For Al Jazeera English with Fakhar Kakakhel: About one million people were forced from their homes by Operation Zarb-e-Azb a year ago – and few are able to return. Bannu, Pakistan – “I have no hope of going back,” says Farhadullah, 35, who fled Mir Ali with his five children last June ahead of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, Pakistan’s offensive against armed groups in North Waziristan. “They keep lying, they keep saying we have cleared the area, they keep saying we will get the [internally displaced persons]…Continue Reading “Pakistan’s war and loss of hope for those displaced”

Turkey’s Alevis beholden to politics

For Al Jazeera English: Turkey has ruled to recognise Alevis’ places of worship but there are worries over the outcome of this decision. Along a road overlooking a scenic valley in the Turkish Anatolian heartland is a series of giant grainy black and white photos; shackled men being led away, families huddling in bare mountains, surrounded by armed soldiers. The memorial depicts a 1938 massacre of Alevis, an event that serves as a stark example of just how far Turkish society needs to go to…Continue Reading “Turkey’s Alevis beholden to politics”

Chinese Uyghurs defy Ramadan ban

For Al Jazeera English: The government’s attempt to clamp down on religious expression has backfired among Uyghurs. Kashgar, China –¬†Chinese authorities have imposed restrictions on Uyghur Muslims during the month of Ramadan, banning government employees and school children from fasting, in what rights groups say has become an annual attempt at systematically erasing the region’s Islamic identity. Chinese authorities have justified the ban on fasting by saying it is meant to protect the health of students, and restrictions on religious practices by government officials are…Continue Reading “Chinese Uyghurs defy Ramadan ban”

For Al Jazeera English: Protests over poor public services have escalated into challenges to Islamabad’s rule in rugged northern territory. Gilgit, Pakistan –¬†Escalating protests in villages perched on the “Roof of the World” – a mountainous territory disputed between Pakistan and India – have exposed deep animosity towards Islamabad. After 67 years of control by the Pakistani government, many local people want the country to either accept them as a new province – or grant them independence. Pakistan’s authorities have responded to the unrest –…Continue Reading “‘Roof of the World’ rebels against Pakistan”

Pakistan’s FATA: Lawless no more?

For Al Jazeera: Tribes in Pakistan’s FATA region are struggling to repeal a colonial-era, collective punishment law. When armed men blew up a power station in Mohmand Agency two years ago, security forces came to the local press club and arrested Saeed Badshah and a fellow journalist. “The power station was near my home,” Badshah explained, “so under the collective responsibility clauses of the Frontier Crimes Regulations, we were detained until the culprits were produced by residents”. Badshah was lucky – authorities released him within…Continue Reading “Pakistan’s FATA: Lawless no more?”

The return of Pakistan’s Baloch tribesmen

For Al Jazeera English: A new generation of Balochi nationalists has emerged, eight years after the death of the movement’s leader. Dera Bugti, Pakistan – Nearly eight years after Balochi leader Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed in fighting with the Pakistani military, a new generation of Balochi nationalists is emerging in his place in Pakistan’s restive western province. Two of Bugti’s grandsons have led the return of thousands of tribesmen from a decade-long exile, while a third heads a separatist armed group that carries out…Continue Reading “The return of Pakistan’s Baloch tribesmen”