Category Archives: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Pakistan blasphemy: The student lynched for being a humanist

Pakistani student Mashal Khan was killed by a mob on a university campus after being accused of blasphemy against Islam. His father says there is no freedom of expression in the country.

Read more >> BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39603126

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UN condemns lynching of student in Mardan, Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations family in Pakistan has condemned the heinous lynching of a student of Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan.

“We are especially saddened this happened in place of education done by young people who were his fellow students.   The brutality of their actions are a discredit to the millions of students in Pakistan working for a better future in the principles of tolerance and social justice central to Pakistan’s constitution and the United Nations,” a statement issued here Saturday said.

“Our thoughts today remain with the student victims and their families. We urge the authorities to take firm action and bring the perpetuators to speedy justice. Pakistan has strong legal institutions and it is unacceptable for anyone to take the law into their own hands,” said Neil Buhne, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Pakistan.

Read more >> Pakistan Today
https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/04/15/un-condemns-lynching-of-student-in-mardan/

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa belongs to Afghans: Achakzai

Pashtun leader Mahamood Khan Achakzai has said that he would not allow anyone to harass Afghan refugees in their “own land”. He directly said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province belongs to Afghans and they can live there without fear and irritation.

“If Afghans are harassed in other parts of Pakistan, they should come here to the Pakhtunkhwa province, where no one can ask them for refugee cards, because it also belongs to them,” Achakzai who leads the Pakhtunkhwa Millie Awami Party said.

Read more » The Pashtun Times
See more » http://thepashtuntimes.com/khyber-pakhtunkhwa-belongs-to-afghans-achakzai/

Taliban claims assassination of Pakistani minority MPA Sardar Soran Singh in Buner

TTP claims assassination of PTI minority MPA in Buner

SWAT: Sardar Soran Singh, special assistant to chief minister KP on minorities’ affairs and an MPA, was gunned down in a targeted attack near Pir Baba in Buner district on Friday.

“Gunmen riding on two motorbikes came in front of the car and started indiscriminate firing which killed the minister on the spot,” Khalid Hamadani, district police chief told AFP.

He was shifted to the hospital immediately after the incident, where he succumbed to his wounds.

“Soran Singh was shot in the head and eye,” Pir Baba SHO Mir Ghazab confirmed.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the assassination.

Soran Singh belonged to the Sikh community

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1253730

Don’t need it? Leave it here: Peshawar gets its own version of Deewar-i-Meherbani

BY IZHAR ULLAH

PESHAWAR: Most of the walls in the posh neighbourhood of Hayatabad are drab structures of white and concrete; others have no paint at all. A bright yellow wall, breaking the monotony, stands out with the curious addition of clothes, hanging in various colours and sizes.

This is Peshawar’s wall of kindness, a charity wall installed on the main road. Any passerby, who wishes to donate used clothes for the homeless and poor, is welcome to drop them off here.

‘If you don’t need it, leave it’

Asad Ali Lodhi led a two-day drive with his organisation Serve Mankind requesting locals not to trash their used clothes, especially warm garments that can be used in the winter.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1236975/dont-need-it-leave-it-here-peshawar-gets-its-own-version-of-deewar-i-meherbani

World Pashto Conference: Speakers demand national, official status for Pashto

BY SYED ALI SHAH

QUETTA: Writers, poets, intellectuals, authors and literary figures have demanded the government to make Pashto an official and educational language.

Speakers at the World Pashto Conference spoke at length on the importance of mother-languages and urged the federal government to grant national and official status to all languages in the country.

Pashto Academy Quetta organised a three-day Pashto International Conference “Pashto Language and Globalisation, Challenges and Possibilities” at a local hotel in Quetta on Saturday.

Governor Balochistan Muhammad Khan Achakzai while inaugurating the conference termed the mother-language imperative for the promotion of education and success of a society.

Renowned Pashto literary personalities from Kabul, Kandahar, Canada, Germany and various parts of the world participated in the conference, which thoroughly discussed history, the importance of, and challenges to, the Pashto language.

Prominent among those who participated in the Conference were Pashto Academy President Syed Khair Muhammad Arif, Muhammad Masoom Hotak from Canada, Wali Muhammad Achakzai from Germany, Habibullah Rafi from Kabul Afghanistan, Professor Dr. Fazal Rahim Marwat, Vice Chancellor Bacha Khan University Charsada, Abdul Ghafoor Lewal from Afghanistan and others.

