Thursday, October 12, 2017
Social rights’ groups on Thursday staged a demonstration in front of the Peshawar Press Club in a bid to force the government to provide potable water to the residents of the city.
The protestors assembled in front of the Peshawar Press Club and chanted slogans in favour of their demands.
District Naib Nazim Aftab Baluch and Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) President Hidayat Ullah Khan among others addressed the protestors.
The speakers said that from last three months they have been facing acute shortage of water, especially drinking water in Tank City and its surrounding areas. Majority dwellers of Tank city and its surrounding areas are poor and they cannot afford heavy expenditures on water. Even some of the transporters are getting benefits of the situation now by selling water. A large number of people who are engaged in livestock business are now shifting to other areas, added the speakers.
The speakers further informed that prolonged drought has badly affected the agriculture sector all over Tank and its adjoining Frontier Regions of Jandola. In this respect, from the last three months, they are holding frequent meetings with the concerned civil authorities as well as Public Health Engineering Department but all of them have yet to realise their responsibilities, they lamented.
District Tank Naib Nazim Mr Aftab Baluch told media that previous government in 2000 last approved 19 tube wells for Tank district. The Public Health Engineering Department issued tenders for digging and operation of these tube wells in August 2017 but the concerned Superintendent Engineer was reluctant to open the tenders and issue work orders. They alleged that the concerned SE is a close relative of Chief Minister and is reluctant to open the tenders for reasons known best to him. They demanded an early transfer to the concerned SE Public Health Engineering Department.
Aftab Baluch said that unless their problems are resolved, they will continue the protest. Earlier, they had arranged similar protest demonstrations and rallies in front of the deputy commissioner, SE public health engineering and district nazim offices in Tank.
Tank with a population of 393,000 is situated around 330 kilometres away from Peshawar.
The protesters said that after getting disheartened by the local administration, district nazim, MNA and MPA, they were forced to stage a protest in Peshawar.
Muhammad Akbar Notezai
Situationer: Living 'a constant nightmare'
Around half a dozen customers sit patiently waiting to be served lunch at the Pakistan Chaat Point, on Faiz Mohammad Road in Quetta, when a boy with a dusky complexion hobbles up to the tables holding up a jug of water and steel glasses. One of the customers, a doctor by profession, pipes up: “You suffer from thalassaemia, don’t you?” The boy smiles. “My father takes me to the Thalassaemia Care City Centre once every two weeks, where doctors give me regular shots and blood transfusions.” The Thalassaemia centre here opened a few years ago and it looks clean and well-equipped. Around two dozen children wait for their turn to get a transfusion, while nurses and doctors mill around, attending to patients. Many of the young patients here belong to various districts outside Quetta — Mastung, Pishin, Kalat, etc — and their parents complain about how there isn’t a single centre for thalassaemia patients in their area. There are reports of children living in remote villages and towns of Balochistan, who die without receiving treatment for thalassaemia because they have never been diagnosed with it. Razzaque Siapad, who hails from a village in Kharan district, did not know that his children had died from the disease. “We thought that they were killed by djinns, and we recently found out that they were suffering from a disease — thalassaemia.” But Siapad, a small-scale farmer, asks the pertinent question: “For how long will I be able to bring him to Quetta regularly... I barely make a living for my family.” Other parents share similar heartbreaking stories. Mohammad Waris Langove, 50, hails from Kirdagap, Mastung. A patient of hepatitis C, Langove has been bringing his son Furqan, 10, to the centre in Quetta for blood transfusions since he was three months old. “I do not know what to do to myself. I am suffering from jaundice, but my son, on the other hand, is suffering from thalassaemia. Because of his disease, I cannot take out time to get treatment for myself,” he says. For some in Quetta, the battle with thalassaemia is no less than a constant nightmare. Habibullah, a Pashtun who works as a mechanic, lives on Sabzal Road. He has lost three of his brothers to the disease and his father, a cleric of the local mosque, is suffering from cancer. He shares that after two of his brothers had died of thalassaemia, his father lost hope and refused to treat the third brother. “My father said he would not treat the third brother, so he let him die... [My brother’s] spleen soon enlarged, which resulted in swelling of his whole belly. He died tragically after seven months of the scourge. My father did not even consult a doctor!” Following the death of the third son, the father decided to take Habibullah, now 27, and Khuda Nazar, 13, to the Thalassaemia centre. Their brother Najeebullah says, “I earn Rs14,000 every month and