Stories written by Ashfaq Yusufzai

Killings, Abductions Fuel Fear of Taliban Return in North-West Pakistan

The killing of eight people by the outlawed Tehreek Taliban Pakistan on September 13 has given credence to the fear of a new wave of terrorism in the Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Afghan Refugees, Medical Visitors Bemoan Treatment in Pakistan

Afghan refugees living in Pakistan face a host of problems, ranging from seeking medical treatment to shelter, business, police harassment and violence. Many of those affected have been there for four decades.

International Relief Effort After Deadly Afghan Earthquake Displaces Thousands

Survivors of the deadly earthquake that hit Afghanistan’s Paktika and Khost provinces told of their losses while being treated in hospitals in neighboring Pakistan after a 5.9-magnitude quake killed at least 1000 and displaced thousands more in the early hours of June 22, 2022.

New and Old Afghan Refugees Make the Best of Life in Neighbouring Pakistan

“We came here in 1979 after Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan. My children and grandchildren have grown up here and they don’t want to go back to that war-ravaged country. I go there occasionally to mourn the deaths of near and dear ones,” says Muhammad Jabbar, 67, a former resident of Kabul, capital of Afghanistan.

Pakistani Artists, Activists Fight for Refugee Status for Arrested Afghan Musicians

The arrest of Afghan musicians in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan has elicited protests from local politicians, artists and rights activists who demand their release and say they should be allowed to stay as refugees.

Pakistan’s Campaign to Contain Polio in Face of Vaccine Hesitancy

Pakistan's North Waziristan district authorities have launched an aggressive vaccination drive after a polio case surfaced after 15 polio-free months in the country. The disease was detected in a 15-month-old toddler about 15 kilometers away from the Afghanistan border. This area was considered a Taliban militant’s hub until 2014.

Pakistan’s Vote – a Loud and Clear Message that People Want Democracy at Any Cost

Voters in Pakistan’s general election outrightly rejected political parties with extremism records and candidates linked to banned terrorist groups, opting instead to back liberal forces in a support for peace.

Pakistani Reporters in the Crosshairs

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas located on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border remain one of the most perilous places in the world to be a reporter, with journalists walking a razor’s edge of violence and censorship.

Free Press a Casualty of Pakistan’s Terror War

Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is widely viewed as one of the world's most dangerous places to be a journalist, with at least 14 killed since 2005 and a dozen of those cases still unsolved, according to local and international groups.

Challenges of Polio Vaccination

Pakistan and Afghanistan, the two remaining polio-endemic countries, have joined forces to eradicate poliomyelitis by vaccinating their children in synchronised campaigns.

Schools are in for Summer

“We are extremely jubilant over the rebuilding of our school that the Taliban destroyed it in 2013, due to which we used to sit without a roof,” Mujahida Bibi, a student of 8th grade in Government Girls Middle School North Waziristan Agency, told IPS.

The New Normal in Fata

A military operation by Pakistan’s army has been proving fatal for Taliban militants who held sway over vast swathes of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) for over a decade. They crossed over the border from Afghanistan and took refuge in Fata after their government was toppled by US-led forces towards the end of 2001. After a few years, when they got a toe-hold in the region, they extended their wings to all seven districts of Fata. Not any more.

Afghan Refugees’ Right To Stay in Pakistan May Expire

“We aren’t happy here but cannot go back to our country because the situation there was extremely bad,” Ghareeb Gul, Afghan refugees told IPS.

Women Suffer Psychological Problems After Living Under Taliban

“My two sons were killed by Taliban militants mercilessly three years ago. My husband died a natural death two year back. Now, I am begging to raise my two grandsons,” Gul Pari, 50, told IPS.

Drinking Water Shortages Plague Pakistan Region

“We have to purchase water from the municipalities for our daily use. The water column has gone too deep and it is hard to pump out the commodity,” said Muhammad Shakir, a resident of Hayatabad, an upscale town in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Disaster Strikes Pakistan’s Khyber Region, Aid Efforts Slow in Coming

Jauhar Shah lost everything. His house came tumbling down while his family was sleeping. He survived but his wife and daughter did not. The October 26 tremor measuring 8.1 Richter scale changed his life forever.

Pakistani Communities Reel in the Wake of Massive Earthquake

“My grandmother rushed inside the room to save me. Roof suddenly collapsed and she died,” said 12-year-old Mushtari Bibi.

Pakistan: Looking to Hydropower to Assure More Reliable Electricity

“We are lucky a local dam will give us cheap and uninterrupted power supply. Currently, we remain without electricity for 14-16 hours every day,” Muhammad Shafique, a schoolteacher in Upper Dir, told IPS.

Pakistan Initiative Seeks to Improve Maternal-Child Care in Rural Areas

“We are extremely happy over the government’s initiative to give money to the pregnant women and enable them to seek proper treatment,” said Sharif Ahmed at a basic health unit (BHU), near Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.

Fear Stalks Students in Northern Pakistan

It has been seven months since a group of gunmen raided the Army Public School in Pakistan’s northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, killing 145 people, including 132 students.

Female Commandos Ready to Take on the Taliban

For years, Robina Shah has dreamed of joining the police force. Ever since her father, a police constable, was killed in a 2013 Taliban suicide attack in Peshawar, capital of Pakistan’s northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, she has longed to carry on his legacy.

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