Pakistan

Kashmir: the poisoned legacy of partition

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The plight of the Kashmiris has long roots, stretching back to the end of Empire and the division of India after the Second World War.

Kashmir is the most militarised region on the planet. An estimated half a million Indian security personnel police a population of about 7 million.

About 80,000 have been killed in an insurgency against Indian rule. From 2016, shotguns filled with lead pellets have been used for “crowd control”, deliberately fired to blind civilian protesters. Stories of torture, rape and abduction abound among the mainly Muslim population.

He Named Me Malala

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If anybody should have a film made about them, it should be Malala Yousafzai. Still only seventeen years old, she has a huge story to tell — she survived a bullet to her head, she is the youngest ever Nobel prize laureate and she stood up to the most dangerous force in her home town — the Taliban.

He Named Me Malala is a touching film which really shows what a strong, confident and intelligent young woman Malala is and why she has inspired so many other girls and women, young and old, to challenge the status quo and fight for better lives and more respect.

Letter from Pakistan

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Rizwan Atta looks at the growing tensions between the US and Pakistan and the outbreak of struggles from below

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton met Pakistan's foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar in London on the sidelines of the Somalia conference in late February to discuss the damaged relations between the two countries. Clinton said Pakistan was too important for her country to turn its back on. This eagerness is not without cause and has a history.

Playstation warfare

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The military use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, has risen sharply over the last decade. These remotely piloted killer robots enable operators to launch missiles and bombs on human targets in the combat zone while they remain safe, thousands of miles away in the Nevada desert.



Grim game: a Reaper drone operator

With weapons dispatched at the touch of a joystick, armed drones involve a form of "playstation warfare" that risks creating a culture of convenient killing.

Pakistan under water

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The recent floods have caused devastation in Pakistan, leading to an estimated 20 million people losing their homes and livelihoods. Karachi socialist Sartaj Khan tells Geoff Brown about the scandalous government response to a disaster that was anything but natural.

Before and after. Photo: Nasa

The monsoon happens every year. Why are these floods so disastrous?

There has been a change in the pattern of rainfall. In the last two decades we have seen a repeated cycle of acute shortage of rainfall for two or three years and then a flood like this. Last winter we saw heavy snowfalls. In many areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (the former North West Frontier Province) people experienced the first snow in 40 years.

"War on terror": The Afpak disaster

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The war in Afghanistan has spread to Pakistan, and now the US is struggling to contain the disaster they call the Afpak war.

Pakistani militants are ambushing some 200 supply trucks a month as convoys make their way through northern Pakistan into Afghanistan. Videos have appeared on YouTube showing Pakistani militants with captured US trucks.

This is a huge embarrassment for the US, whose response has been to use drone attacks on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, killing countless civilians in remote villages.

When this didn't achieve the desired effect the US applied huge economic and military pressure to push Pakistan's president and army chief towards military operations.

Interview with Tariq Ali: Occupational hazards

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Rising military casualties have stimulated public debate about the war in Afghanistan. Judith Orr asks writer, broadcaster and activist Tariq Ali about the war and the prospects for the US imperialist project.

At Marxism 2009 you spoke about how "things are not going well" for the US and British governments in Afghanistan. It seems since then things have got a good deal worse. Military leaders talk of being in Afghanistan for many years, if not decades, and some are openly admitting the war is unwinnable. Is this a situation where, even if the US know they can't succeed, to withdraw is unthinkable? As the war aims constantly shift, are they now only concerned with not being seen to be beaten?

Refugees organise in Pakistan

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Ali Hassan and Gul Pasand of International Socialists Pakistan visited the Jalala refugee camp near Peshawar and found a mood to organise against the military assault.

Most people living in the camps come from the Swat and Buner districts of the North-West Frontier Province. They are very poor and know nobody in the cities. They are peasant workers, very small landholders and associated with lowly professions. However, they are angry to be described as beggars. One, Nisbat Khan, said, "Look at our conditions. This place is filthy and full of insects and other harmful creatures. I found a poisonous snake and killed it and when I showed it to a policeman he said, 'You haven't killed a Taliban! Why are you so proud of your catch?'"

Pakistan's new catastrophe

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Recent attacks on the Swat region of Pakistan have caused a deep political crisis in the country. Geoff Brown looks at the situation and talks with Asim Jaan, a socialist based in Karachi, about the impact of the offensive and how the left is responding

Since early May the new frontline in Barack Obama's so-called Afpak war has been Swat - a large hilly area with a population of just 1.5 million. Only a few hours drive from Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, it has been called "the Switzerland of Pakistan" because of its beautiful mountains - though its only ski resort was closed two years ago because of worsening security. Beautiful as it is, the reality for most of its inhabitants has been that life is hard, dominated by landlords whose corruption knows no limits.

Pakistan on the brink

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As the protest movement in Pakistan scores a victory, the Afghanistan war threatens increasing instability along the countries' shared border. Geoff Brown assesses this key faultline of US imperialism

It is hard to exaggerate the mood in Pakistan when it was announced that the chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, was returning to office. The protest movement, led by lawyers, which threatened to overwhelm President Asif Zardari, won a real victory. People were dancing in the street.

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