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Suddaf Chaudry

Islamabad, Pakistan
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About Suddaf
Suddaf is a freelance journalist currently based in Islamabad, Beirut and London. She covers extremism, security, politics and human rights primarily focusing on the Middle East and South Asia particular focus on Pakistan, Syria and Iran. Her works has been featured in Aljazeera, Middle East Eye, Arab Weekly, VICE, The Caravan and FirstPost. In 2016 she completed television production training, her television work has covered the faltering relationship between military and Media in Pakistan for Aljazeera. She is currently developing an investigative documentary on the subject of enforced disappearances. She speaks Urdu and Punjabi, Photojournalism is another focus she captures the under-reported, populations on the fringes. Furthermore, her journalism includes digital platforms which led her to lead a digital project mapping the water crisis in Pakistan in conjunction with a hackathon in order to enhance storytelling on a looming crisis in the Subcontinent. Suddaf recently covered the Pakistan elections uncovered poll rigging and the campaign of fear by the country's intelligence agencies. Her work on the Middle East has reported on the Iranian regime change through the airwaves, and Iran backed foreign militias. In Syria, she presented the costs of working without a legal system the dark underbelly of the illegal black market. She has also been a panellist at Chatham House discussing Afghanistan and Pakistan beyond the status quo, her work on the field in Pakistan was brought to the forefront.
English Urdu
Interview (Video / Broadcast) Documentaries News Gathering
Politics Current Affairs War Reporter

Pakistan’s Shia community alleges enforced disappearances after Middle East pilgrimages

05 Apr 2023  |  thearabweekly.com
The article discusses the issue of enforced disappearances among Pakistan's Shia community, with allegations that security services are detaining individuals returning from the Middle East. Families claim their relatives went for pilgrimage but were suspected of being trained to fight in Syria for Iran-backed militias. Intelligence reports suggest recruitment in various Pakistani cities for the Zainabiyoun Brigade, a militia created by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The article includes perspectives from family members, Shia leaders, and experts on Iran's strategy in Syria, including the use of foreign Shia fighters and the financial and ideological incentives offered to them. It also touches on Iran's military cooperation with Syria and the potential impact of Iran's foreign policy on its domestic situation. The number of Pakistani fighters and unresolved cases of enforced disappearances in Pakistan are also mentioned.



Geo goes dark: Media and the military in Pakistan Media mystery in Pakistan: who ordered Geo News off the air? Plus, covering the world's largest biometric database.

Frosty Neighbours? Unpacking Narratives of Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations Due to their strong historical, cultural and religious ties, Afghanistan and Pakistan officially profess a close friendship with one another. At the same time, with Islamabad fearing an Afghan rapprochement with India, and Kabul claiming that terrorist sanctuaries on Pakistani soil are prolonging the war in Afghanistan, do the neighbours view one another with certain levels of mistrust? Panellists consider the influence of popular narratives on the countries’ policies and ask whether bilateral relations can be reshaped in a constructive and meaningful way. Looking forward, will the Afghan government, driven by considerations for regional connectivity, become a partner with Pakistan? Can the new government of Imran Khan, who counts Pakistani Pashtuns as core supporters, move Pakistan and Afghanistan beyond their present cold friendship? Or, with the rise of political populism globally

Zee Companion Insight Episode 10-10-2017 Part 1 Paper Round

Syria’s justice system: ‘working without a written law’

12 Dec 2018  |  thearabweekly.com
The article discusses the complexities and challenges of rebuilding Syria's legal system after six years of war. It highlights the lack of a unified strategy for peace and the absence of a legal framework to administer the country post-conflict. Amnesty International's report 'Surrender or Starve' is mentioned, emphasizing the issue of refugees lacking official documentation. The article quotes Noha Aboueldahab from the Brookings Institution on the authoritarian nature of the Assad regime and the need for an accountable justice system. The ILAC report, with insights from Syrian lawyers and civil society representatives, suggests working with the existing legal system rather than starting from scratch. The article also covers the difficulties faced by judges in both regime-held and opposition-held areas, including intimidation and lack of qualifications for sharia courts. The status of women in the Syrian justice system is particularly dire, with many lacking official documentation and facing barriers to reporting crimes, especially sexual violence. The cost of obtaining official documents and the distrust in the legal system are also addressed.

