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Book review: ‘Durand Line Ka Qaidi’ – Faizullah Khan reveals how it feels to be a prisoner in Afghanistan

KARACHI: Journalism is all about travelling on a dangerous road where one has to fulfil his or her professional responsibilities while bearing and meeting challenging tasks in the middle. ARY News’ Faizullah Khan is a clear example of one such reporter.

He has recently released his book in Urdu titled: ‘Durand Line Ka Qaidi – Qaid Se Rehai Tak’ (Durand Line’s Prisoner – From imprisonment to release) about how he entered Afghanistan for an interview and was made a prisoner.

The book’s English version is currently under publication and will be out by next month.

In April 2014, Faizullah – on a professional task– crossed the Pak-Afghan border and entered Afghanistan later to be arrested by Afghan Intelligence Forces.

He was then produced in a court in Nangarhar, Afghanistan’s western province and it subsequently sent Faizullah on a four-year imprisonment.

Faizullah Khan speaks to media after reaching Peshawar, following his release from a prison in Afghanistan.

However, with the help of Pakistani government, ARY News management and varying journalist and human rights organisations, he was later released.

Faizullah Khan’s book is based on the memories of those very days in captivity.

Khan narrates an idea behind penning his detention ordeal into a book:

“It came to my mind during imprisonment that writing a book on this tribulation will offer some enlightening insight to people on the subject.”

The writer believes that Afghanistan-Pakistan relation holds significant importance in the region and local writers and journalists who have been keeping an eyewitness take on  the subject for years have hardly penned a book. “So this book is imperative from this point of view as well.”

The book, ‘Durand Line’s Prisoner – From imprisonment to release’ has 32 chapters and 227 pages. At the start of it, Amir Hashim Khakwani has expressed his views while A.H. Khanzada has also written a piece in it.

So what is a Durand Line? Before partition, Viceroy of India created communication channels with Afghanistan’s Ameer Abdul Rehman and on his invitation; Foreign Minister Mortimer Durand later visited Kabul in September 1893.

In November same year, both the governments made an agreement that outlined the border between their territories which later became famous as Durand Line.

As per the accord, areas of Nuristan, Asmar, Mohmand Lalpura and few areas of Waziristan became a part of Afghanistan while Afghanistan withdrew its claim from Istania, Chaman, Nochaghai,  remaining Waziristan, Bulandkhel, Bajaur, Kurram, Swat, Buner, Dir, Challas and Chitral for the next 100 years.


The book

As mentioned before, ‘Durand Line Ka Qaidi’ is a book by ARY News reporter Faizullah Khan who went to Afghanistan in a bid to conduct an interview of the head of Tahreek-e-Taliban (TTP) Pakistan but unfortunately was sent behind bars.

“After meeting (Ehsanullah) Ehsan, I assumed I would be meeting other Taliban leaders in the tribal areas in Pakistan’s territory, but I had to travel to the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan for that where Afghan intelligence officials detained me at the Lalpura check-post,” the author writes in the book.


Faizullah Khan arrives at Karachi Press Club as he reached the city after his release

Faizullah Khan is a competent journalist and specialises in using simple words to explain complicated issues. In his book too, he has used an easy-to-understand tone of language for the readers.

He has successfully managed to pen everything regarding his captivity in Afghanistan as it happened.

Whether it is about narrating a small incident or a big in the book, Faizullah Khan as the author has been able to firmly hook the readers till the last pages.

The book, ‘Durand Line’s Prisoner – From imprisonment to release’, is a sensitive read as far as its topic is concerned since Faizullah crossed the border to interview an infamous TTP Head, a profile wanted by Pakistan army and the United States (US) and Afghan forces for fuelling terrorism in the region.

It is important to mention here that the book is not only a story about the journalist’s misery as a prisoner in a war-torn Afghanistan; it is also a historical document because of its rich content.

We are certain that in the future, it will be treated as a treasure when historians will track down tales of international prisoners in Afghanistan.

How well Faizullah Khan has been able to do justice with his debut book, readers can evaluate it better after reading ‘Durand Line Ka Qaidi – Qaid Se Rehai Tak’ (Durand Line’s Prisoner – From imprisonment to release). But, we highly recommend that the book is a must-read for people with interests in Pakistan, Afghanistan and their war against terrorism.

Zahid Ali Khan is the publisher of the book with more than 1,000 copies, available at Rs 500.


The author

Faizullah Khan is a graduate from the University of Karachi in International Relations (IR) and received his early education from Iqbal-e-Millat School and Islamia College.

He has been a part of ARY News for a decade and has covered lawyers’ movement, reported on court, political and social issues and incidents of terrorism in the country. Besides, he actively writes blogs for ARY News website.



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