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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hypocracy: Son of TTP leader, fighting against Pakisani security forces, applies for job in security force

Hypocracy: Son of TTP leader, fighting against Pakisani security forces, applies for job in security force.

May 17 2009
Javed Aziz Khan
PESHAWAR: A son of spokesperson for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Swat chapter, Muslim Khan, was picked up by security agencies when he turned up in a test for recruitment in a security force, a source confided to The News.
No senior security official, however, confirmed his arrest.
Many were surprised as to why the son of such a senior leader of the TTP was applying for a post in the Airport Security Force (ASF), a law-enforcement agency, when the organization was busy across the country in attacks on security forces.
It was learnt that Mudassir, son of Muslim Khan, appeared in a test for recruitment as a junior official in the ASF. However, security agencies picked him up when recognized he was the son of TTP Swat spokesman.
A son of Muslim Khan was studying in the University of Peshawar till the recent past, when TTP was busy in fighting against the government. He later quit the institution after his identity was disclosed.
Family members and close relatives of a number of TTP leaders are serving in government departments and studying in public sector institutions despite they have challenged the writ of the state and are killing officials for being part of the government.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009


How Pakistan is being Saudi-ized and what this means for our future
Pervez Hoodbhoy[1].pdf

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ANP urges chief justice

ANP urges chief justice

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
to probe May 12 massacre


PESHAWAR: The Awami National Party (ANP) Tuesday demanded of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to launch a judicial inquiry into May 12, 2007 mayhem and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The nationalist party also demanded registration of FIR against former president General (R) Pervez Musharraf and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leadership for massacre of Pakhtuns on the fateful day.

“Judiciary in its real sense has now been restored and we demand and expect that the apex court will take up the matter and do justice to the people who lost their near and dear ones on May 12,” acting president of the party Haji Muhammad Adeel said while addressing a seminar held in connection with May 12.

The seminar was organised by Peshawar city district chapter of the ANP. He said that 39 ANP members were killed on that fateful day. “Our party members were on the roads for the cause of judiciary and they came out to welcome the chief justice. We hope the honourable chief justice to do justice in this regard,” he said.

Haji Adeel said that it was the victory of ANP that the Sindh government had announced a public holiday to mourn the day. He said that the entire Sindh province was mourning the bloodshed of May 12, while Altaf Hussain ordered to raise national flag on buildings. “Normally the flags are on half mast on day of mourning while he ordered to raise flags, he should be ashamed of his decision,” the ANP leader said.

Terming the MQM as Muttahida Qatil (murders) Movement, Adeel alleged that it had made hostage the people of Karachi. “The people are coerce into attend Altaf Hussain’s telephonic addresses by his men,” the ANP leader said.

“In Karachi Pakhtuns are deprived of getting national identity cards, domicile and cannot register their names in voter lists,” he said and added that gone are the days when MQM ruled the port city. “Now ANP is a major political force in the port city and will expose MQM and hold it answerable for atrocities it meted out to Pakhtuns,” he said.

NWFP Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour said that ANP supported the restoration of judiciary and had paid heavy price for the cause. He said democracy could not flourish without an independent judiciary.

Bilour came down hard on the MQM, saying that the party was a one-man show controlled from abroad. He said that it was easy to issue statements from abroad. “If Altaf Hussain is so much worried for people of Pakistan he should come to the country and share the grief of the people,” Bashir said.

He requested the chief justice of Pakistan to probe the gory incident of May 12. Tajuddin Khan, provincial secretary general of ANP, said that the ANP’s history was full of sacrifices and it would continue to fight for the rights of Pakhtuns. He alleged that atrocities meted out to innocent people by MQM and militants were the same. ANP Peshawar City President Malik Mustafa and provincial spokesman Arbab Tahir also spoke on the occasion.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lets Condemn Imran Khan for Maligning the Pakhtun Nation

Fallacies of a Clean Shaven - English Speaking Talib

In a recent article published in the 'The News'on 7th of May titled ' How to clear this mess' , the Chief of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) has attempted to do a diagnosis and suggest certain prescriptions for dealing with the issues of religious extremism, terrorism and Talibanisation, which threaten to tear apart the Pakistani State. Imran Khan's veiws on the subject are well known and thus do not bring anything new to the table. The article is full of anti-American rheotoric, a line of thought overtly taken by the PTI, JI, JUI and the like for quite sometime, and covertly believed by the Pakistani establishment and the security institutions as well as intelligence agencies. This article does not bring anything new on the table to reslove the issues, however, ironically Imran khan has gone a few notches ahead in confusing the issues further by stereotyping the entire Pakhtun nation as cultural terrorists. In his article, Mr Imran khan suggests that terrorism in the FATA and Malakand Division including Swat is spearheaded by Pakhtuns as an expression of their nationalist feelings aimed at the Americans and the American supported Pakistan army. Talibanisation and religious extremism, in his usual myopic veiw thus doesnot exist while the insurgency, according to him is an expression of the Pakhtun nationalist aspirations and rural Pakhtun culture. His article can be accessed using the following link:-

