Tag Archives: Kohistan

The Nanga Parbat Massacre

Night on Bald Mountain; The Nanga Parbat Massacre

by Omar

PS: contrary to what my friend had heard from Sher Khan (see below), Ali Hussain, the poor cook who got shot alongside our foreign guests in Diamir base camp, really was a Shia. So the Taliban guessed right when they looked at his name and shot him thinking “hey, this looks like a SHIA name”. Details here (in Urdu) http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2013/06/130626_pakistani_porter_murder_sh.shtml

Thousands like him will lose their livelihood now.

Bastards.

btw, as noted below by various commentators, the local Sunni fanatic faction in Kohistan is hostile to climbers and tourists in general. They are not the ones losing their livelihood. In fact, since the finest intel agency in the world trained them in Alpine warfare, THEIR livelihood is more dependent on a different kind of foreigner (the sort willing to pay protection money, employ “non-state actors” or otherwise contribute to the cause, willingly or unwillingly).

btw, contrary to all Paknationalist conspiracy bullcrap, the local police chief claims to know the terrorists and none are foreigners. 

On June 23rd some 15-20 men dressed in the uniforms of the Gilgit Scouts climbed up to the base camp at the foot of the Diamir face of Nanga Parbat. There, at the height of 13000 feet above sea level, they pulled climbers, guides, porters and cooks out of their tents, smashed their phones, laptops and solar panels and put them in two groups. The locals were in one group, the foreigners were lined up on the other side. Then they shot all the foreign climbers in the back of the head. Since exit wounds are bigger than entry wounds and exit wounds were in the face, some of the foreigners are said to be hard to recognize. Looking at ID cards, they also shot a local cook whose name was Ali Hassan. If they had asked him, he might have told them that he was a Sunni, just happened to have a “Shia-sounding” name. But unfortunately the resistance-fighters (thank you Tariq Ali) didnt bother to ask. Another local who told this story to a friend survived because his name is Sher Khan. He is Ismaili. Luckily for him, they just looked at ID cards. He survived because his name doesnt sound Shia.

It takes a day to climb to the base camp. The area is fairly remote. Adventurous tourists and climbers do go there, but its still the kind of place where everyone knows who has just passed by and why. Yet 15-20 killers made the climb, carried out a massacre and disappeared. And have not been seen since.

Its not THAT remote thought. The valleys to the west are the region of Kohistan. Its a Sunni majority region that abuts the significant Shia and Ismaili population of Gilgit-Baltistan. In the 1980s General Zia, perhaps not fully confident of the Jihad bonafides of the Shias, had the Kohistanis massacre some local Shias and started a sectarian feud that is still ongoing.

A year ago there was a massacre of Shia passengers travelling to Gilgit through the nearby town of Chilas.

Note that passengers are being identified by the scars on their back. The people who are carrying out the massacre are NOT masked. The whole affair is happening on the main highway. It went on for a long time. But nobody came to stop them. Nobody has been arrested or punished. There have also been episodes where climbers or tourists have been looted by armed men in the area. So violence is not new to this region. But previously only locals were being killed, now the terrorists have struck a more prominent target.

Continue reading The Nanga Parbat Massacre

An “honor killing” – Kohistan video: Four women killed

Kohistan video scandal: Four women killed

KOHISTAN: Four women, who were sentenced to death in Kohistan for singing and dancing at a wedding, are reportedly killed, Geo News reported.

Muhamamd Afzal, brother of one of the convicted men, has claimed that four women have been murdered.

Four women and two men had been sentenced to death in Kohistan for singing and dancing at a wedding.

Clerics had issued a decree after a mobile phone video emerged of the six enjoying in a remote village in the mountainous district of Kohistan. ….

Read more » Geo Tv News

A documentary on water problems of Sindh Kohistan

Sindh Kohistan region is a mostly hilly and partly plain area in the south west of Sindh province. It is consisting on Kirthar mountain, which is hilly strip at the western border of Sindh and Baluchistan, stretching from Karachi in south to District Dadu in the North.

Water is a rare commodity here. People use to fetch water either from dug wells or rainwater collection ponds. The water in dug wells is usually brackish that is why people use to prefer water in rainy ponds, which could be highly contaminated. Water borne diseases are very common here. As most parts of Pakistan women bear the burden of fetching water from dug wells, ponds and hand pumps. One can witness the poor, feeble and malnourished women waiting for hour for their turn to fetch water and carry it on their heads and walking for miles in the scorching sun. Situation worsens during summer and drought seasons, when water dries up in the village ponds, springs and wells. People are forced to drink very dirty water which is beyond ones imagination. Livestock and other animals also shares the same water from stagnant rainwater ponds. Drinking water from the pond and open dug wells causes water born diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, , typhoid, cholera, malaria and gastro-enteritis particularly among young children. Child mortality is serious issues in this area, especially during the drought season.

