The men whose hands were chopped off

Published: May 24, 2010
The writer is currently writing a book, Taliban and Anti-Taliban (

The writer is currently writing a book, Taliban and Anti-Taliban ([email protected])

Recently the Taliban chopped off the hands of three young tribesmen in Orakzai – Amal Khan, Razim Khan and Khaisteen – for alleged theft. The men, who come from poor families, are under treatment in a Kohat hospital. I had a chance to talk with the brothers of two of them, who are looking after them in the hospital.

They said that the men were brought to a bazaar where their hands were chopped off in public and that they were more or less left to bleed to death with no medical help. The tribesman who had accused the three men of theft had forgiven them but he, I was told, was afraid to convey this to the Taliban, out of fear that they might chop off his hands as well. There is no authority in Orakzai where the family members of the three men could have sought help. The agency is under de facto control of the Taliban (including a chunk of the Taliban from Punjab) along with al Qaeda foreigners. I was told that despite the ongoing military operations many of the Taliban’s private jails in the agency and training centres are still functioning.

This is not the first time that the Taliban have chopped off hands. On dozens of occasions in the past, they have amputated men, flogged people and hung up dead bodies on trees. And now this past week, they literally blew up two alleged spies by attaching explosives to them and triggering them — in a public place. Of course, this has the effect of causing extreme fear and dread in the local population which obviously has no choice but to see all this happen in silence.

Despite media coverage of this incident no one from the government has visited the three men who want to know under what law they were amputated. They said nobody can get them back their hands, but want to know who will compensate them for their loss in material terms, given that they have been crippled for life and will no longer be able to pursue a livelihood.

The root cause of the sufferings in Fata is the fact that the state of Pakistan doesn’t see matters beyond carrying out military operations in the region. There seems to be no concept of doing something for the people of Fata, most of whom consider themselves as second-class citizens of Pakistan.

As for the three men, they and their families are now living as IDPs in Kohat. They are seeking help from philanthropists in Pakistan or beyond to help them finance the purchase of artificial hands so that the men can at least work to support their families. I would request the people of Pakistan to generously extend help to them as a symbolic defiance to the Taliban, al Qaeda and the state’s flawed policies in the region vis-a-vis these militants.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 24th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (36)

  • May 24, 2010 - 2:43AM

    It is shameful that our government and military have abdicated their responsibility towards Pakistani citizens in a manner that has left large swaths of territory under the control of the Taliban or war lords. When will we treat such people with the contempt that they deserve? They are nothing more than petty criminals who are taking the law into their hands!

    While we sit and debate whether or not to push into North Waziristan or other parts of FATA under our own terms of US pressure our fellow citizens are having their limbs amputated! If indeed certain elements of the Taliban are being used to maintain Pakistan’s “strategic depth” then it go’s to show that our military treats its citizens and the soldiers who are dying fighting the same elements with the very same contempt that the Taliban treat those under their control. Recommend

  • Shahd
    May 24, 2010 - 6:41AM

    I’d like to hear Asad Munir out who defended the FCR on this issue. With the FCR and no law enforcement (not to say that there are many laws for that region), the people of the Tribal Areas are left at the mercy of whoever manages to attain the largest amount of weapons.Recommend

  • Sadia Hussain
    May 24, 2010 - 1:40PM

    This should be an eye-opener for those who have questioned the Sawat flogging case! The apologists should see these men whose hands were cut for a petty theft and that to from a year which is undeveloped and war-torn. The operation in Orakzai must be carried out or else such inhumane cases will keep occurring in Orakzai. Recommend

  • Mansoor Khalid
    May 24, 2010 - 1:50PM

    I agree with Nadir’s comments but with that I would also add that although this operation is the first step in this long battle, the second step might be a “rehabilitation” program for this area. Rehab in all dimensions i.e. political, social, economic and religious. We can kill all the enemies but how can we guarantee that more won’t surface. I believe rehab is the only way which can help us in suppressing such insurgencies in future.Recommend

