Public Opinion

A deadly narrative

As one reflects on how extremist ideas have flourished in Pakistan over the past couple of decades, some of the narratives that went unquestioned have played a big role. The pace and intensity of extremist views in justification of violence and thinly veiled support of terrorism within the country and abroad have increased significantly with the American-led intervention in Afghanistan. ...

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It’s now or never

Pakistan is in mourning. December 16, 2014 saw the worst, the most brutal, and the most heartbreaking terror attack in the bloodied history of Pakistan. Men armed with guns and grenades entered the Army Public School in Peshawar, and unleashed a bloodbath that does not have any parallel in the recent history of terrorism. Anywhere. On December 16, Pakistan’s heart ...

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Development on the back burner again

In the aftermath of the Peshawar school tragedy, the prime minister (PM) has formed a new committee tasked to work out how to divert an, as yet, unspecified amount of funds earmarked for development purposes towards improving the national security situation. After presiding over a long security meeting at the GHQ, the PM has apparently directed his party’s leadership to ...

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Social media activism matters

It may sound hyperbolic to say this, but here goes: the battle for the soul of Pakistan’s political future will be won or lost just as much on Facebook and Twitter as it will on the streets. It has by now become cliche for there to be social media outrage at the many everyday horrors that pass for routine life ...

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Unhappy New Year

For what else is it when 150 schoolchildren and their teachers, and by-standers, are cruelly murdered by monsters in the garb of human beings bang smack in the middle of Peshawar Cantonment, in broad daylight, just 15 days before 2015 dawned? Whilst we have seen women and children die before in the hundreds in other wanton attacks on the innocent ...

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Busy doing nothing

Those intent on bombing Pakistan back to the Stone Age — the Taliban — must have rubbed their hands with glee at the government response to the slaughter at the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16. And that response was? Form a committee. Moreover, don’t just form one committee… form 16 and then bring everything together under the ...

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Seeking purpose

One cold winter day, on the streets of Washington DC, steps away from the White House, there was a park filled with over five dozen members of the homeless community. I entered Franklin Square Park with a group of volunteers, bringing lunch bags and food to distribute amongst them. The lunch bags comprising a sandwich, granola bar, fruit and water ...

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Win the war not just the battle

It seems that Pakistan is set on the path of becoming a country where all critical decisions will be either taken or influenced by the military, and the civilian leadership will merely fill in the blank or be the guinea pig to go after when someone is needed to blame. The security apparatus might as well be in charge since ...

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Countering the terror menace

Ten days after the ghastly attack on the military-run school, Pakistan’s prime minister (PM) finally appeared on national television and announced a set of measures that reflect the civil-military consensus on the country’s counterterrorism strategy. After a national outpouring of grief, anger and global shock in the wake of the Peshawar attack, the government had no choice but to appear ...

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The fruits of democracy

We used to get nascent democracy out of a dying dictatorship. Now we are about to get military courts courtesy the new democratic model. Various measures, including military courts, are being sold to us in the name of special circumstances. The only real justification we actually have is the fear of reprisals by terrorists against civilian judges. True. There are ...

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