Stories about FATA

When the Presidential election is more important than the Parachinar blast

Pakistan is a rather strange place. If you are unable to fast because you are unwell, you can end up with a black eye and maybe a few broken ribs. This is courtesy of our informal, yet thorough and self proclaimed moral police marching down the streets 365 days of the year; they are the ‘righteous’. However, if you want to join in the Ramazan festivities beware that shopping for iftar in a local market or going to a mosque may become a gamble on life.  The twin blasts in Parachinar yesterday, left at least 50 dead and around a 122 severely injured. ...

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If Pakistan acquires drone technology from the US …

Regular militant attacks have now become a norm in Pakistan. The situation on the ground suggests that tracking and hunting militants is difficult, whereas for militants, carrying out their activities at will is easier. In terms of numbers, drones have killed more militants in FATA compared to on ground operations, but these drones do not conform with legal parameters set by the Pakistani constitution. A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog on drones and the need for the Pakistan government and the military to come out clean on the issue. On July 8, 2013, it was reported that the Pakistani government is considering ...

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FATA? Is that where tribesmen are cannibals and women are slaves?

Over the years, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA) have been a hot topic of discussion, but for all the wrong reasons.   We, the tribal people, have been termed as ‘wild’ and are somehow depicted as sub-human. Our women are often at the receiving end of pity because they are believed to be subjected and persecuted. Where to start and where to begin here? Through this post, I would like to introduce you to the Fata I have spent my entire life in by busting some popular myths about this region. Myth 1: In Fata,women are to remain illiterate and house-bound Please do ...

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Standing up against militants of K-P: How my father died for Pakistan

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are in state of war. Everyone here, including the politicians, are bearing the brunt of state policies, in the makings of which they share no role. Amongst this lot of politicians was my father Muhammad Ali Khan Mohmand shaheed. A member of the provincial assembly (MPA) from Shabqadar, Charsadda, he was well known to K-P and Fata. However, few in Pakistan know of his heroic story. Muhammad Ali Khan Mohmand became an MPA from Shabqadar in 2008 on a Pakistan People’s Party-Sherpao (now Qaumi Watan Party) ticket. The victory delighted all ...

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Pakhtun women: Does WANA stand for ‘Women Are Not Allowed’?

Ayesha Gulalai Wazir is the youngest parliamentarian elected for the National Assembly on the reserved women’s seats on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s ticket. She belongs to the Wana subdivision of South Waziristan’s Ahmad Zai Wazir tribe. The Taliban commander, Naik Muhammad Wazir, also belonged to the same tribe known for having signed peace agreements with the government of Pakistan. Naik was killed in one of the first drone strikes to hit Pakistan. This was followed by deaths of other commanders, who were willing to sign similar peace agreements, such as Mulla Nazir or Waliur Rehman. A story was published about Ayesha Gulalai ...

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Drone strikes: For better or for worse?

Drones are effective; they kill the most-wanted militants, reduce operational costs, minimise collateral damage and President Obama calls them “legal”. So where is the problem? Why are they so widely condemned? Recently, a drone attack killed another militant, Waliur Rehman, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). He was supposedly the number two of the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) – the only organisation that Pakistan considers inimical to its interests. The TTP is a publicly stated enemy of Pakistan as it has mostly claimed ownership of suicide bombings and IED attacks which keep killing innocent Pakistanis. Waliur Rehman’s elimination, on the face of it, means Pakistan ...

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Will Imran Khan end corruption in K-P in 90 days?

With the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government formed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), a lot is expected from the political party. Successfully governing such a challenging region would be nothing less than a miracle! Directly or indirectly, the political administration of K-P also involves the critical management of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) affairs. The PTI’s electoral victory in the region shows the unparalleled confidence the people of the province have in them, but by spreading hype of fulfilling high expectations, the party is in for an uphill task. The PTI team needs to first understand and rationalise the existing problems and then formulate and implement feasible solutions ...

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Do you know about the people of Tirah valley?

Have you ever heard of the valley of Tirah? This is not some valley in distant country in a faraway continent; it is located in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), in the northwest of Pakistan. Recently, Tirah has fallen into the hands of the Taliban after a fierce couple of months of fighting. The main battle for control of Tirah was between the Ansarul Islam (AI) and the Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) backed by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The news of this fight has been covered extensively by some of the leading daily newspapers of Pakistan, but unfortunately, the mainstream news channels of Pakistan have completely ...

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Badam Zari: The first Pakistani tribal woman to stand for elections

The much-vaunted democratic transition has taken place in Pakistan. Caretaker set-ups have settled in the centre and the provinces are to hold free and fair elections.  Similarly, candidates have also swung into motion, filing nomination papers, appearing before the Election Commission staff for pre-poll scrutiny and, most important of all, arranging funds for the election campaign. However, one event stands apart, amidst the din and uproar, of the initial phase of the election campaign: A female candidate has filed nomination papers to stand for NA-44 constituency, falling in Bajaur Agency. Badam Zari has made history by daring to move out of the confines of ...

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In memory of Malik Mumtaz Khan

I met Malik Mumtaz Khan, a tribal journalist from North Waziristan back in 2011 in Bannu. At the time, I was conducting a safety and security training for tribal journalists, arranged by the Intermedia, Pakistan. Malik came across as very cooperative and friendly, though not very talkative. He kept rather quiet during most of the workshop, except when it was necessary to say something. Like many things in life, Malik landed at my training session by chance – he tagged along with a few other journalists. Hence, it struck a particular chord, when on Wednesday blaring headlines announced 48-year-old Malik Mumtaz’s death ...

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