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Posts Tagged ‘police’

From much sought after to ‘most wanted’

Posted by Alta on May 31, 2009

By Zahid Hussain

The faces of militant commanders for whose capture the government has announced millions of rupees seem all too familiar. Just three weeks before the start of the latest round of military operation in Swat I met most of them — not in their mountainous hideouts, but in the official residence of a top bureaucrat in Mingora, barely a few hundred metres from the army garrison.

Accompanied by dozens of well armed Taliban fighters, Muslim Khan, Sirajuddin, Mahmmod Khan and some others (who are said to be responsible for killings of hundreds of soldiers and civilians) were being hosted by the former commissioner of Malakand, Syed Mohammad Javed.

The only person conspicuous by his absence was Maulana Fazlullah, the man with a head money of Rs50 million. ‘He is in Kabal for some important work,’ I was told by one of his lieutenants.

It was April 12 and the commissioner had just returned from Buner where he had apparently brokered a truce between the Taliban threatening the district after the Swat peace deal and the local Lashkar who had long resisted the militant onslaught. It later transpired that the so-called peace accord virtually disarmed the Lashkar and handed over the control of Buner to Taliban.

There was little doubt that Mr Javed, who was known for close links with Sufi Mohammad, had drawn the accord to the advantage of the Taliban. But even he couldn’t have anticipated the consequences.

It seemed that the militant commanders had gathered at the Commissioner House that evening to celebrate the takeover of Buner after consolidating their hold on Swat on the back of the controversial peace accord.

Sitting in a corner of a large open veranda crammed with gun wielding Taliban fighters, I saw them arriving one by one with their armed escorts. There was Muslim Khan with his unruly grey beard, curly locks cascading down from his black turban, walking arrogantly past the police and paramilitary soldiers.

The man who now has a reward of Rs4 million on his head looked at home in the hospitable setting of the Commissioner House that night. I was taken aback to see top government officials standing there to receive the man who was responsible for ordering the execution of innocent civilians.

Earlier in the day when I went to interview him in Imam Dehri Madressah, he showed me a list of people whose execution orders were to be issued. Among them was a woman whose husband had allegedly served in the US army.

‘We are looking for her and she will soon come under the knife,’ the chief spokesman for the militants said smugly. Interestingly enough, Mr Khan himself had lived in the United States for many years before returning to Swat in 2002 to join Maulana Fazlullah’s ‘holy war’. It was bizarre to see him being entertained by government officials.

Sirajuddin, a former spokesman for Maulana Fazlullah who also has a bounty of Rs4 million for his capture, was huddled in a corner with some of his comrades. A thin framed man, he was appointed by Maulana Fazlullah to look after the rich emerald mines which the Taliban had seized after the February peace deal.

A former left-wing activist, he received his higher education in Kabul in 1980s during the communist rule in Afghanistan. He planned to join Lumumba University, but had to return home for reasons not known.

His transformation from a hard core socialist to a radical Muslim came in late 1990s when like many young men he fell under the spell of Maulana Fazlullah’s fiery sermons.

I met Sirajuddin for the first time in November 2007, just few weeks after the start of the first army operation in Swat. The area around Dehri was under militant control. Masked gunmen were entrenched in their bunkers just a few hundred metres from Saidu Sharif airport, where army troops had taken up positions.

The sound of artillery shells landing was getting ominously closer. The meeting abruptly ended after a shell exploded outside the house where we were sitting. He looked triumphant when I met him again on the evening of April 12.

More shock was in store when later that evening I saw Faqir Mohammed walking in with a large entourage. Escorted by an Uzbek bodyguard he was whisked inside a large hall where a number of commanders squatted on a carpeted floor.

One of the top leaders of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Faqir Mohammed, has been spearheading the bloody war against Pakistani forces in Bajaur tribal region.

Because of his close links with al Qaeda, security agencies considered Faqir Mohammed more dangerous than Baitullah Mehsud. The presence of Pakistan’s most wanted militant leader at the Commissioner House that evening, when the fighting still raged in Bajaur, was intriguing, to say the least.

The widespread public cynicism about the action against militants was not without any basis. It is almost four weeks now since the army launched the new offensive against the militants in Swat and Buner, dislocating more than three million people and leaving around 100 soldiers killed.

The army now seems determined to eliminate Fazlullah and his commanders. ‘But will there be any accountability of those who were responsible for the return of Taliban in Malakand division. Could not the current devastation have been avoided if these wanted men were eliminated earlier instead of being patronised by the administration,’ wondered a Swat resident now forced to live with his family in Mardan.

Id like to ask the same questionwhy were they not taken care of before hand but i guess too late for that.I just hope that the army is really going after them and that they are not in someone house as i write this but hiding and fearing for their life.


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Smokers corner: Revolutionary confetti

Posted by Alta on March 29, 2009


It was quite a sight watching Laal ( a ‘revolutionary pop band’), being scrutinised by some three dozen young men and women on a TV channel this year on Pakistan Day.

