Tag Archives: Bajaur

Pakistan is in pieces

[There is plenty here to stimulate a robust debate; Not that surprising, considering who the author is. PTH does not necessarily agree with the views expressed in this article.]

Belfast Telegraph, Tuesday, 6 April 2010             By Robert Fisk

I tried, in Pakistan, to define the sorrow which so constantly afflicts this country. The massive loss of life, the poverty, the corruption, the internal and external threats to its survival, the existentialism of Islam and the power of the army; perhaps Pakistan’s story can only be told in a novel. It requires, I suspect, a Tolstoy or a Dostoyevsky.

Pakistan ambushes you. The midday heat is also beginning to ambush all who live in Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province. Canyons of fumes grey out the vast ramparts of the Bala Hisar fort.

“Headquarters Frontier Force” is written on the ancient gateway. I notice the old British cannon on the heights – and the spanking new anti-aircraft gun beside it, barrels deflected to point at us, at all who enter this vast metropolis of pain. There are troops at every intersection, bullets draped in belts over their shoulders, machine guns on tripods erected behind piles of sandbags, the sights of AK-47s brushing impersonally across rickshaws, and rubbish trucks and buses with men clinging to the sides. There are beards that reach to the waist. The soldiers have beards, too, sometimes just as long.

I am sitting in a modest downstairs apartment in the old British cantonment. A young Peshawar journalist sits beside me, talking in a subdued but angry way, as if someone is listening to us, about the pilotless American aircraft which now slaughter by the score – or the four score – along the Afghanistan border. “I was in Damadola when the drones came. They killed more than 80 teenagers – all students – and, yes they were learning the Koran, and the madrasah, the Islamic school, was run by a Taliban commander. But 80! Many of them came from Bajaur, which would be attacked later. Their parents came afterwards, all their mothers were there, but the bodies were in pieces. There were so many children, some as young as 12. We didn’t know how to fit them together.” Continue reading

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Filed under Army, Colonialism, Democracy, History, Identity, India, Judiciary, Pakistan, Partition

Pakistan’s War of Choice

NYT, March 24, 2010
 
By MICHAEL E. O’HANLON
 
Peshawar, Pakistan: WHAT are Americans to make of all the good news coming out of Pakistan in recent weeks?
 
First, the Afghan Taliban’s military chief, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, was arrested in a raid in February. Around the same time, several of the Taliban’s “shadow governors” who operate out of Pakistan were captured by Pakistani forces. Last week, the C.I.A. director, Leon Panetta, announced that thanks in large part to increased cooperation from Pakistan, drone strikes along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border are “seriously disrupting Al Qaeda,” and one killed the terrorist suspected of planning an attack on an American base in December that caused the deaths of seven Americans. Meanwhile, Pakistan has mounted major operations against its own extremists in places ranging from the Swat Valley in the north of the country to Bajaur on the Afghan border to South Waziristan further south. Yes, extremists continue to do great damage, as at Lahore on March 14 when about 40 civilians were killed in bombings. But after traveling across the country in recent days as a guest of the Pakistani military, I was convinced that Pakistan has become much more committed to battling extremists over the last couple of years, as the country felt its own security directly threatened. Continue reading

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Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Pakistan, Taliban, War On Terror

Saving Pakistan

We are posting an impassioned voice of reason by Shaheryar Azhar, moderator of a thinking group of Pakistanis called “The Forum”. We are posting it for it represents the anguish most Pakistanis feel about the current situation in our beloved homeland. [Raza Rumi]

The Unraveling of Pakistan

“Pakistan is NOT unraveling”, I said in a voice pregnant with passion on February 7, 2009. The occasion was a small dinner at our apartment and I was responding to another forum member, who is an expert on terrorism with a well-reviewed book on Pakistan. She had just finished saying, “Pakistan is unraveling”.

And in support I had said the following:

1.    Pakistan has just won a victory in Bajaur. And is now gearing up for a major fight in North and South Waziristan. The type of single-mindedness, spine and hard-headedness shown by the civilian government and the political cover provided to the armed forces was a major improvement over the Musharraf government. Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Politics, public policy

Citizens’ Aid to the People of Bajawar

We are publishing a note drafted in early October, 2008 by Shandana Khan – a citizen activist – who has been visiting the camps and raising funds for the displaced residents of Bajaur. The note is an eye-opener, it has that earthy, real feel to it and of course one need not agree with the conclusions on the war on terror. However, it displays that citizenry in Pakistan is alert to the menace of war, aggression and displacement of unarmed people – the real victims of war. In Shandana’s words, she is not only assisting but also “keen to tell their story, a story much ignored”. (Raza Rumi ed.)

In a span of about six weeks, starting in August 2008 and ending on 30th September 2008, we have collected PK Rs 558,000 from 27 people. These donations came mainly from inhabitants of Islamabad and also Dubai and the UK.

We are doing philanthropic work, only as citizens with a conscience. We feel that our own people need to wake up to the plight of the displaced from Bajawar and other areas being bombed and torn asunder by ourselves and by outsiders. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizens, FATA, North-West Frontier Province, Taliban, Terrorism

Greeks in Chitral, Pakistan?

Salman Rashid debunks a few myths here:

There is no historical evidence of Alexander or his men straying north of the ridges of the Hindu Kush Mountains into Kafiristan. But we know that the Greeks and the Kalasha themselves are today sold on this piece of charlatanry. The simple answer would thus be to turn to DNA testing

Every half-baked expert who writes on Chitral has to tell us of the Kalasha people of Kafiristan being the progeny of Alexander of Macedonia or at least of the many soldiers he ‘left behind’. So long has this fib been bandied about that even the poor Kalasha have established an amorphous and, at the same time, rigid belief in it.

The refrain is always been that the soldiers ‘left behind’ were responsible for starting the Kalasha line. This implies that Alexander reached Chitral and turning back left his soldiers there. Continue reading

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Filed under History, Media