Just this last week, on 29th april, Mr Imran Khan tried to drive the same point home, while taking part in a discussion with Hamid Mir on his programme, " Capital Talk", which also involved an American analyst Mr Brian Douglas. Here Mr Imran Khan on a number of occasions asserted to portray the Talibans as a true reflection of Pakhtun rural culture. Put simply, his point was that the religious extremists are only in AlQaeeda , which are very few in numbers,while the Taliban were neither a threat to Pakistan nor to the society in general. Moreover, that Talibanisation as a routine and normal cultural behaviour of the rural Pakhtuns and their actions as simple reaction to the US and Pakistan Army operations. This is a very dangerous, false and inaccurate diagnosis of the situation which must be vehemently rejected by all Pakhtuns as well as other Pakistanies for the simple reason that it is false and accusative of an entire nation of more than 60 million. Anybody who has had a bit of exposure to the rural Pakhtun culture will certify that there is no similarity in the Pakhtun culture and what characterise the Taliban. The rural Pakhtun culture is a fine balance of liberal and conservative expressions. While there is regular prayers in the mosque by most people, yet the music with Rubab and Sittar at the Hujra goes side by side. The same people when they come out of the mosque will sit till late night in the Hujra to sing and enjoy music- an expression which is immoral and un-Islamic to the Taliban. The weddings are as colourful and full of music as the those in urban Punjab or Sindh if not more. The ladies might not join the gents to watch the music and functions in the same courtyard but would definitely have seperate arrangements or would watch from the rooftops. Many of us are witness to this usuall routine. The local folklore is full of songs about the girls going to the local spring ( Gudar) to fetch water- and they don't have to be accompanied by their fathers, brothers or husbands. The local young are likely to be fond of Rubab, Flute and a gun alike, but his love for religion would be restricted to offering the prayers as regularly as possible behind the local Mullah. Their love for sending girls to school is proved by the fact that in every sizable village of Swat, you could see a yellow double storey school building for the girls , much earlier than there were schools in Punjabi or Sindhi rural areas - though unfortunately most of them have now been destroyed by the Taliban, whom Mr Imran Khan portray as samples of Pakhtun culture. I vividly remember the days back in the early 80s, when we used to walk 2 Km on a hill track to our primary school in rural Swat, while the village girls had a primary school just on the outskirts of the village. And lastly, the world would certify that a Pakhtun would most likely shoot his enemy a dozen times, that being an honourable thing; but beheading humans and slitting throats is completely alien to the Pakhtun culture. So how can Mr Imran describe Talibanisation as an expression of the rural Pakhtun culture.

In fact, Mr Imran khan is the new face of Taliban. For decades the ISI and Pakistani establishment has been making use of the bearded mullahs of JI, LeT, Dawwa, Hizb, Jaish etc to recriuit youth for use as proxies in their war in Afghanistan and Kashmir. That strategic asset in the old shape is no more tenable due to the current despise of the international community of the stereotype Mujahid.Thus the new tactic is to market the Talib or Mujahid as a clean-shaved English speaking idol, the likes of Hamid Guls, Imran Khans, Shirin Mazaris, Ahmed Qureshi and company to continue the proxie war. The aim is the same- to retain the strtegic assets of religious extremists under the guise of modern religiousity.He is a hypocite to the core and is as condemnable as the Taliban and their other supporters like JI, JUI and the various forms of Lashkars and Jaishes.
Just consider the height of his hypocracy - "There are many groups operating in the country under the label of "Taliban". Apart from the small core of religious extremists, the bulk of the fighting men are Pushtun nationalists." This is hypocricity...pur and simple. Mr Imran simply wants to shield the extremists, fundamentalists and terrorists by painting the drastardly Taliban as Pakhtun nationalists and the Talibanisation phenomena as a movement in the nationalist cause of the Pashtuns. This blind Talib simply ignores the fact that the biggest victims of Talibans as well as the Pak army, US, NATO etc are Pakhtuns themselves.Hundreds are being killed on daily basis by all sides, yet he calls it Pakhtun nationalism. He even ignores that for decades the nationalist feelings of the Pakhtuns have been expressed by the ANP and PMAP, whose leaders and members have been at the top of the hit list of the Taliban.He conveniently ignores the links that the AlQaeeda has developed with the Taliban and other terrorist Jihadi organisations.
What is more, this biggest hypocrite was at the forefront of the movement for restoration of the same judiciary in the Punjab to get political milage,which he now cites as the reason for the insurgency. While he protests for the rule of law and justice in Punjab..he advoctaes "Penchayats and village juries in Swat and Malakand...", as he writes in his article:-

