Philip Reeves

Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Reeves has spent two and half decades working as a journalist overseas, reporting from a wide range of places including the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Asia.

He is a member of the NPR team that won highly prestigious Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University and George Foster Peabody awards for coverage of the conflict in Iraq. Reeves has been honored several times by the South Asian Journalists' Association.

Reeves has been covering South Asia for more than 10 years. He has traveled widely in Pakistan and India, taking NPR listeners on voyages along the Ganges River and the ancient Grand Trunk Road.

Reeves joined NPR in 2004, after 17 years as a international correspondent for the British daily newspaper, The Independent. During the early stages of his career, he worked for BBC radio and television after training on the Bath Chronicle newspaper in western Britain.

Over the years, Reeves has covered a wide range of stories - from Boris Yeltsin's erratic presidency, the economic rise of India, the rise and fall of Pakistan's General Pervez Musharraf, conflicts in Gaza and the West Bank, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Reeves holds a degree in English Literature from Cambridge University. His family originates from Christchurch, New Zealand.

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The home in which Pakistan's social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch was strangled to death by her brother has none of the wicked glamour that was her hallmark within her make-believe cyber-world.

She died in a small concrete house, a $100-a-month rental at the end of a cobbled alley inside a half-built housing estate, not far from the central city of Multan. Goats, chickens, street hawkers and kids wander around amid puddles of mud — it is monsoon season — and oceans of trash.

A few months back, I asked a favor of my friend and NPR colleague Zabihullah Tamanna. We'd just spent a busy day going from interview to interview in Kabul. I had some urgent writing to do. Would he mind going out onto the streets and taking some photographs?

For those who live and work in conflict zones and war zones, it's easy to become somewhat numb. Violence and danger can corrode your sense of humanity. But the pictures that Zabihullah took that day were the work of a journalist whose compassion was entirely intact.

If you drive around Kabul long enough, you will eventually see what must be the most cheerful slogan in Afghanistan.

Cars traverse the city bearing a happy little window sticker about the best way to approach life in a country beset by deep — and, in the eyes of most Afghans, worsening — trouble.

"Enjoy Today!" it reads. "Forget Tomorrow!"

That's harder than it sounds.

A few months ago, the U.S. military gave Zabihullah Niazi $3,000. He lost his left eye and left arm when an American AC-130 gunship repeatedly fired shells into the hospital in which he worked in northern Afghanistan.

The money was what officials term a "condolence payment," an expression of sympathy and sorrow for injuring Niazi when the U.S. military mistakenly hit the Kunduz hospital, killing 42 people.

A strange new shrine has appeared on the eastern edge of Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, amid the low hills that roll towards the Himalayan mountains.

Within a small gazebo, crowned by a green dome, there is a grave, decorated with silver tinsel and surrounded by flowers and richly patterned red carpets.

Inside lies the body of Mumtaz Qadri, a former policeman whose recent hanging for murder suddenly galvanized the mass forces of Pakistan's religious right into a fresh, potentially destabilizing, confrontation with the state.

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Lahore Bombing Update

Mar 27, 2016
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It took Abdul Arian months to realize that his decision to migrate from his home country, Afghanistan, to Germany was a huge mistake.

He set off nearly a year ago, hoping to be granted asylum so he could attend a university and study psychology.

His journey, organized by smugglers, was long and perilous. Arian, 24, says he nearly drowned off the shores of Greece, when the inflatable dinghy he was traveling in capsized.

He says he and his fellow travelers got lost somewhere in Hungary and walked through the rain for 24 hours before they found the path again.

Mohammed Sayed is not one of those people who particularly relish the prospect of hitting young men on the butt with a big stick.

But he is certainly prepared to do so to defend the girls and women who frequent the neatly groomed, palm-dotted municipal park in the Pakistani city of Gujranwala where he works as a guard.

The park was designed as a place for relaxation and family recreation (it even includes some ramshackle carnival rides). But it had turned into a prowling ground for young men.

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In Pakistan, there aren't a whole lot of stand-up comics.

"When it comes to satire, I think as a culture, we kind of struggle with it," says Pakistani stand-up pioneer Saad Haroon.

His humor shines a light into some delicate areas.

