In Conversation With a Prostitute in Peshawar Details Written by Mona Naseer- Co Author N Yousufzai

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“Prostitution” is a taboo subject, never spoken about in public by those who consider themselves part of the elite class of society. It is seen as something that could harm the elite class’s dignity just through speaking about it, because the women who are subjected to such a life are considered ‘low lives’ and ‘sinful women’. Discussing such women is therefore a sin, as these women, according to the views of the dignified class, have lead men astray and made them commit sins. This gives those men, who themselves go as clients to these sex workers, an easy way out from being held accountable by society.

Prostitution (sex work), as the word has become known as, is considered to be the oldest industry in the world, although this is disputed by some feminists who claim midwifery to be the oldest. In the subcontinent however, prostitution traces its history back to the ancient rulers of Chandra Gupta Mauyra in 300 BC to the arrival of the Mughal rulers. The Mughal rulers are said to have given special patronage to sex workers until it was commercialised under British colonial rule. When Pakistan was created as an Islamic Republic, the prostitution business continued but under new restrictions, particularly after the enforcement of the Hudood Ordinance in 1979, which ordered the abolition of brothels across the country.  Therefore neither law nor religion has ended the business in Pakistan, instead those who continue to support it have benefited from being tactical and discreet. Whilst those who are living from the means created by the prostitution business have found accessories and means to live outside the law.

Pakhtun society is no exception to that. Although Pakhtun society has such a strong notion of morality and honour that is tied up to women and their bodies, they still choose to look the other way when it comes to the prostitution business. Since some believe these traditions, social and religious values are imposed on them by elite rule. A definite state of denial prevails in Pakhtun society at large.

Below we have a conversation with a ‘working girl’ that contradicts this myth about Pakhtun honour and exposes the reality. Karima (not her real name) works on a street known for the ‘dancing girls’ and has been doing this work for most of her life. Here is what she tells us:

Me. How long have you worked here?

K. I don’t remember the exact number of years. I guess ten to twelve years.

Me. Ten to twelve years but you seem very young, are you  in your early twenties?

K. I am twenty six.

Me. How do you feel about your work- Do you like it?

K. What would I feel about it?  I was sold when I was only twelve years old. My step father sold me to a man for fifty thousand rupees. I spent two years at his place and after he passed away- his first wife sold me to this woman here. She is like my mother now.

Me. Do you pay this woman?

K. She pays me; she is the one who runs this place with her husband. They both bring customers and we get paid for our daily needs. She sometimes gives us money for shopping. But she is a nice woman. I told her I don’t want to serve more than five men in one night. Sometimes all the girls get upset, since our friend died of some infection. No one knows what had happened to her. She got sick and never got well.

Me. Does anything make you upset at work?

K. I know we all don’t have any other place to live but this house. No one wants to try to escape from here. Because we know we will end up somewhere like this or may be even worse. We, the girls discuss how these men treat us- that’s when we get upset. I know we are prostitutes, which means we don’t deserve respect but these men treat us like dogs. Some of them who get drunk physically abuse us.

It is obvious from this conversation with Karima that the industry thrives from being supported by women, like the one Karima describes as selling her off. These women, who are subjected to such a way of life, each have their own stories to tell and their own regrets. Whilst society sees these women as ‘vile’, one thing is certain, extreme poverty and being sold into the business is what drives prostitution in Pakistan. The common factor of extreme poverty can be seen from the areas that the business thrives in, such as the Shahi Muhallah of Lahore (known as Heeri Mandi), mini brothers of Hayatabad in Peshawar, or roads, public pick up points such as bus stops, parks and even hospital waiting rooms or Gulbahar city or Sadder area .

Research maintains that women, who engage in sex work independently, do so when they have no other options left to survive. Psychologist and anti-prostitution activist Melissa Farley says that prostitution is nearly always coercive and lacking in full consent. In many areas where sex workers are found to be roaming freely, such as streets or markets, they are usually extorted by the police. Under Section 55/109 of the Pakistan Penal code; those who are a danger to society or under suspicion of being a danger to society must be arrested. However police in Pakistan use this as a way to extort money from these women, as these so called law enforcers know that they are sex workers. Therefore the sex workers who solicit their work independently are hounded by the police to extract their margin from the workers profit.

However those sex workers who stay in rented houses, salons or guest houses looking after the so called needs of the upper middle class of Hayatabad in the city are not harassed by the police for a margin, rather this job is left to an aunty or a pimp.