"First and foremost we have to give our people access to justice at the grassroots level - that is, revive the village jury/Panchayat system"

Now what do you call such a person.......obviously a hypocrite to the core. Mr Imran, himself a Pakhtun by blood but brought up in Lahore, is a disgrace to all intelligent Pakistanies but specially the Pashtuns....While the entire world knows and has no doubt that ISI and even CIA has had close strategic links to the Taliban till ver recently..even the army admits now that it has had links with the Haqani and Mullah Nazir groups in FATA, and ignore their operations across the Durand line.Saner wlements in Pakistani establishment and Army as well as political parties admit it and repent it.Yet the Clean shaved Talib Mr Imran Khan simply ignores to make a mention of this fact. He convenietntly forgets that none of the Taliban leadership has been targeted so far by the army or even the US/NATO , for example Fazlullah in Swat when who could have been arrested by a single SHO was allowed to gain strength and supported by the intelligence agencies.
Imran Khan's assertion that Talibanisation is essentially a Pashtun rual cultural and nationalist expression should be condemed in the strongest possible words by all Pakhtuns. He should be taken to court by the Pashtun nationalists for branding the whole Pakhtun nation as terrorists - at least in the eyes of the world at large. This flumsy blame to confuse the issue of religious extremism, fundamentalism and terrorism by linking it with Pashtun nationalism is an agenda being pursued intentionally for some time now. Mr Imran must be reminded that most of the religious extremist iideologies originates in the Punjab - in place like Muredke, Mansura, Jhang and there are countless Punjabi Talibans, Uzbeks, Chechens, Arabs and others among the Talibans. The Pakhtun culture has been a liberal culture in which the Talib and Mullah has had only a marginal role. His assertion proves that he hasn't got a clue of the Pakhtun culture..If he has an iota of intelligence he should go and visit a Pakhtun village Hujra and mosque to see what is the role of Mullah and Talib in Pakhtun society. Here is the link to his talk with Hamid Mir in 'Capital Talk'

IDPs migration Camps to be set up in Shahmansoor, Hund(Swabi)

IDPs migration Camps to be set up in Shahmansoor, Hund

Yesterday at 9:19pm
PESHAWAR (APP): The Provincial Relief Commissioner Jamil Amjad said Wednesday that Shahmansoor township and Hunds in Swabi district have been selected for establishment of relief camps where the Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) of Swat, Buner and Lower Dir districts would be accommodated. “We have chalked out a comprehensive plan to set up relief camps in Shahmansoor township and Hunds area of Swabi for IDPs’ accommodation in wake of the current difficult situation in the districts of Malakand Division,” Amjad told APP. Two additional camps in Mardan’s areas of Sheikh Shehzad and Jalala and one in Yar Hussain in Sawabi district have already been setup and was operational to fulfill the foods and residential requirements of the affected families, he informed. The relief commissioner said that locations of the relief camps are ideal in every aspect and special focus are being made to provide better sanitation, foods and clean drinking water facilities in addition to medical assistance to IDPs. The registration of displaced families from Lower Dir, Swat and Buner districts have already been started at Mardan and Swabi relief camps, he said, adding that arrival of displaced families continue and is gaining momentum. He said that 11 relief camps are already exited in NWFP, adding the lands near Jalozai relief camp in Nowshera are being acquired to accommodate possible more IDPs in days to come. Amjad said around 4,50,000 displaced people were living outside of relief camps, saying that majority of the IDPs belonged to Bajaur Agency. He said about 80 percent of displaced families are living outside of the relief camps and planning are being made to register all of them. The situation in Bajaur Agency is relatively calm and therefore, we hoped that the displaced families will move to their native homes soon and the vacant space would be utilized by IDPs from Swat and Buner districts, he said. The Relief Commissioner said the NWFP Government and he were in close touch with UN aid agencies to help rehabilitate the displaced persons in different areas of the frontier province. Hundreds of families from Swat and Buner districts have started migration from their homeland to safer areas of the province as they are facing the great problems of food, clothes, hygiene and clean drinking water facilities in these hot days. To overcome the suffering of Internally Displaced Peoples of Swat, Buner and Malakand Division, he sought the active cooperation and generous assistance of humanitarian community consisting of UN agencies (UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, UNHCR, WFP, UNHABITAT, and UNESCO), NGOs and international donor organizations. As an urgent measure, he said that Rs.5million were released to each DCOs of Charsadda, Mardan, Sawabi, Dir Lower, Dir Upper, Buner, Swat while Rs.1million would be given to the DCO Shangla to help minimize suffering of affected population. The NWFP Government has also diverted Rs.140million from the earthquake relief fund to the IDPs, adding that it would help provide quick relief to affected families. The Finance Department will extend a helping hand in expeditious transfer of money to PRC and DCOs concerned by issuing special instructions to Accountant General NWFP and DAOs concerned in view of the emergent situation. The Relief Commissioner said that effective strategy have been chalked out to provide better hygiene, drinking water and health facilities to IDPs in the camps. Also, he said that security plan has been chalked out to thwart the nefarious designs of anti-state elements. And that the divisional and district administration on the directives of the provincial government, have started registration process at Ghudao Katling, Jalala, Chargali Rustam, Mulyano Kili and TB Hospital Baghdada. The Relief Commissioner NWFP, Jamil Amjad urged the philanthropists, civil society and donor agencies to help contribute generously to overcome problems faced by the Internally Displaced Peoples

