Deprivation of childhood : Underage labourers on the rise

By Ahtesham Azhar

KARACHI: Unprecedented rise in inflation as well as a lack of awareness about the repercussions of engaging children into bonded labour are largely contributing to an increase in the menace of child labour in Pakistan, particularly prevalent in urban towns and cities.

Throughout Karachi, a large number of children are working as domestic labourers in homes, shops and factories on daily wages. And they are among the most vulnerable sections of the society.

According to the Child Rights Movement, approximately 9.86 million children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 are an active part of labour force in Pakistan – with 2.58 million of them under the age of 14.

Gul Sher, a 14-year-old-boy, who is working since two years on a roadside tandoor in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, says that he wants to get educated but works for his family. “It is difficult to work in scorching heat, but since my father is also here, I work to support him,” he said.

He has six family members who live in Quetta, and is the eldest among all. He wants all of them to get educated. “I work here such that my other siblings can go to school,” he added.

Because prices of commodities are rising by the day, children are forced to work – to support their family just like the elder members. The majority of children work on daily wages ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 200 – enough to bear their simple meals for themselves – instead of depending on their parents.

Riaz Ahmed is a 13-year-old motorbike mechanic at a local pump in Dalmia. He works as a helper to his ustad and gets Rs 50 each day. He has five siblings and lives in Shanti Nagar in a two-room rented house. “I am happy with my job, as my support reduces the burden on my family.”

Since long, in Pakistan, hundreds of organisations, both from the government and the private sector are working to address the issue; however, have failed in eliminating it completely. This is primarily because of the ever-increasing poverty within the country.

Numerous legislations in the form of child protection acts and bills have also been introduced, but have never been implemented to make a visible effect.

For Nazra Khanum, a 66-year-old senior citizen of Karachi, who has seen all the ups and downs in the country, this is primarily because of unprecedented rise in inflation, which is a recent phenomenon. She said, “Earlier, only one family member used to work, and it was enough to feed the entire family. But now, you cannot even think of such pleasures. Everyone has to have a job to make the ends meet.”

“We were seven siblings and only our elder brother used to work. His income was enough to meet the expenses of our entire household,” said Khanum, adding that the issue could only be resolved if the government gave heed to the problems faced by the poor.

“If a person’s income is not sufficient to feed his family, what other option does he have other than forcing his child to work and earn some livelihood,” she wondered.

Besides, the extravagant lifestyle of today has also forced every member of the family to work and meet their luxurious expenses. “In our times people were simple with no wasteful demands. But now, the situation is otherwise,” she said. “They spend much on irrelevant luxuries. Even children want mobile phones nowadays.”

These children are often subjected to verbal as well as sexual abuse, and cases of violence against underaged labourers are countless.

“I am working since seven months and many times the customers have used abusive language over minor mistakes,” said 15-year-old Abdullah, who works at a local teashop. He hails from Peshawar and is working to support his family back home. “I cannot even speak Urdu properly but my father has sent me here to work due to financial problems,” he said. “We are nine siblings and my father and an elder brother also work to feed them all.”

It is difficult to work in scorching hot here, but since my father is also here, I work to support him
Gul Sher, 14

I am happy with my job, as my support reduces the burden on my family
Riaz Ahmed, 13

We were seven siblings and only our elder brother used to work. His income was enough to meet the expenses of our entire household
Nazra Khanum senior citizen

I can not even speak Urdu properly but my father has sent me here to work due to financial crisis
Abdullah, 15



Childhood lost in Machhar Colony

Childhood lost in Machhar Colony

By Amar Guriro

KARACHI: Instead of attending school, teenager Asif Rehman was sent to a fish-processing factory to work as a helper to workers. He works twelve hours a day, during which he carries fish from the iceboxes, cuts the fish into small equal parts and cleans the place at the end of the day.

Every day after getting up, he walks through the narrow streets filled with filth and construction debris of one of the biggest slum settlements of Karachi with around 1 million population – the Machhar Colony – to reach the factory. He returns after sunset when the ships are anchored at the Karachi Port. While he helps the workers in the factory, children of the same age in his neighbourhood play on the heaps of garbage.

Despite working for long hours, he earns only Rs 250 a day – the amount being deposited to the manager – as an instalment of the loan his mother took for his father’s treatment.

His father, Nazeem, a Bengali speaking professional fisherman, had fallen ill three years ago, and is sick since then. He has been infected by a disease unknown to mankind and his relatives often say that he is a victim of Kaala Jadu (black magic). Nazeem has become so weak that he is even unable to move and is lying on a bed day and night.

Zohrain, Asif’s mother, has no money to treat her husband and feed his five siblings. This is why she took a loan of Rs 30,000 from a local fish-processing factory – handing over her son as a helper. But despite treatment and visiting many faith healers, Nazeem has not yet recovered.

“I am working here since two years, but the factory’s manager still claims to have recovered only half the amount of loan my mother took. Hence, I will have to work for two more years,” said Asif.

He said the work was very difficult for him and he often gets injured in the way. Moreover, like every other child, he also wishes to get an education. “I want to go school and play with my friends, but have no other option,” he said sadly.

However, Asif is not alone; in these ill-fated slum settlements, there are many other children who become the “heads” of their families, just in their childhood. Because of poverty, the parents force their minor children to work and become bread earners.

