Upping the ante against U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, celebrated cricketer-turned-political leader Imran Khan has threatened to block NATO supplies to Afghanistan through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where his party leads a coalition government.
Concerns are rising that courts run by Islamic clerics in many of Syria’s rebel-held areas may serve as a prelude to Taliban-style justice in what was long a violently repressive but secular state.
Mustafa Khan, who sells cigarettes by the roadside in a Pakistani village, has a simple reason for sending two of his sons to a madrassa, an Islamic seminary, and not to a proper school. “We cannot afford it,” he says.
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.
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.
The Washington Post on Thursday reported what it presented as new evidence of a secret agreement under which Pakistani officials have long been privately supporting the U.S. drone war in the country even as they publicly criticised it.
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.
“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.
The threat to the stability of the Hamid Karzai government in Afghanistan arises not so much from outside as from within. And the one thing that is eating into its edifice is the malaise called corruption.
“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.
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.
NATO member countries like Canada will continue to be asked to shoulder the burden of a military mission stuck in Afghanistan because of the continued vulnerability of the Kabul-based government.