It was only matter of time before PML(N) would have capitulated to the name Pakhtunkwa. PML(N) knew it, ANP knew it, and the rest of the parties knew it as well; the outcry was all part of the political point scoring. Initially refusing to accept pakhtunkwa was form of point scoring by PML(N), it was making sure that the clear message was being sent to the people for whom it supposedly refused to accept the name in the first place. There was similar outcry when Shahbz Shairf begged Taliban to spare Punjab. The potential audiences got just the right message in these two situation– PML(N) voting base, despite loud protests by some.
All the provinces in Pakistan are not close to being homogeneous, but at the same time they have the name of certain linguistic or ethnic group residing in that province. Balochis are about 55% of Balochistan’s population, but the province is called Balochistan. Sindhish are about 59% of Sindh’s population, but the province is called Sindh. Punjabi are 75% of Punjab’s population–that is if one doesn’t count Seriakis’ as ethnic Punjabis, but the province is called Punjab. The similar is true for pakhtunkwa, Pakhtuns are between 65% to 75% of the province’s population, depending on who you believe, the estimates vary–in this sense people of pakhtunkwa rightly demand their province to be named after Pakhtuns, the majority ethnic group in the province.
Continue reading “PML-(N) leverages Pakhtunkwa debate for Votes in Hazara” »
Ever since the first email at 10 am a lot has been achieved in an effort to provide security and protection to the couple in Quetta, all this mobilization has been done to prevent a possible disaster, there were no confirmed reports on this but the couple was threatened enough to alert Human rights activists in Pakistan. It is my belief that every effort must be done to prevent a disaster when a person is willing to reach out and ask for help.
If we succeed and this couple becomes a living example to have withstood these heinous traditions, it might possibly encourage other such people facing such similar threats to reach out and also ask for help. I share with you Tahira Abdullah’s email just receive moments ago
Continue reading “Update on possible Quetta Karo Kari Incident” »
According to a respected womens’ activist Tahira Abdullah she suspects that there is a strong possibility of an honor killing on Thursday morning in Quetta. The issue is about a family dispute regarding a court marriage of Akhtar Hussain and Haseena Bibi. Both have gone through an own-choice marriage and is being challenged by a counter-case by their family members in a counter case.
Haseena is in Dar-ul-Aman, Quetta while Akhtar Hussain has recently been released on bail from prison, the couple fear that they will be killed en-route to or from the court and they have urgently requested for protection & security.
Tahira Abdullah draws the attention of civil society activists, womens organizations and media outlets in Pakistan and across the world to draw immediate attention to this issue, if enough eyes are on this case there is a strong possibility that the culprits would hesitate before committing this heinous crime while I think we must also draw attention of the Government of Pakistan to provide protection and security for the couple with immediate effect.
Continue reading “Raise Hell to Prevent a possible Honor Killing in Quetta on Thursday” »
Huqooq March ends today on 8th March with public gathering in Gandakha participated by thousands of men and women. Huqooq March started by Awami Party on March 1st to support election campaign of Mai Jori, a peasant woman contesting election of provincial assembly of Balochistan.
The marchers arrived in Gandakha today that was received by hundreds of men and women as they marched into the streets of Gandakha. Addressing the public gathering Mai said that her election contest is the overwhelming decision of peasants, women and youth of the area. She was least worried about the election result and promised to continue struggling for the poor for their rights fighting against the big landlords and influential people who in a cowardice attempt use the government resources to influence the election.
Continue reading “Mai Jori’s Huqooq March ends” »
Mai Jori continues her eight day Huqooq March by going walking through the various villages and towns in her constituency to rally up support for her by-election bid, but more importantly she is the symbol of hope for the down trodden and suppressed women of that area. throughout her journey she is being greeted by many peasants who greet her to a resounding welcome everywhere she goes.
On the third day (March 3rd) of Huqooq March she and her fellow marchers traversed through the village “Bagh Tail” by marching 30km through a convoy of motor bikes, hitching rides from various datsun pick ups, buses, cars and tractor trolleys. The marchers were well received by the villagers at Bagh Tail who literally came out in droves to greet her. Addressing the marchers and villagers gathered to receive her, Mai Jori resolved to continue lobbying for the rights of poor and vulnerable especially women regardless of the outcome of her election result.
Continue reading “Mai Jori resolves to represent Poor & Marginalized (3rd & 4th day of Huqooq March)” »
This Friday a few offroad enthusiasts headed off to Hingol National Park deep within Baluchistan some 280km from Karachi, reaching Aghore Camp we then dropped off the metaled Coastal Highway and headed into total offroading wilderness going up north some 40-odd km to a location called Poldat.
Poldat is a natural mountainous gorge which is the passageway of the Hingol river from the north to the south, many of Hingol’s tributaries aggregate ahead of this region and pass through this natural gorge to finally dump into the Arabian Sea. In all likelihood this mountainous passageway cannot be traversed by any vehicle and hence the offroaders took this up as a challenge to try and reach this remote destination. We were able to drive up to about a kilometer short of Poldat and trekked the rest of the way up.
I share here some pictures from our expedition while a 20-minute podcast was posted on Laidback Show website. I also choose to share detailed GPS tracks in the form of a KMZ file for easy open reference if someone in the future might be tempted to head this way
Mai Jori, a peasant women contesting the Baluchistan Assembly by-elections has embarked upon an eight day Huqooq March (March for Rights) journey across her constituency by foot rallying voters to stand up for their rights and be a part of the change. Mai Jori started on the 1st of March from the village Ghulam Muhammad Jamali to Gandakha and visited several villages on the way and will continue to march across the region till the 8th of March. Men and women of the area joined this March for Rights in hundreds.