  • Shabnam Gul
    May 24, 2010 - 7:25PM

    Pakistani Govt proudly claim FATA as its territory.People of the FATA have been thrown to the wolves.Terrorists and thugs from all over the world are ruling these innocent inhabitants with their dark , stone age laws.What kind of country is this where law of the jungle prevails?Obviously they will steal if their kids go hungry while the military establishment takes billions of $$$ from the US. Where is all that money ? Why its not reaching to the victims of this war? What is the fault of the innocents living there? They did not chose this war but it was rather imposed on them.They must be protected from these beasts and it is the responsibility of the State to provide that security .The State must protect its citizen instead of protection the terrorists.Recommend

  • Rehman
    May 25, 2010 - 7:46AM

    The tribal belt inhabitants are idiots of highest order; they took the bait of Azaad Kabail concept (From Quaid E Azam) as the govt. didnt have funds nor resources to patrol the treacherous borders, even today. In return they only got a free for all land out of jurisprudence of State of Pakistan; they allowed free use of their blood by the Pak – Army as those cowards didnt shed a drop since creation of the country and used them whenever they wanted for their adventures. These idiots are still being taken advantage of; by rendering the so-called stupid Pukhtun traditions of Naang, Milmastia etc. Move on folks when you live so close to society than adapt the RULE OF LAW and live peacefully. I doubt we wont see this coming true as still a lot of cheap blood is available. Keep your stone age traditions on fellows in this age and suffer…USA should carpet bomb these infested areas and get rid of all nuisances once and for all.Recommend

  • May 25, 2010 - 11:06AM


  • May 25, 2010 - 11:06AM


  • May 25, 2010 - 11:07AM

    Thanks man for sharing.Recommend

  • ali
    May 25, 2010 - 3:31PM


  • ali
    May 25, 2010 - 3:34PM

    tell this to amir liaquat,hamid mir,ansar abbasi and irfan siddiqui,they must have a answer forit——-reaction of drown attacksRecommend

  • Naveed Afridi
    May 26, 2010 - 2:15AM


    Not sure what your problem is. The vitriolic hatred demonstrated in your comments is not only sad but pathetic. It also shows your lack of understanding the problems at hand and the difficulties experienced by what should be equal citizens of this State.

    That they are not, is not a fault of theirs but the fault of those that have governed them. Obviously you have been swayed by the narrative of those that exploit.

    Blaming the victim is an easy process, as you have demonstrated so readily with your glib and facetious comments.


    Naveed AfridiRecommend

  • Rehman
    May 26, 2010 - 7:31AM

    Dear Naveed, I take your comments with open heart but let me delibrate on why i said that. I want to highlight few more facts:
    -Tribal Areas were and are the biggest source of gun running operation in the entire region and have contributed to undermine the writ of state and destabilisation of the region.
    – All the narcotics and other illicit trades are routed through there. Arent there piles and piles of opium, herion labs, counterfeit currency in the FATA region???? All the smuggling rings are run and controlled through there. Dont tribes work in conjunction with the Army in raising $$$ for generals and themselves. What if the USA is spoiling the party now by targetting those precious resources of yours.
    – The FATA region acted as safe haven for the robbers, murderers and most recently the worst animals of mankind a.k.a arab terrorists and other despisable characters from all over the world. I beg to ask “WHY”. Pre- 911 when charitable money from middle east was flowing into the coffers of the maliks and their cohorts – it was a party wasnt it with your brethren sheiks???
    – Why do tribes allow misuse of Afghan transit trade at the expense of Pakistan and smuggle the goods back to the country through their territories therby destroying local industry.
    – why is education not allowed to women in those areas and their schools are being bombed routinely.

    I can add a lot more to what i said and would beg to know arent these the facts that all the tribal people acted as rentiers of their territory and benefited from the bounty.

    Based on the foregoing i am in favour of what the USA is doing there as our Army and bureacracy is cohorts in the crime against ordinary pakistanis and only a mighty outsider can do the clean-up. Hopefully people will live happily and peacefully thereafter.