Though, in the Pakistani society, child labour is a common issue, in slums like Machhar Colony, it gets worst. Most of the residents are Afghan, Bengali and Burmese – officially termed as illegal immigrants. They are not allowed to work and whenever they go outside, the colony police catch them, ask to show their identity and often demand heavy bribes to let them go. In such conditions they prefer to work inside the colony, where there are fewer chances to find a job and also the wages are very low.

“The residents are poor, they are not educated and due to the increasing living expenses, they prefer sending their children to work instead of schools,” said Abdul Haq, a young man who runs an NGO in the same colony.

Among other children, sixteen-year-old Babar is also one who works as a Pani wala. He carries blue plastic containers, which were actually made to carry the chemicals, to fill drinking water on a wooden pushcart and supplies water in different neighbourhoods.

His mother, Bano Abagul, an Afghan refugee who is a widow and mother of four, also lives in Machhar colony since ten years. She has no adult male member in the family to feed her children and pay rent for the small house located in Shamsi Mohalla. For that reason, Babar is forced to work and earn.

“There is no legal connection of drinking water in the colony, hence most of the people buy water from local shops who get the supply from me,” said Babar.

I am working here since two years, but the factory’s manager still claims to have recovered only half the amount of loan my mother took. Hence, I will have to work for two more years”


The residents are poor, they are not educated and due to the increasing living expenses, they prefer sending their children to work instead of schools”

Abdul Haq

There is no legal connection of drinking water in the colony, hence most of the people buy water from local shops who get the supply from me”


Forced begging and extreme poverty

KARACHI: On the streets of Karachi, children are engaged in selling flowers, toys, cold water, cleaning car windows in order to earn a few rupees for survival, and support to their families. Among these are many children who are being forced to beg on the streets of Karachi, sometimes by their own families, and often by a mafia. Forced begging is one of the worst forms of child labour in Pakistan, which is a major issue especially in developing countries. The only time police can take action against such elements is when someone lodges a complaint. Once a child is recovered by the police in such operations, they then search for the child’s parents. In case a child has no kin, police handover the child to a shelter home, explained a senior police officer. In 2012, as many as 2,317 children disappeared from Karachi, of which only 16 percent were rescued according to Roshni Helpline, a Karachi-based civil society group. This year, in the month of July, on the complaint of Ramesh, father of a missing child, Docks police conducted targeted raids in Gizri and busted a gang of kidnappers, and claimed to have rescued 11 under-aged children who were being forced to beg. The children, aged between eight and 15 years, belonged to different regions of the country and were mostly kidnapped from Punjab and Sindh. According to police officials, the children were kidnapped specifically for the purpose of forced begging. In Pakistan alone, more than 10 million children are engaged in child labour and reports say that 300,000 of the total are in Sindh. As per a UN estimate from 2005, there are 1.2 million to 1.5 million children on Pakistan’s streets, though the activists claim the numbers are rising. It is a dire time to think about street children, because they are the ones who in their later years often get involved in criminal activities and other social evils. Street children in Karachi are aged between six and 15 years, most of them are often beggars and also forced into sex work due to many reasons. They mainly belong to large families who live below the ultra poverty level, and since their parents are absolutely uneducated and unskilled, they are unable to earn sufficient amounts to raise their children. Often these parents do not enrol their children in schools. In order to put all these iniquities, and put all children in schools, authorities need to reach to every section of society and make sure each and every child has access to education and a safe environment. Despite that there are hundreds of laws and institutions working on this issue, none are able to achieve the desired results. According to experts, the best approach to solve this issue and turn these young souls into productive members of society is a partnership between the civil society, NGOs, government and most importantly the media. It can play its role by spreading public service messages through online broadcasting. saud khan

1.8 million-year-old skull

1.8 million-year-old skull gives glimpse of our evolution

The discovery of a 1.8 million-year-old human ancestor, the most complete ancient hominid skull found to date, captures early human evolution on the move in a vivid snapshot and indicates our family tree may have fewer branches than originally thought, scientists say.The discovery of a 1.8 million-year-old human ancestor captures early human evolution on the move. Photo: AP

A “time capsule” from 1.8 million years ago, located in Dmanisi, Georgia, shows variations among five human skulls from that period that suggest long-debated distinctions about early human development may be overblown.

The differences between the skulls were no more than that seen in modern humans, according to a report released on Thursday in the journal Science. The findings suggest there may have been only one species of early human in a key period of time when they first began to migrate out of Africa, said David Lordkipanidze, an anthropologist at the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi and the report’s author.

The analysis drew immediate criticism from scientists who said other members of the hominid family — Homo erectus, Homo habilis, and Homo rudolfensis — were identified using more than just their skulls. Lordkipanidze said the Dmanisi artifacts offer the earliest known representation outside of Africa of human development after the migration.

“Dmanisi has a uniqueness: it’s a real snapshot in time, a time capsule from 1.8 million years ago,” he said in a phone call with reporters.


The site, which sits below the ruins of the medieval town of Dmanisi, in the Mashavera River Valley, was discovered in 1983, when archaeologists studying the medieval town noticed bones of species they knew were extinct. In 1984, ancient stone tools were found there.

One of the five skulls found at the site recently had a small braincase, a long face, and large teeth, features never before seen together, according to the paper in Science. It was discovered with four other crania from the same place and time.

‘Strange Combination’

The skull has “a strange combination of features we didn’t see before in early Homo”, said Marcia S. Ponce de León, a report co-author, of the Anthropological Institute and Museum in Zurich, in a call with reporters. Its location with other contemporary skulls allows the researchers to compare them to each other, she said.

