Thursday, December 15, 2011

Karachi, 14.12.11

Yesterday, the front pages of newspapers declared that more than fifty children had been rescued from forced captivity in an allegedly Taliban-controlled madrassa in Karachi, Pakistan. Some of them were found wearing chains around their necks and ankles, literally tied to the ground. The police acted on a tip-off that some children there were being beaten and abused. Upon their release, most of the children said that they had been enrolled there by their parents for drug addiction, physical and mental problems (fits and seizures) construed by "healers" as curses, and spiritual training. The parents paid a monthly fee of three thousand rupees. One of the boys was beaten around 200 times and threatened with being forced into joining the militant jehad.

In the recently held Bonn conference, countries debated and discussed the "fate" of Afghanistan. Post-911, human rights and religious extremism became a prominent part of political discussions about Afghanistan. Today, there is a shift in perspective and such conferences do not discuss human rights so much as "political solutions". A lot of uncertainty surrounds the "fate" of women and children. Politically correct journalists and policy-makers are wary of becoming involved in the socio-religious fabric of "Af-Pak" society. For many of the poor who are thus figuratively and sometimes literally held in captivity, there is seldom any political solution.

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