  • Hasham Baber
    May 26, 2010 - 10:30AM

    I can understand and appreciate Mr Rahman’s sincere sympathy towards the tribal people and the deep seated anger at the Pakistani ‘Establishment’. Like a near one he is chiding his own kith and kin for being used by others. However Mr. Rahman needed to choose appropriate words to express his emotions. In a nutshell, I would say (if I were to slip into his shoes) that people inhabiting the tribal area of Pakistan have been continuously exploited in the name of their chivalrous traditions and so-called freedom allowed to them by Mr. Jinnah as Azaad Kabail. The tribal people have been used as pawns by the Pak army sparing their their own blood. The fact is that the same exploitation continues till today. That the successive governments and, particularly those under the military regimes always conveniently chose to keep the tribal areas as their hostage under the black laws of FCR, abject poverty, deprived of constitutional rights including human rights, without political party representation in the Parliament and provincial assemblies. While there are several military operations in the tribal areas, we expect that during the process of succeeding stabilization and re-construction processes, FATA should be merged with Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa giving it full constitutional rights as available to other citizens of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Farhat Taj
    May 26, 2010 - 12:30PM

    The terrorists occupying FATA have never been given any refuge by the tribes. This is myth perpetuated by pro-Taliban media and writers in Pakistan and have also misled the world, especially because the intelligence of Pakistan made this area too insecure for independent research. Following post 9/11 US bombing of Al-Qaida hide outs in Afghanistan, the foreign terrorists came to the FATA as guest of ISI, they were facilitated to occupy the area and the tribal people have suffered the savagery at hands of both foreign, Punjabi and local terrorists. Most tribal people are scared of both Taliban/Al-Qaida and intelligence agencies of Pakistan and curse both.
    It is also a myth the the tribal area has been out of the state writ. Actually this area has always been under strict state control. No person in FATA, tribal leader or whosoever, ever had the power to engage himself in smuggling or other activities you mentioned in defiance of the state writ. It was all with full consent and engineering by it in pursuit of the policy of the state objectives in Afghnaistan. State functionaries benefited from it. In that case too most people of FATA have never had any role in smuggling or benefitted from it- they continued to live in poverty.
    I will be writing about these issues in my book- Taliban and Anti-Taliban. But for now I just wish to say ( with all my respect) that you assume too much about culture and people of ATA and know too little.
    Farhat TajRecommend

  • ali
    May 26, 2010 - 1:11PM

    Ms. Farhat Taj you put my thoughts into words with your above comment. Just wondering when will your book be out?Recommend

  • Tabrez
    May 26, 2010 - 2:11PM

    The series of comments followed by such news is evidence what purpose such happenings/news are serving. Please lets not forget the public flogging of the ‘wailing girl’ that was never proven to be authentic and later on, not surprisingly, turned out be an NGO gimmick.

    What happend with these men, if it happend, is indeed sad and devastating for mankind and civilization, but we should try to see the other side of the picture tooRecommend

  • Asad Munir
    May 26, 2010 - 2:35PM

    The Taliban raised a force in Mirali and Orakzai in 1998/99.The foreign militants entered both South and North Waziristan in March 2002, once Operation ANACONDA was conducted, by NATO Forces in Shahikot area of Paktiya Province.They were given refuge by both Ahmedzai Wazirs and Dawars.The writer may not be aware that operations against these foreigners started in April 2002.More than 300 were apprehended/killed during these operations between 2002/2003.Farhat’s perception that they were guests of ISI, is most probably based on information provided by tribal, who may not be aware about the actual ground situation . At that time there were no Taliban in South Waziristan.The Taliban of Mirali and Orakzai also disappeared after 9/11.They resurfaced in mid 2004.She may not be aware about the events which took place between November 2001 and 2004.Nek Muhammad and his group, in South Waziristan, were the facilitators of these foreigners.In North Waziristan local Dawars and Utmanzai Wazirs were providing refuge to the militants.No foreigner or Punjabi Taliban can survive in that area unless provided refuge by local Tribal.Recommend

  • Sadia Hussain
    May 26, 2010 - 2:53PM

    I wonder if Hamid Mir, Hamid Gul, Ahmed Qureshi would call this vested western conspiracy? For anything that does not coincide with their agenda is a conspiracy, they have an alternative reality of their own!Recommend

  • Helmand Khan
    May 26, 2010 - 3:34PM

    Mr Rahman

    Your words for the people of FATA smacks of your disdaine for Pakhtun people in general and I just do not uderndestand as to why the newspaper has no policy towards such a racist remarks terming the whole community as “idiots”. I strongly protest with publisher and editor of the Tribune and urge them to adopt a policy against such remarks that malign the whole community.I think the newspaper can not get away with a notice that these views would not reflect its policy. I believe yet newspaper is responsible for allowing any remarks that are offensive so it owes appology for carrying these remarks (The tribal belt inhabitants are idiots of highest order)

    Secondly, you naively think that people of FATA control their destiny.
    But it is rather Pakistan’s army that uses FATA as buffer territory against Afghanistan.

