Category Archives: Peshawar

The Peshawar Blast: Is There No End?

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

How many more Pakistanis have to die before this godforsaken war comes to an end?  The blast in Pipal Mandi has already claimed a death toll of 87 people and this is before they’ve started to clear the rubble. Frankly I am not going to guess who did it.   I am sick of people smelling a foreign hand and declaring “No Muslim could have done this”.  The hand that placed the bomb and the hand that drove the car to Pipal Mandi and the hand that detonated the bomb were all local hands!   And they were most likely Muslims. Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan, Peshawar, Terrorism, War On Terror

From Russia with Love: Main Ney Russia Mee kya Dekha

Bradistan Calling

When Pakistan came into existence in 1947, Russia was known as the Godless Empire of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics under brutal dictator Joseph Stalin. This inherent difference in ideologies resulted in tensions from the very start, but the refusal of the first prime minister of Pakistan to accept the cordial invitation of the Soviet leadership to visit USSR started the full scale Cold War. The rest, as they say, is history.

Pakistan decided to accept the invitation of United States of America (the head of ‘Free’ Capitalist and Godly world).Pakistan joined anti-communist military pacts and gave its logistic support for Korean War in 1950s.Despite the unwavering loyalty of Pakistani military and landlord elite, USA refused to provide military assistance and spare parts during 1965 Kashmir war with India. The Pakistani dictator of the time was madly in love with USA, titling his ghost written biography, ‘Friends not Masters’. Continue reading

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Salaam Pakhtunkhwa

Haligoli, (2001), a miniature by Saira Wasim – collection of
Robert Roder

Peshawar, a city destroyed
by terrorism

IDPs returning to their homes

Wherever I went to eat, there was a meat-fest in waiting. There comes a time in life when you want to give up meat forever and that moment arrived on a dark, load-shedded night in Peshawar

Raza Rumi
My recent weeks have been consumed by travels to the capital and to the grim frontiers of Paktunkhwa. As part of an unwieldy team undertaking a survey of the wretched internally displaced persons returning to their homes, I was in and out of Peshawar several times. Other than encountering the depressing stories of a people trapped by their history and geopolitics one had to struggle for a vegetarian meal in good old Peshawar. Wherever I went to eat, there was a meat-fest in waiting. There comes a time in life when you want to give up meat forever and that moment arrived on a dark, load-shedded night in a cloistered guest-house reeking of cigarette-smoke and untreated sewage. Thank God for my friend Ahsan, who like a good comrade humoured me and regurgitated the lessons of being patient and calm. I must not complain too much for I’m not an ungrateful wretch. There are many in the subcontinent who cannot even afford a basic meal, let alone pleasures of the flesh. But there has to be a limit to the carnivorous instinct that we are so given to in the Land of the Pure, Purists and Puritans.

As if a non-vegetarian diet was not enough, the scare of being smoked out by the Al-Qaeda goons was even more disturbing, dare I say, indigestible. A happy-go-lucky and overly-healthy host, as he drove us into the by-lanes of the old Peshawar that must have been beautiful once, gregariously referred to all the sites where bombs had erupted were a little disturbing. Not that I am scared of dangerous places, for I have braved a post-war Kosovo with a fair measure of bravado. But the hysterical “outsiders” ranting about how insecure we were in Peshawar was a little dampening for a Lahori soul. We do live in interesting times, made even more interesting by naïve security experts and people fed on Western media reporting on Pakistan being a truly dangerous pit-hole of the world. Sometimes the propaganda war does conquer your senses, I must confess.

So we visited the camps where thousands had been packed like sardines and where women recounted stories of bereavement and heavy-duty terror-mongering by the good Taliban as we are told that there is a clear distinction between the good and the bad Taliban. Now if the good Taliban, referred to as “patriots” not long ago, are such barbarians, I shudder to think what the bad Taliban might be like. The children at these camps were suffering even more. The heat could be unbearable and drinking water was not always available. And to top it all, recreation and education were non-existent. But all of this is well-known and I see no point in re-hashing what has already been told umpteen times.

What I can safely say after a first-hand encounter with the affectees is that we are an unkind, cruel society and are unable to provide citizen rights equally and without discrimination. Most provinces and their rhetorical leaders refused to give shelter to these unfortunate victims. This is why my visits have been an eye-opener about the sheer beauty of the traditional Pakhtun culture. The host families, regardless of their limited means and trying conditions, did not raise an eyebrow when they had to take care of the IDPs. More importantly, the displaced people themselves had such a remarkable understanding of what is going on in the Frontier and its neighbouring country, i.e. Afghanistan. They bore the scars and dealt with the wounds with immense grace and perseverance. True heroes, I’d say. Continue reading

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Pakistaniat : The Crisis of Identity

Bradistan Calling

 

What can I give to Pakistan as a present on its 62nd Birthday, What else than an article on its chequered history and identity. Bertrand Russell famously said,” There are three great civilisations in East i.e. India, China and Islam”. Pakistan is blessed to be located at the crossroads of all these great civilisations. In my humble opinion this is the biggest strength of Pakistani identity. Continue reading

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ICH BIN EIN TAMIL AND PASHTUN

We are all Tamil and Pashtun today:

BRADISTAN CALLING

Ich  bin ein Tamil and Pustun. We are all Tamil and Pashtun today, back in 1960s American President J.F Kennedy chanted for the freedom of Berliners. We should show our humanitarian solidarity with the civilian victims of terrorism in Tamil and Pashtun areas. Continue reading

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PAKISTANI STUDENTS ARRESTED IN TERROR RAIDS IN U.K

PRESS RELEASE:  PAKISTANI STUDENTS ARRESTED IN TERROR RAIDS IN NORTH WEST.*

National Campaign formed.

On Saturday 9th May, people from across the UK met in Longsight, Manchester and formed a national campaign called ‘Justice for the North West 10’.

The meeting was addressed on mobile phone by three families of the students from disparate areas of Pakistan. They expressed support for the campaign and have been mobilizing their own campaign in Pakistan. The meeting was also addressed by legal representatives of the students and other innocent victims of the Terrorism Act. Continue reading

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Ah, the deal – more confusion

by Raza Rumi

Much has been made of this NYT article on the class inequalities in NWFP that are fuelling the Taliban movement. However, I would like to ask where in Pakistan class inequalities do NOT exist. They are everywhere. By using this argument then the Taliban takeover becomes a natural conclusion as a social revolution is required everywhere to correct the exploitative structures and provide ‘speedy justice’. Therefore, our political class has to rise to the occasion and provide the kind of leadership, delivery against their manifestos and restore the fading writ of the state.

On another forum this deal was being termed as a popular demand of Swatis and here is what I wrote for those who are interested:

With due respect to the views expressed here, please do not call this deal a ‘popular demand’ of the people. The people of Swat have nothing to do with this. If you read accounts from the field and what people like Lala Afzal are saying, non-Swatis have made this deal. Continue reading

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