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Militia evict Sikhs from homes
Posted by: Harisingh (IP Logged)
Date: April 15, 2009 05:28PM

Militia evict Sikhs from homes

April 16th, 2009
By Our Correspondent

Islamabad: Armed militants have occupied four homes of members of the minority Sikh community in Pakistan’s restive Aura-kzai tribal region near Pes-hawar, a media report said.
About 200 armed militants arrived at Qasimkhel village in Aurakzai Agency on Tuesday and demanded Rs 40 million from the Sikhs, said Galyan Singh, an elder of the minority community. “We failed to pay the amount and they forced the 38-member Sikh community to vacate houses,” Mr Singh told the News daily.
The families that were evicted from their homes have taken refuge in Manikhel area, Mr Singh said.
Local residents of Qasimkhel condemned the incident and said injustice had been done to the Sikhs. There is a sizeable number of Sikhs living in Peshawar and adjoining semi-autonomous tribal regions. Recently, actor Juhi Chawla’s relative was kidnapped for ransom.


Sikh families leave Orakzai after Taliban demand jizia

By Abdul Saboor Khan

HANGU: Sikh families living in Orakzai Agency have left the agency after the Taliban demanded Rs 50 million as jizia (tax) from them, official sources and locals said on Tuesday.

Residents of Ferozekhel area in Lower Orakzai Agency told Daily Times on Tuesday that around 10 Sikh families left the agency after the demand by the Taliban, who said they were a minority and liable to pay the tax for living in the area in accordance with sharia.

Locals said the Taliban had notified the Sikh families about the ‘tax’ around a week ago. They said of the 15 Sikh families in Ferozekhel, 10 had shifted while the remaining were preparing to do so.

The locals said the families were impoverished and had left the area to avoid any Taliban action.



Re: Militia evict Sikhs from homes
Posted by: scimitar (IP Logged)
Date: April 18, 2009 05:40AM

Taliban Setting its Eyes onto The Land of the Five Rivers -

Published: April 16, 2009
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — The Taliban have advanced deeper into Pakistan by engineering a class revolt that exploits profound fissures between a small group of wealthy landlords and their landless tenants, according to government officials and analysts here.

Taliban's Regional Threat

What are the implications of the Taliban's spread in Pakistan and the surrounding region?
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The strategy cleared a path to power for the Taliban in the Swat Valley, where the government allowed Islamic law to be imposed this week, and it carries broad dangers for the rest of Pakistan, particularly the militants’ main goal, the populous heartland of Punjab Province.

In Swat, accounts from those who have fled now make clear that the Taliban seized control by pushing out about four dozen landlords who held the most power.

To do so, the militants organized peasants into armed gangs that became their shock troops, the residents, government officials and analysts said.

The approach allowed the Taliban to offer economic spoils to people frustrated with lax and corrupt government even as the militants imposed a strict form of Islam through terror and intimidation.

“This was a bloody revolution in Swat,” said a senior Pakistani official who oversees Swat, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation by the Taliban. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it sweeps the established order of Pakistan.”

The Taliban’s ability to exploit class divisions adds a new dimension to the insurgency and is raising alarm about the risks to Pakistan, which remains largely feudal.
Unlike India after independence in 1947, Pakistan maintained a narrow landed upper class that kept its vast holdings while its workers remained subservient, the officials and analysts said. Successive Pakistani governments have since failed to provide land reform and even the most basic forms of education and health care. Avenues to advancement for the vast majority of rural poor do not exist.

Analysts and other government officials warn that the strategy executed in Swat is easily transferable to Punjab, saying that the province, where militant groups are already showing strength, is ripe for the same social upheavals that have convulsed Swat and the tribal areas.
Mahboob Mahmood, a Pakistani-American lawyer and former classmate of President Obama’s, said, “The people of Pakistan are psychologically ready for a revolution.”
Sunni militancy is taking advantage of deep class divisions that have long festered in Pakistan, he said. “The militants, for their part, are promising more than just proscriptions on music and schooling,” he said. “They are also promising Islamic justice, effective government and economic redistribution.”

