August 29, 2010

Five months of solitary confinement

By Ghulam Rehman

The fifth month of the solitary confinement of my elder brother Habib R. Sulemani has been completed. Since the first attempt on his life, he is confined to our small house in Rawalpindi. He was coming home from office (Daily Dawn) at night on March 28, 2010 when he came under attack. It was a hit-and-run incident, but fortunately he escaped the criminal attack.

Then on April 1, 2010 my brother was targeted for the second time. He was standing on the terrace of our house when a target killer (two of them on a bike) tried to hit him.

The third desperate attempt was made on April 8, 2010 when some unknown persons tried to force their entry into our house at night. Fortunately, they could not break the inside bolt although they had opened the outer lock of the gate.

In this turbulent time, I along with other family members was hundreds of kilometers away in Gilgit trying to protect my sister Nasira Parveen who had survived attempts on her life at the Karakoram International University.

When my brother called the police station, they expressed their helplessness in registering case against the powerful accused. Anyhow, since March 29, 2010 he has never stepped out of our house due to the looming dangers to his life. This was a mutual decision of our family as the government of Pakistan has so far failed to provide security and bring the culprits to justice despite our repeated appeals. After the recent bizarre incident, I personally went to our area police station with an application:

The Station House Officer (SHO),
New Town Police Station,
Satellite Town, Rawalpindi,
Punjab, Pakistan.

Sir,

I am a university student and resident of NW-318/B, D-Block, Satellite Town, Rawalpindi. Some unknown intruders had entered the premises of our house at sometime at night. Evidences show that they remained on the upper terrace for some time and then left without hurting any family member in sleep. We have found pieces of cigarettes, breads, newspapers and human dirt on the terrace.

Our house is situated in a congested and unsafe neighborhood where the roofs and walls of many houses are interconnected, making it possible for anyone to jump from one house to the other. However, we are unable to know the direction from where the intruders came on the terrace of our house.

It appears that some people came on the terrace by jumping the walls, ate their possibly packed food, smoked and after relieving themselves left the premises.

Although we have received many threats during the last five months but this latest bizarre incident could be a message to my journalist brother Habib R. Sulemani that they could have broken the window or door and had entered the nearby room. This is the latest incident after three attempts on his life. He is confined to our house for the last five months.

Therefore, I request you to provide our family security, which is under threat from an influential group of journalists, government officials and spymasters.

Yours truly,

Ghulam Rehman

August 27, 2010

To register a First Information Report (FIR) at a police station is the most difficult job in our country where the police is accused of being involved in heinous crimes (lynching of two young brothers in Sialkot city is the latest brutal incident). Anyhow, I was expecting that some police personnel would go along with me to our house to see the situation. But nothing like that happened.

The officer on duty, Sub-Inspector Chaudhry Shafqat Ali Khan, read my application and listened to me attentively. Then he said that they could only increase their patrolling in the area. “Keep an eye on suspicious people and inform me whenever you see someone,” the police officer said while giving me his business card.

August 27, 2010

Intruders warn journalist in a bizarre way this time

By Ghulam Rehman

Terrace of our house with evidences of intrusion (inset)
The threats to our family have been increased. However, despite repeated appeals for provision of security, the government of Pakistan is still silent.

Some intruders have given fresh threats in a bizarre way. At some point in the night, they entered the premises of our house in Rawalpindi, the garrison city where the Pakistan Army has its headquarters.

Evidences show that they remained on the upper terrace for some time and then left without hurting any family member in sleep. We found pieces of cigarettes, breads, newspapers (probably used to wrap some oily food) and human dirt. The evidences are there for possible tests: DNA and fingerprints.

Our house is situated in a congested and unsafe neighborhood where the roofs and walls of many houses are interconnected, making it possible for anyone to jump from one house to the other. We’re unable to know the direction from where the intruders came on the terrace of our house.

It appears that some people came on the terrace by jumping the walls, ate their possibly packed food, smoked and after relieving himself/themselves and then left the premises.

It could be a message to my elder brother, Habib R. Sulemani, that they could have broken the window or door and had entered the nearby room. This is the latest incident after three attempts on his life. He is confined to our house for the last five months. 

Earlier, the accused (a group of influential journalists, powerful government officials and spymasters, please, see their names and details in previous blogs) had sent message to my brother to stop blogging and go to our native mountainous area (Gulmit, Gojal, which has been cut off from rest of the country after a devastating landslide that blocked the Hunza River and Karakoram Highway on January 4, 2010). But he had rejected it.

"You're not safe here in Rawalpindi," a representative of the accused had said in his typical soft style of hurling a threat.

It shows that the powerful accused wanted to convey their terrorizing message: "keep silent otherwise we can enter your house anytime!"

Two days earlier, a group of suspicious persons on bikes had been seen in the neighborhood behaving strangely. Let’s see what the "helpless" local police do this time. However, it's sure they would not register any case against the powerful accused. Might is right in Pakistan!

(Photo by the blogger)

August 25, 2010

Pakistan taken hostage by a tiny violent group

By Aizad Sayid

As much as I'm appalled at the barbaric murders in Ahmadi mosques and Sialkot, I can’t but express my disagreement at some articles that have appeared in our newspapers lately. A couple of them in Pakistan Tribune, written by George Fulton (Don’t act surprised) and Fasi Zaka’s article in the same paper (Pakistan’s human cockroaches) cast aspirations on our being human.

I suppose that these columnists intend to make us all seem like lunatics, or want us to feel that we must drown ourselves in some sort of collective guilt. Yes, the Ahmadi mosque shooting (nearly 100 people died in the incident) and the Sialkot murders (of two young brothers in an incident of lynching) are both horrible events and only deranged persons could carry out such cold blooded murders, but, why should a whole nation of 180 million all feel like murderers?

After all, Sunni and Shia mosques have been bombed and armed security guards stand over worshippers in main mosques during prayers and cast nervous gazes at any entrant whose beard looks unkempt. That is where we’re at. No-one is safe anymore.

A small section of our society that was intolerant before has become more and more intolerant. For them, just voicing their discontent is not enough anymore. They prefer to spill blood of their own on the streets. They wish to horrify us and make us run into our homes.

Unfortunately, we’re all being held hostage by a very minute but violent section of our society. There have been so many terrorist attacks that the words “terrorist” and “suicide bomber” have entered the pure domain of Kindergarten children’s lexicon.

No-one, I know, supported the Sialkot murderers. Most of us are reasonable, moderate people, and feel scared at the turn our country is taking socially and economically, and the virtual hijacking of our minds by a small group of frustrated sociopaths and terrorists who run around, causing havoc all over our country.