“Committed nations make their dead languages alive,” Muhammad Khan Achakzai said while referring to various ancient languages around the globe. He pointed out that Pashto was neither an educational nor official language, but Pashto-loving personalities were still publishing books in Pashto, despite the odds.

The chief of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), Mehmood Khan Achakzai, said that throughout the history Pashtoons have not believed in sectarianism neither were they terrorists, rather they always stood for peace and development.

Continue reading World Pashto Conference: Speakers demand national, official status for Pashto

K-P minister, 10 others arrested by NAB over corruption charges

PESHAWAR: National Accountability Bureau and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission arrested KP Minister of Mineral Development Ziaullah Afridi and ten others on corruption charges, Thursday.

“Yes, we have arrested provincial minister Ziaullah Khan Afridi,” a high ranking office-bearer of K-P Ehtesab Commission told a private media outlet.

Afridi, a member of the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf, was arrested for misuing his authority and violating the ban on the issuance of tenders, according to the official.

Other arrested officials include Bannu Commissioner Asmatullah Gandhapur and K-P Mineral Development Director Ziarat Khan.

In May, in a major move against corrupt officials, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission arrested former provincial excise and taxation minister Liaquat Shabab in a case related to alleged illegal assets.

Courtesy » Pakistan Today
Read more » http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2015/07/09/national/k-p-minister-10-others-arrested-by-nab-over-corruption-charges/

Department of ‘Homeland’ Controversy: Pakistan and Terrorism

By MUSTAFA HAMEED and

NEW YORK — Pakistani officials recently lashed out at the Showtime series “Homeland” for its portrayal of the Southwest Asian nation as a friend to terrorist groups, among other complaints, but according to former U.S. officials and Pakistan experts, it could be a case of a fictional show hitting just a little too close to home.

Last week the press attache for Pakistan‘s embassy in Washington released a statement saying it was “very unfortunate that the underlying theme of ‘Homeland’ Season 4 is designed to create a negative perception of both the U.S. and Pakistan.”

“The show projects and reinforces stereotypes about the U.S. and Pakistan that do not serve the best interests of our two peoples and countries,” press attache Nadeem Hotiana said in a statement to The New York Post and provided to ABC News. “This is also an affront to the people and institutions in both countries who have invested a lot over the decades in blood and treasure in building this important and mutually beneficial relationship.”

This season the espionage thriller, which wrapped up last Sunday, included a story line in which an agent of the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, appeared to repeatedly assist a local terrorist group, including in a deadly attack on the American Embassy in Islamabad.

“Insinuations that an intelligence agency of Pakistan is complicit in protecting the terrorists at the expense of innocent Pakistani civilians is not only absurd but also an insult to the ultimate sacrifices of the thousands of Pakistani security personnel in the war against terrorism,” Hotiana said.

But in recent years, the “insult” of tying the Pakistani government, intelligence agencies or armed forces to terror groups was hardly “absurd” to top U.S. military and intelligence officials.

In September 2011, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen told a Congressional committee that the real-life ISI was “exporting violence” by aiding the militant group theHaqqani network — which is the same name used by the leader of the terror group in “Homeland” — after an attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. More than a dozen people were killed in that day’s assault.

“In choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy, the government of Pakistan and most especially the Pakistani army and ISI jeopardizes not only the prospect of our strategic partnership, but Pakistan’s opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence,” Mullen said.

He went further, calling the Haqqanis a “veritable arm” of the ISI.

Read more » ABC News
Learn More » http://abcnews.go.com/International/department-homeland-controversy-pakistan-terrorism/story?id=27963663

A Pessimist Guide to the World in 2015

Excerpt: Skirmishes in the South China Sea lead to full-scale naval confrontation. Israel bombs Iran, setting off an escalation of violence across the Middle East. Nigeria crumbles as oil prices fall and radicals gain strength. Bloomberg News asked foreign policy analysts, military experts, economists and investors to identify the possible worst-case scenarios, based on current global conflicts, that concern them most heading into 2015.

Afghanistan/ Pakistan – Potential Flashpoint:

Taliban militants in the mountainous Pashtun-dominated regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan link up with Islamic State. They make progress in their quest to take power in Kabul and Islamabad as the U.S. reduces its troop presence.

