Ajab Gul is haunted by bloody scenes. He hears women crying and children screaming. “I can’t sleep,” says the 25-year-old health worker at a well-known Pakistani hospital in the frontier city that tends to terror victims.
Seventeen-year-old Usmanullah Shah has never been to Afghanistan, the land of his forefathers. The son of Afghan parents who fled to Pakistan 34 years ago to escape war, he shudders at the thought of going there.
The drone attack that killed Tehreek Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mahsud this week seems also to have killed hopes that drone attacks will end.
As international troops get ready to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and NATO-ISAF (International Assistance Security Force) prepare the Afghan National Security Forces to take over from them, there is fear and misgiving in neighbouring Pakistan, particularly in the adjoining regions of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Like most Christians in Pakistan, Johar Maseeh did a little cleaning job. He was a sweeper in a factory in Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in northern Pakistan.
Back in Swat Valley in Pakistan where she comes from, Malala Yousafzai who had been tipped to win the Nobel peace prize this year, has not only left behind more girls in school now than there were a year ago but also large numbers of people who are now distanced – and even hostile – to her.
The execution of three Taliban men ordered by the courts has been kept on hold - not because the Pakistani government opposes the death penalty but because it fears the Taliban, political leaders say.
“I miss my mother and cry every night,” eight-year-old Afaq Ali tells IPS. He is a Class 5 student at the University Public School in Peshawar, capital of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the administrative centre for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to its west.
“I consider myself lucky after finding my son,” says Muhammad Jabeen, a juice vendor in Bannu, one of the 25 districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in northern Pakistan. The Taliban had taken his son, Mateen Shah, away from a madrassa to join their ranks.
Twenty-year-old Adnan Khan was among eight persons convicted for an attempt on the life of former president Gen. Pervez Musharraf. The conviction appeared uncertain, just as his whereabouts were before the order by a military court.
Nervousness permeates the very air of Dera Ismail Khan these days. It has been more than a fortnight since militants attacked a high security prison here in a military-like operation and released about 200 inmates, including Taliban commanders.
A new Taliban fashion directive to men has created surprise and drawn opposition. Orders to men to wear the loose traditional dress rather than trousers have been challenged on the grounds that men in the northwest of Pakistan do not wear trousers in the first place.
Pakistanis are no strangers to sports-related violence; in fact, many have come to expect scuffles and conflict, especially following a major cricket match. In the country’s northern Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), however, cricket has become a tool to promote peace.
Four-year-old Muhammad Jihad is handicapped, and his parents know who to blame: the Taliban.
Women in Pakistan are no strangers to horror. In this country of 176 million, about 90 percent of women have experienced domestic violence; every year, over 1,000 women are murdered in so-called ‘honour killings’. Two years ago, the Thomson Reuters Foundation named Pakistan the most dangerous country in the world for women and girls.