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Farzana Ali On Reporting From The Danger Zone In Northwest Pakistan

Farzana Ali

Farzana Ali covering the Af-Pak peace talks in Kabul/April 2011

By Pamela Burke

UPDATE: 5/2/11 with Osama Bin Laden’s Death

EYE: Are you shocked at the killing of Bin Laden?

FARZANA ALI: Nobody would believe it, but history shows that Al-Qaida’s top leaders tried to hide themselves in such safer urban places. Almost three months earlier Umar Patek, alleged Bali bombing plotter, was captured from this city but the news was made public only in March. Likewise, the city is on the Silk Route, a road to China. So we journalists are expecting more news like this in the future.

EYE: Are people surprised that he was living in Abbottabad?

FARZANA ALI: Yes, of course. There is an atmosphere of uncertainty throughout the country’s urban areas.

EYE: Will this make your country a safer place?

FARZANA ALI: As far as Al-Qaeda, yes. I think they are no more of a threat, but the situation now is different. We have a lot of problems regarding extremism not terrorism. Likewise we have a lot of geo-economic, geo-strategic, and geo-political crises added by the offspring of Al-Qaeda. So I expect worst days coming ahead.

EYE: Do you see a change now in the power of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in your country?

FARZANA ALI: Yes, but who will fill the vacuum is the big question.

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When journalist Farzana Ali leaves her home in the morning, she says she doesn’t know whether she will see her family again. The territory she covers in Pakistan is considered one of the most dangerous in the world.

“I want to be a hope for present and future female journalists as well as a symbol of courage…” Farzana Ali

She has seen it all reporting for newspapers and television in this northwestern region for the past 14 years. From the caves in Kotkai where the head of the suicide bombers is reported to have lived to Tank and South Waziristan covering the case of a future bride who was allegedly killed for cutting her hair, she has traveled all over in search of important stories.

Farzana Ali in Bajor Agency

Reporting in Bajaur Agency at a girls' degree college/2010

Farzana reached out to The Women’s Eye recently after reading the website. She thought it might connect the women of her region to the outer world. Her desire is that her voice be heard, and we wanted to listen. Here is our candid exchange… [Read more…]