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

There is no difference between MQM and Taliban

Senator Haji Adeel of Awami National Party (ANP) has alleged MQM and Taliban are prototypes of each other and both of them are out to impose their decisions at gun point. “There is no difference between MQM and Taliban, Both are reflection of each other and both want to impose their decisions by dint of force”, he said this while talking to Online here Tuesday.
General Zia ul Haq bought up both of these outfits while general Pervez Musharraf gave a free hand to MQM during his stint in power, he charged. Senator Haji Adeel told his party gave strike call in memory of those who were killed on May, 12 and later MQM also gave a similar call, he underlined. This is tantamount to killing some one overnight and later attending his funeral procession in day time”, he added.
Altaf Hussain was sitting out of the country and was holding Karachi city hostage at gun point, he alleged. MQM had won every election by dint of force and it also got relief from courts in thousands of cases under NRO, he added. If Altaf Hussain had any genuine sympathy with the martyrs of May, 12 then he should come to Karachi and apologize to the family members of victims, he demanded.
Poor rickshaw drivers and laborers were killed in the recent riots in Karachi, he said adding elements behind this bloody violence be brought to justice.
Karachi was not city of only one party but it was city of all those living in Pakistan, he underlined. MQM should accept this reality, he stressed.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Call for Action to Help IDPs in Pukhtunkhwa

Refugees on their own Land

Call for Action to Help IDPs in Pukhtunkhwa
by Farhad Yousafzai, Yesterday at 1:11pm

Today a TV programme on Geo TV Pakistan showed clippings of families forced out of their homes by the ongoing military operations in the Buner area. The displaced families mostly consisted of women and young children with the men mostly engaged in extricating whatever is possible from their destroyed homes. This fresh wave of internally displaced people has increased the number of IDPs manifold.
The Commissioner for Refugges in Peshawar Mr Syed Jamaluddin today announced on Geo TV that more than 6 hundred thousand ( 600000) people have been displaced by the militancy and army operations in Swat, Dir, Bajaur and Buner region over the last one year. The most recent wave of refugees are streaming out of Buner and Lower Dir. These people have been forced out of their homes with only their clothes on their bodies. They have lost their homes, their living means and in some cases their loved ones. The authorities ( Federal, Provincial or Army) have no plan of action to help these miserable ppl and they have to spend their lives under bridges, trucks and nullah folds. The few refugee camps set up are devoid of any facilities like water, toilets, clothing and food. The kids have been forced out of schools and have nothing to do. This situation may result in another catasrophe whereby these young kids might end being driven towards drugs, petty criminals or worse join the militants.

The international humanitarian organisations are quiet and so are the local NGOs and Political parties and govt departments. This is a frightening scenario which might play havoc with the society in the form of drugs, weapons, crime and overall deteoriaration in the already fragile law and order situation in the setteled districts of NWFP and adjoining areas. There is a dire need to bring this in to the notice of the responsible authorities both within Pakistan and internationally.
This call is to all those who care about humanity and help to the disadvantaged people across the world. This is also to those who love and care about the Pakhtun nation. We must rise to prevent this catsrophe in the making. The first step in this direction is to start a campaign on the electronic media, print media, facebook, blogs, ipetitions and any other means to highlight the issue with a veiw to pressurise the Govt of Pakistan, UNHCR, international Aid Agencies, Humanitarian organisations and NGOs to come out with concrete plans for helping these poor, homeless and wretched people, mostly consisting of old men, women and children.
My appeal is also to the Pakistani and particularly the Pakhtun diaspora to come forward with plans for initiationg necessary actions at our own in the countries of our residence. The actions might include setting up of groups for collecting donations, writing to the responsible/appropriate international organisations, organising seminars, awareness walks, talk shows and bringing the issue in to the notice of the government representatives of their respective countries of residence.

I would also request those of us involved with the media to push their colleagues to bring the issue to the fore by organising necessary talk shows,doing stories on the subject and writing about it. Those involved in research are requested to make efforts to document the statistics, facts and figures of the casualties, injuries, damages to properties and the like. The media people may also like to explore individual stories so as to highlight the exact state of affairs on the ground and get the attention of international organisations/individuals.

