Never Forget
Dec29

Never Forget

  16th December has to be one of the blackest days in Pakistan’s recent history. I remember sitting in a classroom at University the morning (around 10:00 am) of that day, chatting with some of my friends as we waited for our class to begin. My best friend was sitting next to me. He was checking out messages on his cell phone when he received the news, via sms, that terrorists had entered a branch of Army Public School in Peshawar. The look on my friend’s face changed from shock to concern as he read out the horrible news to us. The sms didn’t provide much detail of the incident. We knew, however, that this was a developing story and one we all hoped would end happily. This was not to be the case. In the afternoon, we received news that the terrorists had killed close to 30 children and a couple of people from the school staff. The army had begun its operation against the terrorists and was having some success. I had left my university around 3:30 pm and by the time I had reached home an hour or so later, the death toll had risen to over a 100. The most heartbreaking part of it was, of course, the killing of innocent children. After I had gotten home, i had turned on the TV to watch the media coverage of the incident. What I saw on the TV were scenes of chaos as concerned relatives were running around secured areas looking for their children among those who had been evacuated as soon as the terrorists had started their despicable activities. I moved on to another channel and there I saw relatives crying their eyes out over dead bodies and coffins. I clearly remember fighting back a flood of tears as I was watching this.   A scene from the media coverage of the incident. This is just one of many coffins over which parents were seen mourning.       The emotions at this time were in stark contrast to what they were when I had first heard the news. The shock and concern wasn’t as huge as it should have been, when I had first come to learn of the incident. It’s probably because we have become used to the constant flood of bad news and to scenes of injustice, cruelty and suffering, living in Pakistan. We have become desensitized to violence, especially, in cases where we aren’t directly affected by it. The suffering caused by the killing of sweet, innocent and joyful children or even the thought of it is enough, however, to cause...

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The Malala Conundrum

It was two years ago, on the 9th of this month that Malala Yousafzai was shot by a gunman from the Taliban. Malala survived the ordeal and since then her rise to global prominence and fame has been nothing short of meteoric and has culminated into her being awarded half of a Nobel Peace Prize on 10th October, 2014. The Nobel Peace Prize is just one of the many feathers that Malala has added to her cap since 2012. She has been the recipient of the Sakharov Prize and honorary degrees from Universities such as the University of Edinburgh and University of King’s College. She is perhaps the youngest person to address a UN assembly. The list of her accomplishments is long and diverse. It shows that Malala has been accepted by a large part of the world as an icon of peace and the struggle for the right of humans, particularly women and children, to education. Pakistan hasn’t readily or wholly accepted Malala as such because there are mixed views among the Pakistanis about her story and her struggle.   How many can say that they have rubbed shoulders with UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon or addressed a UN youth assembly. Malala’s confidence and accomplishments are indeed undeniable. Pakistan has been on the verge of economic, social and political instability for quite some time now. The conditions of Pakistan are such that a large section of its citizens suffer from trust issues. They think about the negative aspects of people and situations before the positive ones. The negatives are usually enough to deter them from even thinking about the positives. Malala’s story has been questioned by many people with this mindset. Some say that Malala’s story is fabricated and unverifiable (at least accurately) and it seems that her fame has been manufactured to serve a dark purpose. Multiple conspiracy theories with regard to the attack on Malala exist. The names of intelligence agencies such as CIA along with terrorist organizations as well as enemies of Pakistan have been added to the mix. Malala’s family is accused of being fame and money hungry and the activities of Malala’s father in promoting her daughter or her cause have not helped in dispelling such a notion. The western world is accused of using Malala to justify their war crimes (drone strikes and what not) in Muslim countries and promoting a bad image of the religion of Islam, a religion that Malala herself follows. Some people question how a 12 year old was able to write about issues which kids of similar ages and coming from similar conditions, don’t have a...

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To Those Who Gave Their Today For Our Tomorrow
Sep05

To Those Who Gave Their Today For Our Tomorrow

Our country is currently undergoing a great trial. Many citizens of this great country have assembled in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi to protest against the corruption that has plagued its administrative institutions since, probably, its inception. Corruption is only one of the multitude of problems – inflation, crime, a general shortage of resources and domestic terrorism – that we as a nation have to face almost on a daily basis. One problem that we remain relatively unaffected by, is that of the external threats to the peace and prosperity of this nation. We all know that we don’t have the best of relations with our neighbors (except for China maybe). India’s army is involved in skirmishes with the Pakistani army on the eastern border of the country multiple times a year. If it’s the Indian army on the East then we have a seemingly unending stream of invading terrorists from Afghanistan on the west. Why do so many others and I think that we are not affected by the aforementioned external threats as much as we are by events that are internal to the setup of the nation? It’s not entirely because most of us live far away from the borders since I happen to know people who live close to the borders and still feel the same way. We possess a sense of security and safety when it comes to the above mentioned external threats and in my opinion it’s simply due to the unwavering efforts of this country’s defense forces. It’s because of them that we have the freedom to worry about the other major problems plaguing the country. It’s because of them that we have the ability to call ourselves one of the fiercest and bravest nations in the world. It’s because of them that the nation has survived to this day and that we have a piece of land to call. Today, besides external security, the defense forces of the country are offering many services to the country’s citizens. The army has been responsible for developing basic infrastructure facilities in many cities across the country. The army has also been called upon many times to provide internal security against sectarian violence and domestic terrorism and to provide relief in case of disasters (earthquakes, floods etc.). The air force is reportedly in charge of protecting the country’s nuclear arsenal at the moment and has also played a large part in the growth of the aerospace and avionics industry within the country. The country’s navy has kept a low profile in comparison to the army and the air force. It has, however, made praise-worthy contributions to the...

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