I also know that, as a nation, we’ve never elected mullahs (clergymen). That is because we know the direction they might take. I can even surmise that mullahs are not “people’s choice” in Pakistan. The facts speak for themselves.

Whenever we’ve been given a chance, we’ve always voted for democracy, and somehow, have always been humiliated by our elected leaders. So, where does the mistake lie? Whose mistakes are these? I don’t have the answers, but I know that no one reserves a right to humiliate me for someone else's sins!

Links

1- George Fulton: http://tribune.com.pk/story/42459/don
2- Fasi Zaka: http://tribune.com.pk/story/42158/pakistan

(Aizad Sayid can be reached at: http://www.aizads.com/ We welcome critical comments.—The Terrorland Team)

August 24, 2010

Extremism spreading in U.S. & Pakistan

(Here is a cyberspace dialog between an American and a Pakistani on the rights and wrongs as extremism is increasing in both countries. In Pakistan, two young brothers were brutally killed in an incident of lynching under the supervision of the police. This Taliban-style "justice system" is being promoted in our society, which has put the country's existence in danger. But where is the United States destined to? Racial and religious hatred is clearly visible at least on the internet. –The Terrorland Team)

PAKISTANI: Are we human beings? Do we've some rights in Pakistan?  

AMERICAN: I am ashamed to live in a country where so many want to go back decades in Civil Rights and Human Rights advances. We actually have a guy in Arkansas that is running on a platform to expel all non-white people. The Tea Party is just going nuts with all its racial crap and to top it all off there is discussion about repealing some areas of the Civil Rights Act. I worry that if the conservatives regain control of Congress, the United States will be doomed.  

PAKISTANI: Did you read the woman's story killed for honor (in The Terrorland blog)?

AMERICAN: There have been honor killings like Shila's (read this shocking blog here) even here in the US. Maybe there will come a day when women are truly looked upon as being human beings. We have our own problems with the way we treat women in our society. There are religious cults (Mormons) that force teenage girls to marry older men. While this is illegal the simple truth is that it was condoned and ignored for decades in this country by the politicians and law enforcement. This Mormon sect considered marriage between young teenage girls and older men a part of their religious beliefs. Something else that is little known is that this same religious sect would expel the young boys from their homes because they were considered competition for the girls. Look up the ''Lost Boys of Utah.'' 

PAKISTANI:
Oh! Anyway, thank you very much for this dialog. Be blessed.

August 22, 2010

Struggle to stay alive in Pakistan

By Ghulam Rehman

Almost every member of the new generation in our family, from siblings to cousins, tries to express him/herself by composing words or drawing lines.

I created the image (given here) in a time when we were facing the same injustices back in 2005. The administration of the daily Dawn in Islamabad had not paid salary to my elder brother for months as a result I left college to support our family. I started working at a bookshop in Rawalpindi.

Five year later, today, the administration of Dawn has repeated its brutality while I’m in the final semester of MSc Mass Communication. In that time Pakistan was facing natural calamity as earthquake had killed about 75,000 people and now floods have devastated a large area of the country. The miseries of our family and country go parallel!

Daily Dawn is the most influential newspaper of Pakistan (www.dawn.com) and you would be surprised by the allegations leveled against it until you see the available evidences. When people see articles about human rights and democracy etc in this newspaper, they can’t imagine how the very rights are abused inside the organization "and it never gets space in the mafia-like mainstream media".

“Hardcore criminals and masterminds of Talibanization of the world have taken refuge in Dawn with the help of the cunning establishment of Pakistan,” says Habib R. Sulemani, still an employ but denied salary. “No-one dares to take action against them, and the influential owners of Dawn Media Group are even helpless.”

A liberal Muslim leader of the 20th century, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, first founded Dawn and then Pakistan over six decades ago. "Today both are in shambles rather Dawn is taking its last breath."

He says that those colleagues "who tortured me for years and made the mass murder plan of our family with the help of secret agencies, have been given promotions while my request to register criminal cases against Editor Zaffar Abbas, News Editor Farman Ali, Edition-incharge Adeel Raza and others has been rejected.  The police is also helpless to take legal action against the god-like people. Who cares for professional ethics and laws? Might is right in Pakistan."

"Criminals have hijacked power and common people, like us, are struggling hard to stay alive in the terror-hit 2010-Pakistan," he said. "I know history would never forgive the bunch of criminals but they don't give a damn! The decision should not be left for history—through the legal system, they must be condemned for their crimes against humanity."

August 19, 2010

Child labor: Pakistan’s stability in danger


(Here is an article about child labor. Media organizations especially mainstream newspapers are violating the labor laws criminally although they paint themselves as vanguards of the law in Pakistan. Refusing implementation of the Wage Board Award under the Constitution is an example of lawlessness in the country. No-one can put hand on media tycoons. Some outlets even promote child labor as school-going children work in the canteens and printing presses of many newspapers. In a shocking incident at the daily Dawn Islamabad, one such labor lost both of his hands under the paper cutting machine. Unfortunately, the administration didn’t pay his family even a penny. However, the employees could gather few thousands for the poor daily-wager. We would publish a series of blogs in this regard which never get space anywhere in the mainstream mafia-like media. Readers can also send us their articles and comments.—The Terrorland Team.)

By Amal Younus

Children are supposed to be pioneers of the future and architects of national prosperity. But in Pakistan, the hands which should be holding pencils and books are having dusters and wipers. There should have school bags on their shoulders but they're crawling under sacks of goods. You can see such children anywhere—on roads, shops and garages. Their eyes are full of thoughts and hearts lack true happiness—they're not able to enjoy the golden era of their childhood. They are struggling hard for their survival.

According to official statistics, out of 40 million children in Pakistan, 3.8 million children are "economically active" , and these children are of the age group of 5 to 9 years. Out of 3.8 million, 2.7 million are working in the agriculture sector. This miserable condition of our country makes us speechless.

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan prohibits all forms of slavery, forced and child labor. Under the Factories Act 1934, no adult employee defined as a worker, who has completed his or her 18th years of age, can be required or permitted to work in any establishment in excess of nine hours a day and 48 hours a week.

Similarly, no young person, under the age of 18, can be required or permitted to work in excess of seven hours a day and 42 hours a week. The Factories Act, which governs the conditions of work of industrial labor, applies to factories, employing ten or more workers. The provincial governments are further empowered to extend the provisions of the Act to even five workers. But even then children are forced to work day and night in violation of the laws.

