October 27, 2009 § 6 Comments
(Originally published at socialistworker.org)
INTERVIEW: SAADIA TOOR
A war of terror in Pakistan
October 27, 2009
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
The Pakistani military has launched an offensive in Waziristan against forces of the Pakistani Taliban, causing another refugee crisis in one of the world’s poorest areas. One-third of the population has fled their homes already, and those numbers are sure to rise. The assault in South Waziristan follows an offensive in Swat earlier this year–also allegedly targeting Islamist militants, and also taking a devastating toll on ordinary people.
Saadia Toor, an assistant professor at Staten Island College, author of a forthcoming book on Pakistan from Pluto Press, and part of the group Action for a Progressive Pakistan , talked to Ashley Smith about the situation in Pakistan today.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
THE PAKISTANI Army has launched a major offensive against Taliban forces in the province of Waziristan. What is behind this assault, and what impact will it have on the people there?
THE ARMY had been warning ever since it attacked in Swat earlier this year that its next move would be in South Waziristan. This area is incredibly undeveloped and has become a stronghold of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (or TTP), which had been led by Baitullah Mehsud until he was killed in drone attack conducted by the U.S. earlier this year.
In the run-up to this assault, there was a series of attacks and suicide attacks on state facilities across Pakistan as a warning to the army to back off from the incursion. The TTP took responsibility for most of these.
However, under a lot of pressure from the U.S., and with full U.S. military support, the Pakistani Army has unleashed its terror in South Waziristan.
Just as we witnessed in Swat, the Army is causing another humanitarian catastrophe. It has already driven 150,000 people from the area, and experts estimate that at least 250,000 people–over half the population–will be forced to flee from the fighting. The government has stated that it is not going to make any arrangements to accommodate the refugees, because they supposedly all have families they can stay with!
In addition, the Army is going after the entire Mehsud tribe, the principal tribe in South Waziristan, in a reprise of the horrible tradition established by the British of treating tribes as monolithic entities. Although the prime minister recently made a statement saying that they are not targeting the entire tribe, I have heard that the military had been rounding up Mehsuds all over the country in a lead-up to this operation. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 25, 2009 § Leave a Comment
APP is proud to report that we have raised $10,000 for displaced people in Swat in Pakistan! This is due to your generous donations as well as to the generous support of the SINGH Foundation, which matched your donations. All donations have been sent to SUNGI, a progressive development and relief organization based in NWFP. SUNGI has been active in NWFP for more than a decade, and has been working on development, women’s issues, and most recently conducted relief work after the devastating earthquake of 2005.
We at APP would like to thank all of you for your generous support of the displaced people in Pakistan.
October 17, 2009 § Leave a Comment
October 13, 2009 § 5 Comments
Below is the text of the talk given by APP member Adaner Usmani, on October 7th, 2009 (at the event advertised in the previous post). Audio of the full discussion, including a very helpful Q & A session, is available here.
Because I only have a few minutes to speak on the issues I’ve been assigned, I want to start by saying that I won’t be able to represent to you all of the complexities that characterize the situation in Pakistan–and specifically in the NW. What I want to do, though, is to begin from what I think are the simple, and in some sense most important points that the anti-war movement must be prepared to assert–and then start to outline some of the more specific issues.
October 6, 2009 § 7 Comments
ENDING OBAMA’S WAR:
SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN
Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 7pm
Proshansky Auditorium, The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Ave at 34th Street [BDFV & NQRW trains to 34th St, 6 train to 33]
Facebook event page: http://bit.ly/oct7 (or) http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=143245124536
October 7th marks the eighth anniversary of the launch of the U.S.-led “War on Terror” in Afghanistan. Defending it as a “war of necessity,” the Obama administration is on the precipice of an enormous troop surge in Afghanistan and an escalation in Pakistan, which has already begun with drone attacks. This strategic dialogue will explore a deeper analysis of the realities on the ground in order to inform our resistance in the U.S. and to develop a more effective solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Jeremy Scahill: independent journalist, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He is a frequent contributor to The Nation magazine and a correspondent for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now! Scahill is currently a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute. He has appeared on ABC World News, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, MSNBC, PBS’s NewsHour, and Bill Moyers Journal.
Zoya: a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). Like many RAWA members, Zoya has witnessed and endured more tragedy and terror than most people do in a lifetime. Zoya grew up during the wars that ravaged Afghanistan and was robbed of her mother and father when they were murdered by fundamentalists – Zoya was only fourteen. Devastated by so much death and destruction, she fled Kabul with her grandmother and started a new life in exile in Pakistan. After attending a school funded by RAWA, she joined the underground women’s organization and continues their work resisting fundamentalism and war today.
Bill Fletcher: the Executive Editor of The Black Commentator and founder of the Center for Labor Renewal. A longtime labor, racial justice and international activist, he is the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum.
Adaner Usmani: works with the Labor Party of Pakistan (LPP) and Action for a Progressive Pakistan (APP). With these and other groups, he has been involved in antiwar work, principally in Pakistan but also in the U.S., as well as assorted campaigns for peasant and worker rights. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology from NYU.