Stories written by Ashfaq Yusufzai

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.

Playing Cricket, Praying for Peace

Afghanistan is rediscovering the joy of cricket. It is seen as a tool of progress, a means of entertainment, and a way to wean youth away from violence in a country that has been ravaged by conflict for more than 30 years.

The Right Note Hits Taliban

For many years they could not sing, dance or play their favourite instruments. The performing artists of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northern Pakistan lost their voice as the Taliban carried out terror attacks and banned music, calling it un-Islamic. But after tentative advances in recent months, the Pakistani province is alive with the sound of music once again.

Pakistan’s Polio Campaign Runs Into Taliban Wall

The Taliban are proving to be a huge stumbling block for Pakistan as the South Asian nation - one of only three remaining polio endemic countries in the world – tries to fight the crippling disease.

Democracy Gets an Electronic Boost

Elections in Pakistan have long been marred by allegations of fraud, but now one of its provinces is hoping to give democracy a boost with the help of technology. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the north of the country has given a thumbs up to the biometric voting machine.

Barren Fields Recover From Taliban

Ahmed Nawaz, a 55-year-old farmer in northwestern Pakistan’s Swat valley, rues the day the Taliban arrived in his beautiful land, known for its rolling mountains, lush fields and blossoming orchards. “The earth became barren,” he says.

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