Radical Origins

12 Dec 2018  |  thearabweekly.com
Azeem Ibrahim's book 'Radical Origins' explores the reasons behind the failure to effectively combat Islamic extremism. Ibrahim, affiliated with the Strategic Studies Institute and the Centre for Global Policy, critiques the Western understanding of Islamic doctrine and history. He provides a historical perspective, highlighting Islam's golden age and its alignment with Western ideals, exemplified by Ireland's societal structure. The book contrasts this with the current regressive state of the Islamic world, emphasizing the rise of Salafism and its role in violent extremism. Ibrahim discusses the misuse of Islamic teachings by groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda and the spread of Wahhabism. While he outlines the problems well, his solutions, which focus on education, media, and policy, are less detailed. He stresses the importance of inclusive education and unbiased media to combat the 'us versus them' narrative, especially in the context of the Trump administration's influence in the U.S.

Fighting in Yemen threatens widespread Humanitarian Disaster.

Growing demand by UK banks for Islamic finance

12 Dec 2018  |  thearabweekly.com
The article discusses the potential of sharia-compliant banking in the UK, especially in the context of Brexit. It highlights the low risk and high investment benefits of Islamic finance and notes that the UK has more banks offering Islamic financial services than any other Western country. The London Stock Exchange has listed 65 Islamic bonds, and the UK was the first country outside the Islamic world to issue a sukuk. Analysts, however, debate the difference between Islamic banking and conventional banking, with some suggesting that both systems increase wealth inequality. Key sharia-compliant financings in London are mentioned, and the article suggests that while Islamic finance is growing, it faces challenges such as being perceived as culturally exclusive and inefficient. The future of Islamic finance in the UK post-Brexit remains uncertain, with hopes that the government will not introduce legislation that negatively impacts sharia financing.

https://www.suddafchaudry.com/waterhackathonpk A hackathon was held in Lahore to discuss the looming water crisis in Pakistan. It has been reported that Pakistan

BATTLE LINES OF HISTORY- THE KASHMIR DISPUTE As violence escalates between Indian Police and Pro Independence protesters. Is there a question of a new conflict emerging between the warring neighbours. As India and Pakistan blame one another for the violence in Kashmir, the situation remains at an impasse. The only way forward is reform, dialogue, and level-headed policy.

Is Libya’s telecoms industry an opportunity or adversity?

12 Dec 2018  |  thearabweekly.com
The article discusses the impact of Libya's civil war on its economy and telecommunications sector, highlighting the destruction and theft of infrastructure. A report by Budde suggests potential in the mobile sector despite the challenges. The Libyan British Business Council emphasizes the importance of timing in Libyan business, especially given the current political and security instability. The World Bank notes Libya's GDP has halved since the revolution, with oil production fluctuating. The article also touches on the power struggle between the Tripoli government and eastern military forces, corruption issues, and the monopolistic control of the telecom sector by the government. There is mention of a new telecom law and the creation of an independent regulatory authority as a sign of hope. However, the financial instability and lack of foreign investment are significant barriers to growth. The article concludes by questioning the feasibility of smart city initiatives in Libya's precarious market.

Are Iranian satellite channels aiding regime change?

12 Dec 2018  |  thearabweekly.com
The article discusses the significant role of satellite television and social media in shaping public opinion and challenging the Iranian regime's control over information. It highlights the popularity of channels like Manoto and BBC Persian among the Iranian population, especially the youth, who are seeking an alternative perspective to the state-run IRIB. The Iranian government's attempts to block these channels have been circumvented by the use of VPNs by the populace. The article also touches on the complaints made by the Iranian Embassy to Ofcom about these channels inciting rebellion, and the cultural impact of the programming that reminisces about pre-revolutionary Iran. The piece suggests that the Iranian regime is concerned about the potential for a 'soft war' or cultural revolution facilitated by these media outlets, as they have gained the trust of a significant portion of the Iranian audience.