It may be easy to make laws but it’s really hard to understand and feel pain of those people who are living below the poverty-line. According to a survey conducted in 1996, there were 3.3 million child laborers in Pakistan, out of which 2.4 million (73 percent) were boys and 0.9 million (27 percent) were girls. Male child laborers outnumbered female child laborers in both urban and rural areas while child labor in rural areas was about eight times higher than in urban areas. This may be because of unpaid farm activities performed by family members in rural areas.

In Punjab, there were about 1.9 million child laborers, which was about 60 per cent of total child labor in the country. I'm really surprised that the government of Punjab is taking many initiatives to educate the people but is not paying attention to reduce the ratio of child labor, which is very much high in the province. How the government can do that? How the feudal of Punjab would prosper if no-one is left to work on their farms and fields!

Statistics show that 24 percent of our population is living below the poverty line earning less than $2 per day. Of 35 million soccer balls stitched in Pakistan, children produce one quarter of the product, most of them as bonded servants.

I saw a documentary four years ago in which the places are shown where women make bangles with their children. It's really very difficult to work in a place with high temperature for few rupees. Can you believe it? No-one can!

I think that child labor is really being promoted by the feudal lot. They have private jails. Families are forced to work on their fields, and live like animals. This factor also leads to poverty, ignorance and illiteracy.

No initiatives have been taken by the government to reduce poverty to suppress child labor. The situation has been deteriorated due to price hike, terrorism and other factors. No-one knows where the flood of problems would stop. It’s really hard to lead a satisfied lifestyle today, and stability of Pakistan is in danger.

August 18, 2010

Why people blame intelligence agencies?

(The Terrorland received a brief reaction from anonymous writer, may be secret agencies, in response to Nasira Parveen’s blog: ISI involved in "honor-killing" incidents. We’re publishing it, unedited, according to our unbiased editorial policy. We welcome comments plus news and views from our readers in this regard. Following journalistic ethics, we would never disclose the identity of any source.)

Why people blame every miss happening on intelligence agencies..? The main reason is to hide the brutality of their own elders... the practice which the leaders of remote areas do on their people... They play with the emotions of the people, do unjustice in their area and at the end blame on the agencies and to the Governoment, army etc...

Same the case with Balochistan. They are on the payroll of CIA even before partition, do brutality and blame everything on agencies.

Honour killing is a tradition throughout Pakistan and to blame on all honour killings to agencies means you are justifying the feudals and elite of that region...without their will no huonour killing will happen...

Just strengthen the people economically educate them and then observe how many honour killings will happen...

How many honour killings happened to the families of elite...? their daughters are studying abroad and here they are doing brutality on the public...

(Illustration by The Terrorland Team)

August 17, 2010

Undercover agents in the cyberspace

(Cyberspace-encounter between a moderator of The Terrorland blog and a "female" undercover.)

MODERATOR: ISI involved in "honor-killing" incidents (link of Nasira Parveen's blog)

UNDERCOVER: no1 dare 2go against the will of Agha Khanis (Shia Ismaili Muslims) in tat places (Hunza and Gilgit), the famous case of Samia Mohmmnd her mom was also 4m ISI... rubbish

MODERATOR: Darling (name)! What was that case?

UNDERCOVER: ‎1another such case in muree whr "Wahal" MPA 4m Jahnian killed by inhabitants of Muree.. Samia father is now a pres of Chember Com of Peshawar Sarwar Mohmmnd, Asma Jahngir & sister (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan) played a vital role in this killing...badmash (rogue) sisters

MODERATOR: Oh I see, thanks a lot, Anju (name)!

UNDERCOVER: storyline > Samia mother of2 ranaway & lived in "Dastak" of HRCP lhr (Lahore) her bf was Gen (rtd) Lehrasab of Chakwal son a capt in army, this same genral,s nephew "Capt Hammad" who raped Dr Shazia in Dera Bughti & sorrow ending of 85yrs old Nawab Bughti (former governor Balochistan)... who this bloody Lehrasab family is? whole Chakwal behind them??

MODERATOR: oh...

UNDERCOVER: now tell me what,s Dr Najma (vice-chancellor Karakoram International University Gilgit) role in this particular "story" what Mr Terrorland (??) part in "horror" killing... Mr Pak (name) b fair

MODERATOR: I think you must read the blog... as i'm reading it, Anju Darling!

UNDERCOVER: vague..now tell me short n briefly...plzzz… something fishy fishy? kuch tu ha jis ki parda dari ha (something hiding)... Nasira Parveen ab q boli (why speaks now)..

MODERATOR: better u ask her. what do u think, honey? tell here openly, the cyberspace is free place... lol

UNDERCOVER: no but u propugating a lot about this "hideious" family..who r u ..i mean vch "caracter" of this topi (funny) drama??

MODERATOR: lol. a humanist in an inhuman society... lol!

(Next day the Undercover left yet another comment on the link of the Moderator.)

UNDERCOVER: fabricated story....

MODERATOR: Darling! That can be decided in a court of law as demanded in the blogs... however, you're free to say anything, I respect your opinion... I’ve read your posts when you speak for the ISI... accuse and abuse others... it makes me laugh... by the way, sometimes, you forget that your rule here is of a young "woman" act like that... lol

UNDERCOVER: no i never accuse ISI for every wrong doing around the globe like Indians.. or any "civil" court cases... but i said earlier tat "honour" or "rape" matter r even more suspiosious 1s NGO,s financial gains... u hv no right to tell me how i act & write its none of ur business... layoff

MODERATOR: It's not our matter. Let it to the courts. Darling! Bye!

(A senior columnist of a leading Pakistani newspaper asked the Undercover a question.)

COLUMNIST: Anju Darling... I have no way of knowing one way or the other if it is a fabricated story or not, but you seem certain it is. Can you offer any objective proofs of that?

(The Undercover disappeared!)

August 16, 2010

A plot of land & the mass murder plot

By Habib R. Sulemani

It’s the third month since the administration of the Dawn Media Group, instead of providing me security and help, has illegally stopped my salary. Being the sole breadwinner of a family of nine members, it’s really a hard time for me and my family. But my parents and siblings all are determined to continue our legal struggle against the terrorists under the guise of journalists, government officers and spymasters.

As the summer vacation is going to end, my youngest sibling, Karim Rehman, 15, seems ready as if this time he could also be out of school due to non-payment of fees. Someone asked me why I was not selling the residential plot, which the government of Punjab had allotted me along with about 1,400 other journalists living in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. I smiled and showed him my letter to the provincial government.
  