The jaw of the skull was found first, in 2000, and the rest of the skull was found in 2005. Its braincase is “unexpectedly small”, said Ponce de Leon, measuring only 33.3 cubic inches (546 cubic centimetres). Modern humans have an average brain volume of about 76 cubic inches (1250 cubic centimetres).

Given that the population of individuals showed no greater range of variation than that of 5 humans or bonobos, the researchers proposed that early Homo individuals may not represent three species, but one.

‘Single Species’

“The variation within the samples from Africa is no more than our variation within homo erectus,” said Christoph Zollikofer from the Anthropological Institute and Museum in Zurich, Switzerland, a co-author on the Science report. “We’re pretty sure that the variation is within a single species, and we’re calling it homo erectus.”

Other anthropologists urge caution, saying the differences in cranial shapes may not reflect changes in other bones.

Bernard Wood, a professor of human origins at Georgetown University in Washington DC said he was convinced all the skulls from the site belonged to the same group. However, he didn’t agree with the group’s larger generalisation.

“They look at this overall cranial shape and say, ‘If you look at Homo habilis and erectus, there isn’t much more difference,” Wood said by telephone. “You can’t infer the latter from the former.”

The reason why Homo habilis and Homo erectus are viewed as distinct isn’t just the cranial shape, Wood said. Changes in the wrists and ankles, as well as in leg bones, took place at that time. Merging the classes doesn’t make sense even if they share cranial shapes, he said.

‘Splitters, Lumpers’

The finding likely won’t change expert’s views on species diversity, where two groups are heavily entrenched said William Harcourt-Smith, an assistant professor at Lehman College and a research associate in the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Paleontology.

Some, nicknamed “splitters”, see the tree of evolution as having many species. Others, called “lumpers”, see wider species categories and fewer limbs on the tree.

“To be honest it just adds some important fuel to the debate,” Harcourt-Smith wrote in an email. “The lumpers, of course, will love this new paper, but I can see splitters saying that there is too much variation in both the African early Homo and Dmanisi sample for them to all be Homo erectus.”

Correction: This article originally stated the skull was found in Georgia in the US. That was incorrect. It was found in the country Georgia. The error was made during production.

Bloomberg and AP

“Are you lazy or just incompetent?”

“Are you lazy or just incompetent?”

October 18, 2013
james adonis

Work In Progress

James Adonis is one of Australia’s best-known people-management thinkers

View more entries from Work In Progress

“If I hear that idea again, I’m gonna have to kill myself.”“If I hear that idea again, I’m gonna have to kill myself.”

A new biography on Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is due to be released next month. He may well be an inspirational entrepreneur but, if the excerpt is to be believed, he is also an impulsive megalomaniac with a sharp tongue – especially toward his employees. Here’s a collection of his more venomous comments:

  • “Are you lazy or just incompetent?”
  • “I’m sorry, did I take my stupid pills today?”
  • “If I hear that idea again, I’m gonna have to kill myself.”
  • “Why are you wasting my life?”

Many of us have probably thought similar sentiments at some stage in our working lives, but to actually come out and say it in front of others takes a staggering amount of chutzpah. Or a whole lot of power.

I would not allow this employee to breed.

Back in 1997, Fortune magazine published a selection of absurd reflections written by bosses in their employees’ performance appraisals. Some of the quirkier ones included:

  • “Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.”
  • “I would not allow this employee to breed.”
  • “This associate is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definitely won’t be.”
  • “He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle.”
  • “He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.”

Some of those are quite funny, but a case currently under way in the American court system suggests the opposite. A worker named Laura Siv has filed a lawsuit for US$6 million against her employer, claiming his insults led to her brain haemorrhage. He allegedly said she looked like Susan Boyle and, when he saw her eating at an office party, he commented: “Fatty here is having a cupcake.”


Very little research has been done on workplace insults, but one work particularly stands out. Published in The Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology, the researchers wanted to find out whether there are certain workplaces in which it’s more acceptable to publicly insult an employee.

They set up a boardroom-style scenario where colleagues were witnesses to an employee being insulted by a superior. Afterwards, they were asked what they thought of the insulter. Some of the briefings were held in China, others in the United States.

The researchers discovered the Chinese were far less likely to judge the insulter’s actions harshly. The reason? Chinese workplaces are strongly defined by power structures, which means people are reluctant to criticise their boss. In the American groups, however, the insulter was seen as acting inappropriately.

In essence, the more hierarchical your organisation, the greater risk there is of your leaders exercising their perceived power to insult. Indeed, power is the reason people insult others in the first place.

In his new book, A Slap in the Face: Why Insults Hurt – And Why They Shouldn’t, Professor William Irvine argues that insults are hurled precisely because people seek to retain or advance their social status. And that is also the reason we’re hurt by them. We feel as though our status, too, has been diminished.

Michael Scott, from the US version of The Office, humorously summarises the mindset behind such behaviour: “There’s always a distance between a boss and the employees; it’s just nature’s rule. It’s intimidation mostly. It’s the awareness that they are not me.”

So what can you do about it? One of Professor Irvine’s suggestions is to turn the insult into self-deprecation. The mere feeling of being hurt gives substance and credit to the insult. By ignoring it, acting indifferently, or even laughing at it, we defuse the offending remark, thereby rendering the insulter impotent.

That advice might work in theory, but not when the insult verges on bullying. That’s when it ceases to be a laughing matter.

What’s the worst/best insult you’ve heard at work? How did you deal with it?