Pakistan’s shortage of safe drinking water

12 Dec 2018  |  caravanmagazine.in
The article describes a visit by members of the environmental-activist group Team Awaaz to Joseph Colony, a neighbourhood in Lahore. Altaf Masih, a local sanitary worker, hosts the activists Zoya Ali, Zameer Ahmed, and Anum Qayyum in his family's single-room home. The activists, particularly Zoya Ali, comment on the challenging living conditions faced by the families in the colony, as evidenced by the rashes on the legs of Masih's daughter. The article suggests that the conditions are severe and may not be fully captured by the word 'challenging'.

Pakistanis buy Turkish lira to show solidarity with Ankara

12 Dec 2018  |  Middle East Eye
Pakistanis are showing support for Turkey by buying Turkish lira amidst the country's economic downturn, which has been exacerbated by U.S. sanctions and President Trump's doubling of tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum. The campaign, which has seen Pakistanis purchasing small amounts of lira, is symbolic and reflects the historical and cultural ties between the two nations, as well as their shared challenges with the U.S. government. The movement has been backed by Jamaat-e-Islami, a Pakistani political party, and has evolved into calls for a boycott of U.S. products and support for Turkish goods. While the impact on Turkey's economy may be minimal, the gesture signifies a deeper political and religious solidarity, with potential implications for future economic cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey.

Despite PR duress, Saudi $6bn to Pakistan comes with strings Saudi Arabia's crisis over Khashoggi murder is Imran Khan's gain, but Pakistan may still be expected to up military cooperation with the kingdom. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan returned home this week from Saudi Arabia with a pledge of $6 billion in loans. Khan was likely able to secure the deal with fewer strings than a previously rejected offer, due to enormous international scrutiny on the kingdom in the wake of the Jamal Khashoggi murder. But the latest package may require a deepening military partnership with Saudi Arabia.

Mystery over Israeli plane's Pakistan visit despite government denials

12 Dec 2018  |  Middle East Eye
An aircraft, believed to be Israeli, reportedly landed in Pakistan despite official denials from the Pakistani government. The plane, identified as a BizJet flight, was spotted by a pilot and confirmed by staff at Noor Khan Airbase. The controversy began when Avi Scharf of Haaretz tweeted about the flight, leading to speculation that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu might have been on board. Pakistani officials, including the Civil Aviation Authority and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, denied the claims. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also denied the plane's landing in parliament. The aircraft, registered to Multibird Overseas LTD in the Isle of Man, was tracked by Flightradar24 and had stopped in Amman, which analysts suggest could be a tactic to obscure its origins. The incident is set against a backdrop of Israel seeking closer ties with Muslim countries and Pakistan's financial struggles, including seeking aid from the IMF and other countries.


12 Dec 2018  |  New Internationalist
The article discusses the crisis of media independence in Pakistan, highlighting the military's growing influence and the resulting self-censorship among journalists. It references a CPJ report and instances of intimidation, such as the abduction of Gul Bukhari and the attack on Matiullah Jan. The financial crisis in media houses, exacerbated by the government's withdrawal of advertising funds, is forcing closures and layoffs, as seen with Jang News and Waqt News. The article suggests that the establishment, directed by intelligence agencies, is manipulating the media through financial pressure and threats. Cases like Cyril Almeida's non-bailable warrant and the operation of banned groups like Tehreek-e-Labbaik are cited as examples of selective law enforcement. The situation in Balochistan is described as even worse, with stories that embarrass the military being suppressed. The article concludes that financial consequences are the new method of silencing journalists in Pakistan.

Imran Khan has won the Pakistani election, but what can we expect from the cricketer-turned-politician on foreign policy?

30 Jul 2018  |  Middle East Eye
The article discusses the implications of Imran Khan's victory in the Pakistani elections, particularly in terms of foreign policy. It highlights Khan's populist approach and his focus on domestic policy and anti-corruption. The article explores Pakistan's need for a formative foreign policy in the Middle East and Khan's potential to balance relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. It mentions Khan's pro-Iran statements and the challenges of Pakistan's balancing act given its historical ties and military alignment with Saudi Arabia. The article also touches on Pakistan's economic struggles and the potential impact of a $12bn IMF bailout. Analysts like Michael Kugelman and Arif Rafiq provide insights into the situation, suggesting that despite Khan's intentions, Pakistan may continue to lean towards Saudi Arabia due to military and economic influences.