Lastly, with the Kerry-Logar bill having been presented in the US Congress, it is time to push the Government to commit that the funds will be used for improving the social, economic and humanitarian situation on ground in the affected areas rather than diverting these funds to military use.

For further insight please watch

Monday, May 04, 2009

Silence is criminal


Silence is criminal

No contemporary accounts of ethnic violence contain any mention of the MQM's exclusivist politics, which perhaps is the primary reason for Karachi's perennially precarious ethnic situation

By Aasim Sajjad Akhtar

The latest orgy of violence in Karachi needs to be understood for what it is, because it provides perhaps the most poignant warning of the civil strife that is to come if things do not change, and quickly. Amazingly most accounts of what happened on April 29 and 30 are so vague as to be almost meaningless. The prototypical news report and editorial highlights 'ethnic' and 'communal' clashes without venturing anything about the historical-political context that have given rise to these clashes. In other words, it would appear as if Karachiites of different ethnicities suddenly decided to raise arms against one another.

Of course there is a long history to ethnic discord in Karachi that can be traced back to the early 1980s. It speaks volumes about the virtual monopoly power that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has come to acquire in the city that no contemporary accounts of ethnic violence contain any mention of the MQM's exclusivist discourse and politics, which, in my view, is the primary reason for Karachi's perennially precarious ethnic situation.

The MQM is no ordinary phenomenon. Since 1992, its undisputed leader has been in self-imposed exile yet the organisation still manages to gather crowds in the hundreds of thousands to listen to Altaf Husain deliver his by now famous telephonic addresses. The MQM is a genuinely populist party, but one which at the same time employs coercive force freely to douse any challenges to its authority.

Ideologically the MQM is statist insofar as it claims that Urdu-speaking migrants are the bearers of the Pakistan idea, and that only they have the genuine right to rule this country given the sacrifices they made by leaving behind everything and migrating to the promised land. In some of the party's literature, the 1947 migrants are even compared to the Prophet and his companions in the course of their historic migration from Mecca to Medina.

The MQM emerged only after the relative privilege in political, economic and cultural realms enjoyed by the Urdu-speaking communities of urban Sindh began to be eroded. The Muhajir consciousness was triggered by the coming to power of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1972, and the latter's decision to make Sindhi the official language of Sindh province. Sindhis were given access to the state unlike at any other time in Pakistan's history. Meanwhile, broader objective changes in the Pakistani society had resulted in massive migrations of Pakhtuns and Punjabis into Karachi from the late 1960s onwards, which meant increased competition between the new migrants and the well-entrenched Muhajir community in the city.

After Zia took power, sectarian and ethnic identities were given new impetus. It is naïve to dismiss the MQM purely as a creation of the intelligence agencies, because, as I have just noted, there were broader objective factors that piqued a sense of marginalisation within the Muhahir community. Nevertheless, it is true that the military regime benefited from the emergence of, and openly patronised, the MQM because the latter -- and many other organisations that operated along parochial lines -- helped displace the expansive politics of the 1960s and 1970s in which multi-ethnic trade and student unions predominated.

The rest is history. 20 years on, the MQM exercises definitive control over the city's political life. The Pakhtuns have always represented a threat to the MQM because of the former's domination of aspects of economic life, including transport. But in recent times the antagonism has become qualitatively more pronounced. It is a known fact that on May 12, 2007, MQM goons targeted any and every political community that it felt was challenging the government's authority, and in this virtual pogrom Pakhtuns were the biggest losers. Subsequentl,y a relative peace was negotiated between the MQM and Awami National Party (ANP), which claimed to be representative of the Pakhtun voice in Karachi.

Whether or not the ANP can speak for the Pakhtun community at large -- and perhaps more importantly for Pakhtun economic interests -- is a moot point. The present spate of violence is a direct result of the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Pakhtuns from their homes in the NWFP and FATA due to the so-called 'war on terror'. A significant number of those displaced have come to Karachi to shelter with relatives or simply because there are at least some prospects of securing a livelihood there. Altaf Husain has been spewing out rhetoric about the 'Talibanisation' of Karachi since this wave of displaced Pakhtuns started flowing into the city some months ago. For all intents and purposes, the MQM leader has been exhorting Muhajirs to take action against the Pakhtun community, under the (unsaid) pretext that all Pakhtuns are Taliban.

This is xenophobia of the worst kind. It has resulted in ethnic profiling and ultimately, as happened on the night of April 29, wanton violence. Shamefully, many otherwise progressive elements in Pakistan have lauded Altaf Husain and the MQM for adopting a 'principled' position vis-a-vis the so-called 'Talibanisation'. In fact, Altaf Husain is stoking the fires of ethnic violence as he has done consistently in the past. Such rhetoric will serve only to polarise Kararchi (and society more generally) and ensure that what is called 'Talibanisation' becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It would be yet another tragedy if the Karachi violence provides an indicator of things to come in the rest of the country. If such an eventuality is to be prevented, it is absolutely essential that common people are informed about what is actually happening in the country's biggest city. Too many people for too long have remained silent in the face of the intimidation of the MQM and the permanent state apparatus with which it enjoys a symbiotic relationship.