During the holy month of Ramazan, those men who use brothels or sex workers, lay low and so customers stay away since piety takes over them. But during this month you see these women begging near bakeries, for bread to break at the end of the days fast.

Peshawar has a fluid and diverse population and its oldest profession operates with discretion, bordering on the verge of invisibility. The arrival of destitute Afghan women or internally displaced refugees from other parts of Pakistan has not helped eradicate the business. Most of these women are now sole surviving heads of their families; some of them have paid the ultimate price of survival by selling their bodies. We have heard of stories that a girl sold her body for a piece of bread in a refugee camp.

The price of these survival sex workers to the ones sitting in brothels differs by a few hundred rupees or a few thousand, depending on their age, beauty and area of operation within the country. The brothels operating in Peshawar has girls from different provinces in Pakistan, mostly from areas where it is easy to obtain girls through monetary benefits by marrying them. These men who marry girls by buying them from their parents play the role of recruiters as they then further merchandise these young girls to pimps.

Pakhtun society that claims it has honour and morality tied to women and their bodies, with no hesitation sell their sisters and daughters under this notion of traditional marriage to men who turn these women and girls into sex workers. There is no law in Pakistan that stops the sale and purchase of women for the purpose of marriage, citing tradition and custom of the area as the reason why.

1.http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-119586-Four-men,-nine-women-arrested-    from-Peshawar-brothels

2.http://www.dawn.com/news/1046355/prostitution-spreads-as-law-looks-on

3.http://tribune.com.pk/story/353666/no-law-to-stop-sale-purchase-of-women-for-marriage/

4.http://tribune.com.pk/story/357246/alarming-trend-chitrali-women-trafficked-forced-into-prostitution/

5.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/1711362.stm

6. Taboo ,The hidden culture of a red light area   Oxford publication  forward by I.A REHMAN

7.Interview with a Civil Judge Peshawar .

8.1.http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-119586-Four-men,-nine-women-arrested-from-Peshawar-brothels

9. Interview with a Sex-Worker Peshawar

 

Apologise Atizaz you will end up in just another killed.

 

 

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So another one bites the dust and many more might follow

The death of Atizaz Hussein bangash has once again mobilised our people particularly on social media to demand the highest bravery award of the land (Nishan Haider) literally named after the title given to fourth caliph of Islam by his mother . Haider means the brave. Atizaz Hussein  has been hailed as hero.

Atizaz Hussein 15 becomes the youngest boy to have a tackled a suicide bomber who tried to enter his school. He wanted to capture the suicide bomber and stop him from killing his school mates. Previously we had suicide bombers of his age to have blown themselves up, which has resulted in the killings of thousands of people.

He has once again galvanised the distorted and divided opinion of Pakistan into giving him a medal for his bravery at least, if not dealing  promptly and efficiently with what plagues Pakistan.

According to Atizaz cousin who spoke to few journalist in Pakistan ,  that people in our area would like him to be recognised and celebrated like Malala a Pakistani youth campaigner.` who stood up for girls and children right to education.

When I read this unprecedented story of this young boy courage , or for that matter anyone who loses their life in this losing war, I say to myself another one bites the dust. More than 60,000 have lost their lives, and more than million displaced through operations in areas which we hold responsible for all the mayhem, but we are still not sure where the root of the evil lie actually there , is it our war or not   or how to deal with it.

While the dust settle over Atizaz Hussein I won’t be surprised if this all doesn’t fizzle out sooner than I expect it to be and we might be over Atizaz Hussein martyrdom and he will end up in the figures quoted above.  The progenitor   of anti-war operations will start making those advocating military might feeling guilty (force   doesn’t solve anything, these are our wayward brothers) and in the meantime  the wayward brother or good Muslim will come back to hit us once again to make us among the faithful’s. Yes those who advocate that these are our wayward brother might declare us as killed and our killer as Shaheed (martyrs).Honestly i wont even know the benefit of being one as a woman .

Not that I advocate violence or military might against your own people or state has monopoly over violence,  but one thing I would like to ask how do you deal with a situation when  a 15 year old suicide bomber  is ready to blast off couple of hundred in school . And another 15 year old ready to tackle a young suicide bomber to keep his friends and school safe.

How long will our kids end up paying the ultimate sacrifice of their young unexplored lives. While we debate in our conferences what is the easiest way out of the whole mess. I guess even i  have  nothing  new to say in my blog , talk or no talk. Let’s toss a coin.

