A brutal attack on an innocent little girl has finally nudged awake our sleepy collective conscience. Will this be the long awaited moment of truth, or will Malala be remembered as just one of those endless sad events that have now come to be part of our daily existence?
Both claiming to be defenders of Islam, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the savage militants operating from what they term as Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, are locked in a bloody war of survival. What are the strengths, weaknesses, differences and commonalities of the two warring sides, and what are the chances of success for Pakistan? Let us look at a few key performance indicators.
Despite their convoluted mindset, the Taliban seem to know much more about what they are doing, who their enemy is and why they must attack a certain individual. The state, on the other hand, seems completely clueless. It was the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who announced that they had carried out the attack on Malala and that it had nothing to do with education. Their spokesperson explained with great clarity that they attacked Malala for her pioneering role in preaching secularism and moderation. On the other hand, the closest the Pakistani parliament could come was to name the enemy as some “savages and beasts”. Surely a chicken-hearted, inept and amorphous approach towards such a grave situation.
In other news "Dr" Rehman Dakait has said that TTP must give up their "arms" before talks …..
He had told reporters “The minimum agenda is that they give up arms and come forward and then there will be talks. But if they think they will keep Kalashnikovs in their hands and also hold talks, that will not happen,”
Dr. Dakait – can you please give 'wazahat' [clarification] on your statement as such a statement coming from an irresponsible statesman needs more clarity – it is vague if you meant "arms" as in hands & fingers because TTP may gladly oblige but did you accidentally mean arms as in Klashinkovs …. I bet you did .. but then again you are known to fudge the truth, so please help us out WILL 'YA – LINK
The deal undone explores the strenuous relationship between the Pakistan – US military establishments. The documentary analyzes a specific period in the history of this relationship during the, following the 9/11 attacks in the U.S.
From the heights of friendship during the early years of the war on terror to the falling out with the passage of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act in 2009, are episodes explored in great detail in ‘THE DEAL UNDONE’.
Yet another video can be seen on you tube where apparently Pakistani Army severely beating up the suspected militant. While thrashing and whipping him, men dressed in Pakistani military uniforms can be heard asking the prisoner, “Are you a Talib?” Mixed in with other questions is some laughter and threatening “you should know, our bullet never miss the target”.
There are more than five prisoners are lying on the ground, among them an old man with long white beard and hands tied up is screaming with pain however the army men around, nudged him with sticks. Continue reading →
The past few days I was being forwarded a shocking video of a few Pakistan Army jawans assissinating six blind-folded shalwar kameez men. This is a low quality mobile video showing a number of Pakistani Army soldiers escorting six blind folded men to a corner, they lined them up and a high ranking officer walks to each of the six person, as if asking them to beg for forgiveness, having received none he conveintly walks back to his jawans and orders them to open fire. The uniformed soldiers raise their G-3 rifles and let loose a volley of shots killing most of the prisoners instantaneously. After the dust settles two soldiers walk up take aim to shoot the targets yet again to ensure that they are dead
This is the scene of a shocking video that is circulating on the web, every portal that puts them up is quickly blocked by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, as it is within their policy framework to immediately remove content that is deemed abusive of the Pakistan Army. Continue reading →
In a very positive development, the renowned New York Times documentary film maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy recieved an International Emmy Award in the Current Affairs category last night at the Frederick P. Rose Hall of Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York for her documentary “Pakistan – Children of the Taliban”. Where she had revealed how the Pakistani Taliban are recruiting increasingly younger fighters from small madrassas in deprived neighborhoods to carry out deadly attacks both inside and outside Pakistan.