The media must also take the initiative; otherwise, it too will be complicit in this slide towards anarchy. To put things into context, the lack of information about displacement of common Pakhtuns from the NWFP and FATA provided to the general public has been scandalous. The boat is sinking but it has not sunk yet; there is still time to save it from going under!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Pa Pekhawar Key Parhar Ma Jorawa"Pashto Peace song gets tremendous response.

Pashto peace song gets tremendous response

Daud Khattak

PESHAWAR: So appalling is the impact of the ongoing violence, believed to be let loose by some foreign elements, in the unruly tribal region and settled areas of NWFP that it is now impinging on Pakhtuns’ poetry and music known for its colour, life and romanticism.

The shocking level of bloodletting triggered in NWFP is changing the trend in Pashto poetry from love, life and romance to heartrending tragedy, disaster and the doom and gloom hung over the entire region.

The famous Pashto song Bibi Sheerini (Oh sweet lady) no more carries the heartwarming sway for Pakhtuns who are now more fascinated by songs lamenting the havoc wreaked on the province by some elements, believed to be supported by foreign hands. .

Pa Pekhawar Key Parhar Ma Jorawa, La Da Kabul Parhar Jor Shawe Na De (don’t hurt Peshawar as the wound of Kabul is still bleeding) is one such song by young poet Subhan Abid carrying immense attraction for Pakhtuns.

Coming from Dargai town of Malakand Agency, Subhan Abid is working as driver in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the highly charged song about the raging flames of fire on Pakhtun land has been selected from his fresh collection of poetry Lewanai Mosam (boisterous weather).

Abid skillfully depicts the scenic beauty of Waziristan, Bajaur, Swat and Buner followed by a picture of the doom and gloom caused by the reckless wave of militancy and insurgency which is robbing Pakhtuns not only of their houses, villages, towns, cities, farms and businesses, but also striking at the roots of their centuries old culture and traditions.

The song sung by budding artist Hashmat Sahar instantly attracted Pakhtuns as it appeals to their hearts. Whether traveling in the public transport or driving in a car with a friend or relative, everyone seems an aficionado of the song because of its passionate appeal for the whole country of Pakistan in general, and Pakhtun in particular.

It is the comparison of the developing situation in NWFP to that of Kabul, capital of the neighbouring Afghanistan, 30 years back and the dilemma of the people that attracts majority of the people as it comes fit into their lives in the present circumstances.

At the same time, there is a passionate appeal to the terrorists, both internal and external, to stop converting Peshawar and the rest of NWFP into another Afghanistan. Dalta La Bal Da Weeno Jam Dakawe, Hagha Dak Jam De La Gootalay Na De (you’re filling another bowl of blood here, while the first one is still full).

This is for the second time in the previous nearly 60 years that Pakhtun land suffers from the worst kind of terrorism. The first was in the early 80s when the historical city of Peshawar witnessed an unprecedented wave of terrorism in the shape of bomb blasts that claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent people.

According to Pakhtun intellectuals, the bomb blasts in early eighties were the result of Pakistan’s support for the Afghan jihad.

At that time too, Pakhtuns lamented the terrorism on their land and the bloodshed of their brethren in their poetry and it was the progressive and romantic poet Rahmat Shah Sail who composed the illustrious Ma Darta Tol Omar Da Guloono Khar Wailey De, Kala Me Pirzo She Pa Bamoono Pekhawara (Oh my Peshawar, I always called you the city of flowers, how can I see you to be blown up with bombs).

Poet, journalist and blogger Shaheen Buneri terms this change in the direction of Pashto poetry as Pakhtuns’ love for their land. He said the prevailing situation in the tribal areas and the NWFP was incurring irreversible losses on the culture and tradition of Pakhtuns besides bitterly affecting every other sphere of their day to day life.

“As Pakhtun culture is an asset for the rest of the world, so the loss being inflicted is not only of Pakhtuns, but the whole of the world and we call it a universal loss in plain words,” believes Buneri.

Looking a few years back and there was not such trend like want for peace in poetry and songs. It was after 2006 when the militancy started spreading its tentacles into every nook and corner of Pakhtun land and the inhabitants realized the peril to their culture and traditions.

Zamung Pa Kalee Ke Shar Ma Jorawai (don’t create trouble in our village) is another poem sung by young artist Irfan Khan. The poem is selected from the fresh poetry collection of well-known poet Akbar Siyal’s Jangoona Ma Jorawai (don’t make wars).

