May 29, 2007

2007 Planning (again... changes - any questions?)

May and June 2007

June - Mid-July 2007

Last 2 weeks of July

August and September 2007

September 2007

October / November 2007

Last week of November-Mid December My Holiday season

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

May 25, 2007


Pakistani forces attack 'terrorist' camp, four dead :MIRANSHAH, Pakistan Army troops launched an operation Tuesday to flush out a "terrorist" training camp in a tribal region bordering Afghanistan, killing three Uzbeks and one tribesman, soldiers stormed the camp at Zakerkhel village in North Waziristan district after militants refused to meet a peace delegation of tribal elders flown in by helicopter and opened fire on security forces, a military statement said. "The security forces returned fire and are in the process of clearing the miscreants' training facility," the statement said. Chief military spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad said at least three militants were killed in the raid and some "terrorist" training materials including explosives had been seized. "We don't know the exact number of people killed. We hope the operation will be over soon then we will get the details," he told a private television channel.

Music shop blown up in Pakistan's Sherpao village PESHAWAR, Suspected militants blew up a music shop in a grenade attack in Sherpao village, 25 kilometres outside Peshawar, late Monday, police said Tuesday.Senior police officer Feroz Shah said two militants on a bicycle lobbed a hand grenade into the shop and fled. A police squad on motorcycles chased and arrested one man, while the other escaped. A dental clinic and a computer shop were also damaged in the blast, he added.

Musharraf, Aziz review law n' order, economy: President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Tuesday held discussions here and reviewed the state of economy, law and order, and political environment in the country. Prime Minister Aziz who called on President Musharraf here briefed him about his recently concluded visit abroad and his parlays with world leaders.

Ten oil tankers destroyed in Torkham rocket attack : Ten oil tankers waiting to cross Pak-Afghanistan border to take oil supplies for US-led coalition troops in Afghanistan were burnt in a fire started by two rockets fired at a parkinbg lot near the border town of Torkham. the authorties later found and defused three more rockets from near by mound the rockets were linked to a timer to go off at an appointed time eight persons all afghans were arrested for interrogation. According to one source 22 oil tankers and containers had been destroyed and damaged during the last one and a half month in different parts of NWFP, Talibans were being blamed for these incidents.

Cleric ready to die instead of closing down illegal FM channel: Mingora Swat.Owner of illegal FM channel in Swat and son-in-law of Safi Muhmmad, the chief of defunct Tanzeem Nifaze Shariat Mohammandi (TNSM) Maulana Fazulullah reiterated his commitment to render sacrifice of his life instead of any compromise on the FM channel. Following the possible military operations against the Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad he has invited his followers to register their names for jihad, on which thousands have offered themselves for jihad. Local Administration has started impounding transport in the area so as to block the way for those trying to leave fro jihad. TNSM leader said they would give them a call for jihad when required according to details more than 100 youths from Swat have registered their names for suicide attacks and have disappeared from the area after seeking forgiveness from their relatives or near and dear ones.

Two Killed in Hub blast: BOLUCHISTAN, Quetta. Two people were killed and three injured when a powerful bomb went off in the industrial area of Hub on May 22 night. The bomb was planted at a bus stop close to a bridge on the RCD highway in the industrial town which went off at 1100 PM.One of the injured is in critcal condition, no one has claimed responsibility.

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

May 23, 2007

In Mourning

Some of you know this already, but I've been dealing for months now with a cancer-stricken extended family member. CQFD's father was diagnosed with lung cancer back in january, and he passed away today.

Seeing as I'm in Pakistan and they're in Canada, and I'm not going to make it home on time for the funeral, I'm bummed, to put it lightly.

I’ve known the man for over a decade now. He was a good man, he opened his door to all his kid's friends. He was warm, and funny, and smart. He lent us a willing ear when we were rowdy or sad. He gave me a father figure to look up to after my own dad passed away some years ago. He taught me about a lot of good things about respectability, courage, friendship, loyalty, and family.

I'm really sad for CQFD too, because we are still very, very close, and there is a lot of affection between us. And since I'm alone in Pak to deal with this, well... I'm venting here.

I don't think this will affect my posting - simply because it's a good distraction from the rest of the crap I have to deal with. I just needed a place to express it.

Thanks all,

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

May 20, 2007

How an SMS maybe saved my life

I was hanging out, taking a shower, when I heard my phone ring its familiar Drrrrrring, indicating a new SMS.

Nonchalantly, I walked to my phone, my body fresh and clean from the hot shower. Was it news from home? An invitation to dinner?


Instead, it was this :

"All please avoid serena/nirvana/abpara area this evening. Rangers have taken position to attack lal masjid. Situation is very tense. Pls avoid to go to abpara and G6/2 area."

Gee wiz. I wonder how Afghanistan will be.

