The Potrayal of Love & Unity towards Forces in Chitral

Chitral, a picturesque region in northern Pakistan, has witnessed a heartwarming demonstration of unity as its citizens and the Armed Forces join hands to protect their nation with its armed forces.

            Chitral comprises high-altitude valleys nestled in the Hindu Kush Mountains and is currently divided into Upper and Lower Chitral districts. To the east, it shares borders with the Afghan provinces of Kunar, Nuristan, and Badakhshan. Notably, a narrow strip of Afghan territory acts as a barrier, separating Chitral from China and Tajikistan, underscoring the region’s strategic significance.

            On the morning of September 6, the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacked checkpoints placed in multiple border areas of Chitral district, the tourist centre of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the largest by area, while some militants slipped through two or three additional routes. As a result, four security personal were martyred in the initial attack, and 12 to 14 attackers were targeted in retaliation. Expressing a strong reaction to this action, Pakistan sent its troops to Chitral within hours to repel the attackers so that this serene valley can be secured. The forces started operations in different areas as a result of which half a dozen more attackers were killed and a dozen were injured on September 9. According to the local administration and public circles, normal life has been restored in the district and people consider themselves safe afterwords.

            Later on September 8, a Jirga of Chitral and Swat notables and elders, at Darosh Fort, pledged that the people of Chitral, particularly the youth, were ready to fight alongside the Pakistan Army and security forces. They condemned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s terrorism and voiced sympathy with the Pakistan Army. The participants paid assured to the Chitral Scouts’ security officers that the local people would support them.                         The people of Chitral had come out in support of the Pakistan Army, assisting in the transportation of guns, ammunition, and food to army posts at high attitude.

            What distinguishes this outstanding act is the brave citizens of Chitral’s determination to fight along with the Pakistan Army whenever needed. Their willingness to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Armed Forces reflects a common commitment to ensure the region’s peace and security. Despite security fears, life in Chitral has mostly remained untouched. All schools, universities, hospitals, and markets remained open and running normally. Additional law enforcement personnel have been deployed to enhance security measures, and joint police and FC checkpoints have were erected to safeguard  the region’s population.

            On the other hand, there have been reports that this campaign had support and patronage of the Afghan government behind the scenes or some important people in it, as the official Afghan government still refuses to acknowledge this, that their land is being openly used against Pakistan.

            The day when Chitral was attacked, there was a clash between the Afghan forces and the Pakistani forces at Torkham on the Pakistan-Afghan border, as a result of which not only many people were killed, but also the border (crossing point) was closed as a response. The Afghan government also expressed strong reaction and concern on this initiative, but Pakistan also took a strict attitude and due to this not only trade was affected but also general traffic was completely stopped. Resultantly, the terrorist have to drop their weaponry and ran back cowardly seeing the joint venture of the residents of Chitral with its security forces.

South Waziristan

South Waziristan: From Conflict to Prosperity – Pakistan’s Hidden Gem Emerges

By: Anmol Sheraz
South Waziristan (SW), nestled in the southwest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, is an uncharted tapestry of scenic splendor in Pakistan, adorned with invaluable mineral-rich mountains, untouched pastures, and awe-inspiring vistas. The area bore the brunt of the war on terror, witnessing mass migrations, infrastructure devastation, and tragic loss of lives. Nonetheless, Pakistan armed forces, with their resolute security operations across all Newly Merged Districts (NMDs), successfully uprooted the menace of terrorism, also ushering in an era of development and prosperity for the people of South Waziristan.