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A STORY OF SCHOOL WRITTEN BY MOHAMMED SALEEM

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The name of our school is Abdul Malik khotay Swabi. In our village khotay swabi this is the only primary school in the area, we don’t have any secondary or high school in the area. Our village has nearly 300 hundred families living in the area and nearby.
Our school has the strength of +170 kids, both boys and girls, since we don’t have any girl’s school in the area. Nearly one third of the strength is of girls in our school.
The school came into existence in 1997 when one of the local landlord showed his generosity by donating two kanal (approximately 1000 sq. yard) to the government. To acknowledge the generosity of the landlord the school has been named after him, hence the name Abdul Malik khotay .Because our beloved govt is busy spending most of the money on making atom bomb. Purchasing missiles, rockets, submarines so Pakistan can become a bastion of Islam that is the reason they don’t have enough resources to buy land for our school. I have heard most of the state schools in our country has been constructed on donated or charity land.
Our school is approximately 5 kilometre from the main city centre of swabi. Since the land is donated by landlord Abdul Malik, the peon in our school is also employed by his recommendation. Although our peon is equally a poor guy like the rest of us studying in the school. He takes care of our school honestly and diligently. His name is Ghulam Mohammad but everybody calls him Carter because everybody says he looked like then American president jimmy carter.
Our school building consists of two rooms and one small hallway, the rest it’s all a yard. Since our school starts from nursery and goes up till class fifth .One room is allocated for class fifth and fourth, means shared by them, while another room is shared by class three and two. Our teachers has devised a way of managing two classes in one room by making both classes sit opposite to each other facing the wall. Class one sits in the hallway while the nursery kids sit in the yard maybe that’s why they are called lower class. Although it’s strange for me because we all are kids of lower class parents. We don’t have any chairs and benches in our classes, most of us sit on coarse rugs or plastic sheets. The kids sitting outside in yard or hallway doesn’t even have this facility to sit on, I have heard this is the story of all state schools in our beloved Pakistan .The oldest high school of our area which was built in the year 1890 then 40% of the children use to sit on rugs and plastic sheets . Twenty years back they use to have benches and chairs in the same school. All the state primary school has children of lower class. Middle class and upper middle class children go to private schools. Like Within one square kilo meter of swabi there are nearly 30 private schools to cater to the needs of upper and middle class Children.
We have two teachers to look after and teach the whole school. It was in the newspaper they say that there are approximately 25000 school in the whole of our province operating like our school. How we are taught by two teachers I am not sure but they have sticks in their hands, but we do love them. Normally lunch to them is served from our home. We get quite a few days off, when the teachers have some important work which is pretty often or when the weather is bad like raining ,hailstorm or when our parents needs us on the farms to help them .
Our school has poor local people studying in it or children whose parents has come from areas like Bajaur , Mohmand , Dir , Swat . These people along with the locals work on the fields of the big landlords. We could be expelled by them anytime they want ,although it doesn’t happen that often but the possibility is always there, hanging on our heads like sword of Damocles . We are helpless internally displaced people from our lands. Lands which belonged to our forefather has been rented out to the state guests like Uzbek, Chechens Tajik Arabs by our beloved country.
Our school witnessed different leaders, ruling Pakistan from Nawaz Shariff to Sherpao, from mullah (clergy) to nationalists but nobody has paid any heed to it .Once a non-governmental organisation promised us shoes, that was the most cheerful and bustling day of our school so many parents came to register their kids in school but unfortunately they never turned up and most of the children and parents went back home disappointed. Our teacher said that the people of NGO most probably Loaded elephant size of shoes on the tiny waist of an ant. The ant is crawling slowly towards its destination.
Underneath the shadow of this flag, there are two classes.one called poor and lower middle class, while another upper middle and rich class

STORY TRANSLATED BY MONA

The Possible fall out of polio virus on Pukhtun diaspora and migrant workers

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One of the aftermath of   Osama Bin Laden capture from his not so secret Abbottabad compound was, that a vigorous anti polio murderous drive launched by Taliban in KPK and FATA. The  emergence of news that US central intelligence agency has launched a fake vaccination programme with the help of Pakistan doctor to capture Osama bin laden, since then Pakistan polio worker has been targeted with the propaganda that they are all CIA operatives, out to make our children sterile.   . Part of the propaganda in tribal area (North Waziristan) was that these polio workers in this part of FATA mark people houses for drone attacks.