India/ Pakistan – Potential Flashpoint:

A terrorist attack occurs on the scale of Mumbai in 2008, when luxury hotels and a train station were attacked by a Pakistan-based militant group. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is pressured into a harsh response, triggering a crisis between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

Read more » Bloomberg
Learn more » http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-flash-points/?hootPostID=8ac47b59f9f297f5aa7664a1fc7b7a8a

 

Pakistan’s Tolerance of Jihadis Backfires Badly

By 

Pakistanis are still grappling with the tragedy of the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that left at least 141 people, most of them children, dead and scores injured. There has been an outpouring of grief internationally, and the Pakistani public is visibly outraged. But the question being widely asked is whether Pakistan’s military and political leaders can transform grief and outrage into a clear policy that would rid the country of its reputation as both a victim of and magnet for terrorists.

Even before this incident, Pakistan had one of the highest casualty rates at the hand of terrorists. About 19,700 civilians and 6,000 security force personnel have been reported killed in terrorism related violence in Pakistan since 2003. But the country refuses to develop a comprehensive approach to fighting or containing the 33-odd terrorist groups believed to be operating on Pakistani soil.

“The question being widely asked is whether Pakistan’s military and political leaders can transform grief and outrage into a clear policy that would rid the country of its reputation as both a victim of and magnet for terrorists.”

The latest attack is the Taliban’s response to the Pakistan army’s military operation against the terrorist safe haven in North Waziristan, part of the tribal region along the border with Afghanistan. Jihadis from all over the world had congregated in the tribal areas to fight as Mujahedeen against the Soviets during the 1980s. After the Soviets left, Pakistan used the militants for its own objectives of expanding Pakistani influence in Afghanistan, leading to the rise of the Taliban.

Read more » Huffington Post
See more » http://www.huffingtonpost.com/husain-haqqani/pakistan-school-attack-jihadis_b_6337112.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Our denial killed children in Peshawar

By Farrukh Khan Pitafi

There is no sight uglier than a child’s corpse. I can say this because I have seen one dying before my eyes.

When a child dies, no words can console the grieving hearts of parents. And a cowardly terror attack on a school just snatched over a hundred children from the warm embrace of their parents in Peshawar.

Just try understanding the magnitude, the size of this all. More than a hundred families will now have their child-shaped holes in their lives forever. Parents all over the country will think twice before sending their children to schools again.

The children that survived the ghastly attack will never be the same again; their innocence, their childhood gone. It takes years for trauma victims to recover. Some don’t recover even after that.

The question on every mind is, when the grieving is over, will the nation unite against the spectre of terrorism?

If the past is any guide, the sad answer would be no.

Also read: Militant siege of Peshawar school ends, 141 killed

Pakistan is given a lot of credit for being a resilient nation. I think most of that is down to the state of denial we choose to live in.

There are always a myriad conspiracy theories circulating within our society. For reasons unknown, we choose to believe them.

We find the distant, often most improbable explanations for simple acts of violence plaguing our nation. Our workplaces, public places, government offices, security installations, hospitals, places of worship and now schools all have come under attack.

After every gruesome incident, TTP or one of its uncountable affiliates takes responsibility; often releases video clips with the assailant’s taped speeches before attack, and yet we refuse to believe it. That state of denial, in essence, is the terrorist’s biggest weapon and his ultimate victory.

Sorry rehabilitation facilities

The logical question after a tragedy of this magnitude is about the rehabilitation of those who survive. Of the amputees, the irreparably wounded, and in this case, the innocent minds scarred for a lifetime.

Read more » DAWN
Learn more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1151409

Peshawar attack condemned by UK leaders

Peshawar attack condemned by UK leaders and Asian groups

Politicians and Asian groups in Britain have condemned the attack by the Pakistani Taliban on a school in Peshawar in which 141 people died. Prime Minister David Cameron called the killings “shocking” and “horrifying”.

Kully Singh said: “The people that did this are neither Muslims or human. They are pure evil.”

Read more » BBC
Learn more » http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-30494134

Canada condemns ‘sinister’ terrorist attack on Pakistani school

By Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

The burned-out buildings dotted the landscape of Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled Swat Valley as veteran Canadian aid worker David Morley drove the bumpy roads with a local aid worker more than three years ago.

“This used to be a boys’ school, that used to be a girls’ school, that used to be a clinic,” Morley recalled his Pakistani colleague telling him.

“What’s he going to be thinking today?”