Operation Raah-e-Nijat and Operation Black Thunderstorm in 2009 cleared most areas in SW bringing the area back in control of the state. An investment of around Rs. 35.52 billion for education, water, health, electricity, dams, irrigation, police, local government, livestock, agriculture and roads is in process.
The district administration along with the help of security forces has initiated public welfare projects such as organising medical camps and basic health units which include regular visits of specialists alongside arranging veterinary doctors for the vaccination of cattle.
An absolute focus is made on infrastructure development, streamlining smooth travel by building roads in the district. To ensure a clean water supply; water filtration plants have been made functional all-around SW. The prime focus is boosting agriculture through solar water supplies for agriculture projects. Proper plantation drives are practised and currently, the authorities have initiated vertical cultivation for healthier crops and field production. This also includes the Wana agriculture centre and cold store for storage of goods.

The tribal maliks, elders and district administration are emphasizing more on female education and women empowerment. Strict actions have been taken against ghost employees in primary schools in all villages, ensuring 100 per cent presence of teachers. Moreover, vocational training institutes bring forth and polish women’s skills, enabling them to earn from home and move towards financial stability. Institutions of Spinkai cadet college, FC public school Wanna and Falcon Public School, to name a few, are focusing on educating the youth and making them learn the vital role of education in bringing change in society.

In addition, to meet the need of today’s world, workshops and awareness sessions are being organized in the Information Technology (IT) sector with the establishment of an IT centre at Sarokai and Mola Khan Sarai; making use of IT in empowering women to utilise computers and technology for better income. A learning institute in Wana has been established for the development of women’s digital skills and to teach them the use of gadgets for business and work.
The area has been long affected by the war on terror. To cope with the post-war situation, sports and entertainment activities are also underway for the locals to engage them in a healthy environment and promote peace. Sports events like the Sarokai cricket tournament, Wana football championship, Taekwondo national judo karate championship and Commissioner D.I. Khan cycle race have been recently arranged to attract the residents of the area towards stability.

One of the mega events took place during Eid-ul-Adha 2023 at Gomal Zam Dam by the name of “Mela Da Gomal Zam” to highlight the serenity, peace, beauty and security situation in SW. Not only local residents but people across the province participated. Cultural dance, car drifting, tug-of-war, volleyball matches, fireworks etc were featured during the festival. The aim of the event was also to promote tourism in the area which has the highest potential for holiday businesses.
Despite the commendable efforts by the district administration and security forces, the success of these initiatives hinges on the active ownership and awareness among the people. These projects, institutes, workshops and healthy activities are for the people who must own these rather than resisting positive change. The area has severely suffered from Talibanisation and extremism but with the untiring efforts of security forces, the has now been neutralised. It is crucial for the residents to embrace and support positive change for the brighter and better future of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. With its vast potential in minerals, tourism, natural resources, and trade, SW is poised for development and prosperity.


Politics of Ethnicity – Pashtuns in Sindh

Politics of Ethnicity – Pashtuns in Sindh

By Anmol Shiraz

Once again ethnic disturbance emerged in Sindh over the alleged murder of a young boy by Afghani restauranteurs which led to a huge conflict between Sindhis and Pashtuns.  The murdered Bilal Kaka was associated with Pak Sarzameen Party; hence many political parties are trying to associate his killing with an ethnic or nationality conflict. Whereas Sindhi nationalist workers and the party itself strongly condemned the brutal killing and objected not mould the incident towards any ethnic complex.

Ethnic polarisation in Sindh has been deep-rooted in history which first embarked in 1952 during the procession of Youm-Ashura between Urdu and Sindhi-speaking natives which led to an inferno at the police station. Another massive incident from the chapters of history occurred between Sindhi and Urdu-speaking residents when the bill passed in 1972 mentioned the promotion of the Sindhi language. A newspaper baffled the situation with goading headlines towards marginalising Urdu, which acclaimed many innocent lives throughout Hyderabad and Karachi. Experts also trace the set pattern of ethnic violence in Sindh to the plan of settling Pashtuns in Karachi by General Ayub Khan, which led to the sense of insecurity and deprivation amongst the locals of Sindh. In 1985 again a colossal event occurred when a college student Bushra Zaidi got assassinated in a traffic accident in Karachi. This unfortunate incident ignited one of the lethal waves of ethnic violence ever as the bus driver was a Pashtun. It sparked the sense of a riot of Muhajir nationalism, the situation was terrible until the army was called in. Throughout this span, ethnic conflicts continued but from 1989 – 1990 clashes occurred between the PPP and MQM aligned student federation, People Student Federation and All Pakistan Muhajir Student Organisation which was a planned political strategy, to cope with the ongoing riots once the armed forces were called in to reinstate the peace.