Read more:




Pakistan polio outbreak puts global eradication at risk

Pakistan polio outbreak puts global eradication at risk – Dailytimes Report 19 Oct 2013\10\19\story_19-10-2013_pg1_6

* Taliban attacks, vaccine ban leave many children exposed

* Dozens of children paralysed in Waziristan outbreak

* Dramatic progress towards wiping out polio in jeopardy

LONDON: A Taliban ban on vaccination is exacerbating a serious polio outbreak in Pakistan, threatening to derail dramatic progress made this year towards wiping out the disease worldwide, health officials say.

Health teams in Pakistan have been attacked repeatedly since the Taliban denounced vaccines as a Western plot to sterilise Muslims and imposed bans on inoculation in June 2012.

In North Waziristan, a region near the Afghan border that has been cordoned off by the Taliban, dozens of children, many under the age of two, have been crippled by the viral disease in the past six months.

And there is evidence in tests conducted on sewage samples in some of the country’s major cities that the polio virus is starting to spread beyond these isolated pockets and could soon spark fresh polio outbreaks in more densely populated areas.

“We have entered a phase that we were all worried about and were afraid might happen,” Elias Durry, head of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in Pakistan, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“The risk is that as long as the virus is still circulating, and as long as we have no means of reaching these children and immunising them to interrupt virus transmission, it could jeopardise everything that has been done so far – not only in Pakistan, but also in the region and around the globe.”

Polio is a highly infectious disease that invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis in a matter of hours. A $5.5 billion global eradication plan was launched in April with the aim of vaccinating 250 million children multiple times each year to stop the virus finding new footholds, and stepping up surveillance in more than 70 countries.

The virus has been cornered to just a handful of areas in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the three countries where polio is endemic. Global cases have dropped by more than 99.9 percent in less than three decades, from 350,000 in 1985 to just 223 last year, according to the GPEI.

But so far in 2013, there have already been 296 cases worldwide. Forty-three were in Pakistan, the vast majority in children in the semi-autonomous Pashtun lands along the Afghan border known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which include North Waziristan.

Accusations that immunisation campaigns are cover for spies were given credence when it emerged that the United States had used a Pakistani vaccination team to gather intelligence about al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was found and killed by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011.

The Taliban ban, and associated security threats, mean the polio virus could easily escape and spread back into previously cleared areas.

Tariq Bhutta of the Pakistan Paediatric Association said there was little prospect that the militant Islamist group would change its stance. He said attacks on health teams attempting to reach children to immunise them were becoming both more frequent and more violent.

“The vaccination teams are still going out, but at risk to their lives,” he told Reuters. “People can come up on motorbikes and shoot them, and they’ve also started attacking the police put there to protect the vaccination teams.” A Taliban bomb that exploded earlier this month near a polio vaccination team in the northwestern city of Peshawar killed two people and appeared to target police assigned to protect the health workers.

“This will only be solved if the polio teams can get access to those children – either inside FATA, or when the children move out into other areas,” Bhutta said. “Without that I don’t see how things can improve. Rather I think things might get more serious when the polio virus gets out into settled areas.”

The GPEI says the FATA is the area with the largest number of children being paralysed by wild poliovirus in all of Asia.

Four polio cases in children in Pakistan were reported in the last week. Because the virus spreads from person to person, the World Health Organisation says as long as any child remains infected, children everywhere are at risk. reuters

Shahbaz expresses sorrow over KP law minister’s death

Shahbaz expresses sorrow over KP law minister’s death

* CM stresses need for forging unity to counter terrorism

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the death of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa law minister Israrullah Gandapur and the loss of other precious lives in a suicide attack in Kolachi area of Dera Ismail Khan.

Shahbaz Sharif telephoned Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khatak and strongly condemned the suicide attack. He offered his sympathies over the death of Israrullah Gandapur and others in the tragic incident.

Earlier, on the Eid day, Shahbaz offered prayers at Jaati Umra, Raiwind.

Special prayers were also offered on this occasion for the solidarity, progress and prosperity of the country. Later, the chief minister exchanged Eid greetings with the people. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Member of National Assembly Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, elected representatives and other leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz also offered Eid prayers at Jaati Umra.

Meanwhile, Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan had been facing the serious issue of terrorism for the last several years, and besides officers of the Pakistan Army and the police, common citizens had also offered sacrifices in the war against terrorism. He said that more than 50,000 Pakistanis had embraced martyrdom so far. He said under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the federal government had formulated a policy – with the consultation of all political parties – to curb terrorism, and its implementation would yield positive results, as the situation of law and order would improve in the country.

He was talking to reporters after distributing Eid gifts among under-treatment children at the Children Hospital on the second day of Eid.

Speaking on the occasion, he said that enemies of Pakistan were engaged in conspiracies to destabilise the country, and it was the need of the hour that the whole nation should unite to root out terrorism. He said that Pakistani nation would have to stand as a rock against anti-Pakistan elements, and that collective efforts were needed to check the incidents of terrorism.

The chief minister distributed Eid gifts among the under-treatment children and inquired from their attendants about the medical facilities being provided at the hospital.

He extended heartiest felicitations to the entire nation on the occasion of Eidul Azha and prayed for the development and prosperity of Pakistan.

He said that it was lamentable that the enemies of humanity, Islam, Pakistan and peace shed the blood of innocent people even on the occasion of Eid.

He said that terrorism had caused an immense loss to national economy and it was his Eid message to the nation to counter terrorism and the evil designs of anti-Pakistan forces by forging unity.