Since July 2012 alone, about 31 polio workers have been murdered by Taliban. One of the pamphlet left next to the targeted polio worker was that all those who are part of any polio vaccination campaign or found working for any non-governmental organisation would be killed in a similar manner.

In the year 2013 polio cases has increased from 58 in 2012 to 77 cases of polio this year ,and out of these 77 cases ,58 has been reported in FATA alone and news of  fresh new cases emerging . FATA Secretariat confirms that as many as 169,000 children in SWA and 166,000 in NWA have been deprived from administrating polio drops due to security concerns.

Another 39,000 children have been deprived of polio drops in Khyber Agency. Nationwide, 90 percent of polio cases occur among ethnic Pashto families, many of whom live in Pakistan’s northwest. Officials blame the violence and suspicions about the vaccine for a surge in cases.

A global eradication campaign has reduced polio cases by 99.9 per cent in the last three decades, but it remains endemic in only three countries Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Polio spread through person-to-person contact. When a child is infected with wild poliovirus, the virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. It then shed into the environment through the faeces where it can spread rapidly through a community, especially in situations of poor hygiene and sanitation

Young children who are not yet toilet-trained are a ready source of transmission, regardless of their environment. Polio can spread when food or drink is contaminated by faeces. There is also evidence that flies can passively transfer poliovirus from faeces to food.

Acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) one in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis, usually in the legs. This is caused by the virus entering the blood stream and invading the central nervous system. As it multiplies, the virus destroys the nerve cells that activate muscles. The affected muscles are no longer functional and the limb becomes floppy and lifeless – a condition known as acute flaccid paralysis.

Most people infected with the poliovirus have no signs of illness and are never aware they have been infected. These symptomless people carry the virus in their intestines and can “silently” spread the infection to thousands of others before the first case of polio paralysis emerges.

For this reason, WHO considers a single confirmed case of polio paralysis to be evidence of an epidemic – particularly in countries where very few cases occur?

With the alarming rise of polio cases in Pakistan particularly FATA  and KPK , we are literally sitting on health bomb which if not defused  on time ,on emergency and priority basis it will have far more reaching consequences than we as nation believing and accepting Allah’s  ways . After the World Health Organization (WHO) termed Peshawar ‘the international reservoir of polio, one of the most obvious result of our inability to control polio is of course   future crippled kids ,  but   we will have an economic  disaster in shape of possible travel ban and deportation of Pakistan diaspora from middle east  resulting in serious economic consequences.

Millions of workers from pukhtun belt working in middle east in non-skilled labour category, and many inspiring to go abroad to earn a living for their families .  We have villages particularly in FATA and KPK where whole of village male population earn their living from abroad. During the last 18 months, Pakistan had infected many other countries with the poliovirus, by transmitting the virus to Syria, Egypt and Gaza crippling at least 13 children in Syria. Genetic sequencing traced the origin of virus to Pakistan. It is Syria’s first polio outbreak since 1999. Hence as result we already have news circulating of possible Haj ban by the Saudi govt.

While on the other hand our Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OP&HRD) Pir Sadruddin Shah Rashidi talks about a new strategy to increase the  export of  Pakistani work force  to friendly Arab countries  so it can double the remittances from existing US$12 billion to US$24 billion. With the current possible travel ban and in surge of polio cases I am not sure how our strategy makers will achieve that. Polio might be a provincial matter for the current govt of kpk but polio as virus has no boundary demarcation.

With possible economic fallout resulting in loss of jobs for many in Arab states, high inflation, unemployment, no industrial base and war hit agricultural economy particularly of kpk and fata will only result in further deprivation for the second poorest province of Pakistan. Terrorism has not only resulted in loss of life but, destruction of infrastructure, internal migration, nose-diving of production and growing unemployment. With possible economic fallout of anti-polio campaign further affecting the war hit economy of kpk and fata. Polio eradication programme with huge investment on the part of WHO and non-governmental organisation seems to have offended a religious mafia who were benefiting previously   monetarily from the programme, which not only has resulted now in loss of life by targeting the polio workers but severely crippled the programme .  Central American intelligence agency (CIA) divulging of faking a vaccination scheme has further strengthened the hands of the religious mafia jeopardising the future of thousands kids in the region. Recently Khyber Pakhtunkhwa govt availed the services of   Pakistan’s renowned scholar, Mualana Samiul Haq of Darul Uloom Haqqania in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who issued a Fatwa in support of Routine Immunization including polio, and UNICEF has employed the services of Mualana son might be one step in the right direction.

