Stories about North Waziristan

Pakistan is at war… finally

Two fighters enter a ring to fight over a title. The decision has been made; or been made public, at least. The war is ours, finally. The time for talks, indeed, is over. Pakistan Army has launched an operation against the militants in North Waziristan Agency (NWA). After all these years, and the loss of so many dear lives, we’ve been jolted into action. Over the next few days, details will pour in of exactly what and how the Army hopes to achieve from this operation. And over the next few years, of course, we’ll get to see the ramifications materialise in our daily ...

Read Full Post

Journalism in Pakistan: Where the sword is mightier than the pen…

“How was your weekend?” a colleague asked me. “Terrible.” I answered. “Oh! Why so?” he inquired. I was sad and nostalgic. I told him that on Friday evening, I had received a message on Skype which said that the late Arif Shafi would have turned 38-years-old and that was when my mood had changed and become so gloomy. Confused, my colleague asked, “But who was Arif Shafi?” I didn’t know how to answer him. The fact is that I had never known Shafi personally. He and I had exchanged a few emails two years back while he was working on a feature story on the ...

Read Full Post

North Waziristan operation: Peace talks were never going to work anyway!

After much hue and cry about the peace talks, things ended up as most people predicted – the militant group would not let go of its savage ways and the federal government’s peace initiation would eventually go down the drain, fuelling military action from our armed forced. On February 16, 2014, the TTP beheaded 23 FC soldiers. This was the last straw for our forces and the government retaliated by directing the Pakistan Air Force to launch airstrikes in North Waziristan, killing 40 militants. This is the first time our Air Force has launched airstrikes in the region since 2007. A fantastic ...

Read Full Post

Peace talks or muscle power, that is the question

Pakistan may finally be getting more serious about tackling its militancy problem. But don’t get your hopes up. For years, the US government has pushed Pakistan to crack down harder on militancy and for years, Islamabad has largely refused. Instead, it has dithered as extremist violence has spread across the country. Last week, investigative journalist Umar Cheema revealed that Pakistan’s previous government used a secret counter-terror fund to purchase jewels, rugs and even sacrificial goats. Yet the tides may be turning. Last week, Pakistan was rocked by a rapid succession of bomb blasts, including attacks on consecutive days that killed Pakistani soldiers in the northwest and ...

Read Full Post

Pakistani reactions to breaking news (explained through cats)

When visiting US diplomats talk about Pakistan being a key ally in the War on terror. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. When Imran Khan says he will block NATO supply routes. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Reality of trying to block Nato supplies… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. How security forces are seen when rumours emerge of an operation into North Waziristan ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..  How the MQM is seen when they announce they are breaking a political alliance ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..  How the JI is seen battling over the ‘martyr’ controversy …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Each time the power tariff is raised by 50 paisa …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. When there is a strike due to ‘namaloom afrad‘ ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..  When a negative review of Waar is published ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..  When a positive review of Waar is published …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. When there’s a ...

Read Full Post

Once upon a time in Waziristan: The ‘chota London’ of Pakistan

Unforgettable and joyful memories sum up my 30 years spent in the exotic valley of Razmak. This valley lies within the northern region of Waziristan and was famously known as “Chota London” during the pre-independence period. Officer’s Quarters (BOQs) at Razmak Camp – 1930s The British Army had set up their military camps at Razmak prior to partition. The favourable weather conditions and terrain that the valley had to offer was useful for their military exercises. Charles Street, Razmak Camp – 1936 By building roads that pierced through the lofty mountains alongside springs boiling forth their salty water, they transformed ...

Read Full Post

Drone strikes kill militants, others kill the innocent

While the whole nation is engrossed in the drama being performed by Dr Tahirul Qadri in Blue Area, something more serious and disgraceful is going on in our beloved country. I don’t really know what the media is saying about what happened yesterday morning in North Waziristan, or if it even qualifies as something worthy of being reported in the media. I know of this incident solely because it involves the family of a close friend. At around 8.30am. yesterday, a Pakistan Army gunship helicopter appeared in the skies above Hassukhel, a small village in Tehsil Mir Ali, North Waziristan. The helicopter ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

Imran Khan, knowingly or unknowingly ‘Taliban’ Khan

Imran Khan is guilty of one of two things. He is either guilty of deliberately and knowingly legitimising the Pakistani Taliban as a political force for what he perceives to be his own populist gain, or he is guilty of colossal naivety and unintelligibility. Personally, I am far more worried by the latter, and also far more convinced of its plausibility. Allow me to explain. Let’s consider the possibility that Imran Khan is indeed playing to what he understands the populist tune to be and that his soft, apologetic stance towards the Pakistani Taliban is a deliberate ploy fueled out of a mixture ...

Read Full Post

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! ...

Read Full Post