Category Archives: North-West Frontier Province

The Battle for Pakistan: Dir

Dir Manzoor Ali’s excellent paper published here

Spread over 2,040 square miles in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), Dir is fertile and picturesque, producing wheat, barley, and fruits and covered in fir, pine, and walnut trees. However, the terrain is craggy and inhospitable, and most of the population lives in the remote valleys and mountains that dot the district. Like neighboring Swat, Dir was a “princely state” until 1969, when the district was formally merged into the NWFP. Formerly a single district within the NWFP, Dir was divided into two districts — Upper and Lower Dir — in 1996.

Upper Dir is divided into five administrative units, or tehsils, called Dir, Barawal, Kohistan, Wari and Khall, while Lower Dir is divided into six: Timergarah, Balambat, Lalqila, Adenzai, Munda and Samarbagh. The population of Upper Dir is about 575,000, while the population of Lower Dir is approximately 720,000, according to a 1998 census. The districts have seven seats in the provincial assembly and two in the national assembly.

History of Dir: the forest and the treesDir and the neighboring districts of Chitral and Swat formed the NWFP’s Malakand Division, which was created in the 1970s and for the first time introduced federal governance to the area, replacing the traditional system of justice. In 1976, a legal dispute erupted between the nawab, or prince of Dir, who had previously controlled all the royalties from Dir’s forests and timber production, and the federal government, which had formed a corporation to harvest the forests. Timber merchants went on strike and killed two policemen in the Sharingal area of Dir. People in Karo, Nehag, and Usherai Darra also revolted against the state and demanded the abolition of the government’s corporation. Police and paramilitary scouts in Dir were not able to control the situation, and the Pakistani army was called in to to restore order. Later the same year, the government reduced its share of felled timber to 20 percent and ceded the rest to the traditional owners of the forests.

For the rest of this policy paper, click here.

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Filed under movements, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan

Pakistan’s misery is just starting

This is an insightful piece by The Australian which avoids the usual stereotyping and tries to delve deeper into the Pakistani disaster. PTH views have also been quoted – glad to note that we are being heard – Indeed, the Pakistanis and the world must wake up. Raza Rumi

BEFORE US senator John Kerry flew to Pakistan, he told reporters he hoped to help the world understand that the disaster was not just about floods. Continue reading

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Filed under disaster, North-West Frontier Province, Pak Tea House, Pakistan

Our reaction to the floods

Raza Rumi

Thousands are dead and injured and millions are displaced due to the floods. The national reaction to this calamitous situation has been that the president should have cancelled his visit to the UK. The president too has not been sagacious. But the debate is frivolous and sidetracks the real issue: our sheer lack of preparedness for natural disasters and emergency management.

Five years ago, a massive-earthquake rocked Pakistan. Later, several institutions such as the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) were set up to deal with natural calamities. While it would be unfair to critique the good work done by the NDMA, it is clear that centralised authorities and relief machinery are of little use in a populous, diverse country like Pakistan.

In the last five years, as the recent floods indicate, the state has done little to galvanise and decentralise disaster preparedness and management. Between 2005 and 2010, the magnitude of natural disasters was not large enough to expose the inherent weaknesses of the emergency infrastructure. As before, Pakistanis have come forward and an unprecedented civic activism and volunteerism can be seen in reaching out to victims of the floods across the country. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate Change, Environment, North-West Frontier Province, Northern Areas, Pakistan, Zardari

Hashtnagar – a land, forgotten

Ammar Aziz, is a Lahore based film-maker, writer and a left-Wing activist. His article raises extremely important issues in this narrative. We wih to revive the debates on peasantry struggles and Ammar’s exclusive post for PTH is more than welcome. We hope that there will be a robust discussion on the issues raised here. Raza Rumi

My film thesis research has recently made me visit a piece of land that, despite its significant historical importance , has been brutally ignored in the pages of history. Surrounded by Afghan border, conservative feudal culture and tribal areas that have been in media attention in the recent past due to Taliban, that area is none other then Hashtnagar which stands as its own example in the history of class struggle in Pakistan . Consisting of a cluster of eight villages, Hashtnagar is  one of the two divisions of Charsadah district in Pakhtoon Khawah (NWFP) and is one of the province’s most fertile lands known for its sugar cane production. The element of militant armed Socialist struggle differentiates Hashtnagar from the rest of the leftist movements in Pakistan.

