Owen writes for the London Review of Books and has a column in Pakistan’s leading newspaper Dawn. You can find links to a selection of his articles, radio documentaries and TV films below.




The future of the BBC

December 20, 2018

Depending on how one defines the BBC’s purpose, its licence fee income of £3.8 billion is either too much or not enough. In a world dominated by Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, it’s ever harder for the BBC t…

Gerry Adams

November 16, 2017

Historians of Northern Ireland have plenty of material to work with. A book called Lost Lives (2001) records the lives and deaths of each of the 3720 people who were killed during the Troubles. Fighters, activists, offic…

North Waziristan

March 8, 2017

For over a decade the inaccessible and mountainous tribal area of North Waziristan was home to a swirling array of violent jihadists. The Pakistan and Afghan Taliban movements, al-Qaeda and less well-known militant outfi…

Silk letter plot

December 8, 2016

A CENTURY ago, in British-ruled Multan, the Punjab authorities detained a messenger by the name of Abdul Haq. He had travelled from Kabul with three yellow silk letters sewn into the lining of his coat.

Military and the clerics

March 3, 2016

On 4 October 1954 Pakistan’s army chief General Ayub Khan passed the hours of a sleepless night at the Dorchester Hotel in London writing ‘A Short Appreciation of Present and Future Problems of Pakistan’. It ran to 2500…

The man who negotiated peace in Northern Ireland

January 22, 2015

There is a sentence in Jonathan Powell’s Talking to Terrorists: How to End Armed Conflicts that raises intriguing questions about how the Northern Ireland peace process got underway.​* ‘Martin McGuinness,’ Powell writes,…

The efficacy of violence

December 19, 2013

As they fled Afghanistan after 9/11 some of bin Laden’s followers wondered whether the attacks on the US had been a mistake. Among them was one of al-Qaida’s most acerbic writers, Abu Musab al-Suri. In public he backed b…

The murder of Benazir Bhutto

December 6, 2012

In her posthumously published book, Reconciliation, Benazir Bhutto named a man who she believed had tried to procure bombs for an unsuccessful attempt on her life in Karachi in October 2007.

Blasphemy and the Governor of Punjab

November 11, 2012

A documentary-drama set in Pakistan about the assassination of the Governor of Punjab over his stance on the blasphemy laws.