use my meagre salary to pay for household expenditures, for my father’s cancer treatment and for the treatment of my two brothers suffering from thalassaemia.” The scant facilities available to thalassaemia patients in the province do not perturb most health officials. In fact, Health Minister Rehmat Saleh Baloch insists: “Our support [to thalassaemia patients] continues at the provincial and district levels. There are cases of thalassaemia patients in Gwadar district, which is why we built a thalassaemia centre there.” He adds, “We will increase the capacity of hospitals situated in remote parts of Balochistan to treat thalassaemia patients.” Professor Dr Nadeem Samad Sheikh, who heads the Thalassaemia Care City Centre, explains: “This genetic disorder is mostly caused by marriages within families. For instance, when two cousins suffering from thalassaemia minor marry each other, the condition — thalassaemia major — is passed on to their children. Thalassaemia minor is also a disease which one does not generally come to know about because its symptom is mild anaemia, but in children who have thalassaemia major, there is a lack of blood-forming potentials. There are around 30 mutations of thalassaemia major in this region.” The 30 kinds of mutations require 30 different treatments. Sometimes, it is the parents’ negligence that condemns children to aggravated symptoms. Many children at the Thalassaemia centre had enlarged spleens, livers, and even hearts. Dr Samad says many of the children’s lives are at risk because of their own parents because, “they stop giving them their medicines without asking us”. At present, there are 1,735 cases of thalassaemia major registered in Quetta. There are two thalassaemia centres in the district — at Quetta’s Civil Hospital and at the Bolan Medical Complex. “Around 60 children are given blood at the two centres daily,” he says. According to Dr Samad, there is 8.1 per cent prevalence of thalassaemia among the Baloch population, and is 5.6pc among the Pashtun. He adds that the prevalence of thalassaemia is generally very high in Southeast Asia. Urooj Ali was diagnosed with thalassaemia when she was nine months old, but she never gave up, and neither did her parents. “My father is a senior professor at a college and he stood by me and educated me. Now I am doing an MPhil,” she says. “I give lectures at my varsity and attend seminars on thalassaemia in order to raise awareness among students about thalassaemia, so that everyone gets tested before marriage.''
For us here in Pakistan, it is a moment of tremendous pride that Malala Yousafzai has embarked upon her undergraduate studies at Britain’s prestigious Oxford University. That her first term kicked off in the same week that the world celebrated the UN International Day of the Girl only underscores her achievements.
This year the IDG aims, over the next year, to spur global attention and action to the immense challenges facing the girl child before, during and after crises. Malala knows what it is to confront a militant patriarchal mindset that seeks to keep girls disempowered by way of robbing them of the right to education. Such efforts could not be timelier.
Yet these threats to the girl child are not restricted to non-state actors. Today wars waged and societies decimated by the US and the NATO war machines from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya to Syria to Somalia to Yemen have turned the girl child into a refugee. Or as the West prefers to call her: an economic migrant. Those who do not manage to flee face the bombs and bullets of what the western media still insist on calling ‘civil wars’. Yet for the girl child, all she knows is that whether a refugee or an Internally Displaced Person — she has been denied the right to education, medical assistance, food. In short, the right to childhood. Nowhere is this more so than in Yemen, one of the world’s poorest nations. The ICRC has warned that the cholera epidemic could hit the one million mark by the year’s end. It has labelled the crisis there as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with some 80 percent of children in desperate need of aid. This is what nearly three years of Saudi-led military intervention looks like. Elsewhere there is also US sabre rattling about the possibility of sanctions being imposed upon Pakistan and Iran. Such measures always hit the most vulnerable first and the hardest.
Thus while we support the UN endeavours when it comes to having people around the world rally behind the girl child before, during and after crises — what we don’t support is the western narrative that suggests the latter befall her by their own accord, as if by magic. Rather, we would like to say that it’s nothing less than a stain on the so-called civilised world that nearly 60 years after de-colonisation the plundering of natural resources from the world’s poorest nations by the richest is still going on. Unashamedly. The war next door in Afghanistan is one that has been waged according to different narratives of the day. One of which purported that it had been driven to liberate Afghan women and so that girls could go to school. Yet after 16 long years — the US is said to be eyeing mineral mining projects which may or may not amount to some $3 trillion — conveniently more than covering the cost of war.
