalised religion, where subjects are straitjacketed into submission to … Continue reading The business of religion

Baloch separatists follow Taliban footsteps

Baloch separatists have pierced the relative calm created by the banned Pakistani Taliban’s temporary end to hostilities by slaying innocents. The outlawed United Baloch Army (UBA) claimed responsibility for two terror attacks this month, the April 9 bomb blast in Islamabad’s fruit market, which killed at least 25 workers, and an attack the next day at a railway station in Sibi, in which 15 people lost their lives. The timing of the Sibi and Islamabad attacks is important as they were were carried out just as talks between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government and the Pakistani Taliban appeared to be making progress. … Continue reading Baloch separatists follow Taliban footsteps

Taliban leader goes missing in UAE

  Mutasim confirmed to be missing in the UAE. PHOTO: FILE ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan on Monday officially confirmed that a senior Taliban leader, Mullah Agha Jan Mutasim, who had started dialogue with Kabul-backed negotiators in Dubai, has been missing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). After a mysterious silence for nearly two weeks, the Afghan Foreign Ministry on Monday confirmed that Mutasim is missing. “The Afghan government confirms that Agha Jan Mutasim has disappeared in the UAE and we are talking to UAE senior officials to determine his fate,” the Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Shakaib Mustaghni said in Kabul. “The talks, unfortunately, have … Continue reading Taliban leader goes missing in UAE