:::: MENU ::::
Posts tagged with: Taliban

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.
Continue Reading

Psychoanalysis of an Extremist

I am stuck, in middle of nowhere, or at the extremes of somewhere, I don’t know what is right or what is wrong, rather who is right or who is wrong. Height of epistemocracy I might be at, rather in a quest to know more, but got more questions than answers along the way. I am an empiricist, I want to see the missing links, between the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle of reality, but cannot; others though assumes, theorize the nature of connections among events, the reasons of causality, the triggering points of incidents, but I prefer not to deduce, as I don’t get pleased by the release of the excruciating mental tension, due to confusion, but people do rather, like those who train innocent children as suicide bombers.” … I might be lying…

It’s a cognitive requirement, to have a logic (illogic) of what is what, who is who and where is where, how is how, if not, our neural networks don’t abide, rather strive to connect the missing bits, scattered pieces, seemingly random events happening all around us. It happens naturally, unintentionally. Though intentionally we tend to resist, not often though, to keep events from explanations, and people disconnected from our judgments, labels, and tags like Kafir, Murtids, Taliban, etcetera.
Continue Reading

A Swati Doctor Interviewed about the War in Swat

A few members of the Peoples Resistance group visited Banares Colony in Karachi, Pakistan and interviewed an IDP refugee Doctor from Swat who shares his thoughts.


I would also like to quote a short section from the email by Abira Ashfaq which had accompanied this video

It seems like one can always accuse people who are opposed to the operation on humanitarian, human rights, and political grounds that we are twisting the words of the interviewees to suit our viewpoint – but never before have I met so many Swatis who were unanimous in the opinion that something has gone/or was always awfully wrong with this military operation – that it has caused immeasurable human suffering – that there are other powerful interests at play -that people have not been allowed safe passage and have had to resort to mountainous and unfriendly terrain and escaped in horrific conditions – almost everyone says that civilians are being targeted and never (purposefully) the Taliban – that they have seen burning bodies of these civilians – and the next day ISPR will report that a taliban commander and several militants were killed. That we are taking ISPR reports in DAWN as authentic is indicative of the lack of media critique and questioning in our state. Understandably there is a lot of outrage in the IDP community against the operation.

Foreign Policy ranks Pakistan as the 10th Most Failed State

FPmagazineNothing to be proud off but in a survey conducted by Foreign Policy Magazine where they evaluated 177 countries across the world Pakistan was ranked as the 10th most failed state where Somalia was ranked as the most failed state followed by Zimbabwe, Sudan, Chad, Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Guniea and then Pakistan

The used 12 indicators ranking countries on a scale of 1-10 [10 being the most affected] Pakistan’s total aggregated score is 104.1 [Data Sheet available in PDF]
Continue Reading

The displaced vs the well placed people of Pakistan

IDP Kids“The twins were born as the mother desperately struggled with the pangs of pain, the sound of falling artillery shells, the suffocation of gun powder and the stench of decaying dead bodies. By the time it was morning, the family realized that one of the two babies, had not survived the ordeal of childbirth. The one who had said good bye to life, shared the same bed with the one who was still clinging to it. There was no way that a burial could be held in a curfew. Suddenly there were frantic announcements for a 2 hour curfew break asking the residents to vacate the valley as soon as possible. The family hurriedly packed their humble belongings, picked up the new born and dashed out of their home into one of the many cramped trucks headed towards Mardan. It was some where close to Dargai, that the unfortunate mother realised that she was carrying the dead child, while the living one had been left behind.” This heart breaking story was narrated by a doctor who treated this shattered family at Sahakot. This may just be one glimpse of the untold trauma faced by the millions of fleeing residents of Swat. Little did they know that their suffering and agony would appear diminutive in comparison to what lay ahead in the days to come.

The Rangmaala relief camp located at the very top of Malakand, close to the borders of Swat and Buner, provides the first opportunity that a displaced family can avail as a shelter. The camp set up by the Red Crescent Society of Pakistan houses 4600 persons (702 families) and is by far the most well organized refugee camp. The government has provided various support services, including electricity and cooked food. Each family has received a tent, a mat, a cooler, a fan, a bucket, a kitchen set and a hygiene set. There are common toilets, washing area and a dispensary. From the point of view of the organizers, they have provided all that was needed to make Rangmaala a model camp. There should be no further cause for a complaint. This is the first conceptual mistake made in a relief process, when people become numbers and the relief goods become check-lists. None of the organizers had actually spent even one day in a tent, lined up for food or visited the toilet even once to get a personal experience of what it was like to live in a camp. The temperature inside the tents where the women remain motionlessly seated like toasts in an oven was at least 10 degrees higher than outside. People and buckets queued up three times a day to surrender their dignity in return for a few mugs of the yellow liquid called ‘daal’ and the toilets’ hygiene permitted visits only in situations of unbearable duress.
Continue Reading

Report on the IDP situation

Report by Wali Haider from ROOTS

Roadside IDPs running for foodTalking to the displaced people in various IDP camps, or in the homes of friends/relatives during my recent visit to Takht Bhai and Charsadda they have taken refuge it is obvious that for them the objectives of the army operation remain unclear. At the same time their suffering as IDPs are manifold.

