Stories about IDPs

This time, it was Zaman Mehsud’s turn to be silenced

This time it was Zaman Mehsud’s turn. The 40-year-old journalist was sprayed with bullets as he rode his motorbike in Tank district yesterday, November 3, 2015, a day after the world observed the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’. He was shot in the chest, arm and leg. He succumbed to his wounds in the hospital.  Mehsud worked for the Daily Ummat and was also associated, in the capacity of a coordinator, with a local human rights organisation. The details available regarding his cold blooded murder are customary. The reason he was silenced mercilessly is also anyone’s guess. It is interesting to note, however, that the ...

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Chitral earthquake relief: Aid may be expensive but lives are priceless

Floods in Chitral became the reason for the first introduction of our team at Elaj Trust and this beautiful valley. We are in the area again, this time due to earthquake relief. Nature has not been kind, government aid has not been effective. But the people are resilient. Victims who are still looking for compensation announced at the time of floods have not lost faith. Sorlaspur village, at 10,000 feet above sea level, is the last stop before Shandur, home of the world’s highest polo ground. Nearly 70 houses are completely destroyed here and nearly 350 in the surrounding area. In ...

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We need to stop treating menstruation as a ‘fault’

“So what do you do when you… you know… have your monthly period?” I said to my domestic helper, after my mouth-gaping-open-in-shock reaction was over and I found my voice. For an urban woman, what she was telling me was unthinkable. I was truly scandalised that many women in Pakistan’s underprivileged parts walk around with no sanitary cloth or napkins when they have their menstrual period. Others do use folded pieces of cloth, she told me, but even then the hygiene conditions she was describing were hardly satisfactory. The year was 2010. Pakistan had been hit by one of the worst ...

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#NineZeroRaid: Why is MQM the only one being targeted?

The early morning raid at Nine-Zero, the headquarters of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has raised a series of questions. On one hand, it seemed like a well-coordinated search operation carried out reportedly upon a tip off by the intelligence agencies, while at the same time, the timing of the raid right after the Senate elections and especially when MQM, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had apparently turned over a new leaf, gives credence to some political back channel arm twisting either by PML-N or the ruling party in Sindh, PPP. Such serious actions are usually taken when either there ...

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What crime have the IDPs committed to deserve this?

As we sit and watch our televisions air press conferences after press conferences, jalsas after jalsas, war of words and the hyperactive talk show hosts attempt to bolster their ratings by getting opposing parties’ representatives launch into shouting matches and us, well we forget. We forget that Pakistan is now ranking third on the Global Terrorism Index. We forget that as of July, the UNHCR reported that 99, 2990 individuals are now internally displaced people in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; 74% of these people are women and children. We forget that, recently, three students were injured as they accidentally brought hand grenades into their school. A case ...

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Ten reasons why Pakistanis do what they do

Pakistan, ever since its inception, but even more so after the rule of Hazrat General Ziaul Haq, has been under the axe of western propagandists and bigots. The precipitous progress that the country is displaying and the threat that this presents to the developed world has them grinding their teeth. Thus they target us rather unfairly and portray to their public an image of ours which cannot be far from truth. It is to undo their nefarious designs that I, perhaps for the very first time in history, yearn to exhibit a picture of Pakistan like it really is. To this effect, a list of ...

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What is Abdul Sattar Edhi going to do now?

There’s something about Abdul Sattar Edhi that makes Pakistanis feel safe… almost protected, like a child feels with a parent around. He is old and frail and sickly. But he is there. He is alive. And till he is alive, we have hope. We have hope that goodness prevails, and that there exist those we can look up to. With Edhi around, we have an elder. This August 14th, I happened to celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day with children from the Edhi home who were attending an event held for them. “Edhi abbu got us these clothes for Youm-e-Azadi,” said a 14 year ...

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An older, scarier version of ‘tabdeeli’

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has become quite a talking point these days. Its chairman, Imran Khan, has been giving ‘dharnas’ for the past 50 days (though one must question the legitimacy of the dharna since it keeps hopping from Bani Gala to Karachi to Lahore and so on and so forth) in the name of… well, I’m not really sure. Perhaps some of the angry, cussing, hatred-filled insafians can enlighten me with their version on this. I’ve faced enough abuse from PTI trolls for not supporting PTI and openly criticising Imran’s version of facts and events. Khan sahib wants a ‘Naya Pakistan’ and chimes for ‘tabdeeli’ (change). He ...

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“OMG, is #ImranKhan getting married?”

Those alluring eyes and that almost shy, sheepish smile; a self-assured gait of a true sportsman; a naive idealism that one can disagree with but is charming nonetheless. Add to it that tinge of genuine humanity and a good heart that the world has seen in his philanthropy and an overall drop-dead gorgeous personality despite the wrinkles that give away his age. Imran Khan Niazi, even at age 60 plus and a divorce later, is considered one of the most eligible bachelors alive. May be that is why the news that he is under pressure from his family to remarry made front ...

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This is what I saw in Bannu

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Bannu district, where the majority of the 500,000 plus Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), primarily from Mir Ali and Miranshah in North Waziristan Agency, have moved to escape the military operation called Zarb-e-Azb (apparently) against the terrorists who continue to threaten the people of Pakistan. This is not the first displaced population I have seen or engaged with close up, but the feeling of being overwhelmed never fails to leave. As one enters the garrison town of Bannu, visibly under the control of and closely monitored by the military, roadblocks line all entrances of the town ...

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