The controversial video brought to the forefront some very touching issues, it at times exposed some sensitive people to an extent, that the initial viewing held a few years back in Karachi was limited to a very select audience, following the publication on PBS FrontLine there are restrictions on the video preventing it to be streamed into Pakistan due to the sheer threat it can pose to the people Sharmeen had interviewed during her documentary
In a very touching moment, the day before, her father died of cancer in the UK where he was undergoing chemotherapy. Her message following the news of the death of her father on facebook, posted practically 10 hours before the Emmy award ceremony, where she was in attendance, read “Only the good die young- you always said aba…love you” and later following the victory she dedicated her emmy to her father by saying “Tonight’s Emmy win is dedicated to you aba…”
We can only be supportive to her as a nation, mindful of the mixed emotions which she must be going through at this very emotional moment. Sharmeen, Pakistan is damn heck proud of you, and I am sure it would be a moment of pride for your father as he smiles down at you from the heavens above. May this also inspire us all to go forth despite all the odd with the achievements you achieve one after another. Thank you for bringing one proud moment for Pakistan
A question lurks within the mind of every Pakistani: where are we headed with this war on/of terror? Is Pakistan a simple ‘franchisee’ or are we developing our own long-term interests in this war? The strategy to hit out at selected al Qaeda targets unfolded in early 2007 when our government offered facilities for launching drones remotely controlled by joystick operators in distant lands. The decision to kill was left in the hands of ‘informers’ on the ground who planted homing devices near houses that needed to be bombed. A menacing ‘whistle’ precedes the actual impact, many running for cover not knowing ‘for whom the bell tolls’, leaving many unintentionally dead and others maimed for life. So-called ‘collateral damage’, has been a sterile term. Women and children wailing and shrieking, mourners lifting their dead. The psychological impact has swung any remnant of anti-al Qaeda sentiment into anti-military and anti-US anger. Continue reading →
She crouches in a corner of her humble abode
Fear writ large in her light brown eyes
In her heart she cries out to the world,
“How much more will we be terrorized?”
There has to be something about the term ‘Terrorism’ which makes it the most misused term in recent history in my opinion. Whoever feels like it, picks it up, chews it into a thousand particles and spits it out to be then picked up by another and abused likewise.
Many debate and articulate what “terror” means? Can we, with our safety-bubble lifestyles even come close to understanding what it means? You switch to the news everyday, witness scenes of “blood curdling horror” and human limbs scattered on pavements like nonentities. You shake your head in pity then switch the channel to find out who is the latest “American idol”!
Ask the little girl crouched in a corner, palms pressed tight against her ears to muffle out the screams and firing. Ask the young woman who stares defenselessly at the approaching group of bulky men. Ask those people what terror is, who jumped off the World Trade Center on the ill-fated morning of September 11. My point is that without knowing the essence of this all-encompassing term, great powers, intellectual giants and so-called religious bodies alike use it to promote their own vested interests. Continue reading →
Muhammad Ali Jinnah – Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11th August, 1947
As you know, history shows that in England conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.
The heirs of Jinnah’s Pakistan have failed to live up to the expectations of the nations founding fathers. Today’s attacks on Ahmedi “worship places”, was despicable and deserved not only our sympathies with the families of the victims; but our unequivocal condemnation of such barbarism.
I was deeply troubled by the recent suicide bombings of the innocents in the Kohat refugee camps. I was not surprised by the reaction of the Pakistan military and continuous shelling in response. I know I was not alone in this. The entire nation felt the pain of these refugees who were the victims of an extremist mindset. How cruel does one have to be to attack some people who are already homeless and helpless? Does one really have a second thought before killing himself and many others? These are some questions that occupy my mind before. Where are these terrorist organizations taking this war to? They have introduced an indiscriminate nature of attacks in the country. We all saw how two suicide bombers dressed in burqas struck a crowd of displaced people collecting aid handouts, killing at least 41 people. What bothers me more is where does one get all this courage from? Did these terrorist not see the faces of the people collecting aid? What in the world makes these men choose this path and why do they Pakistan so much?
The country is doing all it takes to put a stop to these terrorist activities. Along with the high intensity of military action, many think tanks have once again begun to explore whether a retort utilizing the tools of dialogue and negotiation might produce a better outcome. The prolonged war on terrorism keeps giving continuous hits to the financial standing of the country. Every morning I wake up and realize that the situation seems to keep getting worse. Terrorism must be stopped with whatever tool it takes before it is too late and the economy of the country cripples.
However, my perspective is poles apart from the others. My deep thoughts about terrorism stem from long inquiry into what creates conflict and violence between the Pakistanis. More importantly what keeps the terrorist going? What fuels the courage to the terrorist for going into mosques and shattering into pieces of flesh? Continue reading →
I’m currently working with an international organization in Mardan, Swabi, Swat, Buner and D.I. Khan– all conflict affected areas of Khyber-Pukhtoonkhwa (KP). I’ve literally been living in these areas since January this year and have tons of stories to share but time constraints have not allowed me to write about my experiences as yet.