Whereas, Pashtuns make up to 25% of Karachi’s population and are said to be the second largest ethnicity after the Muhajirs. Pashtuns have played a major role in all walks of the socio-political structure of Sindh. While flipping the pages of history, the immense acquaintance between Saeen G.M. Syed and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan also known as Bacha Khan can be seen. Karachi is the economic hub of the country and a rock stone in the national political sphere for the last seven decades. Critics of current affairs have observed the recent ethnic violation has been fuelled more by political parties and greater advantages have been targeted. The cacophony has been created by the workers of national political parties, in an urge to grab Pashtun votes.

It is paramount to mention here that Karachi possesses the highest ethnic and religious pluralism in the country. The political parties should reconsider their opinion-making positions and avoid political divides on basis of ethnic differences, especially between PPP, MQM and PTI. In reality, Sindh is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-sectarian domain above ethno-political polarization. And to debunk all the claims and accusations it is time for prominent leaders of Pashtuns and Sindhis to call together a conference or a jirga to settle the ethnic clashes through a dialogue. Sufficient people on both sides are there to find a solution but if their workers and supporters unilaterally flame up the issue and start attacking each other will further push Pakistan and both ethnicities into a black hole.

World Press Freedom Day Quotes-min

World Press Freedom Day 2022 – Journalism Under Digital Siege  

Marking the World Press Freedom Day this year the theme announced by United Nations General Assembly is “Journalism Under Digital Siege”. In Pakistan and worldwide this day is observed to inform the people across the globe that the freedom of expression and opinion and freedom of the press are basic rights for all humans. But just like democracy in this century, the freedom of the press has also become fragile, while the surveillance and assault on journalists have increased. This Day also recalls people that to bring daily news and insight to the public many journalists have faced imprisonment and others lost their lives. Therefore, on World Press Freedom Day the efforts of media professionals are recognised.


On this occasion, Voice of KP asked some of the renowned journalists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who are working with national and international media about their comments on this year’s theme in perspective of Pakistan. The accumulated journalists shed light on the press freedom and environment for journalists as below:


“Journalism should be free but not unbridled, whereas journalism should not be a propaganda tool of any institution which is otherwise a violation of journalistic ethics. But unfortunately, a trend has started of opinion-making in journalism, whose main purpose is to provide information to the masses is now more involved in reporting their wishes to the public which is considered a crime for manipulating the people. As far as the freedom of journalists is concerned, it becomes the responsibility of those international platforms for journalists to set guidelines and limitations for the media professionals without the interference of government in it. The main role in formulating such concerns needs to be played by the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA). These three forums through a joint venture bring forth a code of conduct to allay the fears of journalists. At the same time, it is very important to protect the lives of journalists. Not only a few government institutions but several nationalists and violent groups oppress and threaten the journalists, most specifically the media personals from KP and Balochistan.” Aqeel Yousafzai (Senior Journalist, Analyst, Critique, Author and Expert on war-on-terror and Talibanization)  


“There is no environment for independent and investigative journalism in Pakistan, only a handful of journalists are working on newsworthy stories. Fifteen years back, if any journalist had written a story on national interest, they hardly get mistreated. But in the last ten years, it has become a habit that if a story targets a specific scandal or is against anybody then the first thing they do is to abuse that reporter and main political parties are involved. Journalists get trolled on social media whereas in past the government used to tolerate and correct themselves on stories published against them during their regime. I believe that in this era of social media, actual journalism is practised near to none.” Ali Akbar (Bureau Chief at Dawn News)  


