Tag 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

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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Alive and Gay in Pakistan

(The views expressed in this article do not reflect those of Pakteahouse)

By NICK SCHIFRIN

It wasn’t until she was 16 years old, when she’d left her Pashtun family in Peshawar for an elite school where the teachers were nuns, that Minot realized she was gay.

“I found out when I dated my literature teacher [a nun],” she said. “I got an A.” Continue reading

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Peshawar blast

Raza Rumi

Pak Tea House mourns the death of a dedicated aid workers in the Pearl Continental. As I am a part of the development ‘set’, such incidents are deeply disturbing. After all development workers work in difficult circumstances for a commitment to their professions which in theory at least is based on idealism. We are saddened to see that UN staff have offered their lives along with scores of innocent Pakistani civilians. Why are the extremists killing inoccent civilians – in a war surely you choose your targets or is it just a reflection of the mayhem they want to create and make it into another terror-zone. Continue reading

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Pakistan Journal of Criminology Published

Posted by Raza Rumi

A notice from the Pakistan Society of Criminology is posted below. This appears to be an interesting journal, at least a beginning has been made in this much neglected and under-researched area.

It is stated with immense pleasure that the Pakistan Journal of Criminology, (Number 1, Volume 1, April, 2009) is published. The formal launching ceremony of the journal was held on May 8, 2009 at the Continue reading

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Humanitarian Crisis of NWFP – Urgent Appeal

Posted by Raza Rumi

Let us all us join hands to alleviate the sufferings of the people who need our help

Situation Background

North West Frontier of Pakistan faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis as more than 1,200,000 displaced people flee the mountain districts of Swat, Buner, Shangla and Lower Dir as the war between insurgents and the government of Pakistan intensifies. As the army has moved into these to initiate military action to evict the area from the insurgents, the people of these areas are leaving their homes behind in hundreds to safer sanctuaries in other parts of the province. The displaced people are leaving in a hurry carrying barely anything from their homes to help them through this tribulation. About 10% of these are being accommodated in camps established by the government at fourteen locations. Another 90% are finding refuge with social networks of families, tribes, clans, schools etc in districts far removed from their homes. The main districts where the pressure is falling are those of Mardan, Swabi, Malakand, Nowshera, Upper and Lower Dir, Peshawar, Charsadda. Continue reading

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Once welcoming, Pakistan city fears Taliban rise

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — At the entrance to Peshawar, a young man on the side of the road offers a prayer, while on the bridge overhead three men videotape him.

They could be friends in Peshawar for the first time, perhaps from a nearby village. But that isn’t my first thought.

My first thought is, maybe he is a suicide bomber setting off on a mission. Continue reading

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