In reply to a question, Shahbaz Sharif said that the federal government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif furthered the process of negotiations with the Taliban with due sincerity and invited them to talks.

He said that the Taliban should also respond positively to the offer of dialogue. In response to a question about the arrest of the accused involved in molestation of a minor girl of Mughalpura, the chief minister said that he was getting information about the pace of investigation into the case and substantial progress had been made. He said the culprit would not be able to escape punishment. pr




‘Overseas Pakistanis’ contributions towards country’s economy vital’

Oct 16, 2013\10\16\story_16-10-2013_pg5_5
‘Overseas Pakistanis’ contributions towards country’s economy vital’

ISLAMABAD: Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Speaker National Assembly has said the government was facing variety of challenges that would be overcome with the help of the Pakistani nation and support of friendly countries like Britain.

Addressing Pakistani community in Birmingham, UK he said the country was on the way of democracy and heading towards development.

He urged the overseas Pakistanis to play their role in making the country self- reliant in economic field. He called upon them to remit their foreign exchange through legal channels.

Overseas Pakistanis are the assets for Pakistan and we will address their issues on priority basis. The present government gives them a meaningful role in the nation building process. Sarwar as a Governor of Punjab is the best example.

He urged the Pakistani community in Britain to play an effective role for the projection of soft image of Pakistan. He called upon overseas Pakistani that the victims and affectees of earthquake in Balochistan direly need support and help at this moment of disaster. ppi

BBC – Malala


Broadcast: 15/10/2013

Reporter: Mishal Husain

After Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban she became even more determined to push her campaign.

NB: Due to copyright restrictions the video of this story will not be availlable online. The schoolgirls were gossiping and giggling on the little open-backed school van taking them home when it rounded a bend and was waved down by two young men brandishing guns.
‘Who is Malala Yousafzai?’ one demanded.
Anyone who’d been near a television in Pakistan in recent years would know who Malala was. Her campaign for female education had catapulted her from obscure schoolgirl to national identity. But the pair were Taliban – vehemently opposed to schooling girls – and they wanted to be certain of their target
The group of girls reacted nervously, spontaneously turning to a 15 year old girl seated toward the back of the bus. The gunman didn’t hesitate. He shot her in the head. Two other girls were wounded.
That Malala survived the attack is astonishing. That she emerged from the attempt on her life stronger and even more determined to push her campaign for education is truly inspirational.
Here she is – less than a year after the attack – addressing the United Nations to rapturous applause.
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen … can change the world. Education first, thank you.” MALALA YOUSAFZAI
Her early outspokenness, the attack and her recovery have been well documented from a distance. But now, for the first time, Malala tells her story in her own words.
BBC Panorama reporter Mishal Husain has been granted extraordinary access to Malala’s world, filming with her family as they make their new life in Birmingham England, returning to Malala’s school, speaking with her classmates and visiting the scene of the shooting.
But above all, this enthralling story features an extended interview with Malala herself in which she details her motivations and inspirations, the harrowing experience of the attack that nearly claimed her life and her hopes and dreams that every child should and – if she has anything to do with – will receive an education.
“I need to be fully empowered… and to make myself powerful, I only need one thing, that is education, so I will get education.”


Pakistan – Enemy within

It’s out of bounds for most Pakistanis let alone a TV crew from Australia, but Foreign Correspondent has secured rare access to a deeply troubled corner of Pakistan – South Waziristan. The Pakistan Army is keen to show how it’s managed to kick out the Pakistan Taliban and restore a more conventional order to this neck of the so-called Tribal Agencies.
But is this a bona fide and enduring success story or just a fleeting chapter in a long history of changing rule in a heavily disputed area that presses up against Afghanistan and a hornet’s nest of Islamic extremists?
In a newly reconstructed market-place in one village, reporter Eric Campbell gets a sense of the complexities and vagaries of power.
Many villagers claim life was just fine under the Taliban, and the army’s intervention was unnecessary and destructive.
“No one was afraid because they were all locals, and all were Pakistanis. Everything was open – the markets – everyone was roaming around as normal. Everything was normal.” Villager, South Waziristan.
A shopkeeper tells Campbell, the Taliban were amenable rulers and he had no complaints. Equally, he says most have no problems with the army occupation of the area. He and others in the shop then joke about kidnapping the Foreign Correspondent crew for ransom.
Pakistan’s foremost expert on Islamists in the region, Ahmed Rashid, claims the American military focus on Afghanistan and the Pakistan Government’s duplicity there has radicalised and emboldened a local variant of the Taliban that’s now bent on destroying the Pakistan government and installing a Sharia dictatorship.
“There has been this double game that has gone on for many years, of Pakistan supporting the NATO presence in Afghanistan and at the same time allowing the Afghan Taliban to operate against the NATO forces. There is now a full-scale extremist movement in Pakistan that is trying to overthrow the State.” AHMED RASHID
For the time being – as the authority of the Army prevails – a major effort is unfolding to win back the support of the locals, including the construction of a high school for girls. That’s where we find Australian aid worker Jennifer McKay and an optimistic assessment of the future in South Waziristan.
“In the post conflict areas, education’s really critical to you know countering extremism and just generally the future prosperity and peace, so it’s a very important investment. It’s one more way of keeping the Taliban at bay” JENNIFER McKAY Aid Worker
Reporter: Eric Campbell Producer: Marianne Leitch Camera: David Martin Additional footage: Saleem Mehsud Editor: Garth Thomas __________________________________

