Tag Archives: Taliban

A Massacre is a Massacre and There is no Good Taliban: S. Akbar Zaidi

Guest post by S. AKBAR ZAIDI [This post was sent to us by our friend S. Akbar Zaidi. Though published earlier in The International News of Pakistan, we are reproducing it here because it represents a position that is felt by many inside Pakistan but which right-wingers in India would love not to see. Like right-wingers and Talibanis in Pakistan, our very own Hindutvavadis too thrive on presenting a monolithic picture of something called ‘Pakistan’.]

This was a massacre, nothing less. We should call it that, nothing less. We may want to call the children ‘shaheed’, but they were not engaged in any war against anyone. They were too innocent and blameless for this. They were victims. Let us call them that. They were victims of our politics, of our opportunism, of hiding in the dark, and especially of protecting the murderers. Do we simply pray for innocent victims, and absolve ourselves of the crimes that we have allowed to persist which resulted in this massacre? As Mohammad Hanif has so eloquently argued, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership needs to examine their own bloodstained hands when they raise their hands in prayer. It was the bloody Taliban butchers who killed these children, not militants or some obscure, unspecific category called ‘terrorists’. Let us name them for who they are. We cannot hide away from this reality and unless we name names, we will not alter our political economy, our direction. If we are waiting for the good Taliban to emerge and denounce this massacre, we need to stop hoping. We must stop differentiating between different types of killers. There is no good Taliban, just one ideology represented and manifest in different groups and forms. Continue reading A Massacre is a Massacre and There is no Good Taliban: S. Akbar Zaidi

Taliban Attack – the Limits of Savagery: Akhlaq Ahan

Guest post by AKHLAQ AHAN

Every sane person is aghast to see what has happened in Peshawar, where Taliban’s attack on a school has crossed all limits of savagery and senselessness. They killed over 140 innocents mostly children, after taking them hostage, burned a teacher with gasoline and made the students watch the ghastly act.

Historically the area is part of the region known as ‘Khorasan e Buzurg’ or the greater Khorasan spanning over the so called North West Frontier, Afghanistan, North East Iran and erstwhile Emirate of Bukhara. The area, for thousands of years, has been the heart and mind of Asia; as this was the region where Gathas of Avesta and Vedas were compiled, Buddhist teachings flourished and survived, Persian traditions were revived, the seekers of truth flocked around Sufi masters to be enlightened. This is the land that produced personalities like Zarathustra, Panini, Alberuni, Khwaja Ansari, Data Ganj Bakhsh, Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, Rumi, Jami, Rahman Baba and hundreds of others. Scores travelled to the region to seek knowledge and training like Faxian, Xuanzang, Yijing, Shams Taprez (Tabrez), Amir Khusraw, Guru Nanak, Jamali and countless others. Though the region has seen occasional strife in the past too but the traditions of inclusion had continued to prevail till about a couple of centuries ago, when these values began to face systematic attacks. A few like Bacha Khan, in his autobiography, gauged the extent of the spread of these exclusionist ideas and warned against them. Continue reading Taliban Attack – the Limits of Savagery: Akhlaq Ahan

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Condemns Killing of Children in Taliban Attack

The HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN has issued the following statement on the Taliban attack on school children in Peshawar

December 16, 2014

Lahore, December 16: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called the killing of more than 120 children in a Taliban attack on an army-run school in Peshawar a national tragedy which it said must open the eyes of anyone still harbouring any doubts that Taliban and Pakistan could coexist.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Commission said: “HRCP is deeply saddened by the large number of children killed in the Taliban attack on ArmyPublic School in Peshawar. This is a national tragedy of immense proportions, and an extremely sad day for Pakistan. Our heart goes out to the families of the children whose lives have been cut short by this abhorrent act of terrorism.

“The target was an army-run school, but it was a school nonetheless. It is not children who fight against the Taliban. And yet the choice of the target and the heavy casualties among the children leave no doubt that the massacre was aimed at killing as many children as possible.

“Nothing, including religion, norms of armed conflict or even common decency, justifies such brutal targeting of children. But it is no secret that the killers and those who dispatched them to attack the school have respect neither for religious commandments nor notions of civilised or decent behaviour. The targeting of children made sense to them because they stand for blood-letting and not much else.

“HRCP reiterates its firm belief that Taliban and Pakistan cannot coexist and anyone still harbouring any notions to the contrary is naive beyond belief.

“It had already been established, much before Tuesday’s massacre of children in Peshawar, where the Taliban stood in terms of education or value of children’s lives. Their actions today have shown once again that Pakistan will not know peace until this madness is taken on in all its manifestations and defeated. Continue reading Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Condemns Killing of Children in Taliban Attack

The Beginning of the Middle of the End: Haseeb Asif

Guest post by HASEEB ASIF

Pakistan’s remote North Waziristan tribal area is seen from the air Feb. 17, 2007. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

One day as I walked to the market to buy some eggs, I noticed strange graffiti on a wall. Emblazoned in red paint was an invitation to join the fight against zionist subversion, western imperialism and painful hemorrhoids; the end having been muddled with a physician’s note.

It was an open call to Jihad by a militant Islamic organization. Jihad! The camaraderie, the righteousness, the third degree burns; it’s all I’d ever wanted. I was tired of being oppressed. There I was, in the prime of my youth, jobless, eggless, with subnormal visual acuity and four strands of the dengue virus, and who was to blame? I could imagine the conversation with my therapist.