“The most important rule of journalism is that to maintain your trust and your source needs to have faith in you that you will not disclose his/her name in return of authentic information as the credibility of journalist and security of the source are both at stake. But ever since the era of digital siege has begun both these parties have become insecure. Even when a piece of big news breaks its silence, sooner or later it becomes known who has given the news, through what channel and to whom. Now either the source gives information through proper cautions or without fear of anything, both are extreme points which has harmed secure journalism. Previously a journalist used to meet its sources physically but since things have become digital and virtual meetings are commenced which are monitored but several organisations due to which sources get disclosed. The public’s right to information is compromised as journalists have to fabricate their writing and reporting style so that they could keep themselves and their sources secure.” Mehmood Jan Baber (Senior Journalist with 24 years of experience in Print and Electronic media) 


“As we all know that this year’s celebration regarding journalistic practices around the world focuses on the theme “Journalism Under Digital Siege”, with the aim to spotlight how recent developments in technological means of monitoring and surveillance impact journalism and freedom of expression. Likewise, we could also not detach ourselves from this new phenomenon. There is no denying the fact that technology has affected the mode of journalism, bad or good, this will need empirical research to determine. While in the pre-Internet world, freedom of expression and privacy were thought to only interact when journalists reported on public figures in the name of the right to know, the rights have become increasingly interdependent. This linkage reflects digital business models and the development of new surveillance technologies and large-scale data collection and retention. The changes pose risks in terms of reprisals against media workers and their sources, thereby affecting the free exercise of journalism. We, while living and doing journalism in this part of the world must take advantage of digital technology but not without keeping the ground realities of the region. We do not a sufficient percentage of literacy even, so media literacy is still a dilemma for people. One of our responsibilities is to report in a way that is not addressed only to the dot com generation but to the rest as well.” Bakht Zaman Yousafzay (Assistant Professor, University of Peshawar, Broadcaster, Writer and TV Anchor)  


“On the one hand, digital media has made journalism easier. It has helped many people to get their voices heard. But on other hand, their accounts are being hacked and their digital security is threatened, which is why many writers are turning to self-censorship, the privacy of journalists is at stake. Because of his social media accounts, not only he but also his family’s privacy, his security, his day-to-day affairs, he is now a click away, which is why a journalist’s life has become more difficult.” Umer Farooq (Journalist at Voice of America)  


However, this day is observed to widen the horizon of the importance of a free and fearless press as it is evident from the remarks of the above-mentioned media personalities that even in this era of advancements, the journalists and media organisations are still facing difficulties in the line of duty. 3rd May is celebrated to spread the awareness of free media’s role in providing information, functioning of the press, and to awaken the state to endorse the right to freedom of speech, expression and information. Whilst to make sure that journalists remain unmonitored and secure while providing information to the masses as a public good.


The Beginning of New Era of Political Radicalisation and Involvement of Youth

The Beginning of New Era of Political Radicalisation and the Involvement of Youth

By Anmol Sheraz

The dismissal of former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan in a constitutional process of No-Confidence motion has created uncertain paths for politics, while his supporters or devotees have set the streets throughout the country in protest with the dawn of a new era of political radicalism involving the youth. Society has got divided into so many narratives and discourses in this post-truth era, where internal security affairs of the country were also brought to the front.

Once again Chairman, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Imran Khan, has brought the public specifically the youngsters on the road into his infamous political rallies but this time campaigning for re-election. The darker side is leading the people towards a political cult, where anything he says or does is appreciated and accepted by his supporters blindly. The harsh reality is that most people have lost hope in his disillusion utopia of Riyasat-e-Madina. But fascinated with his youthful aura and colourful blended rallies in the name of change referring to Naya Pakistan has charmed the youngsters. Although, the country is going through some serious socio-political and inflated economic conditions. The enchanting slogans have engrossed the aspiring yet oblivious youth throughout his political campaigns.

