Stories about North Waziristan

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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US-Af-Pak tripartite interests: Time is running out!

Amidst reports of an anti-Taliban insurgency in the provinces of Ghazni, Paktia, Kunar, Nuristan and Laghman gaining strength, time for Pakistan’s clay-footed policymakers is running out fast. The restless provinces of Kunar and Nuristan are registering signs of a coordinated anti-Taliban militancy led by the former Mujahideen commanders. While it looks increasingly possible that US-led Nato forces and IEDs could eventually pull off something resembling a military victory on which to build a negotiated settlement with the hostile forces, the Pakistani defence establishment seems to be frozen in the past. While Pakistan decided to run endless talk shows analysing the ...

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All I ask for is two drops

They whisper of demons that lurk in water the secrets it holds, the lies I thirst… The oasis knocks at my door, With the two drops I seek But my water, I’m denied By the whispers of the unknowing I thirst… Helpless before this treason, Of whispers I cannot stop, The word you utter is a plague, The vengeful cackle of pox, I thirst, I wait… In the lonely hills of the west, That sanity long forsake, No water to be seen, In the empty nest of my dove, The oasis knocks at my door, They’ve hidden away the key, My water has been swallowed, By the barrels of their guns, Lo, a vanguard of toddlers, Whom warriors cower behind, We, the ...

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Polio peace

On June 16, the Taliban shura in North Waziristan Agency, led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, banned polio drops. Then, in the south, a Maulvi Nazir-led shura also banned polio vaccinations until drone strikes in the south and north are stopped. A source in the FATA secretariat health department said that thousands of children will be affected by this decision and the world media condemns it. The agency’s administration there has started negotiations with tribal elders. It has threatened to arrest them and stop all developmental work in response. A tribal elder said that the ban was imposed by the Taliban ...

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US playing Call of Duty…in FATA

The ever so popular first-person shooter game has a new instalment. As the world awaits the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the excitement builds as gamers prepare for the chance to get their hands on the game. I’ve also spent a lot of time playing the previous versions of this game. There are brutal ways to kill soldiers of the opposing army, an adrenaline-pumping style of game-play and new technology that makes warfare a lot of fun. If you get multiple kills without dying, you get to control the Valkerie missiles which allow you to guide where ...

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Hillary Clinton: She came, she saw, she befuddled

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Pakistan has left the civilian and military leadership here more perplexed than ever. As one foreign office official put it: “If you think we have differences between the government and the army, it is nothing compared to the Americans.” During her talks, both public and private, Clinton stressed on peace, going so far as to tell a questioner at her town hall-style question and answer session that the US would be looking to Pakistan to help with peace talks rather than military operations. This emphasis ...

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Salmaan Taseer: The death of a governor

In life, Salmaan Taseer was never afraid of controversy and was never one to remain silent even when his stance on issues like militancy and the blasphemy law brought the venom of the right wing pouring on to him. Known as much for his ubiquitous dark glasses as his continuous sparring with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), he was a man you could love or hate, but never ignore. In a time when obscurantists and terrorists have tried to silence our voices and strike off the heads of those who dared oppose them, Taseer spoke without fear, condemning the blasphemy law ...

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How to end the war in Afghanistan

President Obama has reiterated his goal for the 2014 withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and at the same time has put pressure on Pakistan to “do more” in his latest review of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to the New York Times, Obama, when referring to Pakistan, stated that “progress has not come fast enough,” and the United States (US) would “insist that terrorist safe havens within their borders must be dealt with.” Analysts have argued over whether it is in Pakistan’s interest to undertake an invasion of North Waziristan. However, there is a need for us to analyse ...

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