Whether to make war or peace with the Taliban has become a dilemma for the Pakistani government.
Akbar Shah was sitting with his sick wife in the gynaecology ward of the Agency Headquarters Hospital in Bajaur Agency, a division of northern Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), when a bomb ripped through the facility, scattering patients, doctors and medical supplies.
Bacha Khan Markaz, a two-storey building in the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar, is abuzz with activity. Located deep in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, whose northwestern tip borders Afghanistan, the building serves as the headquarters for the Awami National Party (ANP), which is gearing up for general elections on May 11.
Fifty-nine-year-old Sherdil Shah, a resident of South Waziristan – a hotbed of militancy in northern Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) – used to run a modest grain shop that fetched enough money to keep his family of 10 well-fed and looked after.
More than a million people displaced from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas by growing militancy and military operations are facing severe hardship after losing businesses and work.