19 April 2009

KHALISTAN ALERT! The Taliban Threaten West Punjab

I'm sorry to break into your weekend fun, but something really big and alarming has come up.

Today on CNN, I heard a most upsetting story. It seems that the Taliban in Pakistan have not only taken over the Swat Valley and forced their nonMuslim tax, called jizya, on Sikhs there, but much more alarming, they have made inroads in West Punjab. This is very serious.

When it comes to draconian oppression, the Taliban are masters! Imagine Punjab with no music, no dance, no colourful women, no joy. We all know that Punjabi celebrations can get out of hand. Weddings, especially are way too big, way too showy, way too expensive. But -

Can you imagine being flogged for going to one?

Can you imagine having your feet cut off for dancing at one?

Gerbil - no dancing

Can you imagine a long, torturous prison sentence for singing at one?

mechanic bird singing

Or - should you be a woman - execution for even expressing a desire to go to one?

That is the dark, joyless world of the Taliban.

That is the Punjab of the Taliban.

"After it rains, there's a rainbow and all of the colours are black...

Nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town..."
That's a song, but you better not sing it!

I have no idea what we can do about this, but I know it must be stopped. We are the chardi kala people, remember? We cannot allow this land to be turned into a no-laugh zone. The first step is to be aware. This is from today's New York Times:


April 14, 2009

This article was reported by Sabrina Tavernise, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Eric Schmitt and written by Ms. Tavernise.

DERA GHAZI KHAN, PakistanTaliban insurgents are teaming up with local militant groups to make inroads in Punjab, the province that is home to more than half of Pakistanis, reinvigorating an alliance that Pakistani and American authorities say poses a serious risk to the stability of the country.

The deadly assault in March in Lahore, Punjab's capital, against the Sri Lankan cricket team, and the bombing last fall of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, the national capital, were only the most spectacular examples of the joint campaign, they said.

Now police officials, local residents and analysts warn that if the government does not take decisive action, these dusty, impoverished fringes of Punjab could be the next areas facing the insurgency. American intelligence and counterterrorism officials also said they viewed the developments with alarm.

"I don't think a lot of people understand the gravity of the issue," said a senior police official in Punjab, who declined to be idenfitied because he was discussing threats to the state. "If you want to destabilize Pakistan, you have to destabilize Punjab."

As American drone attacks disrupt strongholds of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the tribal areas, the insurgents are striking deeper into Pakistan — both in retaliation and in search of new havens.

Telltale signs of creeping militancy abound in a belt of towns and villages near here that a reporter visited last week. Militants have gained strength considerably in the district of Dera Ghazi Khan, which is a gateway both to Taliban-controlled areas and the heart of Punjab, the police and local residents say. Many were terrified.

Some villages, just north of here, are so deeply infiltrated by militants that they are already considered no-go zones by their neighbors.

In at least five towns in southern and western Punjab, including the midsize hub of Multan, barber shops, music stores and Internet cafes offensive to the militants' strict interpretation of Islam have received threats. Traditional ceremonies that include drumming and dancing have been halted in some areas. Hard-line ideologues have addressed large crowds to push their idea of Islamic revolution. Sectarian attacks, dormant here since the 1990s, have erupted once again.

To read the rest, please go here: Taliban In Punjab