Tag Archives: Bala Hisar

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

Peshawar is Peshawar

“Kala May Perzo Shay Pa Bamono Pekhawara”

Rahimullah Yusufzai The News

Peshawar, or Pekhawar as it is called by Pakhtuns and Pishor by its old Hindko-speaking residents, has always been a city under attack. Past invaders coming from Central Asia, Persia, Afghanistan, India, and beyond have raided and plundered the place. Aryans, Greeks, Persians, Mughals, Afghans, Sikhs and the British occupied and lost Peshawar during their various campaigns of colonial conquest. And then there are the Pakhtun tribes living so close to the city in the Khyber and Mohmand tribal regions and the frontier regions of Darra Adamkhel and Hasankhel and threatening it whenever they are attacked. Continue reading

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Filed under Afghanistan, History, Identity, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Peshawar, Taliban, Terrorism