Further Information

To support education for girls in Chagmalai, Pakistan Action on Poverty or call AFAP-Action on Poverty 02 9906 3792 __________________________________


CAMPBELL: Islamabad looks as vibrant as ever, but even the capital is on high alert. This entire country is under attack from the inside. I’m on my way to a military hospital to see some of the victims.
These soldiers were sent to the heart of a conflict that’s been largely hidden from the world. They’ve come back profoundly damaged and disabled.
MAJOR DR MUHAMMAD ALI: “Well most of the patients we are receiving now at Armed Forces Institute of Rehabilitative Medicine are coming from the western borders of Pakistan where the war on terror is in progress. The mine blast injuries are the most common causes which they are having in those areas as they are deployed there”.
CAMPBELL: Major Dr Muhammad Ali gets new amputees to treat every week.
MAJOR DR MUHAMMAD ALI: “As you have seen, one of the patients here, he has got three limb amputations – that is one above elbow, and bilateral trans-femoral amputations – that is above knee amputation. They are pretty tough men and at every stage of life I personally learn so many things from them, at how motivated and how robust they are that even with this challenge they are living a successful life”.
CAMPBELL: In the past nine years more than 5,000 Pakistani soldiers have been killed and nearly 9,000 wounded fighting militants on the western border. Some of the enemy are Afghan and Arab fanatics who fled from Afghanistan, but most are their own people – Pakistanis inspired by the foreign militants to kill, maim and bomb their fellow countrymen.
AMPUTEE SOLDIER: “I have lost my leg, but I am ready to sacrifice for the country. I am ready to fight again. I will serve in the army and we will defeat the criminals. I am ready to sacrifice my life for the country”.
CAMPBELL: The victims aren’t just soldiers. There are nearly daily attacks on civilians, like this July bombing of a police graduation ceremony live on TV. The main culprits are the Pakistani Taliban. They’re an offshoot of the Afghan Taliban and even more ruthless. For ten years Pakistan’s foremost expert on extremism, Ahmed Rashid has warned of their rise.
AHMED RASHID: “From being a very small group controlling a small area they have expanded. They now have enlisted the support of militant groups in Karachi, in Punjab, in Sindh, Kashmiri groups who are fighting the Indians in Kashmir. There is now a full scale extremist movement in Pakistan that is trying to overthrow the State”.
CAMPBELL: The inspiration and agents of some of the worst acts of terrorism inhabit these remote landscapes – a place called Waziristan. According to US intelligence, even the Bali bombings that killed 88 Australians can be traced back to this frontier.
Pakistan’s porous border with Afghanistan is wide open to smugglers and terrorists. Since 2002 it’s been the real home of al Qaeda and the Taliban. They simply relocated here after the US-led invasion.
[travelling in car] “While the world has been focussed on Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan has been fighting an even costlier war in its own territory. This border region we’re heading to is normally off-limits to most Pakistanis let alone foreigners, but we’ve been given unprecedented access to go inside Pakistan’s war on the enemy within”.
We head west through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the province British colonialists called the North-West Frontier. It’s the end of Pakistan proper. Beyond here is a kind of no-man’s land called the tribal agencies. Since colonial times, Pashtun tribesmen here were allowed to run their own affairs, but since the US invasion of Afghanistan, they’ve been taken over by militants.
AHMED RASHID: “In the tribal areas half the population have fled, not so much because of the army but because of the Taliban. They hate the Taliban, they’re scared of the Taliban and they fled and they’ve… some have fled as far as Karachi and Dubai in the Gulf, others have fled to refugee camps just outside the tribal areas”.
CAMPBELL: It’s taken months for us to get permission to travel to the tribal belt. The army has agreed to take us to a part it says it’s liberated, but we have to travel in a heavily-armed convoy with two mounted machine guns. The army will also call the shots on what we can film. Our destination is the tribal agency of South Waziristan. In 2009, under intense US pressure, Pakistan sent in the army to clear out the Taliban. Soldiers fought village by village and mountain by mountain. Many Taliban were killed but many more simply retreated just beyond the army’s reach into a forbidding wilderness.
COLONEL HUSSAIN: “There’s an operation basically in a location which is overlooking some of the approaches, which can be used by the terrorists”.
CAMPBELL: Colonel Hussain is one of the frontline commanders trying to hold on to this hard-won territory, but the terrain gives a clear advantage to insurgents.
COLONEL HUSSAIN: “Be careful. If you fall here, it’s at the cost of something, so be very, very careful”.
CAMPBELL: “So this must have been incredibly difficult terrain to fight in, when you tried to take these hills”.
COLONEL HUSSAIN: “It’s very difficult. Life is very difficult, at the post. You know, the people fetch water from downstream”.
CAMPBELL: “Yeah…. wow”.
COLONEL HUSSAIN: “It’s really very tough – but you know it’s part of a soldier’s life”. . CAMPBELL: The rugged landscape isn’t the only challenge. The enemy retains a home-ground advantage – they grew up here.
“They would have known this land very well, the Taliban… the locals.
COLONEL HUSSAIN: “Yes, obviously, the Taliban – they’re locals from this area so anyone who has been, you know, grazing his animals here for thirty years… he knows every stone of this area”.
CAMPBELL: On windswept mountaintops like this, they scan the area for Taliban and drill for attacks.
COLONEL HUSSAIN: “So I just wanted to show you the wilderness of this area, you know the mountains, the valleys and you know virtually it’s not possible to hold each and every peak, so you have to have domination at the top from where you can see different places where it is emerging and then you can observe the moment”.
CAMPBELL: “Big job!”
COLONEL HUSSAIN: “And it’s a difficult one”.
