The Tale of Palwasha and the Taliban

Posted on July 21, 2009
Filed Under >Ghazala Khan, Law & Justice, People, Society
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Ghazala Khan

Pakistanis have come out of that ominous state of baffled, bamboozled and befuddled apathy and now showing the same signs of unity and sacrifice that we had witnessed after the 8th October, 2005 earthquake.

Especially the people of Swabi, Mardan and the suburbia villages have set an example of extreme human sacrifice and the generosity. More than 3.5 million people have become internally displaced from the war-torn Swat and FATA and only six percent of these IDPs are living in the camps setup by the government, while rest of them have become guests of the common people in various cities of North West Frontier Province.

That is why we decided to reach out to the IDPs, people who are in the homes of others. We reached Shahbaz Garhi, a remote village near Mardan with our small truck load of relief goods, and started knocking from door to door to distribute dry edibles, mediciens, some fans, and other things.

It was during this effort that I came across, Palwasha – a beautiful sad looking teenage girl. She shyly asked me to give her some clothes, which I didn’t have but I promised her to send it through parcel, the very next day.

In talking to young Palwasha I learnt much I did not know. What the media had never told me, Palwasha revealed between her tears and anger.

Palwasha was living in a small village near Charbagh area with her three sisters and parents, and all of them remained oblivious to the skirmish between government and Taliban, and perhaps that became their sin of which they paid dearly. They didn’t see any thing differnet when Taliban promised them Shariah, she said, because they were Muslims already and certainly liked to have a Muslim law. They wanted speedy justice and equal opportunities, besides they didn’t want to look like opposing the Shariah law. And so, they welcomed the Taliban.

Palwasha’s family was just yet another family from the Charbagh area of Swat, which is rich in beauty but lacks most development amenities. Her father was a miner in an Emerald mine, and when Taliban came and forced them to take their way and occupied the rich mines, the earnings of Khanzada, father of Palwasha, were slashed to less than half. As usual, the first cut the family made was to terminate the education of all the sisters, and then upon food. Things were tough, and Palwasha’s family was unable to comprehend this Talibanic Shariah.

Palwasha told me that early one morning, five Taliban came smiling to their home and one of them told her father to marry his four daughters to the four Taliban accompanying him right now. He father showed some presence of mind and instead of refusing asked one day for preparations. When Taliban came next day, the whole village opened fire at them from the rooftops, and after killing all three dozens of them, they fled the area.

According to Palwasha, that became common occurrance in the villages and even in the cities of the Mingora, where Taliban asked for forced marriages. At some places Taliban gave three choices to the family: marry the girl, furnish boy for fighting, or pay Rs. 50,000.

Palwasha got quite gloomy and said, “I have no idea when I will be able to go back to my home in Swat. Such is life there these days.”

Note: Ghazala Khan runs the blog The Pakistani Spectator, and had visited these IDPs along with her colleagues to distribute relief goods.

35 responses to “The Tale of Palwasha and the Taliban”

  1. Adnan Siddiqi says:

    *grin*. I know writing anything “against” can make your nights restless but still..why so much scared?

  2. We request commenters to please review ATP comment policy. Comments that are tangential to the topic of the post or repetitive will be delated.

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  3. razia says:

    aamir, if u want to believe lies of the 9/11 Commission Report, and the United Nations report on 9/11, which do not address questions of the money trail, the pulverization of steel at kerosene flash point temperature, which is much lower than the melting point of steel, why building 7, which was not hit by any plane collapsed, again the list of unanswered questions is long, u r welcome. i’ll have none of it.

    and if ksm is so proud of his accomplishments why did he need to be waterboarded 183 times in one month?

    Jesse Ventura: You Give Me a Water Board, Dick Cheney and One Hour, and I’ll Have Him Confess to the Sharon Tate Murders

  4. Meengla says:

    I agree with @Aamir Ali’s positions vis a vis both @Razia and @Akshaye.
    1) Truly, there are some questionable govt. accounts of the 9/11 attacks and perhaps even some coverups. But the most I am willing to concede to the perennial (and ubiquitous) consipracy theorists is that some ‘inside’ sources -may- have allowed the Al-Qaida terrorists to launch the attacks. Al Qaida is, without a doubt, directly the culprit behind the attacks. You may come up with ‘reasons’ for the attack and perhaps even ‘justify’ but the overwhelming evidence/confessions and subsequent acts of captures and terrorism in Pakistan point to a very strong case against Al Qaida.
    2) People like @Razia divert attention from the main focus–peace for all–by shutting their eyes to all reason on some major problems facing the world. Having been reading bloggers from Russia, America, India, Israel, and Pakistan (and other places to a lesser degree), I can safely say that there are so many in almost all cultures with conspiracy theory mindset. From the so-called UFO sightings to JFK assassination to 9/11 these people thrive in conspiracy theories like an record player (gramaphone) stuck in one track.
    3) Why would it be so hard to entertain the idea that India would not take advantage of the loss of Pakistani control in Afghanistan post November 2001 fall of the Taliban? I mean India has a perfectly ‘justified’ reasoned approach that Pakistan has been introducing ‘terrorism’ in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) since 1989. And now, since Mumbai attacks of November 2008, India has a renewed vigor to ‘avenge’ itself.
    4) A stable Pakistan -should- be in India’s own interest. But of even greater, immediate interest of India is that Pakistan be bullied into ceding the cherished Indian goal of ‘Line of Control = International Border’ solution. Yes, after that, I am almost certain India would actually follow through with its noble ‘stable Pakistan’ policy. Until then–I am equally sure–India would remain an opportunistic neighbor. To an extent I don’t blame India for that. It is in their interest. Moral questions are usually left out in such matters.

  5. Aamir Ali says:


    That is why I asked you to read the 9/11 Commission Report, and the United Nations report on 9/11 attacks. All the proof you want is in there. If that doesn’t satisfy you, then you can also watch Alqaeda videos and the confessions of captured Alqaeda members, like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, in which they proudly claim the 9/11 attacks.

    However doing a Google search and finding a webpage that says what you desire doesn’t equal “alternative media” or an alternative theory.

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