What no one told you about Pakistan

Pakistan-US relationship illustrated by Zahoor

Glad to see some real mature and witty political caricatures from Pakistan. (via umalik)


Follow us on Facebook | Twitter or Submit something or Just Ask!

Karachi brass art, amidst a hail of bullets

In the midst of violence and chaos in Karachi, master craftsmen are giving birth to art-in brass. Unfortunately, business has taken a down turn in the recent years due to instability in the city.

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter or Submit something or Just Ask!

Pakistani activist gets US’ International Women of Courage Award
WASHINGTON: A Pakistani woman activist from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has been conferred with the International Women of Courage award by the US.
Shad Begum was presented the award by US First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a ceremony on Thursday, which was also attended by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman.
Shad hails from Lower Dir district of Malakand division, which was briefly under militant rule before the Pakistan Army launched an operation in May 2009. She has been recognised for her contribution to the improvement in the lives of women in conservative communities.Shad is among 10 women who were given the award from as many countries, which are Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Sudan, Cambodia, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Turkey and Brazil.Born in 1974, Shad founded the Anjuman Behbud-e-Khawateen Talash (ABKT) in Lower Dir in 1994 to work on women rights and development. The organisation has now been renamed as the Association for Behaviour and Knowledge Transformation (ABKT).Last year, a Pakistani woman named Ghulam Sughra, was given the award. (via pakistank2)
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter or Submit something or Just Ask!

Pakistani activist gets US’ International Women of Courage Award

WASHINGTON: A Pakistani woman activist from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has been conferred with the International Women of Courage award by the US.

Shad Begum was presented the award by US First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a ceremony on Thursday, which was also attended by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman.

Shad hails from Lower Dir district of Malakand division, which was briefly under militant rule before the Pakistan Army launched an operation in May 2009. She has been recognised for her contribution to the improvement in the lives of women in conservative communities.

Shad is among 10 women who were given the award from as many countries, which are Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Sudan, Cambodia, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Turkey and Brazil.

Born in 1974, Shad founded the Anjuman Behbud-e-Khawateen Talash (ABKT) in Lower Dir in 1994 to work on women rights and development. The organisation has now been renamed as the Association for Behaviour and Knowledge Transformation (ABKT).

Last year, a Pakistani woman named Ghulam Sughra, was given the award. (via pakistank2)


Follow us on Facebook | Twitter or Submit something or Just Ask!

AP: Photo exhibit shows alleged US drone strike deaths
We are sorry but this was too important to ignore.
A London gallery opened a photo exhibit Tuesday that allegedly shows innocent civilians killed by U.S. drone missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal region along the Afghan border.
U.S. officials do not publicly acknowledge the CIA’s covert drone program, but they have said privately that the strikes harm very few innocents and are key to weakening al-Qaida and other militants.
"I have tried covering the important but uncovered and unreported truth about drone strikes in Pakistan: that far more civilians are being injured and killed than the Americans and Pakistanis admit," said Noor Behram, a 39-year-old photographer who has worked with several international news agencies.
Behram spent the last three years photographing the aftermath of drone strikes in North and South Waziristan, important sanctuaries for al-Qaida and Taliban militants in Pakistan. He managed to reach around 60 attack sites, and the exhibit that opened Tuesday at the Beaconsfield gallery in London features photographs from 28 of those strikes.
U.S. officials “don’t see that they target one house and along with it, two or three adjoining houses also get destroyed, killing innocent women and children and other totally impartial people,” Behram told reporters in Islamabad on Monday. (complete news item)
Please share and spread the awareness on this extremely neglected topic.
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter or Submit something or Just Ask! 

AP: Photo exhibit shows alleged US drone strike deaths

We are sorry but this was too important to ignore.

A London gallery opened a photo exhibit Tuesday that allegedly shows innocent civilians killed by U.S. drone missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal region along the Afghan border.

U.S. officials do not publicly acknowledge the CIA’s covert drone program, but they have said privately that the strikes harm very few innocents and are key to weakening al-Qaida and other militants.

