Army Public School Peshawar – A story retold

Army Public School students on a field trip from the yearbook for the academic year 1999-2000. —Photo by authorOnce you enter the gates of the school, there is a long straight road ahead of you, with a playground to the right of the road and the school wall to the left. Perhaps it would not seem so long now, 13 years later.

In my mind’s eye, the length of the road remains the same, but I struggle to recall it without the images of little dead bodies superimposed over it.

It was library period. Class 7E walked single file down the corridor, past the auditorium, up a flight of stairs into wood-paneled doors. A library that was too cold and too dark, the librarian too forbidding.

Continue reading Army Public School Peshawar – A story retold

The one who gave their lives to save the children

Stand Up for Pakistan

Ms. Afsha Ahmed

Ms Afsha Ahmad“How can this Nation fail with such brave mothers and sisters.Heart touching and inspirational story. May Allah shower His Countless Blessings on this sisters and the ones for whom she laid her life and was burnt by barbarians”
Another pupil told how he watched his female teacher being burned alive as she courageously stood in the path of the terrorists and told her children to run for their lives.

Afsha Ahmed, 24, confronted the marauding gunmen when they burst into her classroom and told them: ‘You can only kill my students over my dead body.’

Continue reading The one who gave their lives to save the children

Pakistan’s hidden IS

Speaking to the Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI’s) three-day convention in Lahore, the ameer (chief) of the party, Sirajul Haq, told his followers that UK agents in Pakistan were trying to spread the propaganda that Jinnah had envisaged Pakistan to be a secular state. He went on to claim Jinnah had written a letter to Maulana Maududi promising an Islamic state. This is absolutely and completely untrue. There is no letter whatsoever that Jinnah ever wrote to Maulana Maududi. It is highly unlikely that Jinnah even knew of Maududi’s existence, who was at best a marginal character in the 1940s. Maududi had been highly critical, in language bordering on abusive, of Jinnah and the Muslim League but he was never considered enough of a nuisance for Jinnah to respond to Maududi’s scurrilous abuse.

This is not the first time the JI or others have ascribed pure hogwash to Mr Jinnah. In the 1980s they popularised a quote from Jinnah that Pakistan was going to be a laboratory of Islam, something he supposedly uttered during a visit to Peshawar’s Islamia College in January 1948. The only problem? Jinnah did not go to Peshawar in January 1948. This quote, however, has made it to our national consciousness through Zia’s Pakistan Studies curriculum. Others like Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani had taken to this posthumous Islamisation much earlier, referring to a letter Jinnah supposedly wrote to the Pir of Manki Sharif promising Sharia. Continue reading Pakistan’s hidden IS

Don’t weep for me, Mama

Don’t weep for me, MamaBy Halima Islam

“Mama, I sat there alone, trembling with fear that the men in the heavy black boots were coming for me next. Mama, I wanted to scream, cry, do everything in my control for you to come and save me but I knew they would turn their weapons on me. I wanted to save so many, falling around me, one by one, but I couldn’t move. I couldn’t move. And then it happened. I felt the warmth. I let the warm liquid ooze and I knew they had gotten me. I refused death, Mama. Death at the hands of these animals, I refused it. I tried. I tried the revival techniques I had been practicing in the first aid class just moments before, but they failed on me. I failed on me. I made a silent prayer. I asked God to save me. Mama, I begged you to come and save me, I even begged the man in those boots to save me —but no one came. I surrendered. Death was here but I didn’t feel it. I felt calm. Serenity that death wasn’t supposed to bring me, or so I had heard. I even felt myself smiling. Then I realized why. I’m happy to be departing from the world that left me to die at the hands of these monsters. I’m happy to be leaving a place that thought brutality was the solution to a ‘better world.’ What better world? Mama, it’s a lie. Don’t believe anyone that tells you there is humanity in this world. You have to believe me—look at what they did to your son. They’ll create a better world at the expense of many of us being slaughtered. Continue reading Don’t weep for me, Mama

Taliban – The origins

Taliban militants stormed an army public school in the northern city of Peshawar, killing over 100, including many young students. It is believed up to 10 militants took part in the attack, dressed as soldiers to first infiltrate the school’s grounds before beginning the attack.

