SUMMARY of “Southern Conundrum,” Mohammad Ali Babakhel, Dawn, October 2nd, 2023

4 min readOct 2


The southern region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has a tumultuous history, known for its freedom-loving anti-imperialists and religiously devoted residents. It comprises 36% of KP’s total area, divided into three divisions and 12 districts. The region shares borders with Afghanistan, making it a sensitive area with reported militant concentrations. The demographics have shifted due to militancy and counterterrorism operations, causing migration to urban areas like Tank, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, and Kohat. Militancy in south KP results from historical, political, and socioeconomic factors, compounded by its diverse tribal dynamics, languages, and sectarian diversity. Marginalization, poverty, unemployment, and inadequate access to education contribute to radicalization and militant recruitment among the youth. Poor infrastructure has hindered economic development and connectivity, with railway stations and airports in disrepair. Communication barriers in the region could be addressed through radio broadcasts to counter extremist narratives. Infrastructural development, improved public services, and revenue collection should be prioritized over creating new districts. The 25th Amendment has brought awareness of institutions and human rights to the newly merged districts, but resource limitations pose challenges.

Easy/Short SUMMARY:

The southern region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has a complex history, with diverse tribes, languages, and sectarian differences. Militancy, poverty, and unemployment have made the local youth susceptible to radicalization. Poor infrastructure and disrupted connectivity hinder economic development. The region often lacks media coverage, and alternative media sources can carry provocative content. Infrastructural development, improved public services, and revenue collection should be prioritized over creating new districts. The 25th Amendment brought awareness of institutions and human rights to merged districts, but resource constraints pose challenges.

SOLUTIONS of The Problem:

Addressing Radicalization and Militancy:

  • Youth Empowerment: Implement programs and initiatives to empower the youth with education, skills training, and job opportunities.
  • Counter Extremist Narratives: Promote moderate voices through radio broadcasts and alternative media to counter extremist narratives.
  • Community Engagement: Encourage community involvement in countering radicalization and reporting suspicious activities.

Infrastructure Development and Connectivity:

  • Infrastructure Investment: Invest in rebuilding railway stations, airports, and road networks to improve connectivity and trade.
  • Security Measures: Ensure the safety and security of transportation infrastructure to facilitate economic development.

Improved Public Services and Governance:

  • Public Service Delivery: Enhance public service delivery, including healthcare, education, and basic amenities, to address poverty and unemployment.
  • Revenue Collection: Strengthen revenue collection mechanisms to fund essential public services and development projects.

IMPORTANT Facts and Figures Given in the article:

  • South KP comprises 36% of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s total area.
  • Historical, political, and socioeconomic factors contribute to militancy in the region.
  • The region lacks linguistic and ethnic homogeneity, with diverse tribes and languages.
  • Poor infrastructure and disrupted connectivity have hindered economic development.
  • Radio broadcasts and alternative media sources play a role in communication due to limited access to mainstream media.
  • The demographics of certain areas in south KP have changed due to migration.
  • External actors have exploited the local population’s feelings of marginalization.
  • Public reliance on alternative media and external broadcasts can be detrimental to Pakistan’s interests.
  • Infrastructural development and improved public services are essential for the region’s progress.
  • The 25th Amendment has raised awareness of institutions and human rights in newly merged districts.

MCQs from the Article:

  1. What has contributed to the susceptibility of youth in south KP to radicalization and militancy? A. Economic prosperity B. Access to education and jobs C. Poverty, unemployment, and lack of opportunities D. Strong community support Answer: C. Poverty, unemployment, and lack of opportunities
  2. What is suggested as an effective medium of communication in the region to counter extremist narratives? A. Television broadcasts B. Social media platforms C. Radio broadcasts D. Printed newspapers Answer: C. Radio broadcasts
  3. What is the main challenge posed by resource limitations in the newly merged districts following the 25th Amendment? A. Lack of awareness of human rights B. Insufficient government presence C. High expectations from the local population D. Security concerns Answer: C. High expectations from the local population
  4. What percentage of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s total area does south KP occupy? A. 10% B. 25% C. 36% D. 50% Answer: C. 36%


  1. Turbulent (adjective) (بے قرار): Characterized by conflict, disorder, or agitation; unstable.
  2. Haven (noun) (پناہ گاہ): A place of safety or refuge.
  3. Demographic (adjective) (جمعیتی): Relating to the structure of populations, including factors such as age, race, and gender.
  4. Tribe (noun) (قبیلہ): A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties.
  5. Marginalize (verb) (دور کرنا): To treat a group as insignificant or peripheral, often resulting in their exclusion or underrepresentation.
  6. Sectarian (adjective) (فرقے کے متعلق): Relating to a religious sect or group with distinct beliefs or practices.
  7. Susceptible (adjective) (متاثر ہونے والا): Likely to be influenced or affected by something, especially a negative influence.
  8. Radicalization (noun) (ریڈیکلائزیشن): The process of adopting extreme beliefs or views, typically leading to involvement in extremist activities.
  9. Exploit (verb) (استفادہ اٹھانا): To take advantage of a situation or a person for personal gain.
  10. Alternative (adjective) (دوسری انتخاب): Offering a choice between two or more possibilities.
  11. Cantonment (noun) (فوج کی کینٹونمنٹ): A military or police camp or base, typically with its own facilities.
  12. Infrastructure (noun) (زیرِ بناء): The basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed for the operation of a society, such as transportation and communication systems.
  13. Public Service Delivery (noun) (عوامی خدمات کی تسلیم): The provision of essential services, such as healthcare and education, to the public by the government.
  14. Revenue Collection (noun) (آمدنی کی جمع): The process of gathering income or funds, typically through taxation or other means.
  15. Realization (noun) (واقعیت): The process of becoming aware of something or fully understanding a situation.
  16. Fundamental (adjective) (بنیادی): Forming a necessary base or core; of central importance.
  17. Dividends (noun) (منافع): Payments made to shareholders from a company’s profits, typically in the form of cash or additional shares.
  18. Constraints (noun) (مسائل یا پابندیاں): Limitations or restrictions that impede progress or action.
  19. Awareness (noun) (آگاہی): Knowledge or perception of a situation, fact, or condition.
  20. Human Rights (noun) (انسانی حقوق): Basic rights and freedoms to which all individuals are entitled, often protected by law.

Please note that the meanings provided here are simplified for an easier understanding by an 8th-grade student.



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