Cited work

1.http://www.overseaspakistanis.net/budget-ignores-overseas-pakistanis-remittances

2.http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-222746-Pakistanis-may-face-travel-ban-for-Hajj

3,http://www.polioeradication.org/Polioandprevention.aspx#sthash.kx4BKjZc.dpuf

4. Interview conducted with one of the journalist working on polio campaign.

5.http://news.sciencemag.org/people-events/2013/01/polio-virus-spreads-pakistan-egypt#disqus_thread

6. http://tribune.com.pk/story/651573/pti-to-launch-largest-vaccination-campaign/

FATA from NOBLE JIHADI SAVAGES TO TERRORISTS

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The transformation of people of FATA from Noble Jihadi to terrorists for Pakistan did not take long?  FATA was mostly left to its own devices, used and discarded whenever needed.

The utility of FATA and its people for Pakistan state can be traced back to Kashmir jihad of 1948, when the slogan of Islam was used by the state. . Afghanistan jihad of 1979 further sealed FATA status as Jihad producing factory. World capitalists power engaged in their ideological battle with Soviet Union and Pakistan military state played the role of big fat ring leader to the crimes committed in the name of jihad. From providing human fodder to drugs factories, Jihadi madrasa all were produced, operated and executed with the blessing of Pakistan state. Afghan jihad was the seal of authority which stamped FATA and its people as Noble Jihadi for Pakistan.  . When  the  time span of jihad as military option  in Afghanistan  expired with the disintegration of soviet union , the exalted  status of FATA was lost on our state, however  it continued to keep FATA under laws introduced by British 1901,basically as a  part of Pakistan but isolated politically ,socially and economically . Pakistan military and state continued to patronize, more than 15,000 Arabs, Uzbek and Chechen who were repatriated to and settled in FATA to fight holy war against the Soviets and to be further used for future projects.

The break from romance of Noble jihadi savages to Terrorists came when 9/11 happened. American war against AL Qaeda and its consequences for Pakistan in result of suicide bombing in settled areas and, ultimate operations of Pakistan army. During Afghan War nearly 1,000 or so unregistered madrassas which were established primarily in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), many of which preached jihad against infidels begun to preach the same jihad against its mentor.

.Pakistan Military has launched twelve major operations since 2002 against Taliban, Al-Qaida and minor operations trying to cleanse FATA from terrorists and or give back its exalted status of producing for decades now only the noble jihadi or the good Taliban ( strategic assets ).

One  such operation started on December 18 when a suicide bomb attacked an army checkpoint in North Waziristan, a stronghold for al Qaeda-linked Taliban militants on Pakistan’s mountainous border with Afghanistan.

“From the first day of the attack until now 70 civilians have been killed,” said a tribal elder in Mir Ali village who declined to be identified for fear of state reprisals. Residents said bodies were left in the open in the villages of Mosaki and Hasukhel as terrified villagers fled the area.

“We are moving our families to keep them safe but the army’s mortars and shells are following us,” said Asad Sher of Mir Ali. “Please tell us where is safe. The army is demolishing our homes and bazaars

More than 70 civilian has lost life in this game between the military and  the bad Taliban although our army spokesman has denied the civilian casualty and claimed to have killed terrorists (now) and mostly foreigner like Uzbek and Chechen. The drone supporter will now   have enough to talk about and discuss.      The liberals of our media has welcome the operation, mostly citing the reasons that Taliban were not ready for peace talks and declaring the civilian casualty of women and children as collateral damage.

While the military has denied that it’s a prelude to a military operation “This is not, and I repeat, not the beginning of a larger military operation in North Waziristan,” said Major General Bajwa of the ISPR.

The military sympathetic journalists with better access to military mind-set has described it breaking of the code by the villagers, citing one article  the writer  says this is what happens when you break the code. The agreement with [Taliban commander] Gul Bahadur has been standing since 2006. It clearly stipulates upon the locals that either they take care of the foreigners, or we do. That’s why it’s reasonable for army to deploy just one division [with roughly 10,000 men] in an area where there are over 20,000 hardened fighters…because there’s a code.”

The article further citing his source continued: “Our deployment is enough for us to establish a writ. Without a go-ahead from the civilian government for a final mop-up operation, we are in a ‘holding position’: not doing too much and not doing too little. But the foreigners have exploited that agreement. They’ve settled here. And now, they’ve broken the code.

Under the Collective responsibility  of FCR (FRONTIER CRIME REGULATIONS), not only those harbouring the terrorists who dared to attack the army contingent but the whole village and area is responsible for the crime committed against the state, so everybody from children to women are responsible and must bear the brunt of army shelling, cobra gunship helicopters and mortars.