Haroon Bacha song Zama Janan Janan Watana, Sta Da Wajood Oroona, Sta Pa Dushman Pore Sha (oh my beloved land, may God turn the flames burning your body on your enemies). Again the song carries immense appeal for Pakhtuns and shows their love for the land and want for peace.

Shaheen Buneri says half of the literature was already jihadi, while the rest half was now becoming a voice for peace and against violence.
He lamented that Pakhtun youth were no more seen singing Bibi Sheerini. Rather, their rich poetry and literature, which is full of colour, life, romance and love, is now becoming a cry for peace.

Video Link:

Afghan poets tackle scars of war

Afghan poets tackle scars of war


By Dawood Azami
BBC Pashto service

Female poet Zarlasht Hafeez speaks of the "grief-stricken Pashtuns"
The violence in Afghanistan and the Pashtun-inhabited parts of Pakistan is making itself felt on the cultural and social life of the Pashtuns.

New themes and terms, such as suicide attack, missile and helicopter have entered Pashto literature, especially poetry, reflecting the destructive nature of the insurgency and counter-insurgency operations.

Pashtuns (also known as Pathans, Pakhtuns or Afghans) are increasingly writing poems about the "ill fate" of their nation and the new dynamics of violence in their homeland.

Young poets in Kabul, such as Muhammad Numan Dost, tell of mourning children lying on the graves of their dead parents after a suicide bomber "in exchange for heaven, cut to pieces a few lives now lying on the street".

It is powerful language, and reflects a strong poetic tradition in a culture that is evolving with the times.

"Poets are inspired by what is happening in the outside world. Their imagination absorbs it," says veteran Pashto poet in Peshawar, Rahmat Shah Sael.

"That is why Pashto poets are writing about violence in one way or another."

Poetry has always been a powerful vehicle for expressing and preserving the national identity and cultural values of Pashtuns.

The Pashtun warrior poet, Khushhal Khan Khattak (1613 - 1689) and mystic Rahman Baba (1653-1711) are the two giants of Pashto poetry and literature and are still popular and a great source of inspiration.

Even today gatherings are held regularly throughout the region where poets present their work in front of a large audience.

Afghan tradition

Pashtuns are famous for their proud warrior tradition, but suicide attacks have never been part of it.

The phenomenon was imported by Arab fighters, particularly from Iraq, and is now being perfected in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I'll ask you in the presence of God,
That in order to go to heaven

Why did you orphan my children?

Why did you widow a sick woman?

Why did you kill the son of an old lady?

Why did you kill the only brother of a weak girl?

Ahmad Fawad Lamay
The first suicide attack in Afghanistan, by Arabs, occurred in 2001 but the tactic remained rare until 2005.

The tactic targets officials and national and international security forces. However, their victims are overwhelmingly civilians.

Suicide attackers are often motivated by religious rewards and duty.

Most are young and uneducated and are said to be mobilised by grievances such as the occupation of Afghanistan, anger over civilian casualties and what they see as the affront to their honour and dignity.

They are reportedly brainwashed during their training and told they will go to heaven and enjoy eternal peace and pleasure.

This theme of violence is playing out in other genres in Pashto, such as short stories. But it is more visible in poetry.

"It is not the poets' choice to write about war and violence, they are compelled to do so - to express their reaction and hatred to bloodshed," says Darwesh Durrani, a popular Pashto poet and professor of literature in Quetta.

One young poet, Ahmad Fawad Lamay, has a poem called To A Suicide Attacker, in which a victim of a suicide attack challenges the bomber.

Then there is Zarlasht Hafeez, a female Pashto poet who has published a collection called "Waiting for Peace". Her lines read:

"The sorrow and grief, these black evenings,

Eyes full of tears and times full of sadness,

These burnt hearts, the killing of youths,

These unfulfilled expectations and unmet hopes of brides,

With a hatred for war, I call time and again,

I wait for peace for the grief-stricken Pashtuns"

Valiant Afzal Khan accorded warm welcome in Peshawar

Valiant Afzal Khan accorded warm welcome in Peshawar
Saturday, 02 May 2009
Shamim Shahed

In the light of his unprecedented role during Taliban insurgency in his native Swat District, veteran nationalist politician Muhammad Afzal Khan was accorded warm welcome upon his arrival in Peshawar.
The family of Mohammad Afzal Khan, known as Khan Lala, was on the hit list of Taliban.
First the militants have made attempt on the life of Mohammad Afzal Khan but “the defender is more powerful than the killer.” He along with nephew Abdul Jabbar Khan sustained injuries and lost the loyalist family driver.

