Ten years after his death, Bin Laden still haunts Pakistan

Children play cricket in a patch of scorched grass and scattered rubble in Abbottabad — all that remains of the final lair of the man who was once the most wanted person on the planet. It was in this Pakistani city that Osama bin Laden was killed in the clandestine “Operation Geronimo” raid by US […]

‘Scapegoat’: The lonely life of doctor who helped pinpoint Bin Laden

Dismissed as a traitor in Pakistan but lauded as a hero by the United States, Shakeel Afridi is paying a heavy price for his role in bringing an end to Osama Bin Laden. A decade after the Al-Qaeda chief was gunned down by a team of Navy Seals, there is no sign the doctor will […]

Roshan the camel brings books to homeschooling children in rural Pakistan

Plodding his way through the desert in remote southwest Pakistan, Roshan the camel carries priceless cargo: books for children who can no longer go to school because of coronavirus lockdowns. The school children, who live in remote villages where the streets are too narrow for vehicles, put on their best clothes and rush out to […]

For India’s poor, lockdown policing adds to pandemic hardships

Poor Indians are bearing the brunt of “pandemic policing” as the country struggles to contain a deadly second wave of COVID-19 cases by imposing stricter curfew rules and curbs on movement, rights advocates said. Hawkers, slum dwellers, food couriers and migrant workers are most likely to fall foul of lockdown rules – from fines for […]

Livin’ on a prayer: Champion Pakistan Koran reader in full voice

To master the art of Koran recitation, 21-year-old Hassan Ali Kasi had to follow a strict regime of yoga, hours of rehearsing vocal scales — and a total ban on biryani. His dedication is paying off, and he was recently named champion of an international online qari competition hosted by Afghanistan, where he was up […]

Crunch time: Indian snack spins feminist success story

The fairytale success of Lijjat Papad — a multi-million-dollar venture founded by seven women in a crowded Mumbai tenement in 1959 with seed capital of 80 rupees ($1.10) — belies its revolutionary feminist aspirations. The cooperative employs 45,000 women across India, offering them a job for life as “co-owners” of the enterprise, whose wafer-thin snacks […]

India’s desert salt farmers feel the heat from climate change

Roshni Thakor left school to harvest salt from a sun-baked Indian desert, a backbreaking trade practised by her ancestors for centuries but now threatened by climate change. For eight months every year, farmers toil in scorching heat to pump out briny water from handmade wells in a sparse corner of western Gujarat state. A tonne […]

Musician Baluji Shrivastav reveals the challenges vision-impaired artists face

AN INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed Indian musician has spoken about the difficulties faced by visually impaired artists, revealing his own struggles after he lost his sight when he was an infant. Award-winning performer Baluji Shrivastav has released 12 albums during his extensive career and has become known as one of the world’s leading composers and sitar players. […]

Army and the arts: How the military unites communities

by LAUREN CODLING WHEN you consider the arts and culture, do you think of the British Army? For many, the answer is probably no. But the military actively encourages engagement with the sector, with countless artists serving in the Army throughout its entire history. Lieutenant Colonel Wendy Faux is the British Army’s lead for arts […]

How Conan Doyle helped pardon wrongly convicted British Indian

by LAUREN CODLING THE real-life relationship between the author of the Sherlock Holmes novels and a wrongly convicted Indian solicitor has been explored in a new nonfiction book. Set in a village near Birmingham in the 19th century, The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer explores the true-life story of lawyer George Edalji and his relationship […]

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