To,
Mr. Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif
Chief Minister Punjab
The Chief Minister Secretariat
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan

Subject: Media Town Rawalpindi plot possession

Dear Sir,

In your capacity as Chairman Board of Directors of the Punjab Journalists Housing Foundation (PJHF) – under the Punjab Journalists Housing Foundation Act 2004, Section 4 – I want to inform you that as a member of the Rawalpindi Press Club, the PJHF had allotted me Plot-1 in Block-B of the Rawalpindi Press Club Housing Scheme (RPCHS) also known as Media Town Rawalpindi.

After getting the Allotment Letter and NOC for construction of house, I was called by the RPCHS Management Committee recently to get possession of my plot formally. There, under inexplicable conditions — the officials first took my signature and finger impressions on two unfilled Possession Slips and after sometime, they returned one to me with an incorrect dimension of the corner plot, reducing the original size in violation of the Punjab Housing and Town Planning Agency’s site plan. Despite verbal and written requests to the RPCHS Management Committee and Managing Director PJHF, so far, I’ve not been given the correct Possession Slip.

I’m among those working journalists who never had received any plot from any government, and accepted the RPCHS plot only because the Punjab Assembly – on February 23, 2004 – had legalized it through the PJHF Act.

I, therefore, request you to kindly grant me the correct Possession Slip according to the original official site plan immediately so that I could start construction of my proposed house.

Yours sincerely,

Habib-ur-Rehman Sulemani

February 26, 2010

C.C:
1- Governor Punjab.
2- Chief Secretary Punjab Government.
3- Secretary Information, Culture & Youth Affairs Punjab Government.
4- Managing Director PJHF.
5- Management Committee RPCHS.
6- President Rawalpindi Press Club/ National Press Club Islamabad.
7- President Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ).
8- President Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ).


He was looking at the letter and then at me. "Who were present on the occasion?" he asked.

"Umm, the officials of the Press Club (Afzal Butt, Asim Qadeer Rana, Mushtaq Minhas etc) along with some unknown guys dressed in white shalwar qameez."

He nodded. Then I showed him another letter which I had written earlier to the office-bearers of the Press Club but couldn’t get answer for some unknown reason!

Mr. Mushtaq Minhas
Chairman Management Committee
Rawalpindi Press Club Housing Scheme
Media Town, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Dear Sir,

With reference to my conversations with you, I'm formally requesting you, to kindly grant me correct Possession Slip of Plot-1, allotted to me in Block-B of the Media Town in Rawalpindi, according to the Punjab Housing and Town Planning Agency-made site-plan. I'll be very thankful to you for this act of kindness.

Yours sincerely,

Habib-ur-Rehman Sulemani
Allottee of Plot-1, Block-B,
Media Town, Rawalpindi,
Punjab, Pakistan.

February 19, 2010

CC:
1) Mr. Shoaib Bin Aziz
Managing Director PJHF/
Secretary Information, Culture & Youth Affairs (IC&YA)
Government of the Punjab.

2) Mr. Afzal Butt
President Rawalpindi Press Club/
National Press Club Islamabad

Then I showed him the third letter from the provincial government. He was puzzled. "So this 'plot' was also a part of the mass murder plot of your family," he said.

"Pardon?"

"I mean," he tried to explain, "they didn't invite you to the Prime Minister House (on March 23, 2010) during the oath-taking ceremony (of the new cabinet of the National Press Club Islamabad), a conspiracy to isolate you in the (journalist) community!"

I shrugged but said nothing although I wanted to tell him all about the mysterious situation at office in those days.

"You will not get justice, Mr. Sulemani," he announced.

"Why?" I asked in surprise. "But I firmly believe in our judicial system."

"I know that," he said, "but to get justice is not easy for the 70 percent poor citizens in Pakistan. They can't afford to hire even a lawyer."

I was confused.

"But," he continued, "the actual problem now is how would you keep both ends meet?"

"I don’t know," I said. "But I've not lost faith as usual; miracles can happen even in the 21st century Islamic Republic!"

"Be a realist!" the grim faced man advised. "What will you do really? You're under house arrest for over four months now."

"Umm, I really don’t know! May be, my father will sell a piece of land to meet our needs if the secret agencies didn't interfere directly or indirectly! But one thing is certain: as our tormentors are determined to punish us till the end—so are we to fight back and bring the terror to an end!"

CAPTIONS

1- The official site plan of the Rawalpindi Press Club Housing Scheme as my D-shaped residential plot – 1/B, almost double in size – has been highlighted.
2- The misleading possession slip of the residential plot.
3- After a long silence I got the first letter from the Punjab government which shows the lukewarm official  action.

(Images by The Terrorland Team)

August 14, 2010

Freedom in the cage

By Habib R. Sulemani


This is a view of the outside world from my bedroom. I’m locked inside my home in Rawalpindi for over four months after attempts on my life. However, I can see the sun along with our national flag with a crescent moon and star outside. Pakistan is facing the worst crises of its history today. There’s not much to celebrate—even then a happy Independence Day to my countrymen in sorrow!

August 11, 2010

ISI involved in "honor-killing" incidents

By Nasira Perveen

Last time I couldn’t tell the story of Shila completely for the obvious reason! The girl was killed in the name of "honor" in Hunza (see blog: I escaped death but she was killed). However, it’s not the only story of its kind in the traditionally peaceful valley of Pakistan.

Brutal murder of women in the name of "honor" is going on under the supervision of secret agencies and community leaders in the region. Talibanization of our society is underway in the comparatively educated and tolerant region. This is a big tragedy.

Assistant Professor Manzoor Ali of the Karakoram International University (KIU) Gilgit was one of the criminals involved in the killing of Shila. Besides being a teacher at the physics department, he is also president of the Ismaili Regional Council Gilgit. Thus he uses his influence at both places (but he claims that his influence is being used at both places!!).

Manzoor Ali, commonly known as Prof. Manzoor, had phoned the father of Shila and asked him to save the “honor" of Shia Ismaili Muslims by killing his daughter, who had talked to a man belonging to the Shia Ithnā‘ashry Muslim community—thus compelling the poor man to take the hardest decision of his life!

Prof. Manzoor also used this trick in my case. When I was still at the university hostel, during a day-long meeting at the KIU – besides Vice-Chancellor Dr Najma Najam, Registrar Dr Ahsanullah Mir, Additional Registrar Muhammad Hussain, Prof Salma Durrani, Associate Professor Dr Muhammad Ramzan, Director Campus Administration Karim Khan and hostel warden Tahira, Colonel Amin of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Colonel Khushamdin of the Military Intelligence (MI) were reportedly also present on the occasion – Prof. Manzoor abused my brother on the phone to make him emotional so that I get killed for "honor".