The band is being aggressively promoted by the said TV channel — a channel which ever since the start of the Lawyers Movement in late 2007, has sprinkled itself with revolutionary confetti, cleverly treating the concept of revolution as a highly saleable software in times of socio-economic and political crises.

Of course, never is this revolution clearly defined. Instead it usually stumbles out from our TV screens as a cathartic (but highly convoluted) concoction of liberal democracy, socialism, nationalism, patriotism and religion.

Since the programme featuring Laal was live, the channel seems to have been caught unawares, believing in its own assumption that the middle-class urban youth of Pakistan too are a reflection of what the channel has been dishing out in the name radicalism and reform.

Laal mean well though, and I particularly want to single out their lead vocalist, Shahram Azhar, who seems to be a genuine, sensitive talent. However, thanks to the purely media-constructed notions of the current ‘revolutionary’ zeitgeist in the nation’s youth, I’m sure the band too were taken aback by the reception they got on that show.

Not that they were jeered — far from it, because their unplugged performance was rather marvellous — but the questions that they were asked by the audience betrayed what the electronic media has been spouting regarding middle-class youth in Pakistan.

It is a devastating case of naivety to believe (or worse, propagate), that middle-class Pakistani youth have rediscovered the revolutionary, democratic and progressive spirit that it demonstrated from the 1950s till about the mid-1980s.

The truth is, this spirit, if it really has made some sort of a comeback, seems to be confined to assorted fringe clusters, but they are noticed because to most TV channels they are saleable images.

But then these days anything is saleable if it is continuously bombarded in the mainstream media, from pop bands to whole movements. The question is, are these clusters capable of altering minds and opinions?

No is the answer if their propagated ideas are secular, especially in the political context. But yes would be the reply if the offered ideas in anyway are associated with religion.

That said the 23rd March show was a stark reminder of the above notion. The bulk of the young audience didn’t seem all that impressed by Laal’s ‘Marxist leanings’, and many of them actually suggested that good old fashioned inscrutable mantra and rhetoric of following the holy scripture.

The point is, the fringe clusters who were proudly exhibited by many TV channels during the two-year-long Lawyers Movement — passionately spouting slogans, songs and speeches about democracy, justice, free media and revolution — I’m afraid they do not mirror the spirit of today’s middle-class Pakistani youth.

I mean, coming back to that Pakistan Day show, it was naïve of the channel to believe that the audience on that show will wholeheartedly consume and appreciate Laal’s nostalgic penchant for harking back to a past dotted by such fantastic protest poets like Habib Jalib and Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

How can you expect this generation to give a hoot about Marxism, Jalib, liberalism and progressive notions of art and politics, when much of their ideas of political, economic and religious history come from hate-mongers, paranoid conspiracy theorists and at times, outright frauds, whom they see every single day on one channel or the other posing as televangelists and ‘security experts’?

Most of these kids have little or no idea about who Jalib or Faiz or Marx or Lincoln or Kennedy were. They don’t want to hark back to that; instead, they’d rather hark back to that ‘glorious age of faith’ which, in actuality, is a cleverly implanted memory in the minds of us Muslims.

Why Marx, why Laal (red), why music? The questions kept coming from the audience.

They just couldn’t intellectually comprehend a group of ‘protesters’ who (1) weren’t emotionally combusting about PPP, MQM and Lal Masjid like Imran Khan; or (2) spouting out loud long nothings like talk-show hosts, or (3) weren’t implicating the Jews, RAW, Americans and malevolent jinns in the political and economic crimes against Pakistan, the self-claimed bastion of Islam.

How can they, when most young men and women today are getting their political and historical answers from religious and political cranks!

It is a flawed assumption on part of the electronic media to think that today’s young people will be able to grasp the more liberal and progressive notions of protest.

Because on the other side of the coin are these very channels who have already captured (and arrested) this generation’s intellect with irresponsible televangelism and political programming.

Jalib is nothing but a ghostly caricature to most young people today. They’d rather debate and look out for the dreadful al-dajjal.

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Habib Jalib – Mainay Uss Say Yeh Kaha – Laal band

Posted by Alta on March 19, 2009

“Main Nay Kaha” is a satirical poem by the famous leftist poet Habib Jalib called “Musheer” (Advisor). Jalib wrote it in response to a conversation he had with Hafiz Jalandari during the time of Ayub Khan’s dictatorship. It remains just as fresh and valid today.