The Taliban strategy in Swat, an area of 1.3 million people with fertile orchards, vast plots of timber and valuable emerald mines, unfolded in stages over five years, analysts said.

The momentum of the insurgency built in the past two years, when the Taliban, reinforced by seasoned fighters from the tribal areas with links to Al Qaeda, fought the Pakistani Army to a standstill, said a Pakistani intelligence agent who works in the Swat region.

The insurgents struck at any competing point of power: landlords and elected leaders — who were usually the same people — and an underpaid and unmotivated police force, said Khadim Hussain, a linguistics and communications professor at Bahria University in Islamabad, the capital.
At the same time, the Taliban exploited the resentments of the landless tenants, particularly the fact that they had many unresolved cases against their bosses in a slow-moving and corrupt justice system, Mr. Hussain and residents who fled the area said.

Their grievances were stoked by a young militant, Maulana Fazlullah, who set up an FM radio station in 2004 to appeal to the disenfranchised. The broadcasts featured easy-to-understand examples using goats, cows, milk and grass. By 2006, Mr. Fazlullah had formed a ragtag force of landless peasants armed by the Taliban, said Mr. Hussain and former residents of Swat.

At first, the pressure on the landlords was subtle. One landowner was pressed to take his son out of an English-speaking school offensive to the Taliban. Others were forced to make donations to the Taliban.

Then, in late 2007, Shujaat Ali Khan, the richest of the landowners, his brothers and his son, Jamal Nasir, the mayor of Swat, became targets.

After Shujaat Ali Khan, a senior politician in the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, narrowly missed being killed by a roadside bomb, he fled to London. A brother, Fateh Ali Mohammed, a former senator, left, too, and now lives in Islamabad. Mr. Nasir also fled.

Later, the Taliban published a “most wanted” list of 43 prominent names, said Muhammad Sher Khan, a landlord who is a politician with the Pakistan Peoples Party, and whose name was on the list. All those named were ordered to present themselves to the Taliban courts or risk being killed, he said. “When you know that they will hang and kill you, how will you dare go back there?” Mr. Khan, hiding in Punjab, said in a telephone interview. “Being on the list meant ‘Don’t come back to Swat.’ ”
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Times Topics: Taliban | Pakistan
Taliban's Regional Threat
What are the implications of the Taliban's spread in Pakistan and the surrounding region?
Join the Discussion »

One of the main enforcers of the new order was Ibn-e-Amin, a Taliban commander from the same area as the landowners, called Matta. The fact that Mr. Amin came from Matta, and knew who was who there, put even more pressure on the landowners, Mr. Hussain said.

According to Pakistani news reports, Mr. Amin was arrested in August 2004 on suspicion of having links to Al Qaeda and was released in November 2006. Another Pakistani intelligence agent said Mr. Amin often visited a madrasa in North Waziristan, the stronghold of Al Qaeda in the tribal areas, where he apparently received guidance.

Each time the landlords fled, their tenants were rewarded.

They were encouraged to cut down the orchard trees and sell the wood for their own profit, the former residents said. Or they were told to pay the rent to the Taliban instead of their now absentee bosses.

Two dormant emerald mines have reopened under Taliban control. The militants have announced that they will receive one-third of the revenues.

Since the Taliban fought the military to a truce in Swat in February, the militants have deepened their approach and made clear who is in charge.

When provincial bureaucrats visit Mingora, Swat’s capital, they must now follow the Taliban’s orders and sit on the floor, surrounded by Taliban bearing weapons, and in some cases wearing suicide bomber vests, the senior provincial official said.

In many areas of Swat the Taliban have demanded that each family give up one son for training as a Taliban fighter, said Mohammad Amad, executive director of a nongovernmental group, the Initiative for Development and Empowerment Axis.

A landlord who fled with his family last year said he received a chilling message last week. His tenants called him in Peshawar, the capital of North-West Frontier Province, which includes Swat, to tell him his huge house was being demolished, he said in an interview here.