Tell us if this doesn’t undermine the future of the Afghan girl child?
By Ijaz Kakakhel
An opposition resolution against a disqualified person heading a political party was passed by the Senate of Pakistan on Wednesday.
The resolution, presented by opposition leader Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, stated that a person who was declared ineligible for becoming a member of parliament or had been disqualified could not lead any political party.
Last month, the Senate defeated an amendment by the opposition to the Election Bill 2017 with a single vote margin, paving way for Nawaz Sharif to return as the president of PML-N after he was disqualified by the Supreme Court from becoming a member of parliament.
Aitzaz Ahsan also demanded that a committee should be formed to investigate the alleged Intelligence Bureau (IB) list of lawmakers with links to terrorist organisations. “I do not accept that the letter is fake,” he said, adding that the issue required investigation since two senators had also been named in the list.
The IB and the government have repeatedly denied the existence of any such list, with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi clarifying on the floor of the National Assembly that the list was “fake”.
In the Senate, 52 people voted in favour of the resolution while 28 opposed it. While expressing reservation, Minister for Law Zahid Hamid said nothing usual was happening in the country. He added that the resolution was passed with mala fide intentions; hence should not be deliberated upon.
He said that the resolution must not be passed by the Senate as opposition was only trying for point-score on a law that had already been passed by both the Houses of parliament.
Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq said that both the Houses of parliament had already passed a law to the effect and the resolution would not make any difference. Senator Saud Majeed urged the House to avoid making a law, which it had passed, controversial. No resolution against settled issues should be passed, he added.
Meanwhile, Minister for Law Zahid Hamid told the House that the list containing the names of 37 parliamentarians having alleged links with banned outfits, which was telecast by a news channel, was fake and fabricated. The minister said his name was also included in the list. The Intelligence Bureau had already issued its denial. The alleged letter of Prime Minister’s House directing to make the list was also fake and incorrect, he added. He said the government was not victimising the anchorperson who had aired the list. The prime minister had already clarified the issue in the National Assembly and lawmakers were satisfied with his statement.
Earlier, Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan raised the issue saying that the anchorperson was allegedly being victimised on making public the alleged lB list. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) was also threatening the anchorperson, he alleged.
The senators belonging to the PPP made hue and cry when PML-N Senator Mushahidullah in his speech claimed that Uzair Baloch told the court that he collected extortion for former president Asif Ali Zardari. He asked the PPP to stop political point-scoring by presenting a motion that a disqualified person could not lead a political party.
By Mehmal Sarfraz
Less than a year ago, Nawaz Sharif, the then premier, had renamed the Quaid-i-Azam University's physics centre after Professor Abdus Salam, Pakistan's first Nobel laureate and an Ahmadi. Captain Safdar had the gall to demand that this be undone. "These people [Ahmadis] are a threat to this country, its Constitution and ideology," said Safdar. He further went on to say that he wants to table a resolution in the Assembly asking for a ban on the recruitment of Ahmadis in the armed forces. Maybe he has forgotten the names of several brave Ahmadi soldiers who have served Pakistan valiantly. But, then again, maybe Safdar knows this all too well since he had also once served in the army. But he has wilfully chosen to ignore their services and wants to play to the religious galleries.
It is not the first time that he has made a bigoted statement. In the past, Safdar had praised Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed murderer of Punjab's governor, Salmaan Taseer. Even on Tuesday, he chanted slogans in favour of Mumtaz Qadri while he was still on the premises of the National Assembly. Just last week, Pakistan's interior minister, Ahsan Iqbal, had said something quite opposite of what his party leader's son-in-law is propagating. Iqbal said: "Another thing people do is give out fatwas [religious decrees] about who can be murdered - that is not for individuals to decide, only the State can decide such matters. No individual has the right to do that." It is time Iqbal puts his money where his mouth is and takes action against Captain Safdar for raising slogans in favour of a convicted murderer, Qadri, who was hanged by the State itself. If a member of parliament justifies, nay glorifies, a man who assassinated a sitting governor because of wrong and unlawful fatwas against him, he/she does not deserve to be part of our Parliament. Safdar is guilty of glorifying a terrorist, a murderer, and, on top of that, he crossed all limits of decency and virtually called out for the ostracization and disenfranchisement of the Ahmadiyya community.
