Peshawar is the capital of the North-West Frontier Province and the administrative center for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. It is located on the edge of the Khyber Pass near the Afghan border. It is the commercial, economic, political and cultural hub of the Pashtuns in Pakistan and acts as a geographical and cultural front line among extremist, moderate, and liberal Islam. In the recent months the city seems to be ‘under attack’ with over 8 bomb blasts taking dozens of lives.
A recent attack targeting ‘Pearl continental’, a five star hotel located in a high security zone has triggered panic across Peshawar. Al Jazeera English has details:
Kulsoom Lakhani discusses the attack in Changing Up Pakistan:
US officials said no Americans who had registered with the embassy were staying at the hotel, [this does not mean there were no Americans at the PC, just that none who had registered were there]. I hope the news focuses also on the Pakistani victims of this attack. It seems there were many hotel workers killed, much like the Marriott bombing in Islamabad.
The city is of prime importance at the moment being home to a number of IDP camps. It also serves as a military base for those deployed to fight with the militants. In such conditions militants are bound to make their presence felt in the City, a much expected reaction to the ongoing battle in Malakand division. The Peshawar valley is bounded on the North and North East by hills, which separate it from the Swat Valley, where the army is currently engaged in a battle with the Taliban.
A blog post on Five Rupees contemplates on the recent mayhem in Peshawar:
A major bomb blast has rocked Peshawar, extensively damaging the Pearl Continental Hotel – one of the city’s few major hotels. The hotel was home to a large number of UN and INGO officials, as well as foreign reporters. Most of the UN officials belonged to the UN Food Program (credit: Dunya News).
It was a suicide blast. The bomb disposal squad reckons that about 500-550 kg of explosives were used which has caused a crate 8 feet deep and 25 feet wide. There were two attackers who first opened fire before driving their car into the hotel gates, which is similar to recent attacks in Lahore and Islamabad.
Faisal Kapadia regrets the unfortunate series of incidents in Peshawar in his blog DeadPan Thoughts:
The people of Pakistan are in shock, this is the third attack in so many weeks, each one brings more carnage and the realization that the war supposed to be fought far away in the mountains is now here in the streets of our cities.
Even now the police of our country are paralyzed having no forensics to trace our enemies and shoddy equipment, with a ratio of 1-500 plus civilians what security can they provide us?
Amid the ongoing war in Swat, the ordinary people are horrified realizing the worsening conditions all over the country. The Taliban retaliation to the army offensives seems to go on and grow fiercely. While the nation is under strain with the massive humanitarian crisis at hand. The killings of UNHCR and INGO officials are a major setback to the relief operations.
Raza Rumi at Pak Tea House shares his insight on the death of development workers in a recent blast:
Pak Tea House mourns the death of a dedicated aid workers in the Pearl Continental. As I am a part of the development ’set’, such incidents are deeply disturbing. After all development workers work in difficult circumstances for a commitment to their professions which in theory at least is based on idealism. We are saddened to see that UN staff have offered their lives along with scores of innocent Pakistani civilians. Why are the extremists killing innocent civilians – in a war surely you choose your targets or is it just a reflection of the mayhem they want to create and make it into another terror-zone.
The series of violence in Peshawar is evidence to the fact that the militants will be using massive force to destroy ‘peace’ in Pakistan. Their violence crosses all barriers of humanity as they continue to work towards damaging not only the lives of people but also hampering the ongoing relief operations leading to further chaos.
Merlin, a global medical aid agency, is working 24/7 to save lives in Pakistan. There are 7 static camp clinics, 8 mobile clinics visiting host families 24/7, 6 static and 6 mobile clinics dedicated to malnutrition (acute and moderate). The biggest health issues are acute watery diarrhrea and acute respiratory infections.
Merlin is currently providing basic health services to around 220,000 displaced people in camps and host communities in Mardan, Nowshera and Peshawar districts; however funds received through the UN (from CERF and other institutional donors) have been very limited and currently will finish at the end of June. Funds received directly from institutional donors have also been very limited. If no additional funds are received soon, Merlin will not be able to sustain the level of services to the current and increasing numbers of displaced people. At present less than 40% of health needs are covered. Should service provision further decrease, this will have a disastrous impact on the health status of IDPs and host communities with high potential for widespread epidemics.
Hello Merlin. It is good that you people,THE AMERICANS are providing assistance to IDPs in Pakistan.But let me put you wise on the issue.Its Americans who created this FUSS AND MESS in Pakistani terroritory.Its CIA,s SECRET WAR in Pakistan.My advice to you AMERICANS is to LAY OFF AND GET OUT OF PAKISTAN OTHERWISE YOU PEOPLE WILL BE KICKED OFF BY PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN……………………..
Remember this Joseph, the Americans are in Pakistan to provide the country with both in humanitarian & military aid.
I dont like to see them there either but like or not without their help Pakistan would crumble as a nation. The enemy within poses much greater risk than any foreign presence. America has always helped countries in disaster situations & made sworn agreements with Pakistan to help her when her national security is threatened. Right now, Pakistan is in grave danger because taliban is raising its ugly head everywhere, making life miserable for all citizens. We in Pakistan do not have the funds to cover even small disaster. So we look to UNO or the US for help.
When we become independant of all these elements than I’d say kick the Americans out. Since we are in dire need of their help let us not be so quick to blame them for helping us.
Osama Bin Laden never offered to help yet he claims to be behind all the disasters & killings. Let me say this Americans wound’nt dare to be there unless Pakistani govt. invited them to be there.
I highly respect your opinion but lets be somewhat logical here.
May Allah Swt Save Pakistan from these Shayateen. May Pakistan be Blessed with Peace & Harmony and Progress. Ameen YaRabulalameen.
Fasih Ali Khan
please visit http://www.brasstacks.pk and http://www.paknationalist.com. you will find clear cut indian hand in terrorism inside pakistan.USA is also playing double game with pakistan.In FATA,SWAT AND WAZIRISTAN indian army troops are actively fighting with pakistani military in disguise of TALIBANS.
What planet are you from sir? I guess Jupitor?
My friend you are completely out of touch of reality.
Before you blame others look at the long history of violence & terrorism inside Pakistan. This holy jihad is tuning into a holy mess. Its a war between muslims against muslims, shias gainst sunnis, God knows what else.
The sympathisers of taliban are the greatest enemy we face in Pakistan. They are the ones that have no regard for peace or human life. This game of killings or bombings is for these blood thirsty animals who are bent on destroying every civilized element inside Pakistan.
These people don’t love islam, they only love bloodshed in the most shameful & inhuman way. Sadly, we have bought into this kind of uncivlized culture & consequently we are paying a heavy price for it.
Let me assure you there is no indian army behind this, or there is none of other nations trying to destroy Pakistan. Its the devil driven terrorism right there inside Pakistan causing all kinds of problems. I suggest we fight them head on everywhere for the sake of peace.