Weaving red flags at the roof tops, Socialist symbols painted on the walls, portraits of revolutionary figures, left wing cultural activism and, above all, the daily life of the  peasants and workers reflect the liberation that can be felt in the whole ambiance of the area. This liberation is the outcome of the socialist struggle of many decades that has played an important role in shaping the lives and minds of the native people.

To understand this revolutionary change, it is important to have a brief overview of the history of peasant’s struggle in NWFP Continue reading

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Filed under Left, Marxism, movements, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Politics, poverty, Society

Ahmed Rashid: The Times Square Bomber: Home-Grown Hatred?

The Times Square Bomber: Home-Grown Hatred?

By Ahmed Rashid

From The New York Review of Books

Published May 14, 2010

The Pakistani media is in a state of apoplexy about the would-be Times Square bomber, the Pakistani-born US citizen Faisal Shahzad. Predictably a great many commentators in the press and on the non-stop talk shows that run on over 25 TV news channels have discussed whether it was a CIA plot to embarrass Pakistan or provide an excuse for American troops to invade us: Was Shahzad an Indian or Israeli agent? And in any case, why should Washington hold Pakistan responsible, since he was an American citizen?

Not surprisingly, the Zardari government, the army, and Pakistani politicians have also muddied the waters. Although the government has said it will fully cooperate with US investigators seeking to find out which extremist groups trained Shahzad and where, Islamabad continues to fudge the paramount issue—the need for Pakistan to launch a comprehensive campaign against all extremist groups rather than the hit-and-miss anti-terrorism measures it is presently pursuing. That selective campaign leaves untouched the Afghan Taliban based in Pakistan—including Mullah Omar and other top leaders—who are not killing Pakistanis but are organizing attacks against US troops in Afghanistan; it also has ignored the Punjabi Taliban groups who have been attacking Indian nationals and government buildings in Kashmir, Kabul, and elsewhere, as well as killing numerous Pakistanis in suicide bombings in Lahore and other cities.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, FATA, Identity, Islamism, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, violence, War On Terror

The Alleged Stunning Indiscretion of a News Anchor

One of our friends recently wrote: “Two highly recommended books for those who wish to understand Pakistan: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and The Castle by Frank Kafka”.

This is not a cynical view of Pakistan. Pakistan is a country that is a conundrum wrapped within a puzzle inside an enigma. As the previous proxy state militia broke into different factions and is now fighting the state, the lines between friends and foes are blurred. ISI that used to formant proxy militias to further its causes in Kashmir and Afghanistan is now itself being attacked by its very own Frankenstein.

The previous masters of the Taliban are now either their prisoners or being killed by them. A case of Khalid Khwaja and Colonel Imam is a sad reflection of the evil of the religious extremism that is consuming itself due to the utter chaos that it represents.

Mr. Khwaja’s life was remarkable in itself for all the intrigues that were associated with him. Not many people have accused General Zia-ul-Haq for not fully implementing the Islamic Sharia in Pakistan. He was one of the accusers, and after promptly being dismissed by the General, Mr. Khwaja went on to play significant roles in assembling alliances against the PPP government of Ms. Benazir Bhutto. Taking on the causes of Jihadis, he managed to appear in the news on and off, even volunteering to take on the case of five Americans who were apprehended in Pakistan while allegedly looking to train for Jihad.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, FATA, North-West Frontier Province, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, War On Terror

Pakistan, Faisal Shahzad and the Pakistani Taliban

Pakistan: Faisal Shahzad and the Pakistani Taliban

Published on May 10, 2010 | 2338 GMT

http://www.stratfor.com/?utm_source=General_Analysis&utm_campaign=none&utm_medium=email

Summary

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said May 9 that the United States has evidence linking the Pakistani Taliban to Faisal Shahzad, the man who confessed to the failed bombing attempt at Times Square in New York City on May 1. Shahzad is a naturalized U.S. citizen who demonstrated a willingness to carry out an attack on U.S. soil. However, his status as a U.S. citizen would have been problematic for the Pakistani Taliban, who must remain wary of potential infiltration from U.S. intelligence. Furthermore, the attempted bombing showed little to no signs that Shahzad had help from an outside group.

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Filed under FATA, Identity, North-West Frontier Province, Northern Areas, Pakistan, Peshawar, Religion, Taliban, Terrorism, USA