Continue reading “Mai Jori leads the Huqooq March” »
Mai Jori Jamali a peasant farmer belonging to a village called Ghulam Muhammad Jamali in Baluchistan filed to contest the bye-election on the vacant seat of Baluchistan Assembly PB 25 Jaffarabad – I on March 10th 2010. Her papers have been accepted and declared correct after scrutiny. Mai Jori is illiterate and helps her husband in farming she also looks after her nine children. She brings water for the family after traveling 2 km distance and was shot into prominence in 1978 due to Pat Feeder Kisan movement when progressive and trade unions leaders had started living in the Goth area for the sake of movement.
Mai Jori is contesting from the area which was recently brought into focus for the infamous and heinous crime against women where a few women were buried alive in 2008 in a case of Honor Killing. Mai Jori Jamali is contesting election on party ticket of Awami Party Pakistan.
It is being reported that Mai Jori and her relatives have taken this decision to dare to fight with outdated customs of women brutality in the region.
Continue reading “Mai Jori, a ‘Peasant’ Contesting Baluchistan By-elections” »
Show notes after the jump
Continue reading “Laidback Show Episode 14 – Campfire Edition” »
As part of yet another offroad expedition the Offroad Pakistan group headed to the Sorh Valley in Baluchistan to enjoy the challenges that the terrain could throw at our vehicles. A group of about 40-odd enthusiasts packed themselves in 17-odd offroading vehicles started this adventure on Friday morning and headed to Sorh, Baluchistan in the region of Bhootani Farms to return late Sunday night. Faisal Kapadia of Deadpanthoughts accompanied us on this adventure trip.
I share these pictures more as a testament that there is so much beauty yet to be discovered in Pakistan that its just feels sad that we are being compelled to write this beautiful country off to being labeled as a war ravaged country where adventure tourism is seen as a taboo
Continue reading “Offroad Adventure to the Sorh Valley in Baluchistan” »
UPDATE I – Observers have been trying to identify this APC and best guestimates are of a long wheel base US Stryker possibly an M1135 NAB-RV [Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle]
UPDATE II – It is possible after observing the wide wheel base that this vehicle is actually a Short Range Ballistic Missle Launcher (upto 300km) resmebles the image here or here, in all likelihood this is not of Pakistan Army as teh color marking were of a muddy brown and the launcher was being transported in a private carrier without protocol and security
In a set of recently published pictures that were taken by me while I was going to Hingol, Baluchistan for a few days of offroading. We happened to come across a transporter parked at a gas station about 2 km west of a small town called Winder some 40km away from Karachi on the RCD Highway (Karachi-Quetta). It was a large privately owned transporter carrying a heavily draped vehicle which seemed like an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)
The heavily draped cargo had no physical markings except a few on the back with bold letterings “Caution: Inflammable” It seemed to be a military grade Armored Personnel Carrier with a set of 8×8 heavy duty tires. According to some experts on site and even Bilal, a commenter on this blog, this type of an APC is not available in the inventory of the Pakistan Army but is found in use with NATO or US forces. It is my speculation that, had if the Pakistan Army, owned this APC or was transporting this cargo, they would have utilized their abundant brown colored military trailers and not be dependent on private contractors to move these to Quetta or possibly Waziristan
Continue reading “APC’s making their way to Quetta / Waziristan? (US/NATO?)” »
On Saturday I joined the OffRoadPakistan team to go to Hingol for a two day short overnight trip into the wilderness. There were over 12 offroad vehicles and approzimately 40+ odd people which included 7-8 ladies and about 8 kids in the entourage. We truly had a great time, starting off with a detour to explore the Hindu Temple called Nani Mander, as evening approached we camped alongside the Hingol river for the night.
Early next morning headed to the presitine Kund Malir beach to have a dip in the Arabian ocean. Following which we the found a baren stretch of flat desert land and enjoyed the trill of a speed race across the desert floor to reach the Mud volcanoes.
A few selected pictures I snapped from my own camera, I do regret to have not taken pictures of Kund Malir and Mud Volcanoes as I was just having fun.
But the juicy bit that really caught our eyes were a convoy of APC’s being transported to possibly Quetta as these trucks were plying on the RCD Highway (Karachi-Quetta). I just took the pictures and not making any assumptions, I let you do the maths –
By: Agha Haider Raza
Yet again Pakistani’s find themselves, lined up, shoulder to shoulder offering prayers for the departed. The brazen attack during Friday namaaz has clearly shown the audacity and ability of the militants present within Pakistan. On the one side, the suicidal mission that was led out is a direct signal to the Pakistan Army (the attack was taken out in the officers residential colony in Parade Lane, Rawalpindi Saddar) for retreating its forces in the tribal region, while also visibly proving that these militants are not Muslims. The issue for me however is, why have our top brass only been visible at the namaaz-e-jinaza when one of their own has lost their life? Poor Peshawar has been witnessing non-stop death and bombs. It surely has been a while since I saw or read the Prime Minister being in this troubled city of Peshawar, rubbing shoulders with us and praying for those who have lost their lives due to actions taken by the state.
Continue reading “We are Pakistan!” »