Exposing the youth to melodramatic sloganeering without any insight into the geo-strategic, geo-economic and geopolitical dynamics is an otherwise lethal mistake. This kind of fascist politics does not exist anywhere in the global political arena but has proved itself ignorant of geopolitical certainties, assuming an ideal political environment that does not exist globally. Whereas Imran Khan’s immature mantra on American conspiracy has not only tensed Pakistan’s foreign policy but has also escalated internal security sensitivities. The PTI followers are supporting Khan like a religious cult that completely closes its eye toward right or wrong, which is worrisome.

Amid his address with his supporters, he also blatantly accused security institutions, upon which the Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG-ISPR)  Major General Babar Iftikhar rubbished Imran Khan’s allegations and inclined more towards democracy with the inclusion of the Armed forces to remain apolitical and democratic towards the country. Moreover, DG ISPR urged the public towards using sober and mature language towards Armed Forces and not to drag Pakistan Army into false allegations.

Knowing that all the tactics towards saving his regime have failed, PTI has now returned to creating chaos and street power shows which is fuelling unrest and violence. Politics is always a game of mature and sober people. The politically radicalised cult of youth needs to be calmed. The PTI supporters also need to accept the freedom of opinion other than theirs and a practical approach toward a better country needs to be restored. No country had ever developed through key-board warriors and fancy political rallies but rather from a strategically practical proposition towards governance. PTI is moving in the direction of becoming a mere pressure group instead of a political party which is more evident in wrongly enticing the youth with the odds by using clumsily national politics of Pakistan.


First Christmas in Peshawar after the Pandemic

Christmas is the festivity of warmth and togetherness. Since the outburst of Covid-19 in the year, 2019 people have not celebrated it and confined themselves to their homes, preferring isolation and fear. But now as life is getting back to the normal Christian community around Pakistan and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are celebrating Christmas with full zeal and zest. Churches and houses in KP are lit with bright colours. After two Christmas during the pandemic, people maintained social distancing and avoided visiting their loved ones. Hence this time people have gathered to share means alongside laughter with their friends and families. People got engaged in fun activities and hangouts with their social circle.

The Christian youth and management of all the Churches in Peshawar have put their efforts into decorating their church, along with this a Santa rally was organised in Peshawar to promote peace and interfaith harmony. Another message of this rally was to disseminate the message to the international community that Non-Muslims living in war-torn regions have the right to practice their faith without any threats.

Similarly, several other celebrations have taken place all around KP in which the Christian community have gathered on one platform such as the grand Christmas dinner arranged by Assemblies of God Church in Peshawar. Christian missionary institutions like Edwardes College, Edwardes School, Presentation Convent High School, St. Michael’s Convent School and St. Mary’s High School have arranged religious tableaus carried with annual dinners to keep the spirit of Christmas alive.

While talking to the Voice of KP on the current situation and arrangements for Christmas, Jamshed Thomas, Member National Assembly said, “I am really glad that after two consecutive years we are again to celebrate Christmas but let us not forget the danger is not over yet.” He further added, “Vaccination is a must thing for us to celebrate our plenty other festivities, therefore, we are keeping a strict eye on vaccination cards.”

MNA Jamshed Thomas also said, “We got security clearance of the historical Christmas fair after three years which will bring back the essence of the festivity and I am thankful to the government for providing strict security on our occasion.”

Moreover, Yasir Bhatti, a Christian youth activist and central member of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) said, “The Christian community this year is super-excited to celebrate the occasion as after two odd years of virtual meets and greets with family and friends, they will now be able to see, meet and wish their loved ones physically.”

He added, “the government has given so much support and security so that we could celebrate our festivity.  Also since the start of December, I am regularly attending Christmas celebrations and the most exciting part is that the Muslim clergy also paid a visit and attended the celebration.” However, he said that the Christian community and all the other people coming must get themselves vaccinated to prevent the masses from the spread.