According to a social worker at a camp in Takht Bhai,, the government is providing two maund of wheat, four kilo dal, five kg cooking oil, five kg sugar, one packet salt, 250 gram of tea to each registered IDP; the rations are provided on a monthly basis.

People have to stand in lines to get their quota; they queue up early in the day and spend the day waiting for their turn. There are few distribution points and sometimes they have to go again the next day.
Continue Reading

The women who walked – and walked

IDPs on the streets of MardanThis is an abridged version that was published on 4th June in The News extracted from a recent report by AIRRA (Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy) based in Peshawar, whose members traveled to the IDP camps for these interviews.

We write here some of the stories the women of Swat told us. They come from Kabbal, Mingawera (Mingora), Qambar, Kanju and other parts of Swat. Some are from Buner and Maidan in Lower Dir. Their lives were affected in many more ways than the lives of their men.

When we entered the large tent a few women looked up and smiled. Some got up and put out their hands to greet us. They seemed surprised that we could converse in the same language. “Sit down. We can’t even offer you tea” said one laughing, “look at us and what we have been reduced to.” Their children were lying on the floor, red because of the heat, tired and listless in the hot air of the fans. The women had been sitting in silence before we went in. We could hear no noise from the tent which was full of about forty women and children. What could they share with each other? Each story was the same as the other. It was a pall of misery and silences that hung over their heads. These women were lucky; they had a common place to come to, out of their tents. In most camps, the women sit in the heat of the tents, not being allowed to go out. They wait for their men to come before they can use the toilets. Their children defecate outside the tents as they cannot take them to the toilets. In some schools, they feed their children first and, at times, do not eat.
Continue Reading

IDP Crisis, More transparency, please

swat-buner-lower-dir-pakistan-army-taliban-imperialism-war-idp-campsVoices of reason and critique are often drowned in the sounds of gunfire and heavy artillery shelling. This current operation ‘Rah-e-Rast’, or what is being termed as a ‘War for Pakistan’s survival’, has resulted in an exodus of almost 3 million people which might just be another number for those who are at the helm of affairs in Islamabad. Dawn’s magazine Herald wrote in its editorial: “Fear of Taliban being just 60 kilometers away from the country’s capital has mobilized the people to support war….But more seriously still, it has ensured that we have willingly put aside the right to ask questions and the right to hold institutions accountable. We are so desperate to get rid of the Taliban that we do not want to raise any questions about how this can be done.” It is time to ask some tough questions.

Herman Goering, the head of German Luftwaffe, remarked at Nuremberg trials: “Of course, the people don’t want war….But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along… Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” We have seen how fear can drive a nation to support an illegal war thousands of miles away in case of Iraq invasion. That is why it is necessary that with our high running emotions against Militants and against their brutal acts of terror, we do not forget the importance of transparency, accountability and self-critique.
Continue Reading

Peaceful Anti-War Protestors, Harrassed & Arrested

People’s Resistance, a civil society coalition of students, professional and ordinary citizens strongly condemns police violence and arrest of peaceful anti-war protestors in Quaidabad, Karachi today, on grounds that the right to peaceful dissent has been violated.

The march had been organized by The Jang Mukhalif Committee comprising several local groups that have been protesting this operation since August 2008. The committee included the Bajaur Committee of Peoples Resistance, Labor Party Pakistan, International Socialists, Swat Quami Ittehad, Anjumani-i-Buner, and many neighbourhood groups.

At 6:15pm a disproportionately large police force, several hundred in number, baton-charged the protestors and even the cart-pullers and other people present in Quaidabad and later near Gul Ahmed Chowrangi. Fifteen protestors were arrested and shifted to the Shah Latif Police Station and Quaidabad Police Chowki. Panic spread in the area.
Continue Reading

Update on Swat Relief Collection Drive

Just an update from the collection drive for the Swat relief where I plan to head out to Mardan on 18th or 19th.

I have talked to MAKRO and have negotiated a hamper of relief goods for one family at a rate of Rs. 3000. It is still being negotiated down and the lower it gets the more hampers we will be able to purchase. So for technicality purposes we are collecting cash either in Karachi or alternate locations in Lahore [to be decided]. if you want to contribute please coordinate SMS@ 0302-8273493.