‘I think it is beyond our comprehension why somebody would target children’ -Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Morley, the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Canada, did not mince words Tuesday as news emerged of the suicide attack that killed at least 141 people — the vast majority of them children — at a school in Peshawar, the Pakistani city abutting the Khyber Pass leading to Afghanistan.

“This is a crime against humanity and it’s against civilized norms because we want to nurture and care for our children,” Morley said in an interview.

“We want them to learn and educate, and this is heinous act against all of those norms.”

The attack sparked similar condemnation in Canada and abroad. Many viewed it as a new low in the behaviour of Taliban terrorists, who took responsibility for the attack.

Students ranging from Grade 1 through Grade 10 accounted for most of the dead. They were killed along with their seven attackers, all of whom were wearing explosive suicide vests. Another 121 students and three staff members were injured.

Harper offers condolences

Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences to the families of the victims. It’s hard enough to understand the motives that underlie a terrorist attack, he said, but even more so when the targets are innocent children.

Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird has condemned the attack on the school, which he called cowardly and sinister. (Hasan Jamali/Associated Press)

“It’s hard for any of us, as rational and compassionate people, to understand terrorism — to understand why people would want, in the name of some political cause, to simply terrorize, hurt kill innocent people, whole sections of society,” Harper told a news conference in Quebec City.

“But I think it is beyond our comprehension why somebody would target children. As a father, your heart just breaks when you see that kind of thing.”

Read more » CBC
Learn more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-condemns-sinister-terrorist-attack-on-pakistani-school-1.2874900

Former President describes militants as Bokoharam of Pakistan

Condemns the Peshawar school attack, asks Party to mount relief and rehabilitation work

Calls for fighting to the finish ‘existential threat’ to  Pakistan

Islamabad December 16, 2016: Former President Asif Ali Zardari has denounced the militants’ attack on the school in Peshawar killing over 130 innocent children as ‘most barbaric, atrocious and inhuman that will hang the heads of every civilized person in any age and any clime’.

In a statement denouncing the incident the former President said the Bokoharam of Pakistan striking in the fashion of their kinsmen in Africa on Tuesday morning in Peshawar by targeting school children is a dark day in the history of this country. The crime has been committed on a dark day of our history when Pakistan was dismembered this day in 1971, he said.

The monstrous cruelty and sheer barbarism together with the symbolism of perpetrating it today should open the eyes of all those who give the nation lectures that the exterminated militants are ‘martyrs in the cause of a noble fight’.

Let there be no doubt or mistake that the religious extremists and fanatics are the worst enemies of the country and its people. There is no alternative to fight them to the finish for the very survival of Pakistan and our future generations. The absence of alternative to fighting the monster must make the mind of every self proclaimed puritan very clear, the former President said.

Mr. Zardari said that this incident should also strengthen the resolve of the nation to stand together against this existential threat to the security and stability of the country.  ‘Let us be clear’, the former President said, adding also, ‘the enemy is not external but internal; it lives and thrives in our midst and is nurtured and sustained in the name of religion’.

Expressing profound condolences the former President prayed for eternal rest to all the martyred, early recovery of those injured and patience to the bereaved families.

Mr. Asif Ali Zardari also directed the Party leaders to suspend all activities and immediately mount efforts aimed at relief and rehabilitation of the victim families. He also called upon the Party workers to visit the hospitals and donate blood to those injured.

Read more » Media Cell PPP
Learn more » http://mediacellppp.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/former-president-describes-militants-as-bokoharam-of-pakistan/

Peel schools lower flags in support of people killed at Pakistan school

By

TORONTO – Flags will fly at half-mast outside of Peel District School board schools in support of those killed at Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. The flags outside of the schools will fly at half-mast until the end of day Friday, Dec. 19.

“We were all shocked and saddened by the tragic events that transpired at Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan, today. Our thoughts are with all those affected, and we acknowledge the bravery of everyone who reacted immediately to protect the children and staff,” a press release from the school board read. A spokesperson for the Pakistani military said Tuesday that 132 children were among the 141 people killed when the school was attacked by Taliban fighters.

Read more » Global News
Learn more » http://globalnews.ca/news/1729686/peel-schools-lower-flags-in-support-of-people-killed-at-pakistan-school/

Army chief in Peshawar, vows to hit terrorists hard

Militant siege of Peshawar school over, at least 131 killed

By Agencies | Zahir Shah Sherazi | Mateen Haider | Hassan Jahangiri | Abdul Hakim

PESHAWAR: Pakistani officials say the siege at an army-run school on Warsak road school is over, and authorities are now sweeping the area. Three officials, on condition of anonymity, told AP the operation to clear the school has ended. At least 131 people, most of them children, died when Taliban gunmen attacked the school in the morning. …..

