We all must have heard this saying at least once in a childhood, but still this culture of book reading is dying. The present generation has completely lost this important virtue partly due to their ignorance and partly due to their unwillingness.

These are some facts, which speaks volume of our wrong priorities. Although these facts are about America only but still it may gives you some idea of where your country stands.

  • • 33% of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
  • • 42% of college graduates never read another book after college.
  • • 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
  • • 70% of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
  • • 57% of new books are not read to completion.


These statistics show that people usually cram their course books only to pass their grades, and never try to expose themselves to more knowledge. We have neglected the importance of books, and have replaced them by TV unfortunately. Book reading benefits a persons in dozens of ways, some of them are explained below, which will explain the need of resurrecting the book reading culture.

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero


Book reading broaden our horizons. Instead of just cramming course books when we look out to gather more knowledge from other books we find a whole new world yet to be discovered. It exposes ourselves to new facts and figures especially those which may speak against our own established concepts. It makes you aware of the other view points as well.

It helps you in thinking out of the box. Suppose if you are a Pakistani or Indian who only watches his own country’s media, then how can you get aware of other country’s view and stance? You will always believe only in what your own media feeds you.Pew Research Center after conducting a research reached to this conclusion that most of the Americans know either little or nothing about Islam. So in this situation if the media will show them only the negative side of Islam how can they come to know the other side of the image? The books will enlighten you and help you in getting firsthand knowledge of everything even without the censorship of media.

  “The man who does not read has not no advantage over the man who can not” —Mark Twain


Books may instill in yourselves creativity and you may not be able to see the world in the same way again. Everyday dozens of fictional books gets published; each contains unique and creative ideas.

York University researchers say that getting yourselves surrounded by the characters, of the novel or book reading, help your brain in understanding other people’s situations better. They make you to see the World through other person’s perspective.


Reading can help you relax. One 2009 study by Sussex University researchers showed that reading may reduce stress by as much as 68 percent.”It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination,” cognitive neuropsychologist David Lewis told The Telegraph.

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”
― Socrates

The above mentioned benefits are enough to make you realize the importance of book reading, however some may argue that they don’t find enough time to read, for those I am going to mention some famous personalities who also read. If they can read you also can read. At least you are not busier than these people!

YES! You are right, its Bill Gates.His favourite book is Far Cry and in one of his interviews he told that he reads over an hour every night

In 2016 Obama made public the books he was going to read that summer, these were


Mark Zuckerburg had in fact made a resolution for 2015 that he would read a book every two weeks, but after the birth of his daughter he finds it difficult to complete his resolution.However he still devout a good amount of time to book reading.

Besides this, almost every world leader reads books. If till this age you have not started reading books, then start form today. Take the initiative and explore the World.




Since partition was held in 1947, Kashmir issue has still remained an apple of discord between India and Pakistan. Kashmir issue has been continuously threatening the stability of the region, a region which is home to three nuclear-armed countries Pakistan, India and China. UN has miserably failed in addressing this issue as her resolutions have till now remained unobserved and unimplemented.

Since India gobbled up Kashmir against the wishes of Kashmiris, she has been trying to hush up their voices by overt and covert plans. One factor which has continuously perturbed India the most is the Kashmir’s Muslim Identity – since the majority is of Muslims. Thus India has been trying her level best to erode Kashmir’s this identity.

The effort to turn Jammu and Kashmir into a Hindu majority state is fueled by the intention to influence the UN-supervised referendum, this effort has drawn fire from the Kashmiris as well as the Pakistani Government.

Basically, IHK is home to 12.5 million people and is divided into three administrative divisions namely- Jammu, Kashmir valley and Ladakh. Earlier there were 14 districts, which were increased to up to 22 in 2006. In terms of distribution of religious groups, out of these 22 districts, there are 17 Muslim-majority districts-ten in Kashmir, six in Jammu and one in Ladakh, three Hindu-Majority districts and one Buddhist-majority district.

The table below shows that the Muslim population in IHK is nearly the same as that in 1961.Per contra, the Muslims population in India has increased from 10.70% in 1961 to 14.23% in 2011. Several factors have contributed to the declination of the Muslim population in Kashmir. However, the slaughtering of Muslims carried out on a large scale is considered as the important reason behind this.

The Muslim population from 1947 to 2011 in IHK

In addition to this, the setting of non-state subjects in IHK has also contributed to the declination of the Muslim population. The settlement of non-state subjects in Jammu from India was started since 1947, however, earlier these nefarious designs were kept under wrap.The table below shows the decline of the Muslim population in several districts of Jammu division.

