Stories about North Waziristan

Either pay attention to K-P or resign, Imran Khan!

A Sikh trader, Harjeet Singh, was killed in Peshawar. This was the fifth target killing of Sikh traders living in Pakistan; in 2014, two Sikhs were killed in Charsadda and two were killed in Peshawar. But the reaction to Harjeet Singh’s murder was very different. Sikhs have been living in Pakistan since the 19th century when Peshawar and Punjab were under the rule of Ranjeet Singh. While many other minority communities left Pakistan after the partition in 1947, a number of Sikhs stayed back and considered themselves safe in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA). However, after the recent killings, the scenario has ...

Read Full Post

Bringing FATA into the mainstream

The much talked about and supported military operation, Zarb-e-Azb, has been initiated in North Waziristan with the objective of clearing the region from local and foreign Taliban sanctuaries. The military strategy has already displaced thousands from the war-torn region at a time when the internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected from previous conflicts and disasters haven’t returned to their homes yet. Up to 30,000 soldiers are involved in the current operation, while more than 800,000 people have fled the area over security and an uncertain future. The operation was launched after the failed attempt at peace talks and demands from the ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan – In search of the missing patriot

In the latest political upheaval to rock the country, all those involved may appear to be at complete odds but retain one salient feature that unites them all. The government, by the virtue of their status, espouse patriotism which is reflected in an unflinching dedication to democracy on the part of the Sharif brothers; the opposition under the tutelage of Imran Khan continues its elongated quest to reform the electoral process through a long march to the capital under the camouflage of patriotism; and the Canadian chameleon Tahirul Qadri (TuQ) invokes patriotism in his fiery rhetoric to establish the true force of democracy in Pakistan. They ...

Read Full Post

An open letter to murderers of minorities

Dear ruthless, relentless and barbaric attackers of the minorities in my country, I‘d like to start by asking you about what happened day before yesterday? With what conscience did you think that it was acceptable to brutally gun down a Sikh teenager and open fire at two other Sikh businessmen in Peshawar? Were you just having a bad day at the Hashtnagri Bazaar, as sources confirm that there was no enmity between them and you? Was the heat too much to bear that Jagmohan Singh, the teenager you shot, had to take the brunt of your barbarism? You critically injured Parimjit and Manmit Singh ...

Read Full Post

Don’t take your soldiers for granted

*Saf Shikan post is one of the few posts at Siachen glacier that is inaccessible by animal transport. Hence, all the transport of ammunition and food items is done through man-portering, mostly because the gradient of the post is impassable by mules and because the approach to the post is over looked by the enemy sitting just a few meters away. Saf Shikan is located 18000 feet above mean sea level at a gradient of approximately 30 to 40 degrees. An officer’s 6x3x4 feet (LxWxH) igloo, shelter made from discarded jerry-cans and PSP sheets, and a 9x6x5 feet shell-proof bunker ...

Read Full Post

Stop globetrotting and look towards your IDPs this Eid, Mr Prime Minister

Last year, they were celebrating Eid in the comfort of their respective homes, surrounded by friends and family. This year, they will have to make do with whatever they can in their camps. Last year, they had new clothes to wear and new toys to play with. This year, the children will find themselves lingering around camps, not really sure of what to do. Many might not even be aware that it is Eid. Such is the plight of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of North Waziristan. Imran Khan announced that he will spend his Eid day with the IDPs. Although this is a great ...

Read Full Post

Here is how cricket can help the minorities of Pakistan

Cricket fever in Pakistan is remarkable; in fact, the entire subcontinent is quite smitten by this sport. Cricket fans exist in every nook and corner of this region. In the past, we have seen how cricket has been used to create awareness, raise money for different causes and even be utilised to increase diplomatic ties. Because the game is so popular, cricket has helped in bridging many gaps and bringing different people closer together. A recent example of this is the cricket series underway at the Iqbal stadium, Faisalabad, which is aimed at raising funds for the IDPs of North Waziristan. In this ...

Read Full Post

How Islamic is the ISIS?

A recent news story left me utterly shocked and angry. Yesterday, the Islamic State (formerly known as the ISIS), a militant outfit, blew up and levelled one of the most well known and revered shrines in Mosul, Iraq – the resting place of Prophet Younus (AS). The militants blew up the shrine in front of a large number of people. The Islamic State (IS) has razed 15 mosques so far, belonging to both Sunni and Shia sects and, interestingly, this recent destruction of Prophet Younus’s (AS) shrine was done under the supervision of a proclaimed ‘caliph’. In the middle of all this chaos, my questions are ...

Read Full Post

Should war be celebrated?

On the walls along MA Jinnah Road, I came across certain graffiti, a bold approval in red paint, which read, “Pak fauj qadam barhao, hum tumharay saath hain” (Take a step, Pakistani Army, the people are with you) This was a reminder for every passer-by that it is the duty of every Pakistani to support its army engaged in Zarb-e-Azb, the on-going military operation in North Waziristan. In the past few months, there has been a shift in the rhetoric pertaining to the army; the protector has become the saviour, the last resort has become the beacon of hope and force has become the ...

Read Full Post

For IDPs, the light at the end of the tunnel is a freight train coming their way

The much-awaited operation to clean the north western part of the country has finally started. It will hopefully rid us of the disease that has infected our country and as a result, the locals will hopefully be able to live without the constant fear of militants and hovering drones. However, due to the intensity of the operation, residents have been forced to leave their homes and live as refugees in camps in their own country; camps that are merely making ends meet for them. Hussein Khan, once a resident of Mir Ali in North Waziristan and now living in the Bannu refugee ...

Read Full Post