….  6:42pm – Army chief in Peshawar, vows to hit terrorists hard

Army chief General Raheel Sharif has reached Peshawar and vowed to continue the fight against the militants until they are completely eliminated from the country.

DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa posted on twitter that the tragic incident has saddened that COAS, but at the same time he has said that, “our resolve has taken new height. Will continue go after inhuman beasts, their facilitators till their final elimination”.

Gen Sharif said that, “this ghastly act cowardice of killing innocents clearly indicates they (militants) are not only enemies of Pakistan but enemies of humanity”.

“They have hit at the heart of the nation, but let me reiterate they can’t in any way diminish the will of this great nation,” the army chief was quoted as saying by the DG ISPR.

Read more » DAWN
Learn more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1151203

 

Pakistan – KP government ‘Modern Transportation Project’ leaves behind Punjab’s Metro Buses

KP government approves modern AC buses project for Peshawar

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has come up with a challenging move like Punjab’s Metro buses project as approved air-conditioned passenger buses for Peshawar.

Chief Minister KP Pervez Khattak said in this regard that initially 150 buses would be run from Chamkani to Hayatbad adding that every month 50 more buses would be added.

The CM said that the air-conditioned bus service will be run through public-private partnership.

He further added that 800 people will be recruited for the project.

Courtesy: The News Tribe
Read more » http://www.thenewstribe.com/2014/12/02/kp-govt-approves-modern-ac-buses-project-for-peshawar/

Islamic State claims Pakistan and Afghanistan for its ‘caliphate’

After imposing its brutal rule in swathes of Iraq and Syria, Isil is claiming Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of its ‘caliphate’ in direct challenge to al-Qaeda

By , New Delhi and Ashfaq Yusufzai in Peshawar

The Islamic State is challenging the Taliban and al-Qaeda in its Afghanistan and Pakistan heartlands and claiming both countries as part of its ‘caliphate’.

Islamic Slate leaflets proclaiming the group’s intention to bring its barbaric form of Islam to Pakistan and Afghanistan were posted throughout Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa frontier province, in the last few days, and have also been distributed to nearby Afghan refugee camps.

The leaflets, published in the local Pashto and Darri languages and bearing the Isil ‘Fateh’ (victory) flag, said the ‘caliphate’ it had established in Syria and Iraq extended to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and some Muslim central Asian republics.

Read more » The Telegraph
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/11075390/Islamic-State-claims-Pakistan-and-Afghanistan-for-its-caliphate.html

10 questions for Imran Khan

By Farrukh Saleem

Q 1: Sir, you have always maintained that militants are taking innocent Pakistani lives because the militants are being attacked by American drones. But the militants insist that they would “kill everyone and anyone who stands against the imposition” of their version of Islam. In essence, the militants are convinced that they are fighting for ‘Islam’ while you continue to maintain that militant actions are actually reactions to American drones.

Q 2: Sir, if anyone wishes to negotiate with the PML-N, he would naturally have Mian Nawaz Sharif, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan or Senator Pervez Rasheed in mind. You have always favoured negotiating peace with the militants. Please name just four names representing the militants that are in your mind with whom you will negotiate peace.

Q 3: Sir, you have promised that Prime Minister Imran Khan shall wipe off militancy from the face of the country. Can you please name just two militant organisations that you plan to wipe off?

Q 4: Sir, you have been rightly pointing out that more than 40,000 innocent Pakistani lives have been lost in what you say is ‘America’s war’. Can you please identify by name the forces and groups responsible for the loss?

Read more » The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-137850-10-questions-for-Imran-Khan

Spillover effect: ISIS making inroads into Pakistan, Afghanistan

By Shamim Shahid

PESHAWAR: In a bid to extend its influence in the South Asian region, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, (ISIS), commonly known as Daish, distributed pamphlets in Peshawar and border provinces of Afghanistan as well.

