Stories written by Ashfaq Yusufzai

Walking Among the Victims of Pakistan’s ‘War’ on the Taliban

It has been just two weeks since the Pakistan army began a full-blown military offensive - codenamed ‘the sword of the Prophet Muhammad strikes’ (Zarb-e-Asb) – to eradicate the Taliban from the country’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), particularly from the sprawling North Waziristan Agency.

Military Offensive Deepens Housing Crisis in Northern Pakistan

Shaukat Ali, a shopkeeper originally hailing from Miramshah in the Northern Waziristan Agency of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), looks exhausted as he sits outside a makeshift shelter with his family of 10.

Wheat Smugglers Bring High Prices, and Hunger

With its lush valleys and well-watered plains, Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province produces plenty of food for the local population, including 10 million tons of wheat every year. So why are the people of this bountiful mountainous region going hungry?

Minorities in Pakistan Fear ‘Forced Conversion’ to Islam

Minority communities in Pakistan have long had a raw deal. Accounting for just 10 percent of this country’s population of 180 million, they are no strangers to marginalisation, discrimination or even violence.

Militancy Pushes Northern Pakistan Close to Industrial Collapse

Already saddled with a veritable catalogue of crises, Pakistan’s largest province, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) now finds itself on the verge of industrial collapse, as extortion and kidnappings drive away all prospects for production or employment.

With Refugees Comes Crime

Blaming Afghan refugees for a surge in crime, Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has placed restrictions on the movement of those who do not possess legal documents to stay in the country.

Displaced and Disturbed in Pakistan

Every night in his sleep, Rizwan Ahmed sees his sons being killed. “When he wakes up, he starts crying. He realises they are dead and it was the nightmare he has been having,” says Dr. Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the psychiatrist treating him.

Taliban Screens a New Silence

Mushfiq Wali, a 22-year-old shoemaker in northern Pakistan, loves watching films in the local Pashto language. But he says the Taliban are a killjoy: their bomb attacks have led to the closure of movie theatres, again. “They don’t spare anything that brings happiness.”

Taliban Provokes New Hunger for Education

Following scattered defiance of the Taliban earlier, a new wave of students is now heading for education in schools and colleges across the troubled north of Pakistan.

Fighting a ‘Losing’ War With the Taliban

Pakistan is in the midst of a heated debate on continuing military operations against the Taliban in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), especially after the brutal killing of 23 army soldiers last month.

Injecting HIV Into Pakistan

Pakistan may have low prevalence of HIV/AIDS, with only about 9,000 officially confirmed cases, but the country is at high risk, particularly due to a growing number of injecting drug users (IDUs), say experts.

Smuggled Medicines Save Lives

They are contraband, yet a large number of Pakistanis have come to depend on drugs made in India and smuggled into Pakistan. Patients as well as doctors say these are cheap and effective, even as law enforcers look the other way.

Students Take On the Army

Disturbed by civilian casualties and moved by the plight of people living like refugees in their own country, students from Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are demanding an end to army operations against militants on their native soil.

Pakistan Caught Between Talking and Fighting

Whether to make war or peace with the Taliban has become a dilemma for the Pakistani government.

Nowhere to Come In From the Cold

As the temperature dips to zero degrees Celsius, a chill has set into the lives of people like 44-year-old Rasool Khan at the Jalozai camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Pakistan. Huddled in tiny tents, with just a plastic sheet over their heads and no heat, they pass sleepless nights in the bitter cold.

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