The Ahmadiyya community already faces persecution at the hands of the State as well as our society. Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims in 1974 by the State of Pakistan. When General Zia-ul-Haq came to power a few years later, he further amended Pakistani laws by introducing Ordinance XX, which specifically targeted the Ahmadis. It is for this reason that Safdar's diatribe against the Ahmadis makes it all the more alarming as religious zealots are already out there in full force against this community. There have been countless attacks on Ahmadis all over the country, be it in educational institutions, Ahmadi mosques, their homes and/or on the street. Safdar and his ilk are the ones who legitimize violence against the Ahmadis and other minorities by questioning their patriotism. Shame on Captain Safdar and shame on all those who silently stand by and not condemn such hateful acts.
On the one hand, we have parliamentarians like Captain Safdar who wear their faux-religiosity on their sleeves and on the other our State has decided to mainstream jihadis/militants. Both paths spell doom and danger.
For many, the recent by-elections in Lahore's NA-120 were an eye-opener. While the main contestants were Nawaz Sharif's spouse, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's Yasmin Rashid, the surprise factor was how well candidates from the religious (or in this case militant) parties did. The candidate from the Milli Muslim League, which is the newly launched political party of Lashkar-e-Toiba, got fourth position while the candidate of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, a party that supports Mumtaz Qadri, came third. Astonishingly, both these parties were far ahead of the Pakistan People's Party which shows that Punjab's shift towards the Right, be it Centre-Right or extreme Right, is now complete and it is very difficult to undo this damage. Some believe it is not just Punjab but Pakistan as a whole that is shifting towards the Right.
The military establishment may think it is alright if militants are mainstreamed and become part of our political process but for any sane person, this policy should raise alarm bells. Who are these militants that are going to be part of our political process? The likes of LeT and Qadri supporters? If so, they have certainly not renounced violence or given up arms - the preconditions for any mainstreaming process. No good will come out of this policy until and unless these proscribed organizations give up militancy completely. Such half-baked and flawed policies in the past have led Pakistan to a juncture where it is hard to move forward because of religious extremism, violence and intolerance. Just a day before Captain Safdar's anti-Ahmadi spiel, three Hazara Shias were gunned down in Quetta. Sectarian militant outfits were once nurtured by our State for proxy wars and jihad. Whether they have outlasted their use still remains to be seen but on the surface our State has started taking action against some sectarian terrorists, but most of them are still operating with impunity.
Pakistan's foreign minister, Khawaja Asif, said many a good thing during his recent visit to the United States of America as far as militant organizations are concerned and on changing the narrative but we need to walk the talk. Making progressive and liberal statements in front of international audiences will not do us any good. Our rulers need to understand that this country has already borne the brunt of the Afghan jihad, the Kashmir jihad, and various other wars that have no relevance whatsoever when it comes to Pakistan's own vested interests. We are leaving a bleak future for our next generation, which will grow up watching terrorist attacks on their television screens, on their schools, on the streets. We need to leave behind a country where no one will hand out certificates of patriotism, where no one will ask which faith/sect you belong to, where your religion is not the State's business, where you can have a peaceful debate on religion without worrying for your safety, where you can walk without the fear of a terrorist attack and where people - even powerful parliamentarians - are taken to task for hate speech. If our ruling elite is actually interested in a progressive and peaceful Pakistan, they need to challenge the narrative of the far-Right.
Former PM Nawaz Sharif's son-in-law has caused uproar among Pakistan's liberal sections by demanding a ban on military jobs for the minority Ahmadi community. DW examines why Pakistan has a problem with Ahmadis.
Captain (retired) Muhammad Safdar, who is ousted premier Nawaz Sharif's son-in-law and a member of the ruling Muslim League party, lashed out this week at the minority Ahmadi community in the country's lower house of parliament.
He accused the religious group of conspiring against Pakistan and called for an action against them.
"These people [Ahmadis] are a threat to this country, its constitution and ideology," Safdar said.
Safdar also asserted that he wanted to bring a resolution in the National Assembly (lower house of parliament) to put a ban on recruitment of Ahmadis in the armed forces.
"Because theirs is a false religion, in which there is no concept of jihad for Allah," said Safdar.