The booklet titled Fatah (victory) is published in Pashto and Dari languages and was distributed in Peshawar as well as in Afghan refugee camps on the outskirts of the city. The logo of the pamphlet has the Kalma, the historical stamp of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Some copies were also mysteriously sent to Afghan journalists working in Peshawar.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/757186/spillover-effect-isis-making-inroads-into-pakistan-afghanistan/

Pakistan’s Hidden Shame: Documentary reveals horrors of pedophilia in K-P

By Dawn.com

Director Mohammed Naqvi,and British producer Jamie Doran’s film Pakistan’s Hidden Shame depicts the shocking reality of sexual abuse faced by small boys in the Northern areas of Pakistan.

The documentary premiered on September 1 on Britain’s Channel 4 and shows the “dark reality of a society living in denial.”

Set mainly in Peshawar, the film shows homeless boys of different ages recalling their experiences of sexual exploitation.

In an interview with CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour, the director of the documentary told her what puts children at risk in Pakistan and around the world.

“Pedophiles by their very nature are inadequate, it’s about power over children.”

“Where these individuals are able to use and abuse vulnerable children, Pakistan in particular because of the poverty. That’s one of the other factors that really plays here.”

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1129614/

‘If TV cameras are removed from red zone, there will be no revolution’

By Maleeha Hamid Siddiqui

KARACHI: There has been a shift from one dominant institution to multiple institutions in Pakistan which has transformed into an urban country where provision of goods is now a privatised process. These thoughts were articulated on Wednesday by political economist Dr Akbar Zaidi invited by the Karachi University faculty of arts to deliver a lecture on “The Changing Nature of Pakistani State”.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1126627/if-tv-cameras-are-removed-from-red-zone-there-will-be-no-revolution

What ISIS and the ‘caliphate’ mean for Pakistan

Taliban TerroristsBy Muhammad Amir Rana

Among many factors, the Pakistani state’s protracted apathy and inaction on the issue of security has provided non-state actors the spaces to grow and expand their influence. They used these spaces not only to propagate their ideologies and narratives but also to establish a ‘state within the state’ in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Even as counteraction is now underway, the sudden rise of ISIS has threatened to make matters worse for us.

The militants are jubilant over the success of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which has established a ‘caliphate’, or ‘Islamic state’ in parts of Syria and Iraq. This is not the first time militants have captured some territory and established their so-called Islamic writ.

Afghanistan, Pakistani tribal areas, Northern Mali and Somalia have experienced similar ventures by militants in the past, though on varying levels.

Rise of ISIS ≠ Fall of al Qaeda

Many experts see the decline of al Qaeda in the rise of ISIS, while analysing the recent developments happening in Iraq and Syria. That is a mistake.

A realistic review of militants’ strategies suggests that they first challenge the very foundation of the state by providing alternative socio-cultural and political narratives and then march onto its physical territory.

They may have differences over strategies, as ISIS and al Qaeda had, but ultimately they overcome their differences. Al Qaeda might feel stunned over the ‘victories’ of ISIS but now, instead of arguing with ISIS over strategies, will prefer to develop a consensus over a model of caliphate.

In some cases, militants develop alliances with nationalist groups.

That’s what happened in Northern Mali, where the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) had developed coordination with Islamist groups. But when they captured a territory, Islamist groups started imposing Shariah. The alliance was weakened due to ensuing infightings and eventually broke up after a military offensive was launched by the French forces.

A dangerous inspiration

Apart from group dynamics, inspiration plays an important role in militants’ efforts to replicate one success in other parts of the world.

The rise and success of ISIS could play a very dangerous, inspirational role in Pakistan, where more than 200 religious organisations are operating on the national and regional level.

These organisations pursue multiple agendas such as transformation of society according to their ideologies, the enforcement of Shariah law, establishment of Khilafah (caliphate) system, fulfilment of their sectarian objectives and achievement of Pakistan’s strategic and ideological objectives through militancy.

Such organisations could be influenced by the success of ISIS in various ways. A few would limit themselves to providing just moral support, but others might actively provide donations and financial assistance on ISIS’ call.

Common purpose: Establish the state of Khurasan

Still others — mainly religious extremist and militant organisations — could find inspiration in ISIS’ strategies and tactics.

This is possible since even groups operating in two different regions can find common ground in the Takfiri ideologies they believe in, and in the organisational links they share with each other.

The map released by ISIS shows countries for expansion marked in black across North Africa, into mainland Spain, across the Middle East and into Muslim countries of Central and South Asian region. It depicts exactly the states, which are or once remained under Muslim control.