>> Link to SCOPEPAK <<

Jamshoro – The spirit of Sindh

By: Niilofur Farrukh

FOR someone who was born and brought up in Karachi, I must confess the cultural distance between the metropolis and the hinterland exists not just in miles. The inhabitants of the city, especially as young and brash as Karachi, have built a hybrid identity from the experience of constant change, chaos and cultural interface.

Meanwhile, the people of the interior of Sindh, steeped in the folklore and poetry of its Sufis, zealously guard the purity of their language and interpret life through the prism of conventions shaped by ancient history.

What Pakistan, a county that brought together heterogeneous people from all over South Asia, has needed since its inception is an education policy to unify cultures through knowledge and respect for pluralism. While this dream of the founding fathers is forgotten in the midst of political volatility and confrontation, opportunities for reconciliation and an understanding of Pakistan’s diverse traditions are lost.

As someone who was born in the decade that followed Partition, I grew up without the language skills to understand Bhitai and Bulleh Shah. It took a study of world cultures to feel the need to seek what was so close to me at Moenjodaro, Harappa, Sukkur, Taxila, Kohistan, Thar and Sibi.

A recent opportunity to visit Jamshoro, where I was invited to participate in the First International Art Seminar hosted by the Institute of Art and Design, Sindh University, led to three days of enriching dialogue.

To experience both intellectuals and fakir singers quoting Shah Latif’s verse like a mantra, almost like a verbal and musical talisman not unlike the black thread that is rubbed on the ‘sacred’ instruments of the mendicants at the shrine of the great saint, it took the urban cynic in me some time to understand how deeply woven in the social and cultural fabric is the Sufi message. No theoretical text or debate can convey the intrinsic connection with a timeless philosophy that expresses the concerns of the people in a language that resonates in them.

A renewed optimism among the students and faculty at the Institute of Art and Design seems to have come with the new building that the department recently got after years of struggle. With it appeared a desire to build a bridge between received knowledge and the dynamic ideas of the new century.

The seminar seemed to set the tone for this change by creating space for debate and discussion on a wide range of issues that confront artists as national and international scholars read their papers.

The exchange with poets, writers, scholars, artists and journalists on the artist’s role in society, however fundamental, was important in a society that exists on so many planes of social awareness. The multiple viewpoints presented by the participants communicated how art has moved from the linear thought process of modernism to a lateral embrace of visual culture which recognises context as a critical force.

It was refreshing to see the inclusion of two papers based on the field research of archeologists who are putting together fragments of the history of development of the image and its significance in prehistoric times. Dr Salim claimed the flint tools created from quartz in the Potohar Plateau were one of the earliest creative acts as the maker used his intelligence to select the material and then perfected a technique to craft its serrated edge.

Information on rock carving and cave drawings presented by Dr Ihsan Ali concentrated on the iconography of early man in Pakistan that art historians cannot ignore. The same was true of Dr Misbah Rasheed’s study on the hybrid symbolic imagery of the ceramic mosaic murals at the Lahore Fort that has yet to be studied in-depth and included in the art history curriculum which continues to be predominantly eurocentric.

Dr Ejaz Ikram’s thought-provoking talk focused on the crisis of beauty in the world created by the de-linking of art from intuition, intellect and spirituality that were once responsible for the meditative harmony of Islamic art. According to him, since beauty rests not in innovation but the truth, he urged artists not to abandon tradition but to perfect it if they wanted to rediscover beauty.

Presenting an opposing view was the talk on European design presented by ceramist Maliha Paracha. She highlighted innovative ceramics by the Dutch company Droog that has gained worldwide reputation for its unusual and unpredictable designs that do not compromise functionality.

The artists’ perspective at the seminar, among others, came from Sheherezade, the country’s pioneer potter. With her exquisite visuals, she elaborated on the influence of historical and cultural Lahore on her personal and professional life. The labyrinth of the walled city, Mughal minars that dominate the skyline and the timeless skill of artisans that creates traditional pottery all combined to give her a sense of identity which, along with a global interface, has helped her develop a contemporary vocabulary which has won her global recognition.

This brings to my mind the renowned artist Mona Hartoum whose art is unique to her life. Hartoum, a Palestinian who grew up as a refugee in Lebanon, was stranded in London for a long period due to the war in Lebanon before she decided to pursue her art education in the UK. The trauma of displacement made her restless. According to her, she finds it difficult to stay in one place for too long. This angst is evoked in her work as ideas are translated through material to convey anxiety and restlessness.

Centrality of context was a common thread that ran through the papers. The message for the new entrants in the art community seemed to be that as they learned what constituted art in the studio, and while learning theory, they would also have to remember that the most powerful expression and strongest voice come from lived experience.

In the soul of Jamshoro dwell many untold stories, both ancient and modern. Artists just need to discover them.

Coutesy: Daily Dawn

Source – http://www.dawn.com/2008/04/16/op.htm#3