“Your traditional trick will not work this time," my brother had told him in his professional cool, calm and composed way. "You along with other criminals of the gang would face the long arm of the law soon!”

Some days later, Prof. Manzoor had told a respected community leader: "I was under pressure from the secret agencies, their favorite Vice-Chancellor and Registrar. The planners in Islamabad wanted to use the community so that no-one blames them for the crime."  

Anyhow, in my case, they failed to kill me in the name of “honor” instantly, but what has happened recently in Gilgit city and Shinaki area of Hunza is really heart-wrenching!

(Vice-Chancellor Dr. Najma Najam--Photo KIU)

August 10, 2010

Psychological warfare: tribalism, nationalism & globalization


REHMAN: ‎"Selling out Pakistan!?" Guys, you can disagree, but it is not a correct phrase (someone has used it)! Believe you me our country is not a “banana-republic” or a cheap commodity in the vegetable market to be sold cheaply! Actually, it all is a war between the cunning establishment and corrupt-to-the-core political elite—if they both come out of their selfishness, then Pakistan would be among the global leaders. Yes! Don't worry. See light at the end of the tunnel! Be blessed Pakistan & Pakistanis!!

DAVID: Not a fashionable conflict, Kashmir. http://kashmir.ahrchk.net/mainfile.php/v2n2/273

REHMAN: ‎[...journalist Habib R. Sulemani wrote in English daily of Pakistan, DAWN, on Dec 27, 2003, and I quote: ‘The people are deprived of their basic human rights. Being a nationalist in this region is to lay yourself open to the charge of being a foreign agent….Those who take the issues of basic facilities, such as electricity, drinking water, elementary health care and education etc are named as troublemakers’.] says the link.

DAVID: I understand why nationalism seems a good way to resist occupation or oppression from outside. It has been the ideology of many anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist movements since 1848.Religion can be used. Language can be used. Class ...can be racialized. Historical events are seized upon and turned into myths of identity. Serbs, Croats and Muslims are a good example. These were members of one people with different group histories. Nationalism is as liable to lead to human rights violations, before or after its victory, as is the colonial mindset. Consider the cases of the Tamil Tigers, who invented suicide bombing, and the Irish Republicans. The better class of colonial regimes was at least committed to working with the local population and bringing in the ambivalent benefits of education and technology. The handful of British in India could never have ruled on their own. Free market ideology led to starvation in Bengal, as it did in Ireland, but the British made attempt after attempt to control epidemics, despite the resistance of major princes, in whose lands epidemics raged uncontrolled. Education was limited to an elite, but it created a national leadership. Railways and telegraphs united a patchwork of very different territories, even if we see resurgences of nationalism. A bad thing, on the whole? Probably. The British wrecked the Indian economy, because their theories and needs were very different from what was happening on the ground. Was the nationalism that pushed them out an unmitigated good? Probably not, because it unleashed the horrors of religion-based nationalism, the consequences of which are still with us. The Bangladeshis discovered that religious nationalism could be far worse than colonialism, even when it was their own religion. The foundational theory of nationalism, springing out of late 18th-century linguistics and built upon German resistance to Anglo-French "civilization," then seen as a process rather than a thing, was built around "Kultur," a static ethnic phenomenon. One language = one culture = one people = one land = one nation state. The potential of such a view for the oppression, or expulsion, or slaughter of ethnic minorities is obvious, especially if that minority speaks the language of the dominant power. Supposed outsiders such as Jews and gypsies are very vulnerable. Unscrupulous politicians can use scapegoating as the route to power, as we saw in post-Tito Yugoslavia and its component parts. People who had intermarried and live as neighbours for centuries suddenly became murderous strangers, killing their best friends. Even recently invented ethnicities, as in Rwanda, can be used. Thanks to the lines drawn by Partition, as in the Middle East and post-colonial Africa, the problem of Kashmir was almost inevitable. The mixed communities were the target for two hostile nationalism. Can the beauties and prosperity of Kashmir be restored? Is Kashmiri nationalism the answer? Perhaps, but only if it is based on all the people within the territory. Only if the two powers allow a reunited Kashmir to exist under their joint protection. The political power of the Islamists and the BJP makes this unlikely, and local elites are inevitably enmeshed in the power and ideology of the dominant powers. Nationalisms that have been permanently based on all who live in the land are almost unknown. Sooner or later, the most powerful group, such as the Kikuyu in Kenya, will build their longstanding contempt for smaller groups into political dominance. Having run the colonial regime, having led the liberation struggle, the Kikuyu were able to shut out the Luo and the smaller cultures. Power and wealth for a small inner circle became the purpose, as soon as Jomo Kenyatta began to decline in health. Nationalism is tempting, but almost always a pitfall. Nationalism can move masses, but usually at the cost of some other group. Marxism used to offer an internationalist creed, but its collapse has led to ethnic nationalism, to reactionary elected governments, or to dictatorship in one country after another. The lucky ex-Communist countries can be counted on one's fingers. Perhaps on one hand. Is there an alternative to nationalism? None with equivalent power occurs to me. Finding or developing one is the task, I would suggest, rather than taking the easy option.

REHMAN: David! Thank you very much for explaining nationalism scholarly. I think globalization with its actual essence is the only answer to peace and prosperity of the entire world today. I totally agree with you that nationalism is tempting but almost always a pitfall. I've not read Mr. Sulemani's article, quoted in your given link. However, I know he once called the nationalists intellectually bankrupt people. lol!

DAVID: I don't know that nationalists are necessarily bankrupt. Cosmopolitanism can be a hard cross to bear, which is why it has so often been ascribed as an insult, especially to the Jews in Germany, Russia and South Africa. It provides no abiding city, no clear moral standpoint. Relativism is much despised, but a modicum of it is indispensable for the cosmopolitan. It is often said that a citizen of the world is a citizen of nowhere. Diogenes the Cynic was the first to describe himself as a cosmopolitan, and he certainly wished to detach himself from the ties imposed by the Greek city state. Globalization can be a terrible thing. It rips apart rural communities in faraway places, just because a bank is engaged in commodity speculation. It turns self-sufficient peoples into mere slaves to market forces. Even its benefits, such as cultural communication with distant lands, can be very corrosive. However, it has happened before, to a lesser extent, and we must just try to make the best of this latest increase. It is less easy now for bad things to happen unnoticed, although human insularity can stop the ears of those who do not want to hear. What I fear is that increased contact between cultures will bring about greater hostility, as we see today with Muslim immigrants in Europe and American TV in Saudi Arabia.

