Stories about Waziristan

Don’t play God with the lives of innocent children

As the rest of the world rockets forward, we in Pakistan seem to be heading backwards. Neighbouring countries like India and Bangladesh having grappled with the issue of polio, are now on the path of enjoying a polio free ride. On the other hand, Pakistan is one of the three nations, along with Nigeria and Afghanistan, which still remains ridden with the polio endemic. Unfortunately, even struggling for complete eradication may not be possible under the current circumstances prevailing in the country. Recently, North Waziristan imposed a polio ban in the area as a protest against drone strikes. Apart from this, hundreds ...

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Its not time to “move on”, Mr Panetta. Not yet

The US government continues to remain predictable  and resort to its usual clichés. Yesterday, the Pakistani state was asked to  “move on”. No, Defence Secretary Panetta, we were not asking for closure after a cheerless  breakup, rather, demanding some much needed accountability for the killing of our armed forces which was reasonably against all precepts of international law. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, has  nonetheless, predictably but unacceptably, all but ruled out an apology over an air strike last year that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and badly set back efforts to improve US-Pakistani ties. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) airstrike that ...

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Drones are NOT our friends

When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them that I work for a local charity representing civilian victims of drone attacks in Waziristan. When I tell them this, the reaction, even amidst fairly educated people, convinces me that there is a lot still to be explained about US-led drone strikes in Pakistan. There have been more than 342 drone attacks that have claimed over 3,000 lives in Pakistan. While missiles still fall from the sky and many are in favour of them, 3,000 is a huge number. In this post I would like to respond to Pirzada Hasaan ...

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Drones are our friends

There is a dichotomy of opinions between people about the ongoing drone attacks. Where some consider it to be a good deed when a terrorist is killed, others think of it as mass murder due to the innocent casualties attached to the attacks. ‘Drone’ is one word that every Pakistani knows of at the present time. It is one of the most useful inventions in modern warfare, after the birth of the AK-47. You don’t need a huge on-foot operation to eliminate your targets anymore, nor do you have to risk the lives of your men. Most importantly, drones give instant results which one ...

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Talking peace with the Tehreek-e-Taliban

On the bright sunny afternoon of September 2, 2011, a few dozen tribesmen of Waziristan gathered in a small local mosque to offer Friday prayers. Like anywhere in the Muslim world, Friday prayers are usually held following a speech by the local prayer leader. However, today the Imam cut his speech short and dedicated a major part of the sermon time to an unfamiliar guest speaker. Uneasy with the presence of a stranger the locals had no option other than to listen to him. Though, the stranger did not bother to introduce himself to the audience, he was later identified ...

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Selective coverage: What the stories we never hear about mean

Keeping an eye on how the media has been working in Pakistan, I have been confused about whether it is actually performing its role –  its real role as an unbiased observer to events – and providing masses with untampered facts and information. Aside from its highly anti-government policies and the Zardari obsession, there are other reasons that makes its role suspect. With reference to the Pakistan army, the media’s role remains ambiguous. For reasons that are obvious, there has been a serious lack of reporting on exactly how the army has been conducting activities in Balochistan and Fata. But recent events are alarming. Last week ...

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In memoriam: Abdul Wahab

Peace jirgas are groups of local elders from different tribal agencies who have decided to say no to terrorism. Their cause is to give a normal life to their families and they have decided to side with the army and government of Pakistan in an attempt to get rid of the insurgency in their area. In pursuit of peace they have often come under attack from misguided people who have gone to the extent of taking precious human lives, just because they think they are right and everyone else is wrong. They killed more than 40 people in Mohmand Agency yesterday (Tuesday) ...

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