The most liberating and humanistic response came from Dharna performing politician of Pakistan Imran khan of PTI , who values anti  drones  campaign very highly and has a narrative which has convinced half of Pakistan population that is ” Drones produces militants”. Although why drones happens he is not too bothered but he sells it successfully to the urban Pakistan.” Jihadi savage Pukhtun brothers has revolted against Drones”.

In an official statement on Saturday, Imran repeated his condemnation of the attack against the military personnel in NWA which led to the martyrdom of five soldiers.

He said civilians – especially women and children – were already the victims of drone attacks and now a military action was causing more suffering to those, who were not responsible for this war.

Although his humanistic approach never allows him to question the military establishment

“Why are these tribal  kept as jihadi   or more importantly why is this area kept under political social and economic isolation and deliberately kept militarised?

If military claims that they had to take out foreigner to perform their sting operation then please ask the  military why is this area still hosting remnants of Afghan jihad?

And when the jihadi  challenged the military might, only than military had to under take an operation against them  and in the process punish the whole of population indiscriminately? In plain words Army held the whole civilian population including women and children to take care of   jihadi remnant  of Afghan War.

If drone kill militants along with local populations than do accept the fact that not only drones but these state gone wrong proxies and Pakistan army  is equally responsible for the murder, displacement and misery of the people of FATA. The other mainstream political parties like ANP and PPP has made feeble attempt to call for an inquiry into civilian deaths.While  Defa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) has termed the attack as US ploy to sabotage the dialogue process and urged the government to end military operation in the tribal areas ,an expected response by  crying  hoarse over drones, peace dialogue gone wrong by the far right.

The liberals can cheer the operation but it’s not an operation which will bring peace to the rest of Pakistan if the rest of Pakistan include other than Punjab.  It might even help in the recruitment drive of the Taliban exploiting the already bruised emotions of the civilian, as we are already  seeing  video’s and pictures being circulated on social media of civilian deaths and internal displacements . .

The  unfortunate reality of the day however  is that this indiscriminate killing will be hushed, when  the  system of  corrupt Malik and political agent providing few thousand rupees as compensation  will be given to the extremely improvised population for their dead  . Once again another story regarding FATA misery which had hit headlines of Pakistan newspaper will die down.

The golden goose called FATA for Pakistan establishment, military, TTP, and other vested interest will continue to play the role which it has been playing since 1948 Kashmir jihad. We will continue to have places in our villages called sheedano danda (our martyrs burial ground). The question is for how long the piecemeal solutions and, the special status of FATA will  prevail with urban Pakistan ?

Work Cited  .Noreen Naseer , Federally Administered Tribal Areas:  Conflict and Militarisation paper read at JNU .
http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE9BM05720131223?irpc=932

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http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-221783-How-the-Code-was-broken-in-Mirali-in-NWA

DRONES MAKES US PAKISTANI

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When we talk about FATA (federally administered tribal areas) the emotions which it stirs in urban Pakistan mainly are only related to anti-drones attack causing civilian casualties, fuelling terrorism and violation of our sovereignty. We have recently seen a popular political party raising the issue of Drones and performing dharna and ultimately closing   NATO Supply lines going through Peshawar Torkam border. Going through newspaper and  reading the comments  of supporters of anti-drone policy, I initially felt   that finally the romance  of urban  Pakistan with FATA ,and the narrative of  portraying  people from FATA  as  warriors race was over   . The urban Pakistan living under 1973 constitution which provides them fundamentals rights like right to fair trial, right to freedom of speech, right to access to information, liberty, dignity, equal protection under law, privacy of the home, so on and so forth has finally recognised that People of FATA are vulnerable and, they are ready to own people of this region.