I said this to him
These hundred million
Are the epitome of ignorance
Their conscience has gone to sleep
Every ray of hope
Is lost in the darkness
This news is true
They are the living dead
Completely mindless
A disease of life
And you hold in your hands
The cure for their ills

You are the light of God
Wisdom and knowledge personified
The nation is with you
It is only through your grace
That the nation can be saved
You are the light of a new morning
After you there is only night
The few who speak out
Are all mischief makers
You should tear out their tongues
You should throttle their throats

Those proud of their eloquence
Their tongues are completely silent
There is calm in the land
There is an unexampled difference
Between yesterday and today
Only at their own expense
Are people in prison, under your rule

China is our friend
We’d give our lives for her
But the system that they have
Steer well clear of that
From far away say “salaam”
These hundred million asses
That are named the masses
Could surely never become rulers
You are the truth; they’re an illusion
My prayer is that
You remain President forever

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Three pics in one

Posted by Alta on November 3, 2008

This was a picture taken by a member of and i just had to put it out there.Just a few things that come to mind when i look at it and think for a bit.

Big hotel in the back there,a big bill board telling us about the latest wireless broadband connection available in the country,we have the Toyota avensis an imported car which costs roughly 16 lacs or so and then you have the rikshaw full of a family.

I wonder if they will ever have 16 lacs all at once between all of them together i doubt they look at the big building in the back and think ill have my sons or my wedding there.Will any of them ever be able to use a PC let alone have the  latest dsl on it?

Once a young kid was asked what his dream in life was,his reply was “food two times a day for the rest of my life”

Then in this great capture we have the law enforcers,doing their job the best they can.I wonder what crime the goat committed? Did they read him his rights or cuff him?

Are they just doing their duty and carrying out orders from their sahab and bringing the bakra home for the sahabs children to play with? or did they hustle some poor bakray wala out of a goat as a bonus as its their right to because they are not paid enough.

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Send me to the A1 GP

Posted by Alta on June 20, 2007

dawn-news.jpgWow last week was a boring and dull week,and lazy Alta is complaining abt it so you can imagine how bad it was.Though its strange the old me would have been happy,i was well happy being alone and doing nothing,not any more (i need to go to a shrink)

Well this week has started in a fun way,i got a call on Sunday warning me that the city dist were going to carry out an op againt the showrooms,for some reason they are not happy that we park our cars on the roads,or where they are not supposed to be parked (its the local car manufacturers who are after the likes of me)

Well they have a point,but then that doesnt mean i am supposed to listen to them.So here i am,monday morning (and i thought we agreed no work on monday? )

At around 1 pm it all starts,get a call saying op is under way and better hide the cars,oh ok.Ill just put the 40 odds cars under my bed (those who have seen my bed know its not possible to put anything under it,i have Osama Bin laden under there)

So orders are given to everyone,the mission is simple,take a car key any car key and take the cars to a plot near by,so we start.(ladies and gents start your engines,for the pride of your showroom and the car showrooms association)

And we are off,running around like crazy,get a few cars away.I get into mine and do what i always do when this happens every 4 or 5 months,take the car to my mech Niaz (if you ever need a good car mech in karachi niaz is your man!)

“Anything wrong with the Vitz boss?” “Yes its imported and they dont like it” Here take the key,drop me back at the showroom and bring the car back here keep it safe.thrown another key and i am in the premio now and we are off for round two.

Where do i take this one i am asking myself when i see the local govt cars and people up ahead,U turn and run.But the dam guy is on my tail honking like mad,like hell i am going to stop and hand over my 13 lacs to you.So lets see how good this 1.8 Japanese car is against the local bolan.It was very good, i won easy.

Parked it near some house,and ran back to the showroom.Big argument taking place,the two owners of the showrooms next to mine are doing galee galaoch with the people and i will do this i will do that,take my cars at ur own risk blah blah blah.

I signal to Saleem (our driver) to throw me another key,vroom vroom and i am off again,with everyone creaming and our guys laughing.Now where do i go no idea,but i get a call and directions to another house which has parking avail (we have our own network and so much like don style action)

Park it,hand over the keys,and get a taxi back to the showroom.Dam they are still there.”hey you” “who me” (altas angel look) “yes where is the car? “what car” i ask.

This goes on for about 2 mins,i am like look,its not here so get over it.I am told i am in big trouble blah blah now the cameras are on me,oh yes Geo and the rest of the news tv channels are there (look mom i am on Tv!)

Well i stuck to my story and said i have no idea what you are talking about,i just got here.they had to go to other places too so gave up,but did take away 3 cars from out place (dam them!) Was silly of me to do that,but then i am silly.

Was a fun day and today was so boring,no one chasing me around,no running around trying to get as many cars to the safe house,the whole area was so clean,not many cars,all empty and no customers (they screw the businessman dont they)

So lets see what happens tomm,i didnt go to get the cars others did the cars are back but in a safe house,just bloody charge us per month and let us be,thats what this is all about,just do it (nike style,but read as a phatan would say it)

A few did spot me on tv as i got a few calls,dude you are on tv,whats up.I am like i am glad dad isnt watching this or if he is i am a dead man(and he doesnt know abt it,so to anyone reading this,please dont tel him)

Alta happy,and ready to take on the world in his Jap imports.

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