Later his other relatives including grandson Zakir Khan who was Naib Nazim of tehsil Matta were killed. Similarly, Taliban militants have made several attempts on the life of sitting NWFP Minister Mohammad Ayub Khan Ashari, nephew of Afzal Khan lala.
Now it is crystal clear that insurgency on the part of Taliban is neither Jihad against United States nor aimed at establishment of an Islamic state. But it could be considered continuity of the great game aimed at getting occupation of resources in region.
The number of stakeholders in the great game is on the rise and apart from Pakistan and United States, countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, Afghanistan, China and several others along with countless secret agencies multi-national companies and well influential drug mafia are fuelling the war flames on this soil.
Now most of the people from this region are well aware about designs behind the insurgency on the name of Islam, Jihad and Taliban. The militants now loosing support of common people not only in the rest of the country but in its self-claimed strong holds of Swat and Waziristan regions.
Contrary to Waziristan, motives of Taliban in Swat, Hangu and Bajaur seems different as their acts caused wide range displacement from the region. Right from a general councilor of Union Council till Member of the National Assembly, most of social and political activists have abandoned their houses in parts and parcels of Swat.
Around 1,200 people mostly civilians were killed and around 2,000 were injured. Taliban have blown up around 190 schools, several police stations, basic health units, bridges and other government installations on the name of “Jihad against America” all over Swat.
As result in insurgency in swat, around 350.000 people from across Swat forced to leave the area and settled all over the world. Amonst them influential like Mian Gul from Saidu Sharif, Khan of Mingora, Lala of Qambar and Rahimabad, the Khan of Joora, sher Palam and other have also left their homes. Even almost activists and stalwarts form all political forces have abandoned their homes. Apart from plundering and looting all belongings and valuables form these abandoned houses, now Taliban militants are selling the material of these houses in the area. Even certain self-styled Taliban have also destroyed orchards and farms of the people.
But Mohammad Afzal Khan remained in his house, who himself led the loyal in foiling of Taliban attempts against him and his other close relatives.
The insurgency in swat, the legacy of president Musharraf led allies, has become a serious challenge to the government.
First, the NWFP government into trustworthy relations with Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the chief of banned Tehrik-e-Nifaz Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM) and with his involvement they signed agreement with Taliban headed by Fazlullah on May 21, 2008 last.
However, before expiry of the agreement on August 21, 2008 it were no other but Taliban who resumed massacre, blowing up schools and other government installations. At last, the government had to opt for military action against militants in end of July 2008. The blood shed continued till mid of February 2009 but during this period, the NWFP government continued its efforts for finding out a peace and political solution to the issue. And the friendship developed with Sufi Mohammad proved fruitful in this respect, when Taliban militants have endorsed the February 16, 2009 agreement.
However, signing of the agreement between NWFP Government and Maulana Sufi Mohammad led to emergence of visible groups amongst Taliban ranks.
Besides going for abducting high-ranking officials, personnel of the secret agencies, Taliban militants slipped into Buner and Dir. For crushing away such expansion of the insurgency to adjacent Dir and Buner areas, the authorities concerned have launched a military action against militants, which seems satisfactory for people from the affected areas.
Now when the government on one hand succeeded in convincing high ups of law enforcing agencies for ensuring action as targeted and limited along with exposing real agenda of Taliban militants, politicians forma all over the government are supporting enforcement of Nizam-e-Adl Regulations.
Mohammad Afzal Khan has also attached great hopes and he is sure about return of peace and tranquility in his motherland. Now it is the high time for people from all over the country in particular and rest of the world in general to realize their responsibilities at this crucial stage otherwise “Talibanisation” could harm the global peace within months.

Journalist Abid Jan dies of cardiac arrest

Journalist Abid Jan dies of cardiac arrest
Saturday, 02 May 2009
Peshawar: senior journalist, progressive writer and poet Abid Jan Razarwal died of cardiac arrest in his native Charsadda district on Friday morning. He was 41.

Presently associated with Afghan News Agency as editor at its head office in Kabul, Afghanistan, late Razarwal had in the past also worked as reporter, sub-editor and district correspondent with The Frontier Post, The Statesman, The News and Daily Dawn.

Resident of Charsadda district, Abdi Jan was the youngest son of noted Khudai Khidmatgar Faqir Muhammad who contributed a great deal to Pakhtun cause.

His father was a close associate of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, founder of the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement.

He was laid to rest at his ancestral village of Rajar in Charsadda district.

Besides his relatives, friends and village people, the funeral prayers of Abid Jan Razarwal was attended by leading literary figures including Dr. Muhammad Azam Azam, Ikramullah gran and Saleem Raaz.

Razarwal has left behind a widow, a school-going son and two daughters besides a large number of friends in journalist community in Peshawar, Islamabad and Kabul.

Expressing his heartfelt grief and sorrow over the death of Abid Jan Razarwal, President of the Preshawar Press Club Shamim shahid said he was a hardworking and brilliant journalist.

President of the Khyber Union of Journalist Mohammed Riaz in a statement said that late Abid Jan was a poor man and demanded of the provincial government to extend financial support for his bereaved family.