Authors Posts by Mark Mistry

Mark Mistry

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At the time of writing, Lebanon’s politicians are once again poised to elect a new President. But political intrigue has given way to paralysis, which means the country has now gone without a figurehead for a record amount of time. But while lawmakers ponder, public services continue to deteriorate and the country’s refugee crisis has now become ‘too great a burden’. Mark Mistry takes a closer look at the immediate issues following a recent trip to Beirut.

While children play in the capital’s trendy al-Hamra district, seemingly oblivious to their disheveled clothing and displaced existence, their mothers, sick with worry about the origin of their next meal, keep a sombre vigil. They are among the four million refugees fleeing the conflict in neighboring Syria, according to the latest UN figures. Destitute Syrians dot downtown Beirut, desperately trying to coax coins from passing tourists. Locals are rarely forthcoming – the complexities of Lebanon’s war-torn past has long removed any semblance of sympathy that might prevail. Syrian troops left Lebanon ten years ago. Bullet holes still pock-mark the buildings

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Six months after the formation of Afghanistan’s National Unity Government, security remains the number one concern in Kabul. But while relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have improved, internal divisions threaten the weak coalition. Mark Mistry assesses the status quo.

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani at a meeting in Panjshir Province, Afghanistan on July 5, 2011. (Photograph by S.K. Vemmer/Department of State) Numerous attacks over the past few weeks have signalled the beginning of the traditional summer ‘fighting season,’ with the Taliban making its presence felt throughout the country. Scores have been killed and injured, including in the capital, Kabul, where the remaining expatriates cower behind their blast walls and obey the strict instructions of their security advisers not to venture outside. For citizens, life is bleak, with the United Nations reporting 2014 as the deadliest since it began recording civilian

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As the country reels from the massacre in Peshawar, MA Mistry assesses whether peace will ever prevail in Pakistan given the lack of unity between civilian and military leaders.   “Attacks on civilians are a sign of weakness, they are not sign of strength. Who but a coward kills people in a volleyball field? Children! For God’s sake, is that the depths in which we have fallen?” Remarks made by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani at Chatham House in London, two weeks before the most deadly attack on Pakistani soil, which claimed the lives of more than 130 children. The return

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One month on from Scottish referendum UK citizens are no clearer about what further devolution in the wake of the ‘No’ vote might look like. The No camp won by 10 percentage points (55-45), but the Prime Minister’s play of hitching future devolution in Scotland to the so-called English question, (with the rather unfortunate acronym of EVEL – English votes for English laws) means that there is still no agreement between the three main Westminster parties on the details on offer of further devolution to Scotland. David Cameron’s move earned him a rebuke from the Financial Times, which declared in

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Knife-edge polls between Yes and No mean it remains unknown whether or not people living in the United Kingdom will wake up on Friday to find the union is no longer. Scotland is within a whisker of voting for self-determination from the UK, breaking a union lasting more than 300 years. This is an extraordinary moment in UK politics that – whatever the outcome – will usher in a period of political and constitutional uncertainty never seen before. Beginning our special focus on Scotland’s referendum, The Kashmir Walla’s Mark Mistry reports from ground. A huge banner in support of an

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The UK House of Commons debate on Kashmir took place against the sombre background of a flooding in India and Pakistan coupled with the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11. Liberal Democrat David Ward MP, whose Bradford East constituency includes a sizeable Pakistani community, secured the debate to the apparent consternation of the Indian High Commission. Mr Ward opened the discussion by recognising the destruction caused by the floods. He said: “Much of the area either side of the line of control has been devastated. The press reports that are coming in paint a grim picture.” For the most part the debate

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Dead bodies being carried away from the site of a suicide attack on the Indian consulate in Herat in May.   Away from the ballot box, the bullet still rules in Afghanistan. A recent attack on Kabul airport has renewed fears over the capital’s vulnerability at a time when swathes of Helmand have returned to Taliban control. Meanwhile, across the border in Pakistan, the Army’s media wing continues its positive tone despite widespread acknowledgement that its air and ground operation, Zarb-e-Azb, against militants in North Waziristan Agency, began after many it sought to snare had made good their escape. Pakistan’s

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A student in Kashmir protesting against Israel and in support of Gaza outside the UN office in Srinagar on Monday. Photograph by Shahid Tantray   The Israeli air assault on Gaza in response to the killing of three teenagers by as yet unidentified perpetrators has sparked protests around the world, with thousands marching in London, Oslo and Paris in recent days. Away from the gaze of international media, hundreds of Kashmiris have been adding their voices in consecutive days of protest at the continued bombardment, which has caused more than 160 deaths (at the time of writing). Around three quarters

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