The most crushing news was about his finances. He had sold his fruit crop in advance, though at a quarter of last year’s price. But even that smaller yield would not be his, his tenants said, relaying the Taliban message. The buyer had been ordered to give the money to the Taliban instead.


Re: Militia evict Sikhs from homes
Posted by: scimitar (IP Logged)
Date: April 18, 2009 05:53AM


Sikhs in Orakzai pay Rs 20 million jizia to Taliban

By Abdul Saboor Khan

HANGU: The Sikh community living in Orakzai Agency on Wednesday conceded to Taliban demand to pay them jizia – tax levied on non-Muslims living under Islamic rule – and paid Rs 20 million to Taliban in return for ‘protection’.

Officials told Daily Times that the Taliban also released Sikh leader Sardar Saiwang Singh and vacated the community’s houses after the Sikhs accepted the Taliban demand.

The officials said the Taliban announced that the Sikhs were now free to live anywhere in the agency.

They also announced protection for the Sikh community, saying that no one would harm them after they paid jizia. Sikhs who had left the agency would now return to their houses and resume their business in the agency, the officials said.


Re: Militia evict Sikhs from homes
Posted by: scimitar (IP Logged)
Date: April 18, 2009 10:27AM


Religious/human rights abuses by the Pakistani Army -


State of Pakistans Tribal Areas -


Re: Militia evict Sikhs from homes
Posted by: scimitar (IP Logged)
Date: April 23, 2009 02:17AM


Orakzai Agency residents have been warned to leave the area before a major military offensive against the Taliban, as army gunship helicopters and air force jets pounded the Taliban’s positions in the tribal agency on Wednesday, witnesses and officials said.

The hideouts were targeted in the Ghaljo, Mohajir Camp and Garhi areas. Pamphlets saying “leave the area before April 24, as a major offensive against the Taliban will be launched” were dropped by helicopter in the areas targeted on Wednesday. abdul saboor khan



Re: Militia evict Sikhs from homes
Posted by: Harisingh (IP Logged)
Date: April 30, 2009 01:34AM

Taliban demolishes 11 homes of Sikh community



Re: Militia evict Sikhs from homes
Posted by: Harisingh (IP Logged)
Date: April 30, 2009 01:34AM

Taliban demolishes 11 homes of Sikh community



Re: Militia evict Sikhs from homes
Posted by: scimitar (IP Logged)
Date: April 30, 2009 10:22AM

HANGU: Taliban on Wednesday forcibly occupied three houses and 10 trade centres belonging to Sikhs in Orakzai Agency for not paying jizia, a tax levied on non-Muslims living under Islamic law. A few days ago, the local Taliban had asked Sikh families living in the agency to pay jizia amounting to Rs 50 million, which was later reduced to Rs 15 million after negotiations. They had set a deadline to pay the amount. Taliban occupied Sikhs houses and business centres in Samma Feroz Khel, Qasim Khel and Chirat areas after the deadline expired. Sources said the Taliban also burnt three trade centres belonging to the Sikh community. Around 15 Sikh families have left their ancestral villages and have taken refuge in Minni Khel area of the agency. staff report

Army fears disintegration if war ordered on Taliban’

* US official says Pakistani government and army are still not coming to grips with crisis

Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: The Pakistan Army officers are afraid that if they ask the rank and file to fire on the Taliban too much, the whole army might disintegrate, Bruce Riedel, a senior Obama administration official, has said.

The Obama administration is considering expediting aid to Pakistan to block militants threatening a cluster of strategic installations, The Washington Times has reported.

Grip: Bruce Riedel, who chaired the Obama administration’s recent review of policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan, has said the Pakistani government and army are still not coming to grips with the crisis. “Some officials are in denial,” he said.

Riedel expressed concern, however, about whether the Pakistani army would be willing to kill large numbers of the Taliban. Army’s spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas has said the operation against around 500 Taliban could take a week.

Taliban leaders, he said, had faked a withdrawal from Buner to impress the media. The peace deal with the government in the Swat valley was also a trick, he said.

The US has proposed giving Pakistan $1 billion in emergency aid and $1.5 billion a year in economic aid annually for five years.


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