    Besides, Pakistan does not want to strategically secure and control the border region until and unless its proxy Taliban in Afghanistan get a significant dominance in the post-US Afghanistan.

    Read what the ex-army chief General (R) Mirza Aslam Baig says in this regard:“Undoubtedly, the Pakistan army has been able to establish the writ of the government along the entire border region, including FATA, and for the first time our borders with Afghanistan have acquired strategic significance. The integrity of our borders therefore must be maintained, only when we are at peace with the future government in Kabul that will be none else than the government by the Taliban who control 90 percent of Afghanistan”.

    So Mr Rahman you may be ignorant of the implication of your racist remarks , but it is not too late for you to learn some manners.

    Helmand KhanRecommend

  • Farhat Taj
    May 26, 2010 - 5:41PM

    Asad Sahib,
    Your saying that (Farhat’s perception that they were guests of ISI, is most probably based on information provided by tribal, who may not be aware about the actual ground situation ) is inline with what I said in one of my above comments i.e. people assume too much about Pakhtun and know too little about them. Why would I have totally depend on of the perception of the tribals who are not aware of the ground situation when I am from the area and have lived almost all of life in the area- khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and FATA until I moved to Norway about 7 years ago.
    I standby what I said. The intelligence agencies co opted the tribals linked with religious parties in this dangerous game for creating a ‘controlled chaos’ in the area. No tribes as a whole supported the jihadi. There were people within tribes who for money or out of misplaced religious conviction become part of the game. Most people in each and every tribe were never part of the game and they became innocent victim of the game.
    Tabrez Sahib, if you are referring to the video of the girl flogging from Swat- let me inform you the video is genuine. The people in the village where it happened, Kala kalay, confirm it.
    Farhat TajRecommend

  • Naveed Afridi
    May 26, 2010 - 6:29PM

    I have to express my surprise and dismay at the continued bigotry displayed in Rehman’s comments.

    I think even sadder, is that those kinds of comments are quite popular in Pakistani society in general, encouraged by the media and never seriously tackled by those in positions of being able to implement policy matters.

    Also amazing is the attitude displayed regarding the flogging video in another post.

    I sincerely believe that Farhat Taj does rattle some nerves when she exposes the truth that befalls people of the Tribal areas. And as a result, a variety of bigots and racists, or apologists of the status quo are expected to spew their hatred.

    Anyone who has worked with IDPs will quickly realize magnitude of the human tragedy that afflicts Tribal people, and that which started with the neglect and exploitation they have experienced since partition. One would hope that those who might be in the habit of blaming the victim, develop a concience and a capacity for empathy. A nation without those attributes for it’s own people is quickly doomed to failure.Recommend

  • usman
    May 26, 2010 - 6:50PM

    How can we help them? Can you provide contact information of NGOs or agencies involved in relief efforts?Recommend

  • Bangash
    May 26, 2010 - 10:35PM

    The Taliban are savage animals that need to be eliminated from the face of this earth. I fully support all military operations against Taliban and their allied extremists, and I believe that the Taliban lovers in the media should be prosecuted for support of terrorism.Recommend

  • Khalid Munir
    May 26, 2010 - 11:07PM

    @Farhat Taj
    If you are not depending on infomation from the tribals and I am sure you were you were not living in Mir Ali , Sara Rogha, or Daboree between 9/11 and when you moved to Norway, then what credible source of information you have. Islamabad is full of FATA experts who have never been to FATA and you can see them on one or the other talk shows. You are a brave lady and I had been following your writings. Keep it up, but your concept about the Al Qaida influx into tribal area is faulty. It was not as you described it. Keep writing.Recommend

  • Farhat Taj
    May 27, 2010 - 12:42AM

    Khalid Saheb,
    Thanks for your comments.
    (With due respect) you seem to assume that I have never been to Daboree, or Mir Ali after I left Pakistan. If this is your assumption- well- you can do so- but it may not be necessarily true in terms of my mobility within my own native land.
    As far as the FATA ‘experts’ in Islamabad- I am so sick and tired of them and so are most of those people of FATA who have the opportunities to read or hear the lies and distortions they spread out in the name of their ‘expert knowledge’.
    Usman Saheb,
    There are various NGO etc working for FATA IDP’s. But I can’t suggest you. I am afraid you have to pick one yourself, if you wish contribute to their work.
    For now, however, let me tell you that the three men(mentioned in my Op-Ed above) whose hands were cut off are looking for any philanthropists who would help then arrange for artificial hands so that they would be able to start some kind of normal life. All them are from poor families. They have suffered this brutality due to our state’s jihadi adventures in Afghanistan and now the same state have abandoned them- no help has been given to them by the state.
    I would request fellow Pakistanis all over the country to put pressure on the state to give up the jihadi policies in Afghanistan and Kashmir and become a normal state.e. a state that does not pursue its interests through death and destruction of it citizens, like our state is doing in FATA.
    Ali Saheb,
    My book would come out next year.
    Farhat TajRecommend

  • zubair torwali
    May 27, 2010 - 1:24AM

    What Rehman said is the narrative of the people who has taken for granted what the media and establishment propose to believe in. I will not add words for words sake as Hashem Baber has fully grapsed the point. Here I want to say something about the comments made by Tabriz.

    You wrote “The series of comments followed by such news is evidence what purpose such happenings/news are serving. Please lets not forget the public flogging of the ‘wailing girl’ that was never proven to be authentic and later on, not surprisingly, turned out be an NGO gimmick.

    What happend with these men, if it happend, is indeed sad and devastating for mankind and civilization, but we should try to see the other side of the picture too”
    As far the Swat flogging you have issued a fatwa; and fatwa is the moste dreadful weapon in the hands of bigots. How did you find that the flogging was bogus? How did it reveal upon you that it was only a gimmick of a certain NGO? Why have you hastened to such a conclusion? The flogging video bogusness news is just another episode of the whole game. In the news it was said by some dubious source that the flogging was fake. In the news it was also revealed that in regard of the fake video some arrest had also been made in Kohat but the next day in a very investigative report by Javid Aziz of The News revealed the fact that the police officer of Kohat district had denied any arrest in the regard. In addition in the ‘fake news’ it was told that the former commissioner of Malakand Division had set up an inquiry in this regard which found the video bogus. Wow!! how reliable will be an invetigation by a guy who had spent time in jail on accusation of being with the militants and guiding them how to enter to Buner. He was heard saying to the militants to apparently move back from Buner before the media as to comply by the deal.
    Another question: why a year was taked in probing into the matter; and why was the news spread exactly after a year of the operation Rah-e-Raast in Swat? What happened to the famous sue motto action by the CJ of Pakistan when the video was run on the media? There is a pro-militant lobby in the media, especially the print Urdu media, which is hell bent to prove the videoe as fake. Two weeks back a Karachi based right winger Urdu daily published a column wherein the writer claimed that the woman who exposed the video to the media (in his words who shot the video and sold it to media) had fled to America. The writer claimed that he had tried many times to call the lady but failed because she had left for America out of shame. The same day, and exactly the same time. I happened to call the daring and courageous lady. She had been in Pakistan since the video went on air; and she had never left Pakistan.

    [email protected]@
    Kindly do not comment on things which you have no idea. Why should be under the sway of some TV anchorpersons and ‘long experienced’ columnists. You cannot imagine who has bought whom and for how much.
    In Pakistan this has happened many times and happening endlessly.


