Three days ago, Rameela Bibi was the mother of a month-old baby boy. He died in her arms on Jun. 28, of a chest infection that he contracted when the family fled their home in Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency, where a full-scale military offensive against the Taliban has forced nearly half a million people to flee.
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.
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.
The word on the street was that if there were one place on earth that could treat Mohammad Lalu’s wife, it would be the Koohi Goth Women’s Hospital in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi.
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?
Mukhtar Ali is one of the many Pakistanis who are furious at politicians and authorities for failing to provide citizens with a regular supply of electricity during the smouldering summer months.
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.
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.
IPS' Zofeen Ebrahim visits a group of home-based workers in Pakistan's Hyderabad who work long hours for little pay and no recognition of the labour they perform.
Pakistan's Bangle Industry Strangles Workers at Home from IPS News - IPSTV on Vimeo.
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.
Amina Bibi, an 18-year-old from Pakistan’s Punjab province, was allegedly raped by four men on Jan. 5 this year. All the accused were granted bail. A desperate Amina set herself on fire outside a police station on Mar. 13 and succumbed to burn injuries the next day.
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.
For the second year in a row, the world is spending a little less on the military. Asia, however, has failed to get the memo. The region is spending more at a time when many others are spending less.
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.”
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.