Undoubtedly, Christmas is a day of spending time with family and friends. Contrary to this, Christmas has evolved around over several millennia into a universal celebration that is celebrated equally by both secular and religious groups in KP. However, Christmas marks an important day for Christians around the world and is cherished by Non-Christians as well. While in KP, people from all faiths respect and participate in all the Christmas activities which spread out the message of interfaith harmony and religious acceptance in this region.

Team Voice of KP wishes the entire Christian community a joyous Christmas and intend to see them safe, secure and prosperous.


Remembering Peshawar Church Blast Victims: Sep 22, 2013

By Anmol Sheraz

The Church of Pakistan has declared September 22 as the Day of Christian Martyrs in Pakistan. On this day nine years back on September 22. 2013 twin suicide bombers killed 127 people and more than 250 got seriously injured in the deadly terrorist attack on All Saints Church Peshawar, and to date, this attack on the Christian community remains unforgettable.
Remembering the martyrs a special prayer service was held in All Saints Church where the higher Christian clergy and community took part. The relatives of the victims along with the survivors joined the church service to offer their prayers. Pakistan’s Former Bishop Mano Rumalshah and Bishop of Peshawar Diocese Humphrey Peters lead the prayer along with the priests and moderators of the Church and staff of missionary schools, including Catholic Parish Priests and Sisters.

Bishop Humphrey Peters (Bishop of KP and ex-FATA) expressed his deep disappointment towards the Christian political leaders and the provincial government. Sharing his grievances with Voice of KP he said, “an amount of 20 crore rupees was announced and approved by the then provincial and federal government with the prime focus on facilitating the widows and orphans who suffered in this terrible incident. The case was even forwarded to the honourable Supreme Court and the fund was approved. It has been long 9 years but still, the money announced for the victims has not been allotted.”
He also said, “ the selected political representatives of religious minorities in KP did not even attend the prayer service. Through the platform of VoKP, I want to appeal to the state to provide the survivors with their due right as the Christian community is not financially strong to bear the burden of treatments.”

As the community joins to commemorate their loved ones in the bombing, efforts are also made to make them overcome this harsh memory. While talking to Voice of KP, Yasir Bhatti, a Christian youth activist and central member of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) said, “the victims have already suffered a lot as our community is not financially stable. It has been 9 years but they are still going through the aftershocks of the attack. The fund of 20 crores announced by the government has still not distrusted among the survivors of the incident.” He added, “I request the current government to help and support our community as the behaviour of the government is very disheartening”.

Similarly, Reverend Shahzad Murad told VoKP, “that with the allotted money, the victims could at least get to live an improved life, as currently, they are in dire need of financial aid and support from the government.” Whereas, after the attack through the efforts of religious clergy security of the church is tightened. It is pertinent to mention that All Saints Church was built inside the old city of Peshawar in 1883 to look like a mosque from the outside, to symbolise unity and harmony.


Kumrat – A Road to Heaven through Hell

Kumrat – A Road to Heaven through Hell

By Anmol Sheraz

Nature has blessed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with millions of natural resources, minerals and breath-taking scenic views. One such spot which recently grabbed the attention of national and international tourists is Kumrat.  With unpredictable pleasant weather, surrounded by tall dark mountains, dense trees, hot springs, waterfalls and much more has attracted the tourists. Lying to the extreme west of Pakistan in Panjkora valley in the Upper Dir district, Kumrat is now welcoming tourists from around the country.

Entering the valley one feels like in heaven, calm and peaceful environment, cool breeze, hospitable people of mountains, in short one gets close to nature. As soon as Kumrat begins, the roadside pastures are decorated with beautiful tents for tourists and small tuck shops having local herbs for different diseases. Despite all the magnificent scenery, the tourists come back a little disappointed. Their saddened gestures are because of the horrendous condition of the 8-kilometre road from Patrak to main Kumrat valley is decrepit.