I do not favor religious parties and groups such as Taliban. I have always not only condemned but also never even become sympathetic to any of their socio-economic or religious justifications for violence. Similarly, I do not agree with the wholesale bombardment of innocent towns and villages of KP, our military does not have a great track record of its operations inside and outside the boundaries of Pakistan.
Nevertheless, the point I would like to make is that people of Swat and Buner, across the board, including schools teachers, doctors, small business owners, landless peasants, manual laborers, government employees and even the religiously inclined do not believe there was any alternative to pushing out the Taliban other than a military operation. Urban and rural poor that I have met in health facilities of Qambar and Charbagh, two core headquarters of the Taliban in Swat, unanimously stated that we expected the Taliban to be like our brothers, to assist us in rooting out corruption and implementing shariah law. Continue reading →
One of the helicopter crew is then heard saying that one of the group is shooting shooting back. But the video shows there is no shooting or even pointing of weapons. The men are standing around, apparently unperturbed. The lead helicopter, using the moniker Crazyhorse, opens fire. “Hahaha. I hit ‘em,” shouts one of the American crew. Another responds a little later: “Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards.” The ruthless murders then open fire on a van that drives up to pick up a wounded. [Transcript] Continue reading →
This article was sent to Dawn in response to Cyril Almeida’s column Talibangate, but was not published, it has more recently been published in The News in a slightly edited version, but the actual rebuttal is reproduced here
Mr Cyril Almeida in his article in Dawn on 19th March, states that Imran Khan has cried hoarse opposing this war against the Taliban. We need to respond to the link being created by such assertions implying that being against this ‘War’ Khan and his party must be supporters of the Taliban. ‘You are either with us or against us’.
PTI is not a supporter of Taliban. Far from it. We condemn the violence perpetrated by Tehrik-e-Taliban or any other group against innocent people and those who murder and slaughter people. However, we also believe that the Taliban label encompasses a lot of others including those who are reacting to US presence in Afghanistan and their sympathizers in Pakistan; those who react also against the Pakistan army and on civilian population because of US presence in Pakistan; the fundamentalists who believe that Sharia should be imposed even against the wishes of the people; those who disillusioned with justice in Pakistan believe imposition of Sharia law will provide Insaf, little realizing that any law in the hands of the present unaccountable bureaucracy will not deliver; those who are affectees of collateral damage and want to take revenge (à la Iraq); those who are sponsored by ‘local’ and ‘outside’ agencies (including India) and finally the fundamentalist who has hijacked all this chaos and suffering. We can go on and on, different groups, even criminals, land and drug mafias which are taking ample advantage of this strife. Continue reading →
Daily Times published today a detailed response by Samar Minallah on the fake flogging video she wraps up the article with some very touching words,” I will continue to challenge those who misuse Islam for power and politics. I will continue to raise my voice against individuals and political parties who use my religion to spread hatred. I will continue to expose and challenge the ‘conspiracy’ and ‘propaganda’ theories that try to befool the people of this country.” I give her my utmost support for the brilliant work she continues to do, and I believe the sentiments her article will be reflected in the same manner in an column I wrote for the upcoming launch of Express Tribune which set to launch this week, a link for which I shall share after its published
Almost a year back the political circus in Pakistan was up in arms at having watched a video of woman being flogged publicly. The video was released after verification by some human rights activists. Only recently The News carried a report claiming that this video was a fabrication and alleging that it was funded by an Islamabad based NGO which tried to implicate Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as the perpetrators of this women’s abuse
The News 29th March 2010: A resident of Swat, who claims to have prepared the fake video of flogging of a girl in Swat, has termed it drama and revealed that he received Rs 0.5 million for doing so before the launch of military operation ‘Rah-e-Rast’.
The uproar this video generated particularly among secular elements feared that the Swat peace deal would in effect hand over Swat to the Taliban who would carry out similar brutal punishments in the garb of Islam. Continue reading →