REHMAN: ‎...but, but… I don't think so, David! Increased contact among cultures will bring peace to our terrorized world and this is the real essence of globalization not only merging of banks and companies... yes, I agree, today, a citizen of the world is a citizen of nowhere... but tomorrow belongs to this group of people!

TERRI: It's true in human development that in periods of flux or change the adjustment can be difficult and painful, and the same for communities and cultures. We have seen this in individual countries and we will see it as we share more globally.... In the past there have been many struggles as individuals and countries developed their identities and were threatened during that process by other countries who were eager to extend their boundaries and power. Thus some Nations' identities and development were arrested. The idea of Nation evolved in the transition from the serfdom and monarchies of the Middle Ages into the emerging sense of self of the 'Age of Enlightenment' around the time of the French Revolution........I believe, David is the expert in history! The 'sharing' was, has been, more a robbery - still is for some global corporations - yet I hope we are developing enough insight and wisdom to insist that only fair, negotiated commercial exchange is viable long-term between individuals and countries. The Fair Trade movement is gathering strength.. We have hopefully begun the transition from warring adolescence to calm and just adulthood, and thus Rehman's vision of peace will - as hoped for in the peace culture of the Seventies - come to pass. I have felt for a long time I am a citizen of the world, and feel no particularly strong alliance to any country. I would love to see each country retain their culture - the fascinating differences which add to all our experience of life - yet sans frontiers, with free and peaceful movement - a world without fear, one world, one people without fear to explore and experience the whole world.

TERRI: But sadly it is also true that each generation have to learn their own lessons and memories are short.. so we take a backward step for each two [hopefully!] forward. As people move around more, there will be pockets of resistance, driven, I... believe, by fear. The outsider perceived as invader - a country's collective memory remembers their parents' fear, handed down generation to generation, of their country ravaged by war, by invasion and occupation. Thus the discernible outsider is viewed with the same suspicion - most uncomfortable at first and some return, unable to bear it. Some stay though and some make friends who realise these people come in peace... I felt all this during a year in France - for three months I longed to return home, but then began to know and understand the people and see their racism was driven by fear - they have been invaded and occupied so many times! You see, Europe has had its share of invasions and robberies and arrested development - hopefully coming through now. It all takes time. Nature aims towards balance and the sea calms, gets rough, and calms again.. :)

REHMAN: Lol! Terri! You're so kind. But let me confess here that my ‘vision’ is borrowed from my friend Habib Sulemani, who along with his family members is facing tyranny for expressing this vision in our, as he says, tribal society. O’ yeah—I've also confessed in my Facebook profile this fact: "In the company of learned people, I became a sort of them!" Thanks for providing me an opportunity to learn more from you and David. Other friends may join us too...

TERRI: The learning is always mutual Rehman, We all know a little about a lot and a lot about a little [except David whose brain has a warehouse capacity :0]

REHMAN: Lol.

DAVID: The jury is still out on intercultural contact. After all, the Germans and the Poles lived alongside the Jews for centuries, and active hostilities broke out fairly regularly, whenever a scapegoat was useful. Euro-Americans and native Ameri...

TERRI: Perhaps, in the short term.. but we can't talk of the change happening this year. It will take centuries. But look at the world a few centuries ago...

REHMAN: Tribalism!

DAVID: ‎But look at the world a few centuries ago... I'm not sure what you mean. They didn't have nuclear bombs, death camps, chemical weapons, or even automatic guns. Vast conscript armies are another modern development. Offhand, I can't ...think of any wars before 1800 that had anything like as high a death toll, among both soldiers and civilians, as several wars since then. The Napoleonic War (or wars) was the first of the great world wars, although it might be regarded as the culmination of a longer but intermittent Franco-British conflict which spanned the globe. When one looks back at previous pitched battles and military campaigns, few of them cost the lives of more than a quarter of a million people, and those were absolutely exceptional. The Kalinga War (265-264 BC), for example, cost Ashoka the Great 100,000 of his troops and 100,000 soldiers and civilians from Kalinga. This was the most brutal war in Indian history and led Ashoka to adopt non-violence for the rest of his reign.

TERRI: I'm hopeful there's a trend towards a burgeoning human consciousness, David. Development is never straightforward, however. There's a cliché.. things get worse before they get better. We're still living in primitive times in terms of world history... perhaps adolescence?? [can you tell us anything about Genghis Khan? How many did the Romans slaughter in their campaigns? I know they razed Aix-en-Provence to the ground - and anyone who dared to resist - I tend to think the French had their fill of invasions!]

DAVID: ‎>>>>a burgeoning human consciousness. The ant's nest? The bee hive?>>>>We're still living in primitive times in terms of world history. What does that mean? Primitive compared with what? Dinosaurs? If humans obliterate themselves and/or the world tomorrow, will they have run their course to old age? As for Aix, it was a Roman city, built after the notorious defeat of the Cimbri and Teutones, when the women of those Germanic tribes killed themselves en masse. The Romans did not have anything to do with the French, a people yet to be invented. Of course, the Franks were one of the peoples who attacked Aix after the decline of Roman power, as did the Visigoths, Lombards, and Saracens. The later Roman emperors, such as Julian the Apostate, did have dealings with people whom the Romans called Franks, but they were then a relatively obscure people. It was, obviously enough, the Franks who emerged from their Germanic homeland under the Merovingian dynasty and conquered the area we now call France. What am I supposed to be telling you about Chingghis, the great khan?

TERRI: Primitive compared with eternity David...:P ;))) And... I visited the ruins of a settlement on the outskirts of Aix which claimed to be the Aix which the Romans razed to the ground because they resisted... I even have a photo :) I felt deeply sad to see that, knowing how the French are accused of cowardice in allowing Germany in without a fight.. but in fact they were forced to do so by the Vichy government. Regarding Chingghis or Genghis I'd be interested to hear your view but... you need not tell me anything you don't wish to :) Now be nice as this is not our space!

DAVID: Name of it?

(Illustration by Karim Rehman)

August 9, 2010

Pakistan floods: media becomes biggest casualty

By Ghulam Rehman

At least 14 million people have been affected by the ongoing worst floods in the history of Pakistan. According to initial estimates, over 1,600 lives were lost during the past few days and about 650,000 houses have been destroyed completely.

Being a developing country, our economy is based on agriculture. And crops on at least 1.4 million acres of land have been lost so far. As an immediate effect on local markets, the prices of vegetables have gone beyond the limits of the poor.