The tourists are compelled to travel in jeeps as the road does not allow drive through the car. Whereas, the jeeps on rent offered by the locals in the valley cost Rs20,000 for a single trip. On the other hand, tourists also complain that it takes them seven to nine hours to just cover this much distance which otherwise becomes very hectic for them.

As per an official statistic released by the provincial ministry more than 200,000 tourists from different parts of Pakistan visit this valley along with other northern areas of KP. While talking to Voice of KP one of the tourists, Hammad Butt from Gujranwala said, “I am visiting Kumrat several times along with my friends on bikes since last four years, however, the condition of the road is still the same.”

Another tourist, Muhammad Huzaifa from Karachi said, “The road is bumpy, dusty, broken and narrow, which creates a lot of trouble for us. Above of this, there is no mobile network signal in the valley so I along with my companions cannot contact anyone from here.”

Similar to this Atif Ali praised the natural beauty of Kumrat valley but criticised the bad condition of the road. He expressed, “I have never witnessed such an attractive and mesmerising spot throughout my life in Pakistan, but the road leading to this beauty gives a deserted look. Let me tell you that as soon as you reach here, you forget all the hardships by seeing freshwater, dense forests along with cooling air and river.”

Listening to all the concerns of the tourists, team Voice of KP went to Deputy Commissioner, Muhammad Shoaib’s office and talked to him about the road. He said to VoKP, “The Chief Minister has approved funds worth Rs5 billion for the construction of the road linking the natural beauty of Kumrat to Kalam. The government of KP is paying huge attention to tourism and promoting the secure and peaceful sight of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Moreover, the government has also allocated a budget for the development of tourism spots.” He further added that the government is staunchly focused on developing tourism and providing ease to the tourists as it has the potential to become the backbone of the Pakistan economy.

However, the government is making an effort to promote tourism as the northern areas of KP were badly affected by the war on terror. But due to the effective operations done by Pakistani forces, the peace of the land is back. Hence efforts should be made to further accelerate tourism and remove the security misconceptions of people by developing smooth roads, which will bring more business to this area.

No Vaccination Jab for Sanitation Workers in KP

No Vaccination Jab for Sanitation Workers in KP

During the Coronavirus pandemic, waste management and sanitary workers are performing their duties even though the movements and mobility province-wide are restricted. They are key workers and are similarly essential during the implementation of lockdown. Covid-19 associated precautions are mandatory to curb person-to-person transmission while these workers continue their work.

Lack of protection and vaccination for sweepers or cleaners could also upsurge the spread of this deadly virus. In Pakistan over 858,000 cases have been reported since the start of the pandemic, the number stood at over 124, 000 in KP.

Just like other first respondents to any event, sanitation workers also interact as first respondents, yet their safety and security not taken care of. The government provided vaccination to the first respondents like Rescue 1122 and Journalists no sanitary worker has been vaccinated.

Rihana Bibi, a sanitary worker whose actual name has been changed to protect her identity, is one of the few who voids festering tanks and washrooms whilst maintains sewers. While talking to Voice of KP she said, “Other sanitation workers and I, are the reason that the nation can live at home without thinking of waste disposal during the lockdown.” Sanitary workers put themselves at extreme risk of catching coronavirus disease.

The sanitary workers in Peshawar said that they did not receive any PPE kit from their employers whereas their pay is not enough to afford these kits. They added that COVID-19 has further put their safety and health at risk.

“We only have the choice to work throughout this pandemic, with little to no reward of the protective measures and thinking of getting protective measure or vaccinated to stay safe and healthy is a dream” expressed Sunita John, a sanitary worker in one  of the biggest hospitals of Peshawar.

Sanitation workers in Pakistan face societal stigma and have little to no labour rights or social protection. “We keep doing our jobs under great risk only to give people some level of comfort. But, unfortunately, the public does not value our sacrifice” Akash a sanitation worker told Voice of KP. He further added, “With proper job recognition and protection we will be able to stay safe whilst will continue our most important roles in society.”