According to this notion, the territory which has come under Muslim rule even once becomes a permanent part of Islamic caliphate. These territories, if later invaded by non-Muslims, will be considered as unjustly occupied territories and it will be obligatory for a Muslim to struggle to regain them.

Interestingly, the ISIS map shows both Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the Islamic caliphate state’s Khurasan province. Al Qaeda and its affiliates believe that the movement for the establishment of the Islamic state of Khurasan will emerge from the region comprising of the Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan and Malakand region of Pakistan.

They consider Khurasan as the base camp of international jihad, from where they will expand the Islamic state boundaries into other non-Muslim lands. Mullah Fazlullah of Swat was inspired by the notion and considered himself the founder of the Khurasan movement.

Many other groups and commanders in Pakistan and Afghanistan subscribe to the same idea, but only a few groups have dedicated themselves to the cause of establishment of the Islamic state of Khurasan.

The current TTP leadership — mainly Fazlullah and his deputy Qayum Haqqani, and Khalid Khurasani group in Mohmand and Bajaur agencies of Fata — are leading this movement, not only on the militant, but on the ideological front as well.

The concentration of al Qaeda and TTP hardliner groups in Kunar and Nuristan are of the same mind; they intend to use the territory as a base camp for the establishment of the state of Khurasan. Though they are not strong enough to trigger a massive militant campaign like the one going on in Iraq, they will remain a critical security irritant and keep inspiring radical minds in the region.

Continue reading What ISIS and the ‘caliphate’ mean for Pakistan

Pakistan: Peshawar Mass Transit -Progressing towards destination

Peshawar is the capital of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and the administrative and economic hub of this area. The population of Peshawar city is approximately 2 million, and it is located at 34.0117°N, 71.5389°E with an area of 1,257 sq.km (485.3 sq miles). Peshawar is situated in a large valley between the eastern edge of the Iranian plateau and the Indus Valley, near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, Renowned in Persian as “City on the Frontier”, Peshawar’s strategic location on the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia has made it one of the most culturally vibrant
and lively cities in the greater region.
1.01 Urbanization trends and increasing demand The urban population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is increasing at a very fast pace, due to many push and pull factors. The Afghan influx in KPK, the law and order situation coupled with natural calamities like floods and earthquakes pushing people out from FATA, Malakand etc. The pull of safety and security, education and health facilities, better business and employment opportunities, all have their attraction, bringing more
people to the cities and increasing the population.

Read more » http://www.urbanpolicyunit.gkp.pk/MTS%20Project%20Brief.pdf

 

Election 2014: Death Knell of Strategic Depth?

Afghanistan has voted. And wow, what a lot of voting there was! Millions of Afghans turned out and voted in an election where a vote for anyone was a vote against Mullah Umar and his backers. Now it may be that the results will not be accepted, that the winners will fight each other or that the good feeling will evaporate as some future Taliban offensive shakes the state. But if the results are credible and are accepted, then it may well be (to quote journalist Tahir Mehdi) that April 5th 2014 will be to strategic depth what December 16th 1971 was to the two-nation theory.
Of course, one may then point out that the Two Nation theory has had a very healthy Zombie existence since 1971. But even the healthiest Zombie is still a Zombie. Dying is forever.

Read more » Brown Pundits
http://brownpundits.blogspot.ca/2014/04/election-2014-death-knell-of-strategic.html

Book Review: ‘The Wrong Enemy’ by Carlotta Gall

Pakistan’s intelligence agency hid and protected Osama bin Laden. The chief of the army even knew of the cover up. Some ally.

By Sadanand Dhume

In the 13 years since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, $1 trillion has been spent, and 3,400 foreign soldiers (more than 2,300 of them American) have died. Despite our tremendous loss of blood and treasure, Afghanistan remains—even as we prepare to exit the country—”a weak state, prey to the ambitions of its neighbors and extremist Islamists,” as Carlotta Gall notes in “The Wrong Enemy.”

Could we have avoided this outcome? Perhaps so, Ms. Gall argues, if Washington had set its sights slightly southward.

The neighbor that concerns Ms. Gall—the “right” enemy implied by the book’s title—is Pakistan. If you were to boil down her argument into a single sentence, it would be this one: “Pakistan, supposedly an ally, has proved to be perfidious, driving the violence in Afghanistan for its own cynical, hegemonic reasons.” Though formally designated as a major non-NATO U.S. ally, and despite receiving more than $23 billion in American assistance since 9/11, Pakistan only pretended to cut links with the Taliban that it had nurtured in the 1990s. In reality, Pakistan’s ubiquitous spy service, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), foments jihad against NATO in Afghanistan much as it did against the Soviets in the 1980s.