"I wrote this song called 'Burqa Woman,' which is a parody of 'Pretty Woman,' " Harron says.

He gives the audience a taste of his act:

Burqa woman, in your black sheet

Burqa woman, with your sexy feet

Burqa woman, my love for you, it grows

Every time I see your nose

Some airlines are just airlines.

But others mean a lot more than that to the people they serve.

Pakistan's national carrier was long a source of patriotic pride, a symbol of unity in a divided country. Now that airline is in big trouble.

Islamabad can seem a dull place, full of retired civil servants sipping tea in villas, and with a night scene that's about as lively as lawn bowls. But you can at least get a good sleep.

While other Asian cities gossip, munch and rattle through the night, a hush descends on this modern government town.

In my neighborhood, dusk creeps in to a chorus of birdsong. Dawn is heralded by the rich and multilayered cadences of the call to prayer from the nearby mosques.

As soon as the pink-clad Ayesha Mumtaz steps out of her car, word of her arrival spreads along the street like a forest fire. Storekeepers begin shooing away customers, hauling down the shutters, and heading into the shadows in the hope that Mumtaz's scrutinizing eye will not fall on them.

These traders would sooner lose business than risk a visit from a woman whose campaign to clean up the kitchens and food factories of Pakistan has made her a national celebrity, nicknamed "The Fearless One."

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It doesn't matter where you are in the world, pretty safe to say we all hate getting stuck in traffic. Some places, though, are more difficult than others. NPR's Philip Reeves sent us his thoughts on the gridlock that plagues Kabul, Afghanistan.

Exercising the constitutional right to vote in Pakistan can sometimes come at a painful price. Fouzia Talib says she has become a social outcast overnight. People are abusing her with such ferocity that she has temporarily left home to seek refuge elsewhere.

Hassina Sarwari is waiting to go home. She fled her city when the Taliban captured it more than a month ago. They ransacked her house, burned down her office and stole her laptop and passport.

Sarwari is a prominent women's rights activist from Kunduz, in northern Afghanistan.

Afghan government forces have since regained control of the city, but she says it's still too dangerous for her and her children to return. She has heard the Taliban are threatening to execute her in public.

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History has not been kind to the people who scratch out a living in Gwadar, on the arid coastline of the Arabian Sea.

They have received a few exotic visitors over the years, including Alexander the Great's army and marauding Portuguese explorers. For a couple of centuries, their land belonged to sultans in Oman, just across the ocean.

But the world has mostly passed Gwadar by, preferring gentler and more prosperous pastures to the dust, sand and jagged mountains of what is now southwestern Pakistan.

Have you ever felt bad about something, and wanted to get it off your chest? That's how our correspondent Philip Reeves feels right now, which is why he sent this essay from Pakistan.

You won't believe me when I say this, but trust me, it's true.

Journalists like me really do not like irritating people. We try to not to interfere as we go about our work. That's why I am feeling guilty.

You see, the other day I more or less brought a town to a standstill.

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Eighteen months have elapsed since Parvez Henry Gill first began tackling one of the more unusual and sensitive assignments that anyone, anywhere, is ever likely to receive.

Now he is close to completing the task: the construction of a 140-foot tall Christian cross in the middle of Karachi, the business capital of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Wrapped in bamboo scaffolding, the cross juts into the sky above this turbulent port city, where Sunni Islamist militants frequently target religious minorities — usually Shia Muslims, but sometimes Christians, too.

Shortly before he was put to death, Aftab Bahadur wrote an essay. He spoke of his alienation and loneliness, of the comfort he found in art and poetry, and of the anguish of awaiting execution on death row in Pakistan.

"I doubt there is anything more dreadful than being told that you are going to die, and then sitting in a prison cell just waiting for that moment," he said, according to a text translated from Urdu and released by Reprieve, a human rights group based in Britain.

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It's long been assumed that, in conservative Islamic societies, sex is a subject to be spoken about, if it's discussed at all, in guilty whispers.

Yet, for many months now, women in Pakistan have been dialing in to a TV show to ask about profoundly personal issues — live on air.

"I have to talk about my husband," said a woman who gave her name as Sonia on one of the show's recent editions. "His sperm count is very low ..."

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