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Posts tagged with: NWFP

Reflections on the current crisis in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa

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.
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PML-(N) leverages Pakhtunkwa debate for Votes in Hazara

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.
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Return to Jalala – IDP Situation Update

Madey_Baba_SchoolAfter returning from a relief distribution to Mardan in May 2009, I regularly followed up with events concerning the IDPs in N.W.F.P. Regardless of the numerous analyses (and conspiracy theories) emerging in the public discourse about the war and its affects, the priority for me remained in providing assistance to displaced families.

I tried to replicate the great work done by Lahore’s Concerned Citizens of Pakistan (CCP), who have adopted 9 IDP schools in Mardan and Swabi and are looking after the needs of 300 families by collecting donations from Lahore and giving food, medicines and other items through local NGOs of the area. Their families will be assisted after their return to Swat as well.

Besides the obvious difficulty of managing such a program alone, the great distance between Karachi and Mardan, my inability to follow up due to a hectic work schedule with Indus Resource Centre (IRC) and the lack of interest shown by people in Karachi discouraged me to the degree of becoming indifferent to the crisis.

By mid June, the IDPs had taken a backseat in the media networks, whereas the plight of displaced families became a routine matter for people, easily ignored and shrugged aside like another hunger strike by haris in Hyderabad or a drone attack in Waziristan. Friends who were trying to collect donations faced what’s called in the NGO world: ‘donor fatigue’. Everyone had given something from their pocket or bought food items, clothes or beddings and deposited them at one of the stalls in their city. Multinational corporations, wealthy businessman and salaried middle classes at home and abroad had given their share to the ‘Prime Minister’s Special Fund for Relief of Victims of Terrorism’ or to an NGO operating in the affected area. Average Pakistanis thought that maybe our role in this crisis had finished or as I heard from many people, ‘The military operation is succeeding and the crisis shall end soon.’
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Becoming an IDP – Real life experience of two females from Swat

Foize Nasim interviewed Saira, a 20 years old girl from Mingora, Swat at a training centre set up by PPAF at Jalala Camp.

Saira has 7 sisters and 3 brothers. 3 of her sisters are married, two of whom were living at Jalala with their families. One sister, Farhat was missing with her husband, who had decided to stay back at Mingora. Saira and her family had been calling her cell phone and PTCL line but had no news from her.

Saira had studied till class 6 and was currently enrolled in a religious course for becoming an alima at Mingora. Her father worked as a laborer but her family owned a sweetshop which was blown up last year when the Taliban arrived. She could not say why they had targeted her family’s shop.

Saira mentioned that she had arrived two months ago and they were 13 people living in two tents at Jalala Camp. She said her family had walked from 7 a.m. till 9 p.m. from Mingora when they decided to leave. They reached Batkhail on foot and then rented a car for Rs.12,000 to reach Jalala at 1 a.m. the next day.
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Media barred from NWFP senate elections

It is being reported on various media outlets that the Senate elections in the NWFP region have been barred from the media.

GEO.TV The journalists have been disallowed entering into the assembly hall for the coverage of the polling underway, while scores of them kept waiting outside the assembly. It may be recalled that the assembly members had in violation shown their ballot papers on the eve of presidential election, which the media had covered and flashed, while the NWFP rulers had expressed their displeasure over it.

Barely 6 months ago on 7th September 2008 during the Presidential elections that were held to elect President Asif Ali Zardari TV crews had caught various ANP members in the NWFP province flashing their secret ballots to some nearby colleggaues as if to authenticate the vote
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Drones parked in our own backyard, to Bomb our own People

drones-parked-in-pakistan

In a shocking discovery reports have emerged from simply Google Earth images evidence of three drones parked on an airfield in some remote destination within Baluchistan, the images were captured by orbiting satellites and archived within Google Earth data warehouse to suddenly be discovered recently. Though there is no denying that during the Musharraf regime bases were rented out to the American army costing them a massive deficit to the tune of $10 Billion. But what probably irks the nation is that the Pakistani government have categorically denied that the Pakistani bases are being used to launch drones-
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Insurgency in Swat – Pakistan Army & Solution

Abdullah Saad in his second part analysis of the insurgency in Swat has presented a well thought out plan on how to stop this insurgency in the Northern areas of Pakistan. He first analysis the mistakes made by ANP and the new government, which may have irreparably damaged at least 6 months of efforts made by the Pakistan Army. He then debates a tough offensive to control the TSNM. PART 1 & PART 2