The Muslim population in some districts of Jammu Division

The BJP-PDP government has announced the construction of Sainik colonies, in which retired army soldiers will be settled. The entrance of these retired soldiers will help in increasing the Hindu population in the region as well as in keeping Muslims under the thumb. The settling of colonies for the Indian Army is in complete violation with the Fourth Geneva Convention. Under Article 49 of the fourth Geneva Convention, the occupying force cannot transfer her civilians to the occupied land under any condition. Besides this, this is against moral and ethical values as well, to turn a particular religion’s followers from the majority into a minority. Apart from this, Indian Government has also started issuing domiciles to the West Pakistan refugees (WPRs) as well. The (WPRs) estimated to be between 250,000-500,000 are those nonmuslims who had migrated from West Pakistan to IHK during partition in 1947.

As another attempt to alter the demography of IHK, BJP Government has started returning the Kashmiri pundits to IHK under the pretext of their pitiful condition and the need for a permanent settlement. The returning of pundits which are estimated to be one lakh is severely denounced by the Hurriyat leaders and Kashmiris as an effort to achieve India’s nefarious plans. It should be noted that settling Hindu pundits in Kashmir is one thing but making efforts to make them Kashmir’s permanent citizen is another thing.

Indian Government has also planned to lease out land in Jammu and Kashmir to outsiders to start industrial development. In this way, the outsiders will become the direct stakeholders of Jammu and Kashmir and any threat to their business will become the direct concern of Indian government.

Policies aimed at changing Kashmir’s Muslim identity have created palpable fear among the Kashmiri youth. The 2008 uprising also occurred following the agreement which was reached between Central Government of India and IHK Government to transfer 99 acres of Kashmir Valley’s forest land to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board to set up temporary shelters and facilities for Hindu pilgrims. Inevitably, these Indian policies will meet more resistance in future as well.

Instead of subjugating the Kashmiris and devising new plans to do so, India should focus on resolving this issue by holding a UN-supervised plebiscite. India must give Kashmiris their basic right to choose which country to accede with-India or Pakistan, otherwise, Kashmiris will themselves snatch away their fundamental right from India. Until and unless Kashmir issue gets resolved, achieving peace and stability in South Asia is a mere dream and nothing else.

About the columnist:

Kashif Mirza is a Law student from Pakistan & a current amateur political analyst and observer covering domestic as well as international news. Kashif Mirza can be reached on facebook at





The Kashmir is famous partly because of her still the ongoing tragedy and partly because of her resilience. The tragedy is that since 1947 when Sub Continent got divided into countries namely India and Pakistan, Kashmir has been into the state of nowhere. She has still not succeeded in getting freedom – not from the Britishers ironically from India.

Historically the state of Jammu and Kashmir was sold by English to Gulab Singh for just 75 Lakh Royal Coins. At that time Jammu and Kashmir constituted of 84471 square miles, it was sold at the price of 155 rupees square mile. At the time of partition, Kashmir was ruled by a Dogra King Hari Singh. The dogras ascended to the throne after the last Sikh war of 1856.Dogra Kings were infamous for their extravagant expenditure and so was the case with Hari Singh

Hari Singh ascended to the throne in 1925. His extreme inclination towards luxuries could be understood by this fact that on his coronation ceremony he spent nearly 25 lakh rupees. He himself wore diamonds earrings and was generous enough to clad his elephants with rubies and pearls as well.

In 1919 when his uncle Pratap Singh decided that his nephew Hari Singh should go to visit Europe, Hari Singh is said to have moved with a vault of nearly $4,000,000.From there he went to Paris and it was since then onwards his name started to appear in the news headlines. In 1921 a scandal arose which moved Hari Singh from head to toe. A prostitute in Paris had started blackmailing Hari Singh and to keep her mouth shut he managed to pay her £300,000. However, by then the scandal had already hit the headlines. In 1924 this scandal resulted in court proceedings in which the Indian Government intervened and tried her level best to get Hari Singh out of the case. At last as a last resort, the Indian Government managed to arranged for him to be referred as Mr “A”. But this wasn’t over. When he returned his Uncle Pratap, banished him to a remote jungle estate for six months to perform rituals acts of penance and humiliation.In penance for his misconduct, he got his moustache shaved.

However, when the years of partition began to come near, the situation got tensed in Sub Continent. The whole of the subcontinent was to be divided into India and Pakistan on the basis of Two Nation Theory. The princely states which were alarmingly 570 in numbers were giving the choice of joining either Pakistan or India or to remain neutral. Almost every princely state made a quick decision except KASHMIR and the price of which Kashmiris have been still paying.

