Monday, May 18, 2009


By Fawad Ali Shah

KARACHI: “Da paka army na ganda army da, da kafiran di dwee na sirf sar na di prekawol pakar balkai da dwee tukri tukri kol pakar di,” (They are not the Pak army, they are infidels, not only behead them but also chop their bodies up into little pieces), this is what Zuleikha, 52, heard on Fazlullah FM, after the military operation was launched in Swat; it was Maulana Shah Duran, a close-aide of Maulana Fazlullah, who delivered the speech.

“They call the police and army infidels and have given permission to everyone to kill them,” says Zuleikha, who hails from the Khwazakhela Town of the Swat Valley. She migrated to Karachi a few days ago, as the law and order situation in the valley deteriorates. She is currently living with her daughter, who has been living in Qasbah Colony, Karachi for the last ten years.

Zuleikha reveals that Maulana Shah Duran, who was one of the three speakers on Fazlullah FM, would use abusive language when talking about government officials. The FM radio would broadcast programmes from 8:00 to 10:00 pm and rebroadcast them from seven to nine in the morning. The programme schedule was divided into three segments; the recitation of Holy Quran verses and their inferences, threats to opponents and a programme titled ‘Good News’.

Many violent incidents started after Maulana Fazlullah established a FM radio station in Swat; he first used the station for the purpose of reciting and preaching Quranic verses, but later on, he and his accomplices used it to spread propaganda. This radio station was very popular among women, who traditionally stay at home in the Malakand division. On it, they could learn the Quran and the principles of Islam.

“When I heard it for the first time, I found it very informative,” the elderly woman, playing with her granddaughter’s locks said. The station would teach us Islamic rituals and other things, she added, however, she laments that later on, Maluana Fazlullah and Shah Durran started using abusive languages on the station. “Women would follow all the instructions he gave in the beginning and listened very carefully to the radio, however, it lost it’s attraction for them as soon as Durran started dictating what to do and what not to do,” Zuleikha went on to say. “Even after the peace agreement was signed they continued dictating people.”
Though the women lost interest in the Fazlullah FM and would only listen to the recitation and explanation of versus of the Holy Quran, the children had their own reasons to listen to the station. “I loved the way he used to talk about the policemen,” said Alamzaib, 9, who is presently living in Banaras at his uncle’s home. “Maulana Shah Alam would call them chickens,” he narrates the story with fun. “I would listen to the second part of their programme, which was usually hosted by one of the accomplices of Maulana Fazlullah.”

With a smile on his face, the child revealed that Taliban would issue instructions and would name the policemen who would be killed the next day. However, he adds that he abhors the Taliban, as one of their accomplices had slapped him while he was playing ‘gulli danda’ with his friend.

“Learn how to play with guns,” the Taliban man advised him. He maintained that Shah Duran also did not like games and called them, ‘a waste of time’.

Zainab, 24, has her own story of the Taliban and their radio to tell. “I listened to it because it was so funny; Shah Duran who has been the leading presenter on FM, in the recent days, would use abusive funny language.” However, Zainab says Maulana Fazlullah does not appear on the radio anymore.

The men of Swat were not interested in the religious sermons and would listen to the radio in the days of war to learn the new directives of Taliban, as going against them would cost them their lives.

“They would abuse clean-shaven people in public and called them transgenders,” said Jamal Khan, who hails from Kabal Town and has migrated to Karachi in the wake of the ongoing military operation.DAILY TIMES MAY 18,2009

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