The price of tomatoes was Rs30 per/kg in the twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad, but after the devastation, it suddenly shot up to Rs120 per/kg. However, at the government-sponsored Sunday markets, it's available at Rs60 per/kg. This is just an example. What will happen in the next few months is unpredictable! There could be famine!

Power pylons, roads, bridges, schools, hospitals everything has been destroyed in the vast flood-affected areas especially in the Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan provinces. Experts say that rebuilding of infrastructure would cost over Rs5 billion while the United Nations has estimated $300 million to meet requirements of the victims.

Natural disasters – earthquake, floods, landslides and drought – often hit parts of our country but to tackle them properly has always been a major problem. Unfortunately, our authorities are experts in converting natural disasters into man-made disasters due to incompetence, ignorance and corruption.

In the current situation, our government has failed to provide relief to the displaced people especially children, women, the elderly and patients in the flood-hit areas. People are livening in utter miserable conditions while our establishment and political leaders are busy in the traditional "leg-pulling" dirty game!

In this dirty game, point-scoring has become the main object of both parties of the ruling elite. Our media is terrified by the powerful establishment and is dancing like an acrobat—just see the reporting and live coverage of the disaster, and the terrorized faces of anchorpersons! The owners and working journalists know that if they refused to toe establishment line—outlets and carriers could be ruined within no time!

August 8, 2010

A catalyst for intellectuals of the world

By British Philosopher

I've taken a brief few moments to read The Terrorland blog (I will read more closely later). I have to admit to being fairly ignorant of the factions, ruling bodies, etc, not just in Pakistan but worldwide. Very often what I say is based on general knowledge and on my personal beliefs and feelings. So here is my initial reaction:

I think the war on "terror" is fake. And worse than being fake. I think it has been created and that where small problems were, they have done their best to make them worse and then use them to control all of us through fear and war. I think that those in power, both in the west and the east, have no genuine morals or ideology or concern for what happens to their people except for where it may effect their grip on power.

I believe, be they the Pakistan prime minister, the American president, the British PM, the Saudi royal family - or the super rich like the Rothschilds, Gettys, Rockefellers, and even Bill Gates who give orders to our politicians to be carried out - that none of them care about truth or peace or freedom or justice, that they would be just as happy to see the Taliban rule the people as anyone else just as long as they remain in control at the top.

Nothing affects them. They have the power, the limos, the money, the prestige, and it is never them or their children being blown to bits or tortured or starving. They don't support genuine people who fight or write against these terrorists because they do not care. It is all one huge game of chess to them and only they will be the winners.

In Britain we have our troops fighting and dying to combat terrorism and radical Islam, yet at home they are protecting terrorists, funding them and resisting any attempt to remove them. The truth is, be it the current floods in Pakistan, the starvation in Africa, or any of the major problems, the super rich elites have the power to sort it out over night but they don't because they don't care - and worse than don't care, they use these things to further their own evil plans.

In Britain we are a very charitable people and we have a telethon to help starving people and we raise £60 million from children and pensioners who give a few pounds that even they can't really afford, and yet Tony Blair has made 20 million for himself since he took us into war in Iraq and does he give a penny, no, because he is evil.

Bill Gates recently put 35 billion dollars into research for population control and he has more money than most countries in the world and yet still children are starving and still people die after floods and earthquakes because he does little or nothing and whatever he or the western governments do is only to make themselves look good anyway and not because they give a crap about saving or helping anyone. If only the people of the world would wake up and realise that their enemy isn't their neighbor or the foreigner, but the people at the top who run everything - and it doesn't matter if they are Saudi and Muslim, or British and Christian, or black white or yellow.

There are those playing their game at the top and the rest of us being controlled and manipulated. Going off the point now, I guess, so let me say, peace to all, to the journalist under threat with no support, to the dead soldiers and civilians on all sides. I would ask though that dead men stop being called martyrs and were called instead what they really are, a waste of life and a tragedy. Peace.

***

By Western Professor

Could I ask you what you think about Islam today. Is it male dominated religion or culture where women are expected to be subservient?

An Indian-American professor, Susmit Kumar, has written a book called "The Modernisation of Islam" Not sure you have heard of it. It did upset a Saudi friend I have, but he agreed on some points.

I am enthralled by the Sufis and the likes of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan... the esoteric side of religion.

Well, I just looked the log briefly. It is interesting and on the same wavelength as the book. I think that the Islamic religion is in a revolution between archaic fundamentalism and Modern Liberalism

It is difficult for Democracy to take place in Islam with the Sha'ria laws that are unjust to women and minorities, and prevents separation of religion and state, where a Theocracy is the style of government wanted by Fundamentalists. This is the case in Iran too and the country is ripe for revolution as in Pakistan and other Muslim countries.

But such is revolution brewing everywhere in the world. Economic collapse in the U.S and Western World is pushing people into a revolutionary mode. All things in the Universe and Our Earth work on cycles.

***

By American Intellectual

Mr. Sulemani, the Pakistani journalist who is the author of the book “The Terroland", the government is not allowing him to publish. These are one of the privileges enjoyed by people from these parts of the world when they are in western countries as no government will stop an author from publishing his/her books.

***

By Pakistani Author

I did read Shila's heart-wrenching story a couple of days ago. And yes, I am wary of the name "The Terrorland". It's like this, when you start telling everyone around a child that he is very naughty or irresponsible or whatever the issue may be, s(he) starts behaving exactly like that to live up to the reputation.

By this example, I am not implying at all that you start calling it "Pakland" but "Terrorland" does perpetuate the terror further...just a personal opinion.

(The views expressed above do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Terrorland Team. However, we welcome further comments–direct or indirect.)

August 6, 2010

Yes! We’ve active terrorist groups in Pakistan

By Ghulam Rehman

And the government has brought the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2010 in the Senate which is said to be more effective than the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 to counter militancy in Pakistan.

After approval from the upper house of the parliament, it will bring some changes in the traditional ways of counter terrorism efforts in the country. It’s hoped that it will bring peace back if implemented in true sprit.

It is an appreciating step by the government to revise the existing laws regarding terrorism, which, according to some experts, was lacking regulations to deal with the new trends of terrorism as it is becoming more complex with the passage of time.

Pakistan is facing worst crises as Karachi, the industrial capital of the country, is facing bloodshed for the last many days. At least 76 people have become victims of target killing initiated by racist groups who want to take control of the economy in the city.

After the 9/11 attacks on the United States, terrorists groups started to extend their networks and increased their cross border activities in the region. They managed to destabilize our governing system and economy.

Terrorism has almost killed our economy besides damaging our national image globally. Today many people think that Pakistanis are terrorists or like the Taliban-style life on earth.