His comments about the minority group have angered the country's liberals, who say that Safdar is trying to divert attention from a corruption case against him by appeasing the powerful right-wing elements in the security establishment.
Some say the rise of the Milli Muslim League (MML) party, which allegedly has links to banned militant groups, is the reason behind Safdar's diatribe against Ahmadis. The South Asian country's election commission banned the MML Wednesday on the government's request, but some political observers say that by raising extremist slogans, Safdar is trying to win back those right-wing voters in the Punjab province who had drifted to the MML in last month's by-election in Lahore.
Whatever the reason may be, Sharif's son-in-law's anti-Ahmadi comments have dented the image of the former PM Sharif and his party, who gained tremendous support from Pakistan's liberal sections following his ouster on corruption allegations in July.
Liberals condemn 'hate speech'
"Around the world, nobody can speak about their minority populations in such a manner," Asma Jahangir, a renowned human rights activist, told a local news channel. "If we do not raise our voice against this incident [Safdar's speech] today, people like this [who make such remarks against minorities], will be in a majority," she added.
Jahangir said that Sharif must take notice of his son-in-law's remarks about Ahmadis.
It is probably due to the pressure from civil society that Sharif's aide and interior minister, Ahsan Iqbal, tried to distance the ruling party from Safdar's comments.
"It is tragic to see hate speech against minorities in National Assembly. We believe in [an] inclusive Pakistan. Pakistan respects all minorities," Iqbal, who is on an official visit to the US, tweeted Wednesday.
Who are Ahmadis?
Ahmadis, who believe the Messiah Ghulam Ahmad lived after Islam's prophet Muhammad, insist they are Muslim and demand as much right to practice their faith in Pakistan as other people. Declared non-Muslims in 1974 by former PM Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Ahmadis face both legal and social discrimination in the Islamic country, and the attacks on their properties have increased manifold in the past decade.
In December last year, thousands of religious fanatics attacked a mosque belonging to the minority Ahmadi sect as Pakistanis marked the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. In a well-coordinated attack, the hardliners besieged the Ahmadi place of worship in Chakwal, set the mosque furniture on fire, and wounded several people inside the building. According to Mahmood Javed Bhatti, a local police official, armed men also opened fire on Ahmadis and clashed with security forces.
The Islamization of Pakistan, which political analysts say started during former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's government in the 1970s, culminated in the 1980s under the former military dictator General Zia ul-Haq's Islamist regime. It was during Haq's oppressive rule that Ahmadis (also known as Qadianis in Pakistan) were banned from calling themselves Muslim and building their mosques in the Islamic Republic. Their places of worship were shut down or desecrated by hard-line Islamists with the support of the state.
However, Amin Mughal, a scholar based in London, believes the issue is more political than religious.
"Ahmadis were once a relatively strong group within the Pakistani establishment. The dominant Sunni groups felt threatened by them and axed them out of the state affairs," Mughal told DW in a 2016 interview.
'Appeasement of right-wing'
Pakistan has witnessed an unprecedented surge in Islamic extremism and religious fanaticism in the past decade. Islamist groups, including the Taliban, have repeatedly targeted religious minorities in the country to impose their strict Shariah, or Islamic law, on people.
Baseer Naveed, a human rights activist, says that Ahmadis continue to be persecuted and attacked in Pakistan with the full backing of the state.
"The government wants to appease Muslim fundamentalists and right-wing parties. We see that the Pakistani state continues with its policy of hatred towards religious minorities, which embolden fundamentalists," Naveed told DW.
Safdar also suggested the government should rename the Islamabad-based Quaid-i-Azam University's Dr. Abdus Salam Physics Department.
Internationally, Dr. Salam is known for his outstanding contribution to physics and his groundbreaking work that led to the discovery of the so-called "God Particle," but in Pakistan, where the late Nobel laureate was born, Dr. Salam is a heretic, whose name has been removed from all text books. Salam's crime was that despite being a genius in the field of science, he was an Ahmadi.
The university's physics department has rejected Safdar's demand to remove Salam's name.
Plight beyond South Asia
Pakistan is not the only Muslim-majority country where Ahmadis face systematic persecution. In South Asia, Bangladeshi Ahmadis are also discriminated against, whereas the situation is direr in Southeast Asian Muslim nations, particularly in Indonesia.