While the details of the attack are forthcoming, the background of the Taliban and the persistent threat it represents is well established, though often spun across the Western media.  Continue reading Taliban – The origins

The cruelest man in American politics

Dick Cheney's grotesque legacy: Why the record is so much worse than reportedAs many of us wade through the horror of the Senate torture report, it’s hard not to think back to a time when the man who ran the country explained to us in plain language what he was doing. I’m talking about Vice President Dick Cheney, of course, the official who smoothly seized the reins of power after 9/11 and guided national security policy throughout his eight years in office. He was one of the most adept bureaucratic players American politics has ever produced and it’s his doctrine, not the Bush Doctrine, that spurred government actions from the very beginning. It was called the One Percent Doctrine and according to author Ron Suskind it went like this:

If there’s a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It’s not about our analysis … It’s about our response.

Or put another way: “It’s time to take the gloves off.”

Continue reading The cruelest man in American politics

Pakistan Army – Our last hope

Pakistan Army - Our last hopeAs I write this piece . I write this with a heavy heart that today as a Pakistani. My belief in the current political set up has been reduced to almost Zero. They continue fighting each other on seats, ministries , rigging, money , power and the post of Prime Minister Ship. What they are not seeing is that many of us are laying down our lives and are continue doing it each day for what? The question is For What? To keep them in power. To ensure rule of their posterity. To remove one from power and bring the next one in line in power. Is this the democracy which we have been promised as Pakistanis? Is this the democracy I want for our posterity ? NO!

People may say that its because of the past decisions that what is happening today holds valid. People may say that its because of the operation going on in Wazristan that Taliban are seeking their revenge. Some may say that its because of the operation going on in Afghanistan that we face what we face today. Some may even blame our Pakistan Army for starting the operation unilaterally. What these people who have the soft corner for these radicals twisted minded Muslims may never say is that these people have gone beyond of what you may claim as civilized human beings. Continue reading Pakistan Army – Our last hope

A failure from all sides

There are moments in life when everything loses its meaning and words become shallow. Today is that day when over 130 children, in a Peshawar school, were sacrificed for the political agenda of terrorists. It is not failure of just the state or intelligence agencies it is failure of all of us as a society. We are all responsible for this carnage regardless how much we try to convince ourselves to escape out of this guilt. I heard a father on a tv channel proudly saying that he is happy his son is a Shaheed today. There is no doubt that the kid is a Shaheed regardless whether he chose it or not. But what will we tell God when we are judged as fathers who fail to protect their kids from the wrath of criminals, butchers and terrorists. What justification we will provide for our inability to capture, prosecute and punish these criminals and their masterminds.

Tomorrow our politicians will gather in an All Parties Conference (APC) in Peshawar to issue condemnation of these acts; promise to fight terrorists till the end; and lay blame on some invisible hand that has conducted all these terrorists’ acts. They will make announcements to ensure medical treatment for the kids that are seriously injured and compensation for those that are dead. They will issue statements of condolence to the grieving families. Then they will all go home to their families that live in lavish houses and protected by hundreds of guards provided by the state. In few weeks all of us will forget Peshawar and get ready for condemnation for the next terrorist act that is bound to happen because the state and the nation fail to take concrete steps to apprehend and punish these criminals. Politicians that are in the government are busy in corruption of the highest order in the world and those in opposition are angry that it was their turn to be king and they have been deprived of it. Continue reading A failure from all sides

The underreported struggle of Sahrawi women

The underreported struggle of Sahrawi womenOn June 15, 2014 I witnessed groups of peaceful demonstrators beaten to the ground and forcefully moved off of the streets and followed to their homes. Most shockingly, a woman was punched in the face and moved off of the sidewalk into the path of oncoming traffic.

Every 15th of the month there is an organized nonviolent demonstration throughout the major cities of the occupied territories of Western Sahara: El Aaiún, Smara, Dakhla, and Boujdour. The largest demonstration is in El Aaiún on Smara Street, which is the most heavily populated city in the territories. This city is also where the most prominent and vocal activists live, notably Aminatou Haidar and Muhammad Dadash.

In preparation for the monthly demonstration, the Moroccan security forces line the length of Smara Street. Police officers keep one hand on their weapons, riot police are fully dressed in riot gear from head to toe, and multiple armored vehicles crowd the street corners of connecting streets and alleyways. Continue reading The underreported struggle of Sahrawi women

Forced conversions to Hinduism in India – banned on Christmas?

File photo of members of Hindu hardline group Bajrang Dal Police in India’s Uttar Pradesh state have said they will not allow Hindu nationalist groups to hold a religious conversion ceremony on Christmas Day.

Mohit Agarwal, senior police official in Aligarh town where the ceremony is planned, said “strict action” would be taken against the organisers.

Conversions are legal if they do not involve force, fraud or inducement.

Last week, more than 50 Muslim families were reportedly converted to Hinduism against their will in the town of Agra. Continue reading Forced conversions to Hinduism in India – banned on Christmas?