  • Talib
    May 27, 2010 - 9:03AM

    THe main think is that those whose hands were CUT off waere Criminals………Simple as that
    According to Islamic Law thier hands are Cut off
    there is no such big issue
    In saudia state if someone is accused of bieng robber ……….SAME punishment for him
    we are western mentalized……….. we think islamic laws are hectic and non humanist……. Just take a Deep breath and finish it..Recommend

  • ali
    May 27, 2010 - 11:37AM

    @talib,we must read and understand all the fiqh before calling any law islamic law,more than dozen conditions apply in any such cases it apparently looks no one is trying to understand the real islam even so called “mujahedin”.some mullah told cut throat and chob hands and we are ready to do it—————-kindly develop a deep knowledge and do research as a free soul we all will find answersRecommend

  • Bangash
    May 27, 2010 - 8:13PM

    Those claiming that the tribals are hapless and all blame belongs to “Establishment” for Taliban games, are living in a fool’s paradise. The Tribal Areas are the headquarters of criminal activity, fugitives and terrorists precisely because such elements are given haven by tribals and even glorified by them. The Taliban and other terrorists are a prime example, after fleeing Afghanistan they were given rousing welcome by the tribes of Waziristan, with women even donating their jewelry and men giving their daughters to “Mujahideen”.

    The tribals are reaping what they have sown with their foolish decisions and their own refusal to accept the Constitution and remain “Azad Kabail”. The establishment in Pakistan has done its shared of utter stupidity but the situation in tribal areas has a lot to do with the tribes themselves.Recommend

  • Rehman
    May 27, 2010 - 9:34PM

    Mr. Hasham Babar, thanks for your understanding of the matter as you read between the lines.

    Dear Miss Farhat Taj,
    Let me begin by saying that i am not an outsider to the region and spent countless hours in the dreaded libraries of Peshawar Club and few others which holds archives on the area just to get a sense of historic facts of the area right from Kushans to the current period. I think the British have already done so much work that lay astray in British libraries etc. Their officers (political and military) did a tremedous work in areas of anthropology and nomenculature and composition of the region. “DID any of our officers ever treaded to read those great works except to exploit the divisions”.

    For your upcoming book I hope you cover some topics as why maliks and cohorts own trillions of rupees. Just ask the bank managers of the FATA region
    Audit the spoils of Narco trade and real estate holdings of the tribal people in Peshawar, Islamabad and Karachi; most recenlty Central Asia, China and Dubai.
    The former lorrie conductors and truck drivers may lend a hand in resolving Pakistan debt load to some degree
    Tribal areas are out of the writ of state as the writ only goes along the roads and within FC camps.
    NARCO – TRADE is the root cause of the problems and recently the safe haven provision to all the scums of the world (Read Islamists, Mass Murderers, Brain washed killing machines of madrassas)
    I hope your new book is not about ARM CHAIR JOURNALISM and more of facts.

    Helmand Khan: My regrets for the poor choice of words as i should have rather said “NAIVE” rather idiots.

    How Can One be a Racist against ones own race??? Please dont quote the ARM Chair Generals of ours rather British officers who did so well in understanding the area and its people.

    Mr. Naveed Afridi, I stand by every thing that i said but had to comprehend with some poorly chosen words. FATA’s destiny lies with Pakistan as they are not Kurdish tribes who will get autonomy some day.

    FATA people should lay down their arms, close gun running operations and live as a civilized society. Is that too much to ask for the price being paid.
    The people are too egoistic and have gang like attitudes. They think of themselves as the blue blooded Afghans which they are not as they are on this side of the border.
    Come out of the siege mentality and open up to debate on the real facts and please forgo “AZAAD KABAIL CONCEPT”.



  • Spinkane
    May 28, 2010 - 2:43PM

    *Miss Farhat Taj please clear your concepts about FATA and Taliban before you write a book otherwise you are likely to mislead your readers.Your pieces gives an impression that you believe anything narrated to you by your simple Tribal contacts.Your beliefs are just perceptions,having little relevance to the ground realities.Recommend

  • Jun 17, 2010 - 11:40AM

    Tribals are reaping what they have sown with their foolish decisions and their own refusal to accept the Constitution and remain “Azad Kabail”. The establishment in Pakistan has done its shared of utter stupidity but the situation in tribal areas has a lot to do with the tribes themselves.Recommend

  • Jun 22, 2010 - 9:34PM

    It’s posts like this that keep me coming back and checking this site regularly, thanks for the info!Recommend

  • Jul 2, 2010 - 4:53AM

    Nice dispatch and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you as your information.Recommend

  • Aug 27, 2010 - 12:28PM

    Dear Farhat, I covered the news of these 3 men and i have their picture, do u need it for ur book.

    Zulfiqar Shah
    The Monthly Haqaiq KohatRecommend

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