Most of Indonesia's over 200 million Muslims are Sunnis. There are an estimated 100,000 Shiites and 400,000 Ahmadis who were declared "deviant" by Indonesia's top Islamic body in 2008.
According to various polls, over 40 percent of those surveyed in Indonesia would not want Shiites or members of the Ahmadi community living in their neighborhood in comparison to 15.1 percent who said they did not want Christians or Hindus as their neighbors.
Ahmadi leaders in Indonesia complain that members of the community have been intimidated and terrorized since 2005 and that their prayers and activities have been banned in many districts.
An especially shocking incident happened in February 2011 when 20 Ahmadis were attacked on the Java peninsula by about 1,500 radicals. Three members died and five were severely injured.
Moreover, people who are discriminated against on religious grounds do not seem to be able to turn to the courts for help.
A Canadian man who was held hostage by the Taliban for years along with his American wife and three children has been freed.
Patrick Boyle confirmed with The Globe on Thursday morning the release of his son, Joshua Boyle, 34, his American wife Caitlan Coleman, 31, and their children. The couple disappeared almost exactly five years ago, around Oct. 10, 2012, in Wardak, an Afghan province about 100 kilometres west of the Pakistani border.
"I can confirm Josh and family have been freed and are all okay," Mr. Boyle said in an email to the Globe.
In a statement Thursday morning, Pakistan's High Commission in Ottawa said the country's army and Inter-Services Intelligence had recovered five Western hostages, including one Canadian, his American wife and their three children from terrorist custody. It did not name the hostages.
The statement said the hostages' whereabouts were being tracked by American intelligence agencies, who alerted Pakistan when they crossed from Afghanistan into Pakistan on Wednesday, through the Kurram tribal area border. The hostages were recovered "safe and sound" and are being repatriated to their country of origin, the statement said.
Speaking to the Globe and Mail Thursday, High Commission spokesperson Nadeem Haider Kiani said there was no prisoner exchange or ransom paid for the hostages' release.
Pakistan's High Commissioner to Canada Tariq Azim Khan congratulated Mr. Boyle on the release of his son and his family.
"I would like to congratulate you and your family on the good news. Your patience has finally paid off. I am glad is all over," Mr. Khan said in an email to Mr. Boyle, which was shared with the Globe and Mail.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Canadian government is "greatly relieved" that Mr. Boyle, Ms. Coleman and their young children have been safely released. "Canada has been actively engaged with the governments of the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan and we thank them for their efforts, which have resulted in the release of Joshua, Caitlan and their children," Ms. Freeland said in a statement Thursday.
"Joshua, Caitlan, their children and the Boyle and Coleman families have endured a horrible ordeal over the past five years. We stand ready to support them as they begin their healing journey."
Ms. Coleman was pregnant when she was captured, and the couple had three children while in captivity. The family's current location is unclear; officials declined to say when the family planned to return to North America.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday praised the rescue effort by the Pakistani military, calling the effort "a positive moment" for U.S.-Pakistan relations.
The U.S. and Pakistani governments "secured the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan. Today they are free," Trump said in a statement released by the White House. "The Pakistani government's cooperation is a sign that it is honouring America's wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region."
Mr. Boyle and Ms. Coleman had been the object of previous attempts to negotiate their release. In 2013, a Pentagon group headed by a former special forces officer, Jason Amerine, was assigned to develop options to free a captive American soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Mr. Amerine, who is now retired, tried to include other hostages in his efforts, including Mr. Boyle, Ms. Coleman and another Canadian, Colin Rutherford, in a "one-for-seven" deal that would have swapped seven Westerners for one Taliban drug trafficker and warlord. "It looked like it was a viable course of option," Mr. Amerine said in an interview last year. However, he said, other branches of the U.S. government favoured other scenarios and eventually Sgt. Bergdahl was the only person released, in 2014, exchange for five Taliban detainees.
The other Canadian, Mr. Rutherford, was released in 2016. At the time, the Canadian government thanked the government of Qatar for intervening for his release.
This spring, Andrew Ellis, a former Canadian intelligence official who now works for a travel-security firm, wrote an essay in The Globe and Mail, urging the Canadian government to do more for captives.
In the piece, he told the story of how the couple were caught, and said government officials should not close the door on the possibility of a ransom being paid.