Ghost Towns

Reporting on Reporting – Part One


bannu, 17th june 2014.  photographed by: hasham ahmed (afp/getty)

When the war began, the elderly chose to stay. They preferred to send their children to seek shelter.

The military had given the locals some time to escape before it imposed curfew. And when they left, the refugees began referring to their settlements in North Waziristan as ghost towns.

Among those who were left behind were the people who said they could not afford the transport fare to leave.

Those who left their homes were known as the “Internally Displaced”.

A 44-year old man said that for years he had been stuck between the military and militants. He said that the government should bomb houses, mosques, and markets only if it meant that the insurgents were eliminated. “We need peace after our sacrifices,” he said.

The displaced brought their pets along.

In the mosques, the imams used the loudspeakers to recite the Quran. They spoke to the people to console themselves and their congregation. They prayed to God for the safety of those who had remained behind.

“The fact remains that the casualties on both sides are Muslim”, said an editorial.

Official claims could not be confirmed by independent sources. The newspapers claimed that because the area was off-limits to journalists, it was impossible to verify the numbers and identities of the dead.


These stories are what stood out to me when I went through 51 articles published by DAWN and The Nation when Zarb e Azb began. I’m hoping to continue sharing what I find in my research. This project is an independent pursuit I’m taking on and definitely not the idea nor the focus of the research work I do at my university. If you have any suggestions (How about including hyperlinks?), questions (Why are you doing this?), or comments please go ahead and write to me.




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