The previous year, International Labour Organization and World Health Organisation and World Bank have called out for more effort from every sector to improve the working conditions and to formalize workers’ rights.  As Coronavirus adds to the potential risks, sanitary workers through Voice of KP are calling the government bodies and for immediate action to facilitate them availing healthcare, including vaccination and emergency financial aid for their safety.

Journalists of KP

Female Journalists of KP on World Press Freedom Day

By Anmol Sheraz

International World Press Freedom Day observed every year on May 3 to notify globally that freedom of expression and freedom of the press are major human rights. This day annually reminds the masses that plenty of journalists fearlessly died or faced imprisonment to disseminate news and information to people.

The theme this year is “Information as a Public Good”, a reminder to sustain the significance of valuing information as a public good. It is important to have the right to authentic information especially in the age of misinformation. Even in this era, journalism is impeded in two-thirds of the world, it is seriously restricted in 73 nations.

Pakistan is ranked 145/180 in World Press Freedom Index 2021 by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Pakistan has excelled in its rank about press freedom comparatively with other nations, the country enjoys freedom to some extent yet the policies endured by the organisation or govt exists.
Media and Journalism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are rich as compared to other provinces. Journalists in KP have worked during the time of war on terror and on the frontline to provide exclusive news to the public. Similarly, female journalists played a vital role just like their male counterparts during the era of terrorism.

Voice of KP on World Press Freedom interviewed the female journalists of KP and penned down their journey as a female in the otherwise patriarchal society.

Farzana Ali is privileged to be the first female Bureau Chief of AAJ TV in KP says, “The obstacles are more as compared to past. Access to information from sources is restricted. In the last three years, no staunch investigative story published. Government bodies do not want to share information regarding the events happening in KP and development in ex-FATA. I think we are doing something but at least we are not doing journalism due to the increased hurdles.”

Aneela Shaheen a senior female journalist associated with News 360 as a correspondent from KP shared her views as she says, “There is no quota system in Peshawar Press Club for females. The membership criteria for females is the same as males whereas nationwide seats are reserved for females in press clubs. As a journalist, our community does not support us and consider us weak and feeble. But when it comes to me I have worked in war zone and bags to be the first woman senior vice president of the Peshawar Press Club yet I will again say that our rights as a journalist are not fulfilled.”

Nadia Saboohi working as a correspondent at Geo News Peshawar likewise said, “Being a female reporter I felt that the journalism in this region of KP is drastically changed, where I used to carry camera and tripod as one of the few women in Peshawar. But in recent years I am seeing more females opting for journalism. The obstacles do exist, but I believe that these are temporary and if one is determined to work in this field then they can prove their mettle.”

Shazia Nisar, a senior reporter of ARY News from Peshawar Expresses, “Bureau Chief have the perception that to keep female reporters safe is by excluding them from hard beats, but I believe that the risk for both genders is same. I have continued to break the gender-based taboos by working in hard beats. I have covered the incidents of the missing persons and nothing could stop me to fight for the freedom of speech and freedom of expression.”

Hira Shah working as a reporter for Dawn News adds, “Despite the relaxation from the organisation, the culture barrier exists. Whenever I enter the field people do not accept me as a journalist because of my gender. Even the females do not support giving out the information. I do not believe that freedom of the press for women exist as compared to men in journalism.”

Despite the challenges faced by female journalists and the increasing number of women in journalism, few like the above-mentioned female journalists are acting as an ideal for those that follow. Senior Female journalists like these are part of policy making and trying to create an environment safe and secure for women journalists in Peshawar.

However, it is the inclusion of the entire journalist community in promoting diversity and interpreting the voice of marginalized sect in the media. The interview conducted by Voice of KP with female journalists from KP cannot claim that they are representing the women lot nationwide, but their comments fit in with the broader narrative of press freedom and then specifically the freedom of speech and expressions for women journalists working in KP media.