Diaa Hadid

Diaa Hadid chiefly covers Pakistan and Afghanistan for NPR News. She is based in NPR's bureau in Islamabad. Hadid joined NPR after reporting from the Middle East for over a decade. She worked as a correspondent for The New York Times from March 2015 to March 2017, and she was a correspondent for The Associated Press from 2006 to 2015.

Hadid documented the collapse of Gadhafi's rule in Libya from the capital, Tripoli. In Cairo's Tahrir Square, she wrote of revolutionary upheaval sweeping Egypt. She covered the violence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria from Baghdad, Erbil, and Dohuk. From Beirut, she was the first to report on widespread malnutrition and starvation inside a besieged rebel district near Damascus. She also covered Syria's war from Damascus, Homs, Tartous, and Latakia.

Her favorite stories are about people and moments that capture the complexity of the places she covers.

They include her story on a lonely-hearts club in Gaza, run by the militant Islamic group Hamas. She unraveled the mysterious murder of a militant commander, discovering that he was killed for being gay. In the West Bank, she profiled Israel's youngest prisoner, a 12-year-old Palestinian girl who got her first period while being interrogated.

In Syria, she met the last great storyteller of Damascus, whose own trajectory of loss reflected that of his country. In Libya, she profiled a synagogue that once was the beating heart of Tripoli's Jewish community.

In Baghdad, Ms. Hadid met women who risked their lives to visit beauty salons in a quiet rebellion against extremism and war. In Lebanon, she chronicled how poverty was pushing Syrian refugee women into survival sex.

Hadid documented the Muslim pilgrimage to holy sites in Saudi Arabia, known as the Hajj, using video, photographs, and essays.

Hadid began her career as a reporter for The Gulf News in Dubai in 2004, covering the abuse and hardships of foreign workers in the United Arab Emirates. She was raised in Canberra by a Lebanese father and an Egyptian mother. She graduated from the Australian National University with a B.A. (with Honors) specializing in Arabic, a language she speaks fluently. She also makes do in Hebrew and Spanish.

Her passions are photography, cooking, vintage dress shopping, and listening to the radio. She sings really badly, but that won't stop her.

Meet Hadid on Twitter @diaahadid, or see her photos on Instagram. She also often posts up her work on her community Facebook page.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

A former cricket star has just declared himself Pakistan's new prime minister. Imran Khan announced his victory earlier today after a contentious election that his opponents call fraudulent. NPR's Diaa Hadid joins us now from Islamabad. Hey, Diaa.

In the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains, on the bank of the river that courses through the Swat Valley, boys play soccer in a dusty field. When the Pakistani Taliban occupied this valley a decade ago, loyalists trudged to the same riverbank with their own television sets, setting them ablaze in a fiery rejection of Western culture.

Two young women burst through the door of a health center in a Pakistani slum. One woman sobs. The other tries to explain what just happened.

Nida, 21, and Sahar, 19, are front-line vaccinators — a small but essential role in Pakistan's enormous effort to eradicate the virus. They were going down alleys knocking door-to-door, administering polio vaccine drops to children, when a man pulled out a gun, slammed Nida over the head, snatched her bag and ran away. (Nida and Sahar asked that their last names not be used to protect their safety.)

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

Multiple bomb blasts, including two apparent suicide attacks on police stations, and earthquake tremors rocked Afghanistan's capital city, Kabul, on Wednesday.

Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for at least one of the bombings. The blasts underscore how the government and its Western backers are struggling to secure the capital against militants who see the city and its residents as their chief targets.

The woman in the brown burqa stood at the gate of court complex as men in suits shouldered past. With one hand, she clutched her son, and in the other, a piece of paper scrawled with a name.

The district police officer gave it to her when she complained about her husband's abuse. He told her to present it at the entrance of the sprawling court administration that serves the Swat Valley. Noorshad Begum couldn't read it, being illiterate.

She handed it to a court guard.

Updated at 4:40 a.m. ET

Pakistan's Interior Minister Ashan Iqbal was shot and wounded on Sunday by a gunman reportedly linked to a hard-line Muslim group. It was the most serious act of violence since campaigning began for upcoming elections, expected this summer.

Updated at 7:50 a.m. ET

Coordinated suicide bomb attacks near the Afghan intelligence agency building in Kabul have killed at least 25 people and wounded dozens more, including several journalists.

In a separate attack in the southern city of Kandahar, 11 schoolchildren were killed and 16 hurt when a suicide bomber in a truck targeted NATO-led forces.

Pakistan's Supreme Court effectively ended the political career of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday, voting unanimously to ban him for life from holding any public office. The verdict plunges Pakistan into more political instability in the lead up to elections, expected this summer.

The ruling by the five-judge panel cited an article in Pakistan's constitution that requires members of parliament to be "honest and righteous."

Opponents of the verdict said it was a dangerous overstep by the Supreme Court to ban Sharif for life.

When he visits rural villages, fans shower him with rose petals. A YouTube user calls him a "rock star activist." It's an unlikely epithet for a 26-year-old from a remote, conservative Pakistani village who sometimes wears a traditional turban.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The Nobel Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzai returned to her homeland Pakistan today. This is her first visit since a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus and shot her. NPR's Diaa Hadid reports from Islamabad.

The men huddled on what remained of the marble courtyard, the parts that hadn't been ripped away by a bulldozer's claw. A cloud of smoke rose above them as they passed around hashish joints — for the spiritual high, they said. They shook their heads to the frenzied banging of the drummers. Others leaped up, twirling, contorting and chanting in praise of the Sufi saint at whose shrine they worshiped.

Pakistan says it has avoided landing on a list of global terror funders, despite efforts by the United States and Western allies.