CAMPBELL: These are some of the men they’re fighting. A local journalist filmed this rare footage in winter of the Pakistani Taliban moving secretly though south Waziristan. They’re allies of the Afghan Taliban, but they have their own leaders and agenda.
Unlike the Afghans, they’re not trying to rid the country of foreigners – they want to replace their own government with a Sharia dictatorship.
HEKIMULLAH MEHSUD: “Democracy is part of the infidels, because it was created by the Jews. It was created to divide Muslims”.
CAMPBELL: Hekimullah Mehsud is one of their most powerful leaders.
HEKIMULLAH MEHSUD: “I can tell you that the Pakistan government is a slave to Americans and they worship Obama. Pakistanis obey Obama and Americans, like we obey our God”.
CAMPBELL: South Waziristan is now under complete military control. It feels like a wasteland. Most of the villages are still deserted. Civilians were ordered to leave so the army could launch its operation. The few men who’ve been given permission to return have had to surrender their traditional weapons.
The only women we see are fully veiled. Army minders order us not to film. In this culture, women can’t show their faces to strangers.
Waziristan, now divided into a north and south agency, has a long history of militancy. The British colonialists had little control here beyond the forts they built along the road to Afghanistan. They had to bribe tribal elders, called Maliks, to allow their soldiers safe passage.
“What I find really striking about this place is that even the villages are built as fortresses. There are two main tribes here, the Mahsuds and the Wazirs and historically when they haven’t been united fighting outsiders, they’ve been fighting each other. This is a land where war has traditionally been a part of life, where life is governed by an iron tribal code, and where offences of honour have to be settled in blood. It’s no wonder the British, who had the misfortune of trying to conquer Waziristan, called it Hell’s Doorknocker”.
Like the British, Pakistan has decided it can’t defeat the militants by force alone. It’s begun a second campaign for hearts and minds. The army is rebuilding much of what it destroyed in the fighting. It’s constructed a new technical college alongside new homes and cottage enterprises. The aim is to create jobs so these young people aren’t tempted to join the Taliban.
But when we visit one of the army built markets, the mood is more resentful than grateful. Some reckon the army’s operation against the Taliban did more harm than good.
SHOPKEEPER: The Taliban that were here were all Pakistanis. Even at that time the situation was good – it was not bad – but when the operation was done, the situation was worse. All our homes were destroyed during the operation”.
CAMPBELL: “Were you scared of the Taliban when they were here?”
TRIBAL MAN: “Nobody was afraid because they were all locals, and all were Pakistanis. They were locals and nobody was afraid. Everything was open… markets…everyone was roaming around as normal. Everything was normal”.
CAMPBELL: “So when you came back and saw everything was destroyed, how did you feel?”
TRIBAL MAN: “When we came back – the media doesn’t know about it – but the reality is that everything was destroyed, everything was finished. Schools are still mostly closed and teachers are absent. Three or four years have already been wasted for them. Everyone knows about this, how much time has been wasted for these children”.
CAMPBELL: Perhaps the Taliban went out of their way to keep these locals onside. Or maybe people are still scared of Taliban retaliation. Surrounded by soldiers, it’s hard to gauge what anyone really thinks. Inside this store, the merchant Abdul Ghafoor assures us all is fine.
“So are there any problems now?”
ABDUL GHAFOOR: “There is no problem. Life is good, and we are very thankful to God. We have been helped, the army also helped – and we’re having a very good life, no problems”.
CAMPBELL: “So what was it like when the Talban were here?”
ABDUL GHAFOOR: “They were also good days”.
CAMPBELL: “Really, why were they good days?”
ABDUL GHAFOOR: “Good days”.
CAMPBELL: “Why were they good days when the Taliban were here?”
[everyone’s laughing]
ABDUL GHAFOOR: “We didn’t face any problems”.
CAMPBELL: “Have there been any bad times here?”
INTERPRETOR: “No never”. [laughing]
CAMBPELL: “Life is good! How is business? It’s good is it? I thought it would be”.
We leave just as onlookers start joking about kidnapping us, something the Taliban did often for money.
MAN IN SHOP: “Shall we sell them? Shall we sell them?” [crowd laughs]
SHOP KEEPER: “One of them can speak Pashto, so be quiet. They are laughing, so let’s laugh too”.
CAMPBELL: It’s not surprising that the locals are unwilling to criticise the Taliban – there are sympathisers with a keen sense of hearing and there are fears the militants could return at any time. When they were here the Taliban didn’t hesitate to kill anyone who stood in their way, from tribal elders to local soldiers and police.
[on cricket field] “It’s relatively peaceful now but this place has seen some horrors. There used to be a fort bedside this cricket field and when the Taliban stormed it in 2008 they captured 38 soldiers and cut their heads off. Then they set up their headquarters in the school on the other side of the stadium. When the army re-took the fort a year later, 1200 people died in a single week. The war destroyed most of the village. The army’s now rebuilt it to try to lure people back but it’s going to be a long, slow process”.
Only a handful of villages have been repopulated. Most people are still living in camps or with relatives around Pakistan. But there is one striking improvement here. For the first time, girls are going to high school.
The army has built a new school for girls up to the age of 18. It’s a surprising sight in an area where females are all but invisible. An independent aid consultant, Australian Jennifer McKay, one of the few daring to come to this area, has been raising money to outfit it with textbooks and uniforms.
JENNIFER MCKAY: “An exciting thing about this school is that despite what people think about girls’ education in Pakistan, particularly the tribal areas, is that the community here wants girls to go to school so they donated the land for this school, the army built the school, and so a bunch of friends we’re helping fit it out”.
