Stories about FATA

Will Operation Raddul Fasaad be effective?

February 17, 2017: Within hours of the Sehwan attack, terrorist hideouts are magically discovered all over the country and over a hundred “militants” are killed across Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the tribal belt. Yet another military operation, by the name of “Raddul Fasaad” (“elimination of discord/violence/mischief”) is announced. I don’t know about you but I’ll tell you what I’m feeling; it’s called deja vu, the feeling that this has all happened before. And that might just be because it has. Flashback to June 15, 2014: Following the attack on Jinnah International Airport, the military launched Operation “Zarb-e-Azb” (“cutting strike”). This operation targeted militant hideouts in North Waziristan and along the Afghan border. Within a week, ...

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I support the Compulsory Education of Arabic Bill 2015

Recently, a friend asked me if I had seen the movie ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. Being averse to things I have no real interest in, I told him I see it every day. Surprised, he asked me what I meant, to which I replied,  “In Pakistan, we are all to some level masochistic. Either that or we are just plain servile. How can we be bombed, killed, raped and beaten into submission every day and just go on with our lives as if nothing is happening?” Pakistan has a history of insurgency and violence, which reached its peak during the ‘War ...

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What is Afghanistan’s problem?

On Monday, the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, once again blamed Pakistan for the terrorist attacks in his country. The blame stemmed from a presidential statement following the Kabul terrorist attacks when Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, called President Ghani. Despite the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff’s offer to share intelligence and cooperation with Afghanistan, in order to curb terrorism in the region, the president blamed Pakistan for the terrorism in his country claiming that the terrorists were trained in Pakistan. Afghanistan has been going through a period of transition since the United States’ (US) invasion post 9/11, when the US and its allies ousted the ...

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Who has what it takes to become Pakistan Super League’s sixth franchise?

Exceeding all expectations and silencing its critics, the inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) turned out to be overwhelmingly successful. PSL officially announced Pakistan’s acceptance to commercialise the game that was pioneered by India. While PSL presents tremendous untapped potential in terms of the domestic structural revamp, player development, and economic perks eventually, it presents the general public with a platform to look up to and creates a distinct identity in which they can fully invest their emotions. People from Pakistan have been following foreign leagues for a long time, where Pakistani players were contracted, but with the introduction of PSL, Pakistanis finally have a ...

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Pakistan Cricket Board’s case of the missing Usmans

Unpredictability is the word that best describes what drives the daily operations in Pakistan cricket. Players touted to be “the next big thing” get sucked into doldrums of financial constraints or fitness issues, inevitably resulting in them having to give up cricket entirely. Three players with similar names and twists of fate came onto the scene with great intent and promise but eventually went missing without logical reasoning. Usman Khan Shinwari When the selection committee announced his name in the T20I squad for the series against Sri Lanka, scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates, Usman Shinwari was a name unknown to many. Hailing ...

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Anonymous

August 13th, 2005 Hello Baba, Somewhere between home and nowhere, I write to you yet another letter in my head that I will never send. But then my heart must talk to yours for me to go on. I arrived in Chaman couple of weeks ago. This is my beat. These days I work at a hotel at Chaman bypass near Bughra road as a waiter. Yes, as a waiter. It is essentially a driver hotel but all kind of travelers stop by to stretch on charpoys, rest a while and eat food. The place is spread over more than two canals, of ...

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Why is FATA still administered by a typical British Raj law?

After the British took over Punjab from the Sikhs, they inherited what they called the frontier problem. The Pakhtun tribes on the periphery of Punjab had a long history of resisting authority emanating elsewhere dating back to the days of Akbar the Great. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had successfully driven back the Pakhtun tribes, but even that hard fought peace was tenuous at best, exacerbated by the fact that Ranjit Singh was a non-Muslim sovereign and the tribes were entirely Muslim.  As the power in Punjab changed hands from Sikhs to the British, the tribes once again rose in open revolt. ...

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The National Action Plan has been as counter-productive as Pakistan’s blasphemy law

Following the ghastly December 2014 Taliban attack on 132 schoolchildren, Pakistan’s government unanimously passed a National Action Plan (NAP) so that, “No room will be left for the extremism in any part of the country.” Among its 20 points, NAP outlaws radical literature and funding, calls for restructuring in the FATA region and Balochistan to address regional grievances, and lifts the moratorium on the death sentence for convicted terrorists. But well over a year into its execution, NAP has been less effective and more counter-productive than meets the eye. As one of numerous examples, consider the case of 81-year-old optician Abdul Shukoor. This past January, Shukoor, an Ahmadi Muslim, and ...

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If the army has cleared the agency of all militants, then what is there to hide in South Waziristan?

The Pakistan Army has been fighting valiantly against the scourge of terrorism. There can be no words that can fully express the debt of gratitude that one feels towards our soldiers for having done what they have done to protect the people of Pakistan from the nefarious designs of these “holy warriors.” That being said, what comes next is an arduous task. The frontier of Pakistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) will continue to pose a challenge unless and until something is drastically done on a political and national level to integrate them fully into Pakistan. They must not be ...

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Quaid-e-Azam inter-provincial games: A light at the end of Pakistan’s barren sports tunnel

What is it about Lionel Messi that excites fans as he dribbles the ball across the field? What gives players like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic the ability to hypnotise fans as they compete on the court? Is Usain Bolt’s speed really a big deal, after all, he did only run a 100-meter race at the Olympics. It seems as though for the average Pakistani, everything that is remotely foreign seems to be infinitely more appealing, but does that really come as a surprise? Pakistan’s football team is ranked 190th in the world, we are still raving about Aisamul Haq’s success ...

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