During the year of Partition, almost every princely state either boarded on Indian ship or Pakistani. However, the case of Hyderabad and Junagadh is much different. The Nizam of Hyderabad was a Muslim but the majority of his subjects were Hindus, comprising 85% of the total population. The Nizam of Hyderabad remained neutral and wanted to keep his state independent. However, India keeping this in mind that the majority is comprised of Hindus, launched Operation Polo in September 1948 in order to invade and accede Hyderabad into the Dominion of India. The Indian Army crushed the Nizam’s private army called Razakars, which resulted in the killing of thousands of people mainly including Razakars. Similar was the case of Junagadh which was ruled by the Muslim King having a Hindu majority. The difference was this that the Junagadh’s ruler wanted to accede to Pakistan but was subjugated by the use of force from the Indian side.

Coming back to Kashmir where Hari Singh had given no indication of given up his state’s independence. In may 1947 when Lord Mountbatten met him and showed him “ instrument of accession under Independence of India Act 1947 “ he gave no consent. A Hindu King with more than 95% Muslim subjects was still dreaming of an independent state like the Nizam of Hyderabad. Hari Singh’s silence started to create mayhem thus Mohammad Ali Jinnah decided to meet him under the pretext of visiting the beautiful valley to recover his health. Mohammad Ali Jinnah shocked to learn that Hari Singh doesn’t want him in Kashmir even as a visitor. This made Mohammad Ali Jinnah suspicious of Hari Singh’s possible moves. In the early hours of October 24, 1947, the invasion began as the thousands of Tribal Pushtoons pushed their way forward into Kashmir to capture the more the area they could to pressurise the Dogra King. The Pakistani government upheld that it was the decision of native tribal pashtoons to enter Kashmir and it has nothing to do with Pakistani Government oo Army. However Stanley Wolpert in his book “The Jinnah of Pakistan” asserted that this invasion was not an isolated attack rather it was backed by Pakistan Army. However, even if it was an Army-backed operation, It was India which first set the precedent of using force to annexe other states into her dominion like in the case of Hyderabad and Junagadh.

As the troops marched forward, Mohra power station which was the only power station in Kashmir was burnt down. The Srinagar palace of Hari Singh where he was celebrating Dussehra, plunged into darkness. Realising the intensity of the situation, Singh took no time to flee Srinagar.

With a convoy of 85 vehicles, loaded with everything he could take with himself, he rapidly left Srinagar. It is also said that the convoy included 8 fully loaded trucks as well which carried the asset of almost 500 crores from Srinagar to Jammu. Hari Singh by then realised that his prolonging of making any decision has worsened the situation. He immediately made his connection to India to ask for help. India, putting this fact behind how they integrated Hyderabad into her dominion only because the majority was Hindu, retaliated rapidly. On October 26, 1947, Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession and thus the fate of Kashmiris was sealed. On October 27, 1947, India’s 1st Sikh Batallion reached Srinagar and thus the ambush between the Indian forces and Tribal Pushtoons started. When Mohammad Ali Jinnah learnt that Indian Army has landed in Srinagar, he ordered his British commander-in-chief General Sir Douglas Gracey to send two battalions to Kashmir, the order which Gracey refused to obey.

The situation was tensed, a state consisting of more than 95% Muslim population was thus going to be captured by India on the verge of weapon, against the basis of partition – which was Two Nation Theory. Mohammad Ali Jinnah could not just stand and watch this injustice since his own Commander in Chief had refused to comply with his orders, Mohammad Ali Jinnah kept supporting the infiltration into the Kashmir as he had always regarded Kashmir as an essential part of Pakistan.

Finally, a UN ceasefire was arranged. Both the countries agreed to comply with the terms of resolution and the resolution was brought into effect at the end of 1948.However, till now, Kashmir has proved to be an apple of discord between India and Pakistan. Today India controls Jammu and Kashmir while Azad Kashmir and the northern territories known as Gilgit-Baltistan is controlled by Pakistan. Pakistan and India till now have fought 3 full-fledged battles with each other over the Kashmir conflict. Dozens of standoffs and skirmishes over the LOC were also mainly linked with Kashmir conflict, but still, the problem lies exactly where it was in 1947.

Pakistan’s stance regarding Kashmir is a principled stance i.e India cannot subjugate Kashmiris against their will. Thousands of Kashmiris have been till now killed, abducted, tortured, blinded and snatched off from their basic right of freedom of expression. Pakistan has at every forum tried to show the World India’s real image but the UN is either unable to pull the reins of India or she herself has turned away her face from this injustice. The right of self-determination is the fundamental right of Kashmiris. India must understand that Pakistan will not leave her Kashmiri brothers alone and will counter India at every possible way. India should realise that Pakistan will not move an inch from her stance and will continue helping her Kashmiri brothers in retaliating the Indian atrocities. Until and unless India holds a plebiscite in Kashmir and gave them their basic right of self-determination, South Asia will remain unstable.