I was initially planning to take the items from Karachi – but it with full cooperation from Makro I am able to have the hampers delivered in Lahore and from there we can take the 6 hour drive to Mardan, saving up tremendously on the transportation costs

The actual Worksheet which is still under negotiation and we hope to bring down the price can be seen here http://cli.gs/idpack

Medicines are being processed separately and if you want to participate in that fund then please call or SMS you commitment 0302-8273493

Courtesy of Fauzia Minallah plans are underway to in a way adopt a school in Mardan for our relief effort, a housing location that has not been looked after, there are supposedly 1200 families housed there and hence we must target a goal of 1200 hampers at the minimum [as of writing this post I am committed with cash in hand for Mashallah 250 hampers] – more updates soon along with assistance from SARelief.com for international collection under the 502(1)b and also a push to achieve the 1200 target

Collection Drive for IDP Relief team to Swat

UN estimates there are 980,000 people being displaced out of NWFP – there is tremendous suffering and a severe lack of funds and Volunteers.

IDP's scrambling for food in SWATFacebook Event – Collection / Donation appeal for IDP’s in SWAT
I plan to lead a team to the affected areas hopefully to depart from Karachi on the 18th of May 2009 to take the collected donation items personally into the region of Mardan and physically distribute the items only to the needy and suffering.

We are interested in anything that you can contribute. We are hoping to pre-pack the collected items into small handy packages so as to distribute items to each individual person. The small packages will help us avoid hoarders who made even the 2005 Earthquake a business.

Please Please do not donate old/expired stuff. Make sure edible items are hygienic and properly packed.
Continue Reading

Shameful Flight – Redux

Only in the desperate days and weeks after those celebrations of mid-August did the horrors of Partition’s impact begin to emerge. No viceregal time had been wasted in planning for the feeding and housing and medical needs of ten million refugees. No British officers or troops remained to keep the peace in shattered Punjab, or in Bengal, nor in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, left in deadly limbo to become the source of increasingly violent conflicts between India and Pakistan, the cause of three wars to be waged between them over the next fifty-five years.” – Stanley Wolpert, Shameful Flight.

There are many similarities in the events of yesteryear and today. The difference is that the British had an escape route, we dont !

The images of displacement of a million people this week horrifies me to think of its repercussions. While the government’s rhetoric is of a united counter insurgency attack which requires support of all stakeholders (political parties, public and foreign countries) involved, I fail to see any real strategy laid out by those in charge. Again, today’s speech by the PM in the National Assembly was demoralizing to say the least, apparently, the PM has no backup plan if things go wrong. The point that strengthening the armed forces and utilizing foreign aid on the military offensive will bring success is a narrowly viewed idea.
Continue Reading

Survey shows 52% people NOT favoring Army incursion in NWFP | 72% supported Peace Deal

iri-logoInternational Republican Institue which has since 2006 been conducting some valuable opinion polling in Pakistan has just recently released their tenth survey

You can download the charts and graphs using this link [PDF] | While the descriptive review can be read here [PDF]

The poll was conducted March 4-30, 2009 comprised of a randomly selected sample of 3,500 adult men and women from 216 rural and 134 urban locations in 51 districts in all four provinces of Pakistan. The margin of error for the national sample will not exceed + 1.66 percent

The 54 slide presentation is also worth a quick glance to understand the political undercurrents that have shaped up over the last three months, PPP and Asif Zardari on a popularity decline to 9% and Nawaz Sharif leads by a massive margin at 55%.

Continue Reading

Women to Reclaim Public Spaces – A Seminar by WAF

A Programme of Defiance & Resistance

by the Womens Action Forum

Karachi Press Club
8th May, 2009, 5:30 – 7:30pm

Womens Action Forums invites you to a programme highlighting the implications of Talibanisation for women, artists, and minorities in particular, and to our country in general. The Talibans have created terror through slaughtering of people, bomb blasts, kidnappings, and destruction of properties which has led to severe restrictions on women, and displacements of thousands of people from their homes. It seems their militancy has encouraged some men and women in some urban centers of Pakistan to admonish and threaten women on their mode of dress and their presence in public places. This is a deliberate strategy to purge public spaces of women’s presence.
Continue Reading

The Taliban’s Atomic Threat: John Bolton’s Fear Mongering

John Bolton, the former interim US Representative at the UN is now at the American Enterprise Institute. He was “interim” because he was not confirmed by the Senate despite Bush Administration’s advocacy. Among other things he faced allegations of mistreating women employees working under him. Seeing the writing on the wall he resigned in 2006. He was also associated with the Project for the New American Century. Scroll down from here to Associations with Bush administration to get an idea of the people involved.

Bush Sr. kept them at bay but the Junior did not have the spine and succumbed to the AEI lobbying. The results of that meddling are before us – Iraq, Afghanistan and the Economy.

In a recent piece John Bolton wrote for the WSJ he espoused his fringe neoconzix views.

Quoting from Obama’s press conference, he wrote:

At his press conference Wednesday evening, President Barack Obama endorsed Pakistan’s official position that it has secure control over its nuclear-weapons arsenal. Mr. Obama said he was “gravely concerned” about the situation there, but “confident that the nuclear arsenal will remain out of militant hands.”

Continue Reading