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

P.S. On a lighter note, it says a lot about the efficiency of our security monitors. Please do not worry, friends and family.

May 18, 2007

Thoughts about being me in Pakistan

I noticed recently that when I walk on the street, I get a lot of attention. This happens, whether I am dressed in western clothes or not. It happens, day or night.

Some may say it has to do with my size, my skin, my hair color. Granted, I stand out. The 2 people I travel with blend in better, one being asian, the other, a true-blue American of German/Slavic descent with dark hair, who has been asked recently if he was Afghani.

I think, though, that it’s not only my looks. In Islamabad, foreigners crawl out of the walls. They are used to us. No, I think I am beautiful in the eyes of these men, or minimally that I am somewhat attractive. I like that thought. The amount of male attention I get with westerners is very limited. It’s heartening.

The other thing about being in Pak is the shopping craze. The house I live in is front of Jinnah Market, and so I have been having a hard time resisting the appeal of souvenir, clothiers and accessory shops. It looks like everything in Pakistan is of a lovely craft, clothes are exotic and luxurious.

Thankfully, the knowledge that UNHAS, (the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service) will only allow me 30 kilos to fly into Kabul, and that I already have 29.99 Kilos of luggage, protects me from complete bankruptcy.

To compensate, I focus on small and light items, mostly toe-rings and ankle bracelets. (Would I be developing a foot fetish?)

I also now have 3 new scarves, 2 new Kameez (the Pakistani long top) from FNKASIA, the hottest local designer, and countless hair accessories.

I am turning into a girl, somebody stop me!

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

May 15, 2007

More advisories... the net tightens

Country Risk Rating High

Advisory I- Supreme Court Official Killed in Islamabad; Nationwide Strike Commences

A senior Supreme Court official was killed by gunmen early on 14 May at his residence in Islamabad.

According to the official's wife, two or three gunmen shot him and immediately fled the scene in what appears to have been a targeted killing.

Meanwhile, shops across the country closed in response to a strike called by opposition parties Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD), Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) and Awami National Party (ANP).

Troops in Karachi were allegedly given orders to shoot protesters in response to a break down in law and order in the city over the weekend which killed at least 42 people and injured approximately 140. The Sindh provincial government has imposed Section 144 of the Pakistani Constitution in Karachi for a period of 30 days, banning the carrying of weapons, processions, public rallies and public meetings.

Roads leading to North Nizamabad, North Karachi, Site and Orangi town in Karachi have been sealed by authorities, while traffic on the National Highway and railways has been suspended. Approximately 15,000 police and paramilitary troops have been deployed in the city.

The Marriot, Avari and Sheraton hotels in Karachi, Serena and Marriot hotels in Islamabad, Avari hotel in Lahore and Pearl hotel in Peshawar are providing escort services to and from the airport for their customers.

Pakistan International Airways (PIA) has advised passengers to check with the airline for any changes in schedule for domestic and international flights out of Karachi.

Violence erupted in Karachi on 12 May, as rallies organized by opposition parties MMA, ANP and Pakistani People's Party (PPP), along with several lawyers, in support of suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, clashed with a competing rally by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the ruling party in the Sindh province and a member of the national coalition government.

The killing of a Supreme Court official comes in the wake of Chief Justice Chaudhry's petition hearing in the Supreme Court, which was scheduled for 14 May but was subsequently halted. Chief Justice Chaudhry's lawyers announced that they planned to protest in Islamabad on 14 May.

With the involvement of coalition member MQM in the violence, there are speculations that President Pervez Musharraf's government has been weakened and there may be early elections. President Musharraf, however, has declared that both presidential and general elections will take place as scheduled.

There has been some visible downgrading of physical security measures in Islamabad and Lahore on 14 May, however Karachi remains in a virtual lockdown. Further protest and violence remains likely.

advises its staff members to defer non-essential travel to Pakistan until the situation subsides. Those staff in Karachi are advised to limit movement in the city. In particular, Qasba Aligarh, Banaras, Patel Para, Sohrab Goth, Qaidabad, Dawood Chowrangi Landhi, Shahra-e-Faisal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Nomish Chowangi, Water Pump area, Ibne-e-Sina road, Metro Cinema, Lyari, Kala Board, Malir, PIA Colony, SITE area, Baloch Colony, Guru Mandir, Model Colony, Korangi, Qasba Colony, Jamshed Quarters and Lasbela should be avoided. In addition, Members in Islamabad are advised to avoid the vicinity of the Supreme Court.

members travelling to and from the country should check with their respective airlines about internal security mechanisms and changes in flight schedules.

Country Risk Rating High
Advisory II-Pakistani and Afghan Forces Clash

Pakistan's Frontier Corps clashed with Afghan soldiers at Jajai in the tribal Kurram Agency near Afghanistan's Paktia province on 13 May.