"I have tried covering the important but uncovered and unreported truth about drone strikes in Pakistan: that far more civilians are being injured and killed than the Americans and Pakistanis admit," said Noor Behram, a 39-year-old photographer who has worked with several international news agencies.

Behram spent the last three years photographing the aftermath of drone strikes in North and South Waziristan, important sanctuaries for al-Qaida and Taliban militants in Pakistan. He managed to reach around 60 attack sites, and the exhibit that opened Tuesday at the Beaconsfield gallery in London features photographs from 28 of those strikes.

U.S. officials “don’t see that they target one house and along with it, two or three adjoining houses also get destroyed, killing innocent women and children and other totally impartial people,” Behram told reporters in Islamabad on Monday. (complete news item)

Please share and spread the awareness on this extremely neglected topic.

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter or Submit something or Just Ask

Mr. Hitchens’ answer to “Why do they hate us” is no less preposterous and misleading. He contends that Pakistanis dislike the United States because they “owe us, and are dependent upon us.” This is simply a mathematical canard. According to the USAID Green Book, in 2009, total economic assistance to Pakistan came to $1.35 billion and military assistance totaled $0.429 (for a grand sum of $1.78 billion). In 2009, Pakistan’s gross domestic product was $162 billion. Calling this is a dependency is an obvious stretch.

C. Christine Fair in The Road From Abbottabad Leads to Lame Analysis

(via A Pie for a Pie)

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter or Submit something or Just Ask

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, the Government and the people of Pakistan, have condemned the blasts in Mumbai and expressed distress on the loss of lives and injuries.
The President and the Prime Minister have expressed their deepest sympathies to the Indian leadership on the loss of lives, injuries and damage to property in Mumbai.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues statement by President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani condemning blasts in Mumbai (PR. NO.226/2011)

We Pakistanis know first hand how dangerous this menace of terrorism is and as citizens of Pakistan we offer our heartfelt prayers for the Indians affected by this horrendous crime.

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter or Submit something or Just Ask!

Much attention has been focused on the process of radicalisation of young men in the areas of Pakistan that border Afghanistan. Peshawar, the town near the border between the two countries, is infamous for being the centre of a vibrant industry and trade in homemade guns. For more than two decades, violence has become the dominant currency of almost every aspect of life in this area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, once known as the North West Frontier Province.

So it takes remarkable courage for a 16-year-old girl to decide to challenge how this culture of violence was reinforcing and strengthening the oppression of women. Eight years on, Gulalai Ismail, now a poised 24-year-old, is running two programmes of work – one on genderempowerment and the other on peacebuilding – from her home in Peshawar, where she grew up. Brought to London by Peace Direct, Ismail was talking to youngsters about her work.

“I set up Aware Girls when I was 16 because all around me I saw girls being treated differently to boys. My girl cousin was 15 when her marriage was arranged to someone twice her age; she couldn’t finish her education while my boy cousins were [doing so]. This was considered normal. Girls have internalised all this discrimination – a woman who suffers violence but doesn’t say anything is much admired in the village as a role model. A good woman submits to her husband or father.

“Aware Girls raised awareness of equal status. We did training that women have human rights, and taught leadership skills and how to negotiate within their families and with their parents to get education and to have control over their own lives.”

Ismail is well aware of how the position of women has deteriorated over the course of her life. “Peshawar used to be very progressive, but after “Talibanisation” it became much more conservative and life is more difficult for my younger sister than it was for me. Just going out to the market is difficult because of the sexual harassment.”

That kind of harassment makes organising training for young women particularly difficult. Ismail and her staff have to strive very hard with communities in the villages where they work to build trust that if daughters attend the training they will be safe. Parents worry that their daughters will be “westernised” and forget their “cultural values”. For a recent training course on political leadership to help boost the participation of women in politics, Aware Girls had to organise 20 local community meetings to identify the 30 girls who eventually went on the course. Working in remote rural areas requires considerable patience and time, but Ismail is not interested in the easier option of working only in urban areas.