I want to say the global community: we’re not a terrorist nation state but, yes, we’ve some active terrorist groups. The bad guys are few but very powerful—they're in every field! So, they seem dominating the entire nation of 116 million helpless people. The suffering of my entire family at the hands of such a terrorist group shows the sophistication and layers of terrorism in Pakistan...

August 3, 2010

Pakistan: swinging between extremism & liberalism

By Habib R. Sulemani

This morning when I got up, through the window of my room, I saw the flag of Pakistan. Yes, the Independence Day – August 14 – is fast approaching. As usual, Karim Rehman, my youngest sibling, had taken the wrapped flag out of the closet and had hoisted it on the rooftop of our home in Rawalpindi.

Soon after, I scanned the area from the rooftop. I noticed that only we had the national flag high in the sky in the whole neighborhood. This made me think about the depressingly dark current situation of our country as everywhere is fire, flood and blood!

“We’re a nation swinging between extremism and liberalism for the last 63 years,” I said in a monolog and went back to my room, where I’m living like a  prisoner since the attempts on my life four months ago.

As a family, we’re peace-loving people not traditional jingoists—but still, every year, on the occasion of national days, hoisting the national flag on the rooftop is a routine at home. My father takes special care of the national flag. He buys flags from the vendors in advance for the special occasions.

However, there is a national flag on the grave of my younger brother Ajaz Rehman (1978-1999). He was martyred as a member of the Pakistan Army during the Kargil War. Keeping the national flag at full mast on the graveyard, throughout the year, has been a routine of my elderly parents. This makes them happy and reminds them that their beloved son is still alive!

"A martyr never dies and gets eternal life," this is what my illiterate mother and half-literate father had been told in a letter along the dead body of my brother! My parents as well as we, the siblings, have never forgotten that cool, calm, soft-spoken and a very loving young man that Ajaz was.

Oh! There’re tears in my eyes as I’m writing this blog for The Terrorland—but I know betrayal is not something new in our checkered history. It often happens that those at the helm of affairs forget sacrifices of the commoners!

As I had written in a letter to the government of Pakistan (see "Journalist seeks protection" blog archive April 2010) if we had a general in our family, things would have been different today—I would never have been tortured along with my family members in this cruel way just for writing a novel against the Talibanization of Pakistan—the Islamic country founded by the liberal M. A. Jinnah!

***
CAPTIONS: 1) The national flag on our rooftop; 2) my brother Ajaz Rehman about a month earlier his martyrdom; 3) a smartly turned out contingent of the Pakistan Army presents the Guard of Honor after burial of my martyred brother with full military honors at our ancestral graveyard in Gulmit, Hunza.

Photos by The Terrorland Team

LINK: A war victim’s cry for peace: http://archives.dawn.com/dawnftp/72.249.57.55/dawnftp/weekly/dmag/archive/040111/dmag5.htm

August 2, 2010

Thanking army chief from the kingdom of Raiwand

By Ghulam Rehman

Over a million people have been affected by the recent floods in Pakistan so far. According to primary statistics, at least 1,000 people lost their lives while many are missing. About 27,000 people have become homeless only in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of the country as heavily rain hit the country.

Inappropriate planning of the concerned authorities, ignorance and apathy of the federal and provincial governments has once again hit the poor hard in our country. Natural disasters often hit our country but, unfortunately, successive governments have never been able to deal with them properly. The National Disaster Management Authority uses the traditional method of rescue operation—often it reaches the victims in the eleventh hour—when maximum damage has already been done. And this thing has been repeated again and again this year—from the Atabad landslide in Hunza to the recent floods.

The flood victims – from Gilgit-Baltistan to Sindh province – are seeking help and people in the corridors of power are busy in political games. Instead of the democratically elected Prime Minister Gilani, Army Chief Gen. Kayani is visiting the affected people in different areas.

Above all, the chief minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, instead of reaching the flood victims, is thanking the army chief from his kingdom of Raiwand (the most spectacular private estate in Pakistan)!

Whether democracy and elected government? It's government in a glasshouse!

August 1, 2010

Terrorism & the story of a brave teenager

By Karim Rehman

I remember the day when I heard about the criminal attack on my sister Nasira Parveen by the corrupt administration of the Karakoram International University. But I’m happy that they failed to achieve their criminal goal on campus.

A couple of days after that incident in Gilgit, some people attempted to kill my elder brother (Habib R. Sulemani) in Rawalpindi when he was coming home from office at midnight. They tried to hit him and run away. Fortunately, he jumped on the footpath and the speeding car rushed away as, luckily, another vehicle had also appeared on the scene.

After this attack on my brother, at first, I was frightened to go to school, markets and even the nearby playground. Mysterious people had surrounded our neighborhood and they were looking at me awkwardly. Then, gradually, I was ready for anything! At home, I kept a baton below my bed at night to resist a sudden attack. I knew the attackers had sophisticated guns, and they are highly skilled and professional killers—but I didn’t want to bear any direct terror attack on me silently. What was in my mind in those days, I can’t explain it now!

It was a time when I was anxiously waiting for my birthday. Being the youngest sibling of eight brothers and sister, I was expecting some new gifts. I completed fifteen years of my life on April 1, 2010. The continuous attacks on my family members were really a shocking thing not only for me but everyone in the family. I was not feeling safe myself at home and school. I feared the criminals could attack me anytime as members of our family were in Gilgit, and I along with my brother was in Rawalpindi.

Anyway, on my birthday, my brother called my mother at our ancestral home in Gulmit, upper Hunza, and told her to celebrate my birthday at sharp 10PM. He also informed my father and brother (Ghulam Rehman) in Gilgit to make arrangement for a birthday party there as well at the same time.

Amid life-threatening situation, all of my family members had forgotten my birthday. In such a situation my elder brother announced to celebrate my birthday in a unique way: singing "happy birthday to you" at the same time from three different cities of Pakistan – hundreds of kilometers apart from each other – on the phone at night. It was really fascinating!

I can’t forget the words of my elder brother to the younger one on the phone. “In the face of oppression and tyranny,” he said, “we’ll celebrate Karim’s birthday in a unique way this time! We’re not afraid of the coward terrorist group.”

At that night, after the birthday celebrations, I talked on the phone to all family members and relatives gathered at all the three places. “Wishing you a happy birthday,” sounded differently on that night! I felt that those who are involved in acts of terror are coward people no matter how much power and authority they have at hand!

After this all – acts of terror and the continuing mental torture since March 2010 – we will never ever give up! We’ll defeat the criminals according to the laws. We’re destined to win!

(Image by the blogger)