Pakistani authorities claim that six Afghan soldiers were killed while Afghan officials said that two Afghan civilians were killed in the fighting.

Both sides traded accusations of unprovoked firing which led to a two-hour battle. According to reports, the fighting affected Kubki village and several persons were injured in Gul Ghundi.

The latest incident will further impact on the troubled relationship between the two countries.

Afghanistan accuses Pakistan of providing assistance to the Taliban and al-Qaeda militants that stage regular attacks on Afghan and coalition forces inside Afghanistan. Pakistan denies these charges and claims that it is doing all it can to fight terrorism in the region.

The 1510 mi (2430 km) border shared by the two countries is a contentious issue. Pakistan's recent move to fence parts of the border in an attempt to control the movement of militants has angered Kabul which does not recognize it as an international boundary. The frontier region is inhabited on both sides by Pashtun tribes with strong family and clan ties who travel freely across the border.

Taliban offensives in Afghanistan generally increase during the summer with the opening of the mountain passes. Despite claims to the contrary, Pakistan continues to support its proxies in Afghanistan, including members of the Taliban. The US is also losing patience with Pakistan's less than constructive role in Afghanistan and in pursuing regional extremists. The US support of both countries is the major factor preventing a further deterioration of relations between the two countries. This is an artificial situation that will not last.

Increased clashes on the Pakistan-Afghan border are likely.

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

May 11, 2007

Considerations and confidence

Suicide bombing alerts in Islamabad have been heightened. We are tightening up our security protocols. I now have to tell my TL where I am at all times, rotate my hang outs, avoid getting out of a taxi in front of the house, and keep a phone on me at all times. Paranoia is coming at us in style.

There is still something positive. My friend found the guide to Islamabad's restaurants. It's heartening.

Our entry into Afghanistan for the whole 6 weeks was approved this morning. I am still waiting to see what is going to happen with the rest - whether my transfer to the Middle East is happening or not. (More to come about that soon.)

I guess it will be nothing compared to Kabul - it looks like Kabul will be the highest risk zone I'll ever go in of all my life. I'm not afraid, though. Something in me tells me it is my duty to go, and all will be fine. I am confident of it.

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

May 10, 2007

Warning Issued for Possible Suicide Attacks

The US Embassy in Pakistan issued a warden message on 8 May to warn its citizens of the increased threat of possible suicide attacks on Westerners in the country.

According to the statement, the US Mission has received non-specific information regarding terrorist attacks, possibly suicide attacks, against US persons and interests, as well as places frequented by Westerners. The major cities including Islamabad , Karachi , Lahore and Peshawar were listed as possible targets for such attacks.

Media reports on 8 May also indicate that Pakistani intelligence agencies have warned the government of possible suicide attacks by jihadi groups based in Waziristan against police and security officials across the country.

Local media sources have also indicated that the suspected suicide bombers have already reached the state of Punjab from Waziristan in preparation for attacks. In response, security cordons have been reportedly strengthened around police outposts, the National Police Academy and the Sihala Police Training College in Punjab .

Pakistan has experienced a surge in suicide attacks on civilians in the recent past. At
80 people have been killed in such attacks across Pakistan since January. The incidents also included an assassination attempt on the Interior Minister on 28 April in Charsada , North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Groups with the motive and modus operandi to conduct anti-government suicide attacks include the Taliban and affiliated Pashtun extremists, jihadi groups headed by Lashkar-e-Toiba and Baluchi separatists.

Anti-government attacks have the potential to take a direct anti-foreign and particularly anti-Western turn. In addition to being at incidental risk from sectarian and anti-government violence, foreigners continue to present a softer indirect target for terrorist groups aiming to destabilize President Pervez Musharraf's regime.

May 09, 2007

Limp Biskit in 50 years

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

May 07, 2007

A weekend yet again spent sleeping

I went to Al-Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. Thank god I did, because otherwise, I spent my weekend sleeping.

The Mosque is an impressive thing. It sits in a nest of hills, which, when you are on the outside terrasse, gives it the most impressive, beautiful sight. The hills are green, and the birds are rather loud. It makes one think a lot about extremism to be in such a peaceful place. I'm glad I went - it confirmed my intuition that God does sit in such places, but that his word (and work) are perverted by humans. A common thing, really, when you think of it.

It was an afternoon full of contrasts, though, to visit the mosque (no pics inside, sorry), and then to have a milkshake with my teammates at the Hot-Spot, an indeed burning place where one can enjoy home-made bagels and Ice-cream, and a "Death by Chocolate pie" which I've yet to try.

I was also lucky to be taken out by co-workers. Sweet people, really. Sometimes, I'm really blessed.

Oh geez, I guess I didn't sleep all weekend after all !

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !