Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

In Pakistan, a love story and the death of a family


He was a poor taxi driver with dark eyes and a soft voice. She was a wistful high school student dreaming of romance. They fell in love.

Now she’s dead and he’s afraid he will be soon. So he told me his story one day in a lawyer’s office in Peshawar. In case they get him, at least someone will know what happened, he said.

Muhummed Ihtisham met Nargis Bibi in the northern Pakistani town of Mardan. He was doing regular stints of work as a driver for her conservative Pashtun family. He was 25. She was 18. Looks were exchanged in the rearview mirror. He couldn’t stop thinking about her. They were never alone. Nargis got her little sister to bring him a love letter. It was the first of many. He got her a secret SIM card. They spent hours talking: about their families, the Bollywood movies she loved, plans for the future.

Then her mother found a letter. Ihtisham was banished and Nargis beaten severely.

In Pakistan, straw men have foreign hands

Let’s say you want to get an article published in Pakistan and have your audience nod sympathetically as they read through your argument. What do you do?

One option is to start by expressing outrage over drones, regardless of what your piece is about. You can strengthen your case by wrapping drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas (FATA) into a coherent narrative of U.S. militarism, seen at its worst in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, because as we know, it is impossible to have opposed the Iraq war and support drones – U.S. President Barack Obama being the most notable among the inconvenient exceptions.