Of course my delusion was not for long.  The most important question which has failed to capture the mind and discourse of our literate Pakistani” why is that region   kept under deliberates political and social isolation. Why is the outrage over Drone debate not linked to FATA reforms and immediate streamlining into Pakistani society?  For urban Pakistan FATA is their Achilles heel because it is the hub of all terrorism and how   drone fuels terrorism.  So drones must stop. Beyond that debate FATA is not exciting enough. I apologise for trying to question the moral indignation of the urban Pakistan over the drone debate. It is  however not important for urban dharna participating crowd that   FATA which comprises of seven political agencies along with FR  areas   remains Pakistan   most  poorest region, with 3.1 million population which according to unofficial estimate has reached over  seven million . Nearly 66 % of the population lives below the poverty line.   The region continues to be directly governed by Pakistan’s federal government through a special set of laws called the Frontier Crimes Regulations, a body of law based on six chapters, 64 sections three schedules.  Article 247 of the 1973 constitution of Pakistan grants a special status to FATA, whereby no act of Parliament or the jurisdiction of the High /Supreme Judiciary is extendable to the region.  A  Body of rules FCR which guarantees no dignity of life and personal freedom to the people in the region. Literacy rate of FATA is only 17.42 %, compared to the national average of 40 %. Among women, it is 3 %, compared to the national average of 32 %. Per capita income is roughly $250, half the national average of $500 with a growth rate of 2.19 % only. With hardly 3% land holdings, FATA’s 50% population is dependent on trade activities with Afghan brethren on the other side of Durand line. FATA’s forbidding terrain further isolates tribal communities from markets, health and education services, and many outside positive influences. The above statistics places FATA in the Fourth world of the South. The tribal nature of the people portrayed in a manner, and  its geography being deliberately used to keep the region militarised. Defending the honour of Pakistan state the tribal were encouraged to fight jihad in Kashmir 1948, since the fortress of Islam that is Pakistan was in danger .The people of FATA Trigger happy cavemen were the ideal character for providing human fodder from 1948 onwards to the current war on terror..   The biggest war theatre in FATA was enacted by our military establishment   to fight the Islamic jihad in Afghanistan with petro dollars against the infidels of USSR   . In 1979 FATA assumed special importance for our state when Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.  Massive scale of jihad operation from human fodder recruitment to drugs factories started operating in the region conveniently. During Afghan War, more than 15,000 Arabs, Uzbek and Chechens were repatriated to and settled in FATA to fight holy war against the Soviets.

 

Also nearly 1,000 or so unregistered madrassas were established primarily in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), many of which preached jihad against infidels.  The continuation of FCR by the Pakistan state made their various adventures possible in the region from 1948 militarisation to the ultimate disintegration of the Soviet Union to the current War on terror.    There are roughly 21 left over Jihadi groups of 1979   and 39 sectarian groups operating in FATA. These jihadi now turned Taliban with different interest manipulate and control the local population .However thirteen peace agreements were signed between Taliban and government of Pakistan between the periods of 2007-9 without involving the local population at large. Normally in all these peace agreements signed with militant Taliban, people those sitting at Islamabad were taken on board and most of them lack understanding of local problems while dealing with these former jihadi now turned militants.To counter former jihadi    military operation   was  initiated by state of Pakistan   against the rouge Taliban .Pakistan Military has launched twelve major operations since 2002 against Taliban, Al-Qaida. These military operations have completely militarized/destroyed the social and economic life of FATA people. Presently military operations in tribal belt have led to the displacement of more than 3 million people. The largest displacement is from South Waziristan Agency where around 428,000 people are displaced. In summer of 2013, Pakistan military launched an operation in Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency which resulted into huge exodus of more than 80,000 people. The military operations, Taliban take over have played havoc with already most improvised area of the region. Agriculture, forests .water resources and lakes have been ruined. More than 32% of the education institutions in the tribal areas of Pakistan have been destroyed in militancy.   Along with education sector bombing of schools by Taliban, health sector has had major setback by targeting polio workers in the region. FATA has 41 hospitals for its seven million populations.

The whole debate on this war on terror has been dominated by very parochial, false and superficial discourse. All parties’ conference held by the Nawaz Sharif govt, which had participant from all major political parties in Pakistan, was a further disappointment.  The conference called the tribal people as our own people but called for no immediate and drastic reforms in the region not even by those who championed the anti-drone policy.  Urban Pakistan imagination is only caught up with one thing that how drones fuel insurgency and kill innocent people and it’s the cause of all terrorism.   Let’s assume these leftover jihadi did not exist in the tribal region before drones, or are not responsible for the killing of more than 15 hundred tribal elders (Malik’s) killing, murder and rape of local people. Or maybe 1979 radicalisation of the area never happened.  And we can deny that there are no Arabs Chechen Uzbek militants enjoying Pakistan state tattered sovereignty.   Or maybe I keep on forgetting they are sitting in Alaqa ghair (territory which is outside the domain of civil PAKISTAN)

 

The debate can be bought off by someone who is trying not to see the whole picture. Maybe if   Press and Media is allowed into the region we will get half of the ugly picture.  But no press and media is allowed and under FCR the draconian laws no tribal can participate in national or international debate.  We see No outrage on the poverty, inhumane laws operating in FATA  let alone the deliberate militarisation under the pretext of Americanised jihad  . If Pakistan is trying to own FATA  by drones protests only  than I regret to inform that there is more to FATA  than just drones. Protesting against Drones can be good for one’s moral soul because it does causes civilian killing  along with the likes of high profile terrorists but it won’t make the people of FATA Pakistanis.

