A follow-up story to yesterday’s Post:
PESHAWAR: Umar Hayat was among scores of volunteers who worked for days to find survivors after Pakistan’s worst bomb blast in two years, panic rising as he scrambled through scorched rubble. Clawing at debris after a massive bomb pulverised a busy market in Peshawar on October 28, Hayat could find no trace of his eldest son, 11-year-old Mohsin. ‘One after another, we found dead bodies. Soon after burying my brother, I came back to the bomb site. I found my son’s body at midnight. The next day, in the afternoon, we found my nephew’s body,’ Hayat told AFP. ‘My wife is still in shock. I don’t know what to do. She spends the whole time crying and saying ‘bring back my Mohsin’.’ But rather than feeling disgust at Taliban fighters blamed for an attack that killed 125 people, Hayat holds the United States responsible, reflecting a deep-seated distrust felt throughout Pakistan. ‘I appeal to America, please leave us be. Please stop this game, this war on terror. Osama (bin Laden) is just a smokescreen to attack Muslims,’ Hayat said. ‘Stop it. How many more lives will you take in revenge for the World Trade Centre? Do you want to destroy the whole of Pakistan?’
…‘There are strong anti-American sentiments in this region and this is because of American policy and its role in this region since the Russian invasion in Afghanistan,’ Yusufzai said. Fuelling anger are regular US missile strikes targeting Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Pakistan’s northwest. US drone attacks have killed around 625 people in the last 15 months, with Pakistanis seething at the perceived violation of sovereignty and reports of civilian casualties. ‘I’m sure it was a drone attack,’ said Ghulam Ali, looking at his cotton shop, which was damaged in the Peshawar blast. ‘We are fed up. I can’t believe the Taliban are involved in these bombings. I’m sure the troika – America, India and Israel – is doing all this.’
The Unseen Trauma of War, written by Rafai Zakaria, in The Daily Times:
Undoubtedly the immediate needs of survival of the refugees such as emergency healthcare, food and potable water, sanitation and housing must be fulfilled. According to the World Health Organization, 90 percent of the internally displaced people made homeless by the fighting in Northern Pakistan are living in host communities where few life-saving healthcare facilities are available. As has been widely reported, there is a critical gap between the needs of these war-torn communities and the service available to them. Particularly needed are the services of female healthcare workers who can provide for the vast number of displaced women in the area.The delivery of healthcare services in conflict areas has been a long-standing problem. Added to the structural problems of absent infrastructure and lack of facilities that are already present in many rural conflict areas are new and pressing problems of lack of security and the curbing of humanitarian assistance by various political interests. Read More Here. Ms. Zakaria teaches Constitutional Law and Political Philosophy in the United States.
ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan began hearing for petitions against the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in Islamabad on Monday.The process could lead to challenges against the legality President Asif Ali Zardari’s rule just as the Obama administration needs stability in Islamabad to help crack down on militants near the Afghan border.Court official Azhar Hussain said the 17-member bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry started hearing petitions but gave no other details.The session came two weeks after the expiration of the amnesty ordinance, which had been granted in a deal with former president Pervez Musharraf. Speculation over Zardari’s future has escalated after he was forced to abandon an effort to get Parliament to approve the ordinance, which granted him and more than 8,000 other government bureaucrats and politicians immunity from a host of corruption and criminal charges. Zardari, who has denied any wrongdoing, enjoys general immunity from prosecution as president, but the Supreme Court could choose to challenge his eligibility for the post if the amnesty is declared illegal.
From Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal: Pakistan bars foreign reporters in South Punjab Why? Because they reported that Taliban were using Mosque as training ground.
From the Department of How You Know You’ve Struck A Nerve, via The Hindu:
Pakistani authorities have barred foreign journalists from visiting any seminary or other places in southern Punjab province after the Western media reported on the presence of the Taliban in that area. “All foreign journalists are required to get permission from foreign affairs as well as from interior ministries for visiting any specific place especially in South Punjab,” a senior officer of the Punjab government told PTI. He said in the past foreign journalists had visited different seminaries in the province and published or broadcast “twisted and unfounded” facts. “We have no issue if they follow journalistic ethics and report correctly,” the official said. Giving example of a UK based popular TV channel, Regional Police Officer of Bahawalpur division Mushtaq Sukhera, said that the TV crew requested for filming various seminaries in Bahawalpur including one of Jaish-e-Mohammad’s chief Maulana Azhar Masood. “I was rather shocked to see that the TV channel showed that the seminary of Masood Azhar was used as a training camp of terrorists,” Mr. Sukhera said.
Bill Roggio says: Yes, because we all know that Masood Azhar and his Jaish-e-Mohammed, which incidentally is banned by the Pakistani government, would never train terrorists, in a mosque no less. Perhaps the Pakistani government will now stop retired lieutenant colonels from visiting Southern Punjab and voicing their opinions about the spread of radical madrassas in the Pakistani press as well? Or maybe it will bar the Pakistani press from noting that South Punjab has become a factory for jihad? Visit The Long War Journal for breaking news.
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