Pakistan conflict map

A map produced by the BBC suggests only 38% of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and surrounding areas is under full government control.

The map, compiled by the BBC’s Urdu language service, was based on local research and correspondent reports as well as conversations with officials. It shows the Taleban strengthening their hold across the north-west.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari rejected the findings, telling the BBC it was an “incorrect survey”.

He was speaking after talks in London with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who pledged £12m ($18m) in humanitarian aid for north-west Pakistan.

Mr Zardari said the two countries were united in fighting the threat to their countries’ democratic way of life, and also repeated assurances that his country’s arsenal was in safe hands.

There was an international outcry recently when the militants moved into Buner district, just 100km (67 miles) from Islamabad.

Pakistan has continued its military offensive to regain control of the region, and has reported the deaths of 11 militants in the Swat valley in the past 24 hours.

Residents trapped in Mingora, the main town in Swat, told AFP news agency by telephone that militants had planted mines and were digging trenches.

“People are becoming mentally ill, our senses have shut down, children and woman are crying, please tell the government to pull us out of here,” said one shopkeeper, who did not want to give his name.

“Forget the lack of electricity and other problems, the Taleban are everywhere and heavy exchanges of fire are routine at night.”

Mapping lawlessness

The report the BBC map was based on covered the 24 districts of NWFP and the seven tribal agencies and six frontier regions of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

nts over the past 18 months, backed up by conversations with local officials, police officers and journalists.

They concluded that in 24% of the region, the civilian government no longer had authority and Taleban commanders had taken over administrative controls.

Either the Taleban were in complete control or the military were engaged in operations to flush them out.

Another 38% of the region was deemed to have a permanent Taleban presence, meaning militants had established rural bases which were restricting local government activities and seriously compromising local administration.

In those areas – three districts in FATA and 11 in NWFP – the Taleban had repeatedly shown their capability to strike at will, says the report.

Militants had made their presence felt by carrying out periodic attacks on girls’ schools, music shops, police stations and government buildings.

The map gives a snapshot of the current situation. However continuing fighting between Pakistani troops and the Taleban means the situation on the ground could change in the future.

The Pakistani army’s spokesman, Gen Athar Abbas, rejected the BBC map as “grossly exaggerated”.

“The ground situation doesn’t give any indicator of such influence or control of Taleban in this area,” he told the BBC in Rawalpindi.

Thousands flee

The region is notorious for its lack of law and order, so the researchers applied a series of rules to differentiate Taleban activity from general lawlessness.

The incidents had to be of a recurring nature, there had to be an official recognition of Taleban presence, Taleban militants must have appointed local “commanders” and religious schools sympathetic to the militants must be operating in the area.

Pakistan has been stepping up its campaign against the Taleban in the north-west.

Tens of thousands of people have fled from the region to escape the fighting.

The research also indicates areas to which researchers believe Taleban-style militancy may further spread inside Pakistan.

The report found that, based on current perceptions of religiously motivated violence, there were strong indications that in 47% of Punjab Province there was a high likelihood of an increase in Taleban militancy in the near future.

The BBC’s Barbara Plett in Islamabad says that while the research indicates the strength of the Taleban in the region, the various factions and groups are only loosely co-ordinated.

Observers have warned against overstating the existence of one unified insurgency against the state, says our correspondent.

Are you living in an area that is not entirely controlled by the government? How does the Taleban affect your daily life? Send us your comments and stories using the form below.

Courtesy: BBC

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8047504.stm

Pakistan war fuels international tensions

Peter Symonds

Comments by China’s ambassador in Islamabad last Thursday highlight the reckless character of the Obama administration’s escalating intervention in Pakistan. By pressuring Islamabad to wage an all-out military offensive against Islamic insurgents in the Swat Valley and neighbouring districts, Washington is not only destabilising Pakistan but raising tensions in a highly volatile area.

Continue reading Pakistan war fuels international tensions

Thar coal-mining company – This has been done without the consent of the Sindh government

aliakbardhakanThar coal-mining company

by DR ALI AKBAR M. DHAKAN, Karachi, Sindh

Courtesy: daily dawn 12.5.2009

AS reported in the press, the federal government, with the approval of the Planning Commission, has once again established the ‘Thar Coal-mining Company’. This has been done without the consent of the Sindh government.

Earlier when the federal cabinet decided to set up the ‘Thar Coal Authority’ by abolishing the Sindh Coal Authority (SCA), a statutory body, established through a notification, agitation started all over the province. The federal authorities thereafter had to relent by rescinding the orders.

Continue reading Thar coal-mining company – This has been done without the consent of the Sindh government

Swat – where are they now?

swat_militantsby Mashal Khan Takkar

The wirter is the President of Canadian Pakhtoon Cultual Association Inc. Canada and he can be reached at mtakkar@yahoo.com

I am here in Pakistan for the last seven months. What I have heard and seen here about the conspiracy against SWAT and as a whole Pashtoon Nation, soon I will be there in Toronto and I will tell the truth to every one.

When in SWAT there was a very terrible situation and it was very risky to go there before Nizam adal, I had four trips to SWAT to help there the displaced people from the hilly areas to Mangora. And I had helped them how much I could not for advertisement.

Now our brothers, sisters , kids and our elders from SWAT are in great trouble. You cant imagine what is happening with them.

I salute the great Pakhtoon local people here how they are helping their guest from SWAT. And when I was going to Takkar from Islamabad, I saw on the banners , Dranoo and garano Mailmano pa khair raghlee.

Me and Sardar Ali takkar both were in the Car and when we saw it , really we wept to see the enthusiasm of the local people. They have given there own houses and hujras to their guest from SWAT.

We have also given shelters to a few families in our house and Hujra in Takkar. I spent with them 4 days and what I have heard from them, it was terrible even to hear…

One thing I am very much surprised, that the organizations from Canada and Pakistan had been sending e-mails to the people about the girl flogging, where are they now? Very sorry for their this attitude. I can say a lot about but I don’t want to get into detail at this time. It is not time for it.

We have to demolish the walls of darkness

manzoorejzWasshington Diary: Change of seasons and Dreams

by Dr. Manzur Ejaz, May 12th, 2009

Courtesy: Wichaar.com

When we were lion-hearted, when the tidal waves of our thoughts were keen to demolish every boundary, when a new flower buds like our soft souls looking for excuses to fall in love, when every dream seemed realizable, when every day came with a new dream and every night opened a mysterious book revealing secretes of times to dawn, when death was unbecoming inevitable, when life’s ocean had no shores, that was the time our good fortunes waited for the fragrance of new seasons. Those times whirled around us like youthful leopards. That was our time sowing seeds of new dreams and looking for blossoming. Those were the times when no one was born old.

Continue reading We have to demolish the walls of darkness