 

Work cited

 

1. Noreen Naseer, FATA, militarization & conflict. Living in War Zone, December 2013, JNU Delhi,

 

 
http://aisc-india.in/AISC2013_web/paper_archive

 

 

2 .http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/AHRC-STM-193-2013.pdf

 

3. http://tribune.com.pk/ http://tribune.com.pk/story/642376/na-question-hour-over-32-schools-in-fata-destroyed/

 

4. FATA Seminar Series, FCR Amendments: A way forward or hurdle for Peace and Development in FATA, March

 

Seminar Report April 2012, Islamabad

To all the trolls and haters with love

According to UNICEF Pakistan has largest youth bulge with 35 % of the population and huge on-line presence of the youth on social media. Pakistan has currently 15 million internet users.  Bullying, trolling, threats and abusive behaviour on social media seem to be the favourite pastime of many. This seems to be the normal behaviour of our men folks who tend to disagree with anyone on social media from twitter to Facebook. However this behaviour towards women on social media is more vitriolic defaming indicating the level of misogyny prevalent in our society.   You open a Facebook page you will come across posts in your news feed  which your friends has commented on ,  three picture of Pakistani woman in public life and on top a male shoe where the question is asked who would you hit the most .  Sometimes you forget that violence against Women is not an issue in our society.

You don’t forget the first time you are abused.  I was abused on-line in which I merely commented on a post and of course a particular political party follower did not agree to my political views, sent me a message in private. The message was not about contesting my political views but abusive one. I was upset naturally since I was never abused like that before, however there is always a first time for everything I guess. At that moment I decided I would not comment on anything controversial and was afraid of incurring more by speaking out. I shared my experience with a friend and the friend told me to stop whining, and   acting like delicate flower, in other words it’s all right to be abused because I am commenting and coming out public. I was writing or giving my views on such field which only belongs to men that are politics. However sometimes later, you toughen up: stop reading the comments or stop letting them get to you. After all you are challenging their masculinity by going against their political views and what better way for these troll to display their masculinity but by abusing you.   Just this morning I came across one tweet in which one woman political commentator made a comment about a political leader and the reply left to her by one of the ardent supporter of that political leader was,

“I know you sell yourself for 100 dollars “

If a woman speaks her mind the lowest to hit is target her sexuality or morality in terms of her sex. I hope she continues to speak her mind no matter you or I agree or disagree with her. If I was sent such message I would have deleted it but here she re tweeted that tweet and challenged the mind-set.

If you talk to any woman who writes, comments on-line, the chances are she will instantly be able to list greatest hits of insults. But it’s very rarely spoken about, for both sound and unsound reason.  To me, misogynistic abuse is an attempt to keep women quiet. Traditionally, men have been the ones who influence the direction of society; it is their sphere and their world. Being in a very patriarchal society (despite of having a first Islamic world woman prime minister) I feel that a strong resentment against women exist and it’s not women’s place to be commentating and writing about politics. That’s why the abuse against women writers  is really insidious. Women will never achieve equality as long as they’re being intimidated or shooed of out of the frame. Women on social media are good for friendship, dates request according to our youth bulge not to politically challenge their ideals. And those female writers or commentators who  are present with little feminist or left leaning are either tramps who needs to be silenced by abuses or reminded what gender they belong to.  We live in a very patriarchal society, any woman who sticks her head and challenges the mind-set will encounter misogynistic abuse. So brace yourself you all brave ladies out their ,The tide is against us but  ignore and move on. These self righteous  jihadis  and revolutionaries sitting behind their computers are  nothing more than the representation of  imperfection and fault lines of our society .

Work cited : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jade-walker/cyberharassment-what-the-_b_3764868.html

2.http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/helen-lewis-hasteley/2011/11/comments-rape-abuse-women

3.http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/11/04/how-womens-voices-are-silenced-online-through-trolling/

4.http://tribune.com.pk/story/567649/30m-internet-users-in-pakistan-half-on-mobile-report/