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Posts tagged with: Swat

Another Pak Army Abusive Video Appears while US increases Military Aid

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.
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Extra Judicial Killings by Pakistan Army

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.
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Op-Ed: Flogging my Sentiments

My first Op-Ed for Express Tribune Flogging my Sentiments has been published in the Saturdays The Express Tribune, talking about the ever controversial flogging video which has already been extensively debated on my blog running into a very heated debate. In the Op-ed I again take a swing accusing the Pakistan Army and our covert agencies to have leveraged this video to swing the nations sentiment allowing them a more free hand in waging the war in our northern areas of Pakistan > Flogging my Sentiments on Express Tribune


Pictures of Protest in Karachi – Against Civilian Killings In Khyber

On Saturday April 10, the Pakistani army bombed villages in Tirah in the Khyber Agency and killed more than 70 civilians. While the military denied the incident, local government confirmed compensation payments for civilian deaths and injuries. “All of those killed were civilians, 100% innocent,” said Ikramullah Jan Kukikhel, a tribal elder. He further elaborates that a house with women, children and elderly was bombed and as villagers rushed to rescue those caught in the rubble, they were also attacked, killing many more.

Given the lack of transparency surrounding the many operations it is safe to say this is not the first time civilians have been killed by the army. The media has, in some cases, been strong-armed into publishing only ISPR approved stories, while independent news from the conflict regions has been systematically suppressed. Civilian deaths and army’s conduct are not reported or questioned in the mainstream media at all. Stories criticizing the army are virtually non-existent because the army does not permit them. After the bombing in Tirah, a BBC reporter was not allowed access to the wounded brought to Peshawar’s Hayatabad Hospital.

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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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US are Collateral Murderers in Iraq … and they wouldn’t do that in Pakistan, will they?

Yesterday [April 5th 2010] WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff.

The video, shot from an Apache helicopter, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded, left to be taken to a local hospital

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]
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Imran Khan’s stand on Taliban – War is not the Only Solution

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.
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Samar Minallah Responds to Fake Flogging Video

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


Faking a Flogging Video for Military Advancements?

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.
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Talibans want to Negotiate for Peace with Imran Khan as a mediator

Today The News published a report of an audio tape delivered to their offices in Peshawar of a Taliban leader suggesting that they would like to discuss the possibility of a peaceful resolution in the region and offered the name of Imran Khan as a potential mediator. Looking at the news item published in the newspaper its ironic to note that the editorial board choose to hide the importance of this ground breaking news item, camouflaging it under the title of “No Talks with Taliban now: Fazl” probably yet another dubious statement by Maulana Fazlur Rehman who chose for the umpteenth time to toeing the official pro-establishment line of going guns blazing, suggesting that peace was utterly out of the question.

I feel this offer by the Swat Talibans to come onto the negotiating table is a very important development and quite possibly a breakthrough in an out-of-control war on terror offensive. It is my opinion that such peace initiatives should have been in place throughout the offensive, fully empowering the Pakistan Army to aggressively demilitarize the warring militants but at the same time keep an open door policy for diplomacy and possibly a peaceful settlement of this conflict.

Some pessimists may rightly see this to be a deliberately attempt by the Talibans to forestall any ongoing military offensives, which may give them time to recuperate and retaliate later with renewed energy, it is a genuine concern, but on the flip side it could also mean to suggest that the Talibans have weakened enough to be now ready to come onto the negotiating table for any peace talks.
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We are Pakistan!

By: Agha Haider Raza

funeral_pindi victimsYet 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.
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Laidback Show Episode 8 – Imanae Malik

Cross posted from The Laidback Show | Show notes after the jump
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What Becomes of Us

IDP Swat ChildLook at this picture, this is a child labeled as IDP (internally displaced person) living currently in a make shift camp without proper basic living conditions e.g. food, water, sanitation. He doesn’t have fear in his eyes, even though it could well be that his family died during air raids by his own country’s air force or shelling by army tanks of his nation’s army or if spared by all that then by a drone attack of our biggest ally or may be they survived but this kid still must have seen a lot of carnage and so would have all the other kids of his age around him. We are fighting this war for a some time now and it seems to be in the pipeline for a few more so we are talking about a whole generation being raised in such conditions with atrocities being committed all around them. To me it seems like we are running a Taliban production center ourselves or at least the final product is quite ready to be installed with radicalism or Islamic fundamentalist ideas. But even putting that aside for a moment this does raise some questions, the answers to which all of us don’t know but have every right to demand from god knows who. May be even god wouldn’t know since he sure would be keeping his distance from all this utter stupidity going on in our land; after all that’s also politically correct.

Coming back to the questions that are very basic;

  • What is the prize we are after? What are we fighting for, and whatever the desired end is does it justify the means?
  • Who are we fighting against? Are we waging a war on our own people to make our country a safer place, that is perplexing and an oxymoron in itself. Who is the enemy, is it an army of people and how many people do we have to kill before we conquer whatever we want to conquer or is it an ideology that we want to tear down through a military solution.
  • Who is our leader in this war? The one person who will stand up and say this is where we are and this is where we want to be as a nation and that is why this is a war of necessity, a struggle for survival and people of this nation could follow suit of the leader.

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Open Letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Feryal GoharYour Excellency,

Allow me to apologize to you for not being able to be present during your address to civil society at the hallowed campus of Government College University in my beloved city of Lahore. Much as I would have wanted to benefit from the wisdom of your analysis and foresight, I could not make the journey quickly enough from the remote town of Chilas where I was in consultation with the proponents of a major dam which shall displace 32,000 people and submerge 32,000 ancient rock carvings if and when built. Allow me to further explain that since flights were cancelled from the nearest airport in Gilgit, a tedious five hour journey on the Karakoram Highway, I was compelled to take the road journey over the Babusar Pass situated at an altitude of 14,000 feet above sea level, travelling a total of eighteen hours to Islamabad.

Your Excellency, it was during this eighteen hour journey through some of the most desolate yet spectacular landscape of my country that I imagined speaking to you, being unable to join the privileged few who were invited to hear you speak both in Lahore and in Islamabad. As the vehicle carrying us made its way carefully over open culverts fashioned by the able engineers of the China Construction Company, as it slid over six inches of freshly falling snow, as it dipped into crevices swirling with glacial melt, and as it glided smoothly over the bits of tarmac which have survived the devastation of the 2005 earthquake which killed 70,000 people in these remote parts, I spoke to you, imagining that you were truly interested in what I, an ordinary citizen of this, my beloved, blighted country had to say.
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Waziristan Strategy or Pakistan Strategy?

By Azhar Aslam

nwfp-waziristanWaziristan today has come to symbolize the paradigm in which Pakistan finds itself. An epicentre of ‘terrorism’, a symbol of ‘Talibanization’ and now a field for what has been euphemistically called ‘mother of all battles’. Pakistan and Waziristan were not always like this. How we have come to this pass is crucial to analyse, but even more urgent is to assess that are we prepared enough to win this battle?

Is this just a battle or a war? Is the battle confined to South Waziristan? What are the implications beyond Waziristan? What lies beyond the battle? What will happen after South Waziristan has been secured? What are our plans after the area has been secured and captured? How are we going to treat captured combatants? What will be things be like in two, five, ten and twenty years from now?

It is clear that there are no short term measures that can address a problem as complex and deeply embedded as this. The military win will be down to appropriate strategy, superior operational and tactical skills, appropriately trained troops, coordinated intelligence and finally high morale and right motivation. But this battle is about more than just winning in Waziristan. A lot more.
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