Ball in Khan's court?

26 Jul 2018  |  Firstpost
The article reports on the controversies surrounding the general elections in Pakistan, highlighting allegations of rigging, military interference, and the problematic conduct of the elections. Imran Khan, the PTI chief, declared victory amidst these allegations. The main rival, PML-N, and other opposition parties accused the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) of failing to provide Form 45, a crucial document for vote counting, and alleged that polling agents were expelled from stations. The ECP cited a technical glitch for the delay in results but faced skepticism from the opposition. Social media posts supported claims of irregularities. Despite the controversies, Khan promised to investigate the allegations and to deliver unprecedented governance. The article suggests that the legitimacy of Khan's victory and the future of Pakistan's democratic process are at stake.

Islamabad: Will the July 25 general elections in Pakistan see the eclipse of the country’s two preeminent political families?

11 Jul 2018  |  Firstpost
The article discusses the upcoming general elections in Pakistan, focusing on the diminishing influence of the country's two major political dynasties, the Bhuttos and the Sharifs. Bilawal Bhutto, the young leader of the PPP, struggles to gain the same support his mother, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, once had. Meanwhile, the Sharif family faces leadership challenges as Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam are embroiled in a corruption case. The article also introduces Jibran Nasir, an independent candidate who is gaining popularity for addressing issues ignored by mainstream parties. The role of the Pakistan Army in politics is acknowledged, with a mention of Imran Khan's party's alleged support from the military. The article provides insights from various analysts and highlights the potential for change in the upcoming elections.

Rawalpindi: Militant organisations, who call them non-state actors, are active

12 Jun 2018  |  Firstpost
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's interview with Dawn, where he discussed militant organizations and the Mumbai attacks, has led to a backlash against the newspaper by the Pakistan government and military. The distribution of Dawn has been disrupted, and the Press Council of Pakistan issued a notice for ethical conduct violation. The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists expressed concerns over the increasing pressure on media. With general elections approaching, there is a climate of fear and self-censorship among journalists, with 88 percent reportedly censoring their work. The Committee to Protect Journalists and Amnesty International have criticized the actions against the press. Major General Asif Ghafoor of the Pakistan Army accused journalists of anti-state activities, later apologizing for the publicizing of their names. The abduction and release of journalist Gul Bukhari by unknown assailants further highlights the intimidation faced by journalists in Pakistan.

The City Torn Apart by Child Rape and Murder

16 May 2018  |  www.vice.com
The article discusses a series of child sexual abuse cases and murders in Kasur, Pakistan, focusing on the stories of Iman Fatima and Zainab Ansari, two young girls who were abducted, raped, and murdered. The families of the victims express their frustration with the police's handling of the investigations, alleging that key evidence was not collected and that they received little support. Mohammed Imran Ali was convicted for one of the murders and is to stand trial for others. The article also touches on the broader issue of child sexual abuse in Pakistan, the lack of resources for victims, and the challenges faced by the authorities in dealing with such cases. It highlights the fear and psychological impact on the community, especially after the protests that erupted following Zainab's murder.

Last Rites in the City of Eagle’s

11 Jul 2016  |  Medium
The article, written by Suddaf Chaudry, reflects on the author's personal experience attending her aunt's funeral in Pakistan. It delves into the Muslim customs surrounding death, including the Janazah (funeral), the ghusl (washing of the deceased), and the separation of men and women during mourning. The author observes the economic and health-related insecurities of the attendees, the patriarchal control in Pakistani society, and the challenges faced by women, including the issue of honour killings under Nawaz Sharif's administration. The article also touches on the cost of funerals in Pakistan and the average income, highlighting the financial burden on the underprivileged. Additionally, it discusses the societal dynamics in Sargodha, the role of the army, and the increasing educational pursuits of women in contrast to the male-dominated society's stagnation in knowledge and perpetuation of misogyny through media.

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