It was the gender work that came first, but Ismail soon realised the close relationship between gender and peace. “In training, a woman told the story of how her 12-year-old son was taken away to Afghanistan by the militants, and 10 months later he was dead. That made me think that we must stop these young people joining the militants.”

The result was the Seeds of Peace network, which Ismail set up last year and which has trained 25 young people. They, in turn, will train another 20, to slowly expand a network across 10 districts of the province. She believes each person can reach 500 young people to promote tolerance and challenge extremism.

“They identify young people in the community who might be vulnerable to militants and they organise study circles to discuss the causes and consequences of conflict and the history of Talibanisation. We talk about tolerance for people of other faiths,” says Ismail.

Almost every aspect of children’s upbringing is affected by extremism. Even the school textbooks urge children to be ready for jihad, says Ismail, and all around are songs and films that glorify war, martyrdom and violence.

“Seeds of Peace aims to give another perspective by getting people to think about human rights. Peace is not just the absence of war, it is about respect and tolerance – and women have an important role in educating their children.”

Ismail is well aware that her work challenges the Taliban’s power, and that brings dangers. She is also aware that there are huge political issues involved in the radicalisation of the region where she lives, but believes that a grassroots community challenge to a culture of extremist intolerance is also a crucial part of the search for peace. Both high-level political negotiation and community participation are required in conflict resolution.

Peace Direct’s Ruairi Nolan backs up Ismail’s analysis of a peace process, using the analogy of political negotiation as the bricks and community engagement as the cement that hold the bricks together. Pointing to Northern Ireland’s experience, he suggests that several decades of community peacebuilding was a crucial precondition to the success of the political process that culminated in the Northern Ireland agreement.

At international conferences, Ismail has met counterparts from Uganda, Sri Lanka and many other parts of the world. Despite the very different forms of conflict, she can see plenty of similarities in the work they are doing – and she says that gives her hope. (via carpe-cerevisi)

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter or Submit something or Just Ask

zushan:

I am Pakistani, and I condemn terrorism.

Please spread the word and share this on your blogs, as I just want the message to get through to those who have no idea.

Thank you.

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter or Submit something or Just Ask! 

Pakistan- A Ray of hope

They haven’t even recovered from the fate of the unstoppable floods and they are yet to receive news – Another bomb blast in Karachi. They are not surprised. Perhaps they are not even scared. They are confused. They are sad. They question: why does it happen to OUR country? Those eyes that were once filled with innocence and love are now bedded with insecurity and bomb threats. They were supposed to play with dolls and video games. They are now juggling between protecting their family and taking refuges. 

The television screens, internet, newspapers are filled with Pakistan crisis. There are bomb blasts, numerable terrorists’ attacks and some people are still finding their families who have disappeared after the floods. It’s my neighboring country Pakistan. A country that meant pure and fertile has now drowned in the corrupted Government leaders, accusations and fear. I am saddened that the children are losing their ‘childhood. I am saddened that those free spirits and God’s clean hearted angels are now living in a ‘hope’…A hope that maybe someday someone will come and save them.

They don’t need a Government anymore. They need a superhero. And we all are the superheroes for them- the youth. Fortunately youths are doing a lot for their country. They are trying to give the children back their childhood. They are making people aware that they should change their perceptions about Pakistan. They are hoping to bring back the pure and the peace back to Pakistan
It makes my heart tingle when I see so many youths donning the cap of singers and singing soulful music for 
Pakistan and by Pakistan. It makes me smile when I see youths going to flooded areas and trying to build a new house for the children and their families. We were once their age. We enjoyed our childhood period. So why can’t they? We cannot give them back their age. But we can allow them to relive their childhood period. 
Do something for 
Pakistan. Pray. Make people Aware. Be Creative. Become that superhero for them, because there is still a ray of hope. (via anureetkaur)

A fellow Indian blogger’s views on Pakistan.

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter or Submit something or Just Ask!

The funeral of Lt Syed Yaser Abbas Shaheed (via deep-inwonderland)
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter or Submit something or Just Ask!

The funeral of Lt Syed Yaser Abbas Shaheed (via deep-inwonderland)

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter or Submit something or Just Ask!