West’s Mad Remix of West Asia

BY ROBERT FISK Borders are becoming a bit odd in the Middle East. They always have been, of course. Ever since Mark Sykes and François Georges Picot – the latter a former French consul in Beirut, by the way, who cost a lot of brave Lebanese their lives by his carelessness in sealing their anti-Ottoman […]

Abul Abbas [as-Saffah] takes command

Golden Mein With Abu Muslim’s forces in Kufa, Abbasids were poised to take over caliphate; however Syria remained the Omayyad stronghold. The Syrians sensing the danger collected under the Omayyad standard. With his son killed, caliph Marwan in a fit of rage killed not only the Abbasid nominee in contention to Omayyad caliphate, he deposed […]

‘Hard core’ Kashmiri girl flies high

 Interview She was 14 when she first dreamed of fly high. At 16, she became the youngest girl with Kashmiri origin to be awarded a Student Pilot License (SPL) from prestigious Bombay Flying Club. Now, 18, she has set her goal to achieve the Commercial Pilot License (CPL) at the earliest. On International Women’s Day, […]

Pakistan’s Bazaar Movement of 1977

BY TARIQ MAHMUD The month of March is a grim reminder of the events of 1977, which, in the ultimate, changed the course of the country’s history. What started as a protest by the combined opposition, the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA), against the results of the general elections, morphed into a virulent movement engulfing Pakistan’s […]

India: Driving into Disaster

BY PRAFUL BIDWAI ‘Scorched earth’ is the kindest phrase to describe the approach of the last budget (rather, vote-on-account) of India’s United Progressive Alliance in its inglorious second term. Finance Minister P Chidambaram savaged social-sector spending, cut productive capital expenditure by Rs1.5 trillion, and pampered the elite. He even made a 31-percent cut in the […]

An Earth Rights Law

BY BRIAN LOFFLER Once in a lifetime a truly game-changing event reshapes global society. Think back to 1833 when the British Parliament finally bowed to public pressure and the Slavery Abolition Act was passed. The writer speaks to Polly Higgins who is campaigning tirelessly to do for Earth Rights what the abolitionists did for Human […]

An Outcast in India, Pak History

BY JAWED NAQVI India’s feisty Dalit leader Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar scarcely finds place in our historical consciousness, having been airbrushed from much of the discourse about the freedom movement though he has been assigned the innocuous pedestal of the father of the Indian constitution. Ambedkar has been virtually deleted from the India-Pakistan debate as well […]

Did Pak Need the US, or Vice Versa?

  BY SHAHID JAVED BURKI Pakistan, ever reliant on external financial assistance, faces a very different international situation as the government headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif heads towards completing its first year in office. It would be helpful to recall history a little bit in order to understand the external environment in which the […]

Welcome to Wonderland

BY FARHANA QAZI Visiting Kashmir was like slipping down the rabbit hole. Like Alice, who was surprised by talking birds and beasts in Wonderland, I discovered a floating vegetable garden, a palace named after fairies called Pari Mahal, houseboats gliding along Dal Lake, and royal gardens. Kashmir’s untouched beauty captured Western imagination. Known as “the […]

Fallacious ‘Choice’ Argument in GM Crops Issue

BY COLIN TODHUNTER There is currently a battle waging across the planet over genetically modified (GM) crops. It seems like not a month goes by when a new report is released on the health, environmental or productivity aspects of GM organisms. The GM biotech industry tries to assure governments and the public about the safety […]