At this point, accusations of Pakistani perfidy won’t raise the eyebrows of anyone with even a passing familiarity with the region. For years, a chorus of diplomats, analysts and journalists have concluded that the Taliban and its partners in jihad would be incapable of maintaining an insurgency without active support from across the border. In 2011, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, called the Haqqani network—the group responsible for some of the worst violence in Afghanistan, including an attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul that year—”a veritable arm” of the ISI.

Continue reading Book Review: ‘The Wrong Enemy’ by Carlotta Gall

Dancing to TTP’s tunes

By Intikhab Amir

PESHAWAR: The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) holds the centre stage, changing directions of the game every now and then. In short, it is TTP’s sweet will that is holding the sway.

When it decides to hit and kill us, we bow our heads and get killed. When it decides to talk and kill us as well, we oblige: we fly our helicopter to North Waziristan to facilitate its emissaries to meet their bosses and at the same time we keep collecting corpses from Peshawar to Karachi.

And now when the state’s fighter jets and helicopters have conducted surgical air strikes targeting TTP’s sanctuaries, the terrorists announced ceasefire and we feel happy to oblige and live peacefully with them for the next one month.

Think the one month period in terms of the possibility: no bomb blasts and IED attacks. This has not happened for the past so many years. So we should be happy!

What is more interesting is the fact that the day TTP was about to make the ceasefire public in the evening, its operatives attacked polio vaccinators in Khyber Agency in the morning.

If the TTP bosses were giving serious thoughts to the idea of giving peace a chance, they should have postponed the Saturday morning attack in Khyber Agency.

But who cares? Ceasefire is the buzzword. The other catchphrase these days is ‘on the same page’.

Earlier, doubts were being spewed whether the civil administration and the military leaders were on the same page or not. Now, at least, the TTP bosses are on the same page with the government.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1090698/dancing-to-ttps-tunes

PAKISTAN – Taliban claim killing 23 FC soldiers in custody

by Zahir Shah Sherazi

PESHAWAR: Taliban militants in Mohmand Agency on late Sunday night claimed to have killed 23 FC soldiers who were kidnapped in 2010 from Shongari checkpost in Mohmand Agency.

The Mohmand Agency Taliban chief Umar Khalid Khurrasani, in a letter issued on social media, claimed that they have killed the FC soldiers to avenge what he said was the custodial killing of Taliban fighters in various parts of Pakistan.

The letter, written in Urdu and attributed to Umar Khalid Khurrasani, says that the Taliban had warned against the killings of their activists.

Since the government has allegedly continued with the killings, the Taliban said in the letter that they have avenged the killing of their fighters by executing the 23 FC soldiers.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1087438/taliban-claim-killing-23-fc-soldiers-in-custody

Pakistan’s march to theocracy

There are growing concerns that the country was fast moving toward a theocratic order.

It was a quick call from my editor’s office in Karachi informing me not to bother writing anymore about the Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or any other militant outfit, religious party or even the cricketer-turned-politician’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). I was told I couldn’t even mention TTP and its other sister organisations. The call came in the wake of an attack on a vehicle carrying staff of a media group which killed three people and injured another four.

The TTP was quick to take responsibility. The spokesman of the militant outfit Ehsanullah Ehsan even appeared on a television program and warned the media group about giving the TTP bad press. The channel’s anchor Javed Chaudhry had to promise a “balanced” representation of views about the militants and their agenda. Furthermore, Ehsan claimed the attack was an attempt to force Pakistan to meet the promise of imposing Sharia law in the country.

A day later on January 19, another 20 Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers were killed and about 30 injured in a suicide attack in Bannu Cantonment in the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). This was followed by an attack on January 20 in Rawalpindi Cantonment near the Pakistan Army’s GHQ, bringing the death toll up to 33 and the number of wounded to 63. Not to mention the constant targeting of polio workersacross the country.

These attacks happen despite the civilian government’s claim to engage the Taliban in a dialogue to end the violence. The first attack on the television channel came the same day as the statement by the TTP spokesman announcing his group’s willingness to talk with Pakistan’s government as long as the latter ensured the implementation of Sharia law in the country.

Read more » aljazeera
http://m.aljazeera.com/story/20141266302173397