CAMPBELL: Jennifer McKay first came to Pakistan in 2005 to help with earthquake relief and decided to stay on. She found hardly any outside aid was coming to Waziristan, partly because of negative perceptions that she says are wrong.
JENNIFER MCKAY: “I think what really keeps me here is the hospitality and generosity of the people. Even here in Waziristan the communities are extraordinarily welcoming, which wasn’t really what I expected”.
CAMPBELL: But it soon becomes apparent this is still a deeply conservative place. While the principal is happy to teach older girls, he doesn’t want us to film them.
JENNIFR MCKAY: [trying to convince principal] “It’s very special but it would be good to at least be able to show something of what is here because this is a very special school and so it’s a story that’s worth telling. It’s one that’s worth telling in pictures”.
CAMBPELL: “So it would be possible, we really need to have some pictures of just the young girls, the little children”.
Finally, after long appeals from Jennifer McKay he allows us to see the youngest children.
JENNIFER MCKAY: “Education’s a critical part of peace building and stability. The country needs a lot of help with education anyway, a lot of schools are quite deprived. But here in post conflict areas, education is really critical to you know countering extremism and just generally the future prosperity and peace, so it’s a very useful investment, important investment.
CAMPBELL: “So it’s one way of keeping the Taliban at bay?”
JENNIFER MCKAY: “Yes it is, it is. To educate girls is really important, because they bring up healthier children, they make sure that both their girls and boys go to school so education whether it’s for boys or girls plays an important role in keeping, yes, the Taliban at bay”.
CAMPBELL: Most of the Taliban retreated across the mountain into North Waziristan, where they roam freely. This video footage filmed by a Pakistani journalist shows militants in control of the main city of Miranshah, while the army is hunkered down in a nearby fort. The government has so far been afraid to launch another big operation.
AHMED RASHID: “The big danger is that if this continues indefinitely, the Taliban will become more powerful than the army”.
CAMPBELL: The Taliban even have a media studio in North Waziristan. It makes internet videos like this one teaching children to be suicide bombers. Pakistan’s now trying desperately to stop this insurgency. The irony is that it may have helped create it. For many years Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, the ISI, secretly supported militants in Afghanistan. The aim was to make sure Pakistan had a compliant neighbour no matter which side won the war.
AHMED RASHID: “There’s been this double game that has gone on for many, many years of Pakistan supporting the NATO presence in Afghanistan and at the same time allowing the Afghan Taliban to operate against the NATO forces”.
CAMPBELL: “So by trying to enhance Pakistan’s security by supporting the Afghan Taliban, they’ve actually undermined their own security because of the effect it’s had on the Pakistan Taliban?”
AHMED RASHID: “Exactly, exactly. I think that’s the best way of putting it. I mean the fact was you know, and people like myself were warning, in my writings, you know,I have been warning the Pakistani Government since 2003, because I visited some of these training camps and I saw what the army and ISI were doing in 2003 and I wrote about this. And of course, you know, they didn’t like it but I said the more you do this – encourage the Taliban to attack in Afghanistan – the backlash is going to come on Pakistan, because these camps and this set-up and this radicalisation is all taking place in Pakistan with the help of Pakistani tribesmen who are then going to get radicalised and of course that’s exactly what happened. You had the growth of the Pakistani Taliban”.
CAMPBELL: The US isn’t waiting for Pakistan’s permission to strike back. It’s using drones to attack Taliban bases like this Waziristan training camp. It was completely destroyed in a recent strike and this commander was killed, but each successful attack creates more enemies among the public.
There is one bright spot. Back in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, we were taken to meet some former Taliban operatives who the army captured. They’re being held in a special de-radicalisation centre outside the frontier city of Tank. We were allowed to film here on condition we don’t show their faces in case the Taliban take revenge on them.
Waseem, who’s 22, was a civil engineering student when the Taliban recruited him two years ago.
WASEEM: “They don’t come to college, they don’t do it openly, but they have places where they recruit. They tell people that Islam is facing danger and that a lot of atrocities and torture are being done against Muslims – and add more things to it. They try make people feel they should help – so they attract people to them”.
CAMPBELL: The inmates are learning new trades and getting religious re-education from anti-Taliban mullahs. Surrounded by soldiers, all tell us they now see the error of their ways.
WASEEM: “We are all Muslims, so they showed us one side of the picture and we thought it was necessary to do jihad because I did not know the other side of the picture. Then when I came here the army people told us the other side of the picture and I think this is right”.
CAMPBELL: It’s hard to know who to believe, from the lowliest foot solider to the height of government. The army at least seems determined to fight the Taliban’s rise in any way it can, but the biggest challenge may be yet to come. By the end of the year, almost all the Coalition’s combat troops will leave Afghanistan. Militants on both sides of the border are waiting.
AHMED RASHID: “They’re preparing not to make peace but rather to escalate the war which they feel that they will be able to do in a better way once the western forces have left”.
CAMPBELL: “So they see it almost as a retreat?”
AHMED RASHID: “Oh yes without a doubt. This is very similar to the circumstances in which the Soviet Union left Afghanistan”.
CAMPBELL: Australia and the US are about to end their longest-ever military engagement – but the war isn’t over. It’s just starting its next phase.