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. razia says:

    aamir, how do u prove a negative? the onus of proof is on the us, allegation is not proof

  2. Aamir Ali says:


    Indeed the 9/11 reports have challenged by many, none of whom have provided proof that Alqaeda was NOT responsible for 9/11. Blaming mainstream media and praising Google search is not going to change the fact that Alqaeda made Afghanistan its base in 1990’s, launched attacks on US assets, threatened repeatedly to attack the mainland, and did so on 9/11.

    Besides the United Nations isn’t exactly “mainstream media” and you can read its report about 9/11. But staying in denial and does not change facts.

    Taliban have never attacked across LoC, and India has always blamed every single terrorist act on its soil in Pakistan. So don’t get so unhappy that Pakistanis blame terrorism in their country on India. After all India did train and support Mukti Bahini in East Pakistan and Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

  3. razia says:

    The US is in Afghanistan because of alqaeda and in Iraq because of WMDs? It has nothing to do with oil in Iraq or the pipeline in Afghanistan it wants to build to transport oil from central Asia? Yeah right!

    It is undisputed that Alqaeda in Afghanistan was responsible for 9/11, and that the Taliban refused to give them up. Really? try googling 911 truth.

    Have u heard of Kevin Ryan – the UBL employee, William Rodriguez

  4. insanity rules says:

    I believe there are many stories, which do not (may not or not yet) come to light and civilization is expolited in everywhich way. In the end you don’t know, who is the offender and who you can trust- and this is sold as Islam??

    It is high time, that (not only) Pakistanis come out of this apathy of sticking their heads in the sand, till the storm passes over or just ignore cowardly what is happening around them. Ethnicity, religious sects, Taliban, feudals…… c’mon the chain of injustice always has a new name and of worst – politicians (from anywhere) and civilians are always the suffering ones, not the politicians.

    Time to stand up – don’t wait for politicians, lead and dont wait to be led!

  5. Akshaye says:

    It seems the press in Pakistan is lagging behind and Iftikhar-ur-Rehman is the master of know-it-all to cast aspersions and create tensions by blindly accusing India regarding problems in SWAT Valley. Shame for such shallow thoughts as one should not forget of Talibans attacked over the LoC and other butcherous and hideous attacks of innocents on Indian and Pakistan soils. Don’t put the blame on others when you can’t find a solution about tackling Talibanism!

    You get what you sow! Pakistan made war on India and Bangladesh and India has never attacked any countries and the problem of Talibanism is a multi-faceted problem which has its origin in Pakistan’s socio-politico problems used by dirty politicians for their selfish interest.

    I have no doubt that Pakistanis will come out victorious and not let fanatical clerics dictate the destiny of Pakistan.

    Pakistanis are good, loving, intelligent people, highly cultured and won’t let certain bigots to plunge the country in the abyss of decay and torn by fanatical wars and surely and fortunately there are less people with narrow parochial behavior like Iftikhar-ur-Rehman!

    Akshaye (from MAURITIUS)

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