Stories about Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan

It wasn’t state facilitation but years of political neglect that turned FATA into an extremist stronghold

Whilst our civilian rulers have borne significant calumny for their dismal governance since the return of the democratic regime in 2008, there remain some feathers in the cap they can yet point to when juxtaposed with their military counterparts. Take the 18th Constitutional amendment for example. Since independence, successive military regimes have sought to consolidate power in the centre, perpetrating a phantom federation which in turn fuelled discontent and separatist-ism throughout the smaller provinces. The unitary propensity of the establishment also played a vital role in the East Pakistan debacle in 1971. The 18th amendment represented a break from this past, bringing about an inclusive administrative system by ...

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Is this martyrdom? No, it’s massacre

Oh our land of pure, How much shall you endure? How many shall you allure? To your depths so demure, When will your thirst be quenched? Of blood and sweat and gore. Jamaatul Ahrar, a faction of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for a deadly bomb attack that shook the cultural capital of the country yesterday. The senseless killing of 15 people, including decorated police officials DIG Capt (retd) Ahmad Mubeen and SSP Zahid Ikram Godal, has left the nation in mourning. How many more such attacks shall we mourn as a nation? The reverberating sound of explosions, shrapnel-ridden limbs scattered on roads and the air thick ...

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Rama: A paradise (almost) lost

“They were looking for Shias”, Aisars voice grew sullen “and my cousin happened to be on that bus” he said with a look of sadness in his eyes. Dipping his biscuit in his chai he continued, “but bhai, the situation has improved a lot since Nanga Parbat,” Referring to the tragedy back in 2013 when the ‘Killer Mountain,’ famous for its notoriously high fatality rate, gave its nom de guerre another dimension for altogether different reasons. A group of foreign climbers were butchered by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists (Janud e Hafsa faction) dressed as paramilitary forces in a late night raid at the base ...

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Should Imran Khan be arrested for treating a Taliban leader?

I will begin by admitting that I support PPP, the party Pakistan’s urban middleclass loves to hate. The basis for my support is just one – in Pakistan’s context, PPP remains the only mainstream party with a liberal and progressive ethos. No matter how you put it, this is a party which, in contemporary times, has tried to act as a bulwark against rising extremism and has paid the price in blood for doing so. In 2007, it lost Benazir Bhutto and then Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti in 2011. It also played a major role in the modification of the infamous Hudood ...

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America, you didn’t let them go to Disneyland because they are Muslim?

Every single day, I wake up to more and more stories of Muslims either being thrown in front of moving trains, or having pigs heads thrown at their educational establishments or even being denied entry to the US in order to go on an innocuous holiday to Disneyland. Muslims seem to be tainted by association.  Whenever a Muslim is portrayed in a positive light in the media, a couple of weeks later the same publication will try and besmirch him in some manner, like Aylan Kurdi’s father being labelled as a people smuggler after his son become an emblem of the Syrian refugee crisis. It’s as if being a Muslim ...

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Perils of over adulation

Despite being someone who considers himself a strong critic of Pakistan’s military, I do admire General Raheel Sharif and for good reason; he’s finally done what should have been done a long time ago. For years, the issue of militants had been in the spotlight, and despite their openly brazen acts, various governments in succession were unable to counter the menace effectively. The lack of will was astounding, but given the weak public support, due to obfuscating narrative which actually presented the Taliban as a ‘reaction’, was perhaps understandable. Moreover, it should also be remembered that any action against the militants actually required ...

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Pakistan, a nation filled with tolerance and forgiveness

Now and again, we are reminded that it’s impossible to politely engage everyone on this planet and no tolerant society should ever try doing that. It is important to begin by recognising that religious intolerance has a number of dimensions within it. Sources of religious intolerance, for instance, can be the actions or policies of governments and/or the actions or beliefs of individuals or groups in the society. Targets of religious intolerance can include members of specific religions or religion in general, people who choose to change or disregard their religion, and even the people randomly victimised by religion-related terror or armed ...

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Balochistan 2: There is more to Balochistan than the state’s high-handedness

The attack by Baloch separatists on labourers in Turbat last month was a timely reminder that there is more to Balochistan than the state’s high-handedness. The atrocities of the armed forces reviewed in the preceding blog-post take place in, and are part of, a two-way conflict. Mama Qadeer’s son, Jalil Reiki, was the information secretary of the Balochistan Republican Party, headed by Brahamdagh Bugti. Brahamdagh is also believed to control the Balochistan Republican Army and, alongside Harbiyar Marri and Allah Nazar Baloch, credited with leading the insurgency in Balochistan. All three are designated as terrorists by Pakistan. The insurgency, which has often been romanticised because of the neglect ...

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Déjà vu: They were just innocent students…

Following in the footsteps of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Boko Haram, al Shabab, an Islamic extremist organisation, has conveyed its message of the ‘religion of peace’ through the massacre of 147 innocent, Christian students at a university in Garissa, Kenya. Kenya is not a predominantly Muslim country; its population holds 83% Christians and only 11% Muslims. So this attack needs to be seen in context of Kenya’s population dynamic. And this isn’t the first attack of its kind. In 2013, al Shabab attacked the Nairobi Mall and claimed responsibility of the 70 deaths that took place as a result. According to news channels, on April 2nd, masked men marched into the ...

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Is Zardari trying to replace a joint session in Parliament with the APC?

Opposition parties, under the leadership of Mr Asif Ali Zardari, have asked the government to call an All Parties Conference (APC) for deliberation and decision on Pakistan’s role in the Yemen conflict. A trend that has recently become all too common in the political scene of Pakistan, APCs are a way to bypass Parliament and put weight behind chosen leaders of political parties, instead of their elected representatives in the National Assembly and Senate. From an APC that discussed and decided to hold talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in 2013, to the APC which contemplated a plan of action to deal with the TTP after their brazen ...

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