Posted by Raza Rumi
Baloch children hold up nationalist posters. Photographs by Asim Hafeez for The National
Islamabad’s brutal attempts to crush ethnic Baloch nationalism have met with fierce, escalating resistance – and have laid bare the strains that threaten the founding idea of Pakistan. Madiha R Tahir reports from the rallies, homes and hospital rooms of the fifth Baloch rebellion.
A child is fiddling with a poster of a mustachioed man, a missing political worker who may be his father or his uncle, and who is in all likelihood, dead. He draws my immediate attention, this child, because out of the thousands seated around him in row upon neat row inside the open-air tent, he is the only one not focused on the stage, the blazing lights, the young man holding forth in angry punctuated bellows. Continue reading
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi talked with The Newsweek about operation against the Taliban, drone strikes and their effectiveness, as well as the new round of strategic dialogue with the United States. The interview is a pleasant read, and Mr. Qureshi comes across as diplomatic yet candidly clear in his message. His assertion that Pakistan only started winning the war when Pakistani took ownership of the war is quite possibly the single most important determinant why the tables finally turned in this conflict. He uses the term the Silent Surge to describe Pakistan’s Army drive to root out the militants from FATA area. We can all agree that Pakistan’s silent surge is working; though it took thousands of civilian and military lives before Pakistan finally started getting an upper hand in the war against the militants.
It was less than a year ago when Swat was run over by the Taliban. They were rampaging through our northern areas and Pakistan seemed paralyzed. Yet this was also the first instance when Pakistan rose to defend itself as nation against its own elements that wanted to rule over it in the name of Islam. For the first time, Pakistanis refused to yield to the religious blackmailing that had gone really out of hand. For as much as Pakistan is responsible for its own mess, Pakistan looked inwards, and steeled itself that it will no longer be defined by the extreme religion that Pakistan was becoming synonymous with. For our resolve and sacrifices by our soldiers and the civilians, we should be thankful and feel proud as a nation.
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, Democracy, FATA, India, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Taliban, USA, War On Terror