Stories about FATA

Imran Khan is not ‘Taliban Khan’

Often mocked as ‘Taliban Khan’, Imran has drawn harsh criticism for a number of policies which he and his political party have consistently towed. We know that he is against military operations in FATA, he is against drone strikes carried out by the US government and wishes to disengage from the US war on terror (WoT). Imran Khan’s consistent opposition to military operations including the Lal Masjid operation has not come out of sympathy for the intended targets of such operations but of the eventual side effects. Or at least that is what he says. Imran believes that widespread military operations ...

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Imran Khan can bring peace to FATA

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s ‘Peace March’ has been widely criticised by many but the fact remains that the liberal Imran Khan had taken a brave initiative to march towards the militancy-struck Waziristan – the headquarters of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. But being a divided nation, we happen to be pessimistic. Criticism is in our nature and is mainly the reason why we have remained an underdeveloped state even after 65 years of independence. After detaching Fata from Afghanistan in 1893, we were revealed to the world as a land of wild animals, leading people to believe that once you enter this region, there ...

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PTI’s Peace March: Give credit where it is due

Waziristan, a centre point for drone attacks by US-led NATO forces, is a place from where thousands of residents were misplaced internally and had to lodge their families to safer places of Pakistan. Waziristan, a place that is forgotten even by its own rulers. Recently, Imran Khan, Chairman Tehreek e Insaaf, led a ‘Peace March’ to South Waziristan along with the citizens of Pakistan, local media, his own party workers, and above all, foreign journalists and anti-war activists from the West.  This march started from Islamabad on Saturday October 6, 2012. The motorcade drove across Talagang, Chakwal, Kundian, Mianwali, Karak, Dera Ismail ...

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Has Hindi become our national language?

Recently, interviews were held for admission at the newly established Cadet College Sarwakai in South Waziristan. It was then that a tribal child, being interviewed by an army officer in Urdu, shocked the interviewer. The child was asked why he was eager to join cadet college. “Sir, I want to join the Army”, replied the child. “Why do you want to join the Army?” asked the interviewer. The innocent child replied, “Sir, main apne desh ki raksha karoon ga.” (Sir, I will protect my country.) The innocent child had no clue that these were not Urdu words, rather he had replied in pure Hindi instead of his national language! ...

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Reporting from FATA: A difficult feat and not enough in return

The tribal areas of Pakistan, from where news outflow makes headlines all over the world, focuses largely on the war on terror. Journalists reporting from the region say they are being neglected, even though they have to risk their lives to report day-to-day affairs from the war-torn area. A journalist from Kurram Agency’s restive area says the biggest issue facing journalists from the tribal region is financial security. According to him, journalists never get staff status in this area and work as stringers receiving low salaries. Additionally, journalists in Peshawar and Islamabad use the information provided by tribal journalists and ...

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Drones are our friends

There is a dichotomy of opinions between people about the ongoing drone attacks. Where some consider it to be a good deed when a terrorist is killed, others think of it as mass murder due to the innocent casualties attached to the attacks. ‘Drone’ is one word that every Pakistani knows of at the present time. It is one of the most useful inventions in modern warfare, after the birth of the AK-47. You don’t need a huge on-foot operation to eliminate your targets anymore, nor do you have to risk the lives of your men. Most importantly, drones give instant results which one ...

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Radio in FATA: A foreign voice for local problems

During my job at a radio station, I got one of my listeners to come in for some questions. In came 60-year-old Haji Noor Zaman, who is from the Khyber Agency and was internally displaced due to the operation against militants. My first question to him was, Do you still listen to radio? He replied saying, Yes, I do, but only to the news bulletin of Radio Deewa. Radio Deewa is a US government sponsored radio station. Curious, I asked: So, what’s new up there? He said: America has diverted its cannon towards Balochistan and has built up a human rights case against Pakistan. He was hinting at the ...

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In FATA, radio is the only voice

Twice, I missed the cadet college test because the only source of news was newspapers, and the admissions news failed to reach me in time. Even today, students and the people of Fata don’t get news in real time. An international media development organization in Pakistan has trained the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) broadcasters on public service announcements (PSAs) in training sessions held in Islamabad Pakistan. Broadcasters from local radio stations have attended this five day, hands on training on PSAs. While PSAs are used widely elsewhere in the world, they have never been used by these stations in Pakistan ...

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Hafiz Saeed: Missing pieces?

Hafiz Saeed, a mujahid and philanthropist in the eyes of many Pakistanis is basking in the limelight thrown on him by the US State Department when it placed a $10 million reward for information leading to his conviction under the Reward for Justice Programme. Saeed’s followers point towards the fact that because he demanded for the closure of the Nato supply route, the personal vendetta has been unleashed. The reality, however, is not that simple. Lashkar-e-Taiba, believed to be a militant arm of Jamatud Dawa, was designated as a foreign terrorist organisation in December 2001 by the US while its ...

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Why fighting Mullah Radio is not easy

It was on May 7, 2006 that our team started the transmission of Radio Khyber, located within Khyber Agency, one among the seven districts of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) in the north-western part of the country. I started transmitting with a passion to empower local people and give them a voice- a voice which had been kept silent since 1901, the day the colonial empire of India promulgated the Frontier Crime Regulation (FCR) in Fata. The FCR was designed by the British, who used the region’s own tribal traditions and social psyche to rule ruthlessly over the territory. All the ...

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