About the columnist:

Kashif Mirza is a Law student from Pakistan & a current amateur political analyst and observer covering domestic as well as international news. Kashif Mirza can be reached on facebook at





Nentanyahu’s brain behind the Trumpacy

From the moment Trump descended the escalator in the foyer of the garish, gold-themed lobby of Trump Tower to announce his candidacy on 16 June 2015 – to the moment he was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, he has taken almost every position on both sides of every issue.

This is a politician like no other before him. Trump is anchored to no ideology, theology, philosophy or policy.

Trump is shaping himself to be a less thinking, more incoherent, more reckless version of Bush. He is a boat without a rudder, a human being without a moral compass – unless, of course, he sees a great, big pile of cash waiting for him at the end of the tunnel.

Thus trying to predict the foreign-policy direction of a guy who on one hand says he wants to “bomb the shit” out of the Middle East, and then on the other, says he wants America to retreat from the world – putting “America first” – has befuddled national security experts about what it is we are dealing with here and inside the Oval Office. Making Israel great – again. We are now at the end of the first week of his presidency, and we now finally have a view to the kind of president Trump is going to be, and it’s a presidency those in the Middle East are all too familiar with – Trump is George W Bush redux. Nay – Trump is shaping himself to be a less thinking, more incoherent, more reckless version of Bush. In fact, his first handful of executive orders suggests Trump will be Bush on steroids – a nastier, more brutish and imbecilic version of the guy who set the Middle East on fire and crashed the entire financial universe.

Making Israel Great;                                  

On the day of Trump’s inauguration, apartheid Israel, seemingly embolden by the end of the Obama presidency, announced plans to build another 500 illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem – openly flouting last month’s UN resolution to bring Israel into compliance with international law, norms, and the Fourth Geneva Convention. Two days later Trump and Netanyahu spoke over the phone. While we don’t know the details of that call, other than discussions regarding Netanyahu’s coming visit to the White House, we can assume apartheid Israel was given the green light to annex the West Bank. On Monday, Israel announced it would now go ahead and build a further 2,500 illegal settlements in the occupied territories. While apartheid Israel’s settlement enterprise didn’t halt during the Obama years, the settler population grew more slowly under Obama (25 percent growth) than it did under Bush (35 percent growth).

A Trump-Netanyahu détente promises a return to the Bush boom days for the settler movement, especially given that Trump’s choice for US ambassador to Israel supports Israel’s illegal annexation of the West Bank. Moreover, Trump promises to go further to Israel’s right than Bush ever dreamed of. Trump has restated his promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem, a move every US president, until now, has refused to make.

No other country has placed its embassy in Jerusalem for the fact it legitimises Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and violations of international law. Driving terror Trump also intends to overturn Obama’s “War on Terror” reforms, and restore Bush’s flagrant violations of human rights and international law. Trump’s foreign policy and counterterrorism strategies, which mimic and exceed those of Bush, serve no other purpose than to sate his racist, white nationalist and Christian Zionist base.

Clearly, Trump is returning to the Bush era contraventions of the Geneva Convention – and norms and rules that govern the lawful way in which states should prosecute war. Not only have Bush-era counterterrorism policies – specifically rendition and torture – been repudiated by numerous US military leaders, who have described these programmes as “illegal, immoral, and damaging to nationals security,” they’ve also been used as a major propaganda narrative, helping drive thousands of recruits into the waiting and welcoming arms of the Islamic State (IS), al-Qaeda, and various other militant elements. It was experiencing torture in Egypt’s prisons that drove both Sayeed Qutb, the founder of modern jihadism, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the co-founder of al-Qaeda.

It was suffering torture at the hands of the US military at Camp Buca and Abu Ghraib that drove al-Baghdadi and his IS co-founders, too. The Trump administration has also announced it intends to place a “temporary ban” on all visa applications from citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries – including Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. A ban on Muslim immigration is a cornerstone of Trump’s counterterrorism policy, but the fact Saudi Arabia is conspicuously absent from Trump’s list of Muslim countries demonstrates how the policy is rooted only in racism – an appeal to his most anti-Muslim supporters.

The most catastrophic terrorist attack ever carried out on US soil – the 9/11 attacks – were carried out by 15 Saudi citizens, thus underscoring the practical futility, and race-laden sentiment of such a policy. Ultimately, Trump’s foreign policy and counterterrorism strategies, which mimic and exceed those of Bush, serve no other purpose than to sate his racist, white nationalist and Christian Zionist base.

“It’s red meat for xenophobes and arsenic for the rest of us”.

Dedicated to a respectable novelist:

About the columnist:

Malik Asif is a Law student from Pakistan & a current amateur political analyst and observer covering domestic as well as international news. Malik Asif can be reached on Twitter at: @Malikasif678