By Farhat Taj Daily Times 02 Jan 2010
The people of Waziristan are suffering a brutal kind of occupation under the Taliban and al Qaeda. Therefore, they welcome the drone attacks
There is a deep abyss between the perceptions of the people of Waziristan, the most drone-hit area and the wider Pakistani society on the other side of the River Indus. For the latter, the US drone attacks on Waziristan are a violation of Pakistani’s sovereignty. Politicians, religious leaders, media analysts and anchorpersons express sensational clamour over the supposed ‘civilian casualties’ in the drone attacks. I have been discussing the issue of drone attacks with hundreds of people of Waziristan. They see the US drone attacks as their liberators from the clutches of the terrorists into which, they say, their state has wilfully thrown them. The purpose of today’s column is, one, to challenge the Pakistani and US media reports about the civilian casualties in the drone attacks and, two, to express the view of the people of Waziristan, who are equally terrified by the Taliban and the intelligence agencies of Pakistan. I personally met these people in the Pakhtunkhwa province, where they live as internally displaced persons (IDPs), and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Continue reading
By Imtiaz Gul
As the contest for a successor to Baitullah Mehsud, the maverick warlord from South Waziristan who was reportedly killed by a drone strike in early August, remains surrounded by controversy and mystery, one of the major questions rearing its head is whether the successor will be able to galvanize fighters the way the amir did and continue his lethal campaign against the state of Pakistan with the same vigor. Continue reading
It is now official. Baitullah is dead.
Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud – who had a £3m bounty on his head – is dead, his second-in-command has told Sky News. Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud in Pakistan’s South Waziristan region last year Molvi Faqir Muhammad confirmed the death after widespread speculation over the militant group chief’s demise in a US missile strike on Wednesday. Kafayat Ullah, an aide to Mehsud, said he died along with his second wife during the attack in South Waziristan. Mehsud – who has links to terror organisation al Qaeda – declared himself leader of the Pakistan Taliban, grouping around 13 factions in the north-west, in late 2007. Benazir Bhutto His fighters have been behind a wave of suicide attacks inside Pakistan and on Western forces across the border in Afghanistan. He was accused of being behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December 2007 – a charge he denied. Continue reading
* Manan Ahmed published in the guardian.co.uk,
* Friday June 27, 2008
The migration of thousands of Pakistani men to Gulf states since the 1970s has had a huge impact on the character of the country
“Pakistan is in a leaderless drift four months after elections”, concluded Carlotta Gall in the New York Times on June 24. Just two days later, comes news that “Baitullah Mehsud, the head of the Pakistani Taliban” has killed 22 members of an intermediary peace committee between the State of Pakistan and Mehsud. I guess there are some leaders in Pakistan, after all. Pakistan’s “Talibanisation” in the northwestern rural regions and the stalled lawyer’s movement in the major cities appear, at first glance, to reflect a deep chasm within Pakistani society. This division, if one should call it anything, is routinely understood as a manifestation of moderate v extreme Islam. But that raises the question of why it manifests itself along rural/urban, and class lines.
Extremist ideology, as we have learned in the last 8 years, is just as prone to attract highly-educated members of the professional class as unemployed, frustrated youth. We have to delve deeper into Pakistan’s recent past if we are to understand the crisis it faces at the present. Sub-continental history is dotted with intermittent mass movement of people – usually triggered by famine, war or worse – replete with attendant tales of distress and misery. In my reckoning, the early 1970s saw the another key migration that has so far received little analysis. It involved vast numbers of men from the rural and semi-urban parts of Pakistan moving to the emerging oil-based oligarchies in the Gulf. Continue reading