“Doctor, I’m moody, I can’t sleep and I never seem to have enough energy to do anything.”

“Why, I believe you’re suffering from oppression”

I called their toll free number and signed myself up. They sent me a brochure and a medical plan; both had pictures of the same mutilated bodies.

‘Jihad summer camp, three months, graduating candidates get a certificate of martyrculation and up to 72 virgins in heaven (note: amount varies according to stock), HEC accredited, facial hair mandatory’.

I consulted with my parents, my mother was thrilled; she’d always wanted a martyr in the family. Father just grunted and made a time honoured gesture with his middle finger.

Two days later a brother Mehsud showed up at my door, he’d been sent by the organization to escort me back to their base.

“It’s a great thing you’re about to do, brother.” I was only packing my clothes. Continue reading The Beginning of the Middle of the End: Haseeb Asif

Militant Rationalities: Ali Usman Qasmi

This is a guest post by ALI USMAN QASMI

Stark indifference of various religious organizations and scholars over suicide bombings and the recurrent target killing in Pakistan during the last few years is appalling. Woefully the mainstream print and electronic media deems it enough to issue the obligatory bland statements signifying absolutely nothing in condemnation of killings of innocent civilians. The act of terrorism in itself is relentlessly condoned, although the lost lives of civilians evoke some reaction which too is quite guarded to say the least. Even while expressing sympathy over the death of civilians,  the ‘atrocities’ of the Western powers in general and USA in particular are invariably referred to as the catalyst resulting in all the mess that the Pakistani people find themselves in, at the moment. Thus, unequivocal condemnation of those responsible for all the mayhem in the country is conspicuously missing, which amounts to a tacit approval of these terrorist acts. Far more tormenting than the devil may care attitude of religious parties and their leadership, is the role played by writers of the right wing persuasion, particularly in the Urdu media. While the mass appeal of the religious parties is considerably thin, nevertheless, right-wing ideology is widely shared and adhered to. Continue reading Militant Rationalities: Ali Usman Qasmi

April 13 a Day of Ignominious Capitulation in Pakistan: HRCP

[The following is the text of a press release issued by Asma Jahangir, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on April 14, 2009. The formal adoption of the Nizam-e-Adl is widely perceived in Pakistan as a surrender to the Taliban and a way of imposing the Shariat Laws in the region. And for good reason. As it went up for approval to the National Assembly, the Taliban and the Tanzim Nifaz Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) warned parliamentarians against opposing the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation. Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami Naib Amir Senator Prof. Khurshid Ahmad has criticized the liberal secular lobby for debunking the introduction of Nizam-e-Adl in Malakand Area.]

Lahore: The way the National Assembly resolved to back the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation for Malakand Division on Monday does no credit to the House, and the day will be remembered for the state’s humiliating submission to blind force, a statement by HRCP said on Tuesday.

Continue reading April 13 a Day of Ignominious Capitulation in Pakistan: HRCP

Swat Flogging and Public Outrage: Beena Sarwar

[This article was first published in Dawn 12 April 2009. It is reproduced here courtesy South Asia Citizens Web. The recent reports of the most spine-chilling instance of flogging of a young woman by Taliban goons unleashed a wave of indignation across Pakistan. This comment by Pakistani journalist Beena Sarwar is self-explanatory. For all the political illiterates and those given to anti-Muslim hate-speech in this country, this report and the innumerable discussions and posts on sites like Chowk, should indicate how much the Taliban and terrorism are hated and resisted by ordinary ‘secular’ people and women’s and human rights groups in Pakistan. They should indicate that ‘Islam’ and ‘being Muslim’ are themselves intensely contested ideas. But of course, we know that nothing can teach these hate-mongers anything, for they are the mirror-image of the Taliban. And as for us, as the old song goes: hum korea mein hum hain hindustan mein/ hum roos mein hain, cheen mein japan mein…And one might add: Pakistan mein bhi hain aur sare jahaan mein

(There we are in korea and in hindustan/in russia we are, in china and in japan/and in pakistan too we are, we’re in the whole wide world…)

It is people like us there who must fight the Taliban, and people like them here who must fight the Hindutva fascists  – always, relentlessly…Even when in the minority and especially when the political parties and leaders desert en masse. – AN]

Demo against womans flogging, courtesy LA Times
Demo against woman's flogging, courtesy LA Times

In the “flogging video’s” undated footage shot with a cellphone in Swat (judging by the language and clothes) a man whips a woman in red, her pinned face down on the ground and encircled by men. The leather strap strikes her back as she cries out in pain.

The video, circulated on the Internet before local television channels broadcast it, caused a furore both in Pakistan and internationally. What caused the outrage? The public punishment meted out to a woman — or the fact that it was broadcast?

Continue reading Swat Flogging and Public Outrage: Beena Sarwar

In Cold Blood: Abuses by Armed Groups

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan, USA, UK, Spain, the Russian Federation, to name a few, are a testimony to the cruel attacks on civilians and other human rights abuses in the recent past by non-state armed groups, including terrorist groups. They are showing utter disdain for the lives of civilians and others, continuing a pattern of serious crimes and crimes against humanity. They fail to abide by even the most basic standards of humanitarian law. The attacks and other abuses by armed groups are so frequent and the security situation so grave, that it is impossible to calculate with any confidence the true toll upon the civilian population, let alone the long term consequences that so many people inevitably suffer.

Continue reading In Cold Blood: Abuses by Armed Groups