The Financial Action Task Force, a global group against terrorism financing, was convened this week in Paris at the request of Western powers seeking to add Pakistan back on its terror-finance watch list.

The banners were hoisted near Safari Park, a meeting spot for lovers in Pakistan's sprawling megacity of Karachi. In curling Urdu script, they chastised men for celebrating Valentine's Day.

"Don't exploit your daughters by adopting European civilization," the Salafi youth group urged. "Let Islam penetrate your personality — adopt modesty."

Up the road, to Karachi University, another conservative Muslim youth group vowed there'd be no celebrating the day of love on their campus — with the apparent support of many students.

Men and women were piling in to a panel at a recent book festival in Pakistani city Karachi, but a speaker was late. "In a country which is infamous for missing persons," the moderator, Javed Jabbar, announced, "we have a missing speaker."

"Khuda na khasta," Jabbar added, "God forbid" in Urdu — "it is not due to the reason why people sometimes disappear from Pakistan."

In January, 7-year-old Zainab Amin's parents were on a religious pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia when their relatives back in Pakistan called with the news: Their daughter didn't make it to her evening Quran lesson.

"Stay where you are," the father, Amin Ansari, recalls a relative telling him. "Your prayers are answered there."

Her mother, Nusrat, says she sat in the Prophet Mohammad's mosque in Medina, praying: "Oh God, keep Zainab safe and protected. Oh God, I have come to your door like a beggar. Oh God, please do not send me away empty-handed."

In a Muslim shrine in Lahore's ancient quarter, men and women pray around the tomb of a local saint. They hurl garlands and flower petals toward the tomb, each from their own, gender-segregated side: men from the left, women from the right.

On each side, transgender women lead the believers in song.

Among the men, they sing flamenco-style laments. A teenage trans woman leads the women. They struggle to keep up with her urgent chants in praise of the Prophet Muhammad's family.

Pakistan reacted defensively on Friday to an announcement that the White House would suspend most security assistance to its military.

The suspension of hundreds of millions of dollars of aid is meant to pressure Pakistan into taking action against militant groups.

It followed days of tensions that began with a New Year's Day tweet by President Trump accusing Pakistan of "deceit" for taking billions of dollars in aid while sheltering terrorists the U.S. is fighting in Afghanistan.

Citing security concerns, Pakistani authorities ordered over 20 foreign aid groups to cease operations by February.

Aid workers said the move could upend services to the country's neediest people. The groups on the list do everything from providing contraception to women to helping farmers purchase drought-resistant seeds. In addition, the aid workers say, hundreds of local jobs could be threatened.

For one Pakistani mother, sunburn signals her desperation to find her son.

Zarjan Atta rode rickshaws and buses for four days on desert roads, deepening and reddening her brown skin, as she traveled from her village to Karachi, Pakistan's southern port mega-city.

That's where her son Nawaz, 23, was living with relatives and studying at Karachi University. Her relatives say armed men dragged him from their flat on Oct. 28. They were in civilian clothes.

They pushed the women and children into a room. They warned: If you speak, you'll be next.

When the Pakistani interior minister went to attend a controversial court hearing on Oct. 2, the paramilitary force securing the area blocked him from entering. When he demanded to speak to a higher-up, he was told to wait.

The minister, Ahsan Iqbal, is the nominal boss of that paramilitary force.

In another country, it might just have been an embarrassing incident, a mistake by a soldier who did not recognize a top official. In Pakistan, many — including Iqbal himself — saw it as an act of rebellion.

In a wealthy suburb in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, a group of young Pakistanis veered between laughter and distress as they played a board game that echoed their lives in both funny and painful ways.

The name of the game is Arranged and the goal is to avoid at all costs an arranged marriage — and the matchmaker who sets them up. She's known as Rishta Aunty, slang in Urdu and Hindi for a certain kind of middle-aged, busybody matchmaker who knows all the single men and women.

Pakistan's prime minister has warned that the U.S. would be degrading its own capabilities to fight terrorism if it degraded Pakistan's military strength. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi made the comments Tuesday in a roundtable discussion with journalists before he leaves for the United States on Saturday.

Abbasi is expected to address the United Nations General Assembly during his U.S. visit. So far, there are no organized plans to see President Trump, said Abbasi's spokesperson, Musadik Malik.

The children pile into the stadium in shiny clothes, clutching green-and-white Pakistani flags. Their parents light the area with cell phones to record the event as they scream, chant and cheer, watching soldiers close a gate that separates India from Pakistan.

In the evening ritual at the Wagah-Attari border, near Lahore and Amritsar, soldiers from both countries high-kick, shake their fists, then shake hands – and slam the gate shut.

The music video is set to a catchy tune and starts out with two transgender women in bejeweled pink and red outfits, primping before a mirror. But it soon turns dark. They get disapproving stares in the marketplace and outside a mosque. And while they dance for cash at a bachelor party, the guests rough them up.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It began with a gruesome crime: a 12-year-old girl was raped by a teenage boy in a field in mid-July.

What happened next was a reaction that Pakistan has been sharply condemned for over the years: A tribal council — or panchayat in Urdu — ordered a revenge rape.

Two days after the girl was raped, her brother sexually violated a 16-year-old girl. She is the sister of the first rapist, a 17-year-old boy.

The panchayat that ordered the rape is led by influential landlords who settle disputes according to tribal customs that predate Islam.

What would happen if you married an old custom — matchmaking — with something modern, like the ride-sharing app on your smartphone?

In Pakistan, that happened. Users of Careem, one of the country's most popular ride-sharing apps, woke up last week to this pop-up message on their phone: "Rishta Aunty Has Arrived."