Philip Reeves

Philip Reeves is an award-winning veteran international correspondent based in Islamabad, Pakistan. Previous to his current role, he covered Europe out of NPR's bureau in London.

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

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.

In 2010, Reeves moved to London from New Delhi after a stint of more than seven years working in and around South Asia. He traveled widely in India, taking listeners on voyages along the Ganges River and the ancient Grand Trunk Road. He also made numerous trips to cover unrest and political turmoil in Pakistan.

Reeves joined NPR in 2004, after spending 17 years as a 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 the Waco siege, to the growth of the Internet, Boris Yeltsin's erratic presidency, the economic rise of India, and conflicts in Gaza and the West Bank, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Graduating from Cambridge University, Reeves earned a degree in English literature. He and his wife have one daughter. His family originates from New Zealand.

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Afghanistan
6:55 am
Sun July 6, 2014

In Islamabad, A Rare Piano Teacher Pursues His Mission Quietly

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 11:50 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's international correspondents cover wars, politics and global trends. But sometimes we also ask them to tell us about their lives in the field and the extraordinary people they meet. Here's a postcard sent to us from NPR's Philip Reeves in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.

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Parallels
12:50 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

In A Remote Corner Of Pakistan, A Mass Exodus

Workers prepare to distribute food Wednesday to civilians fleeing a Pakistan military operation against the Pakistani Taliban in North Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan. Close to a half-million residents have fled their homes in recent days.
A Majeed AFP/Getty Images

The people of Pakistan are all too familiar with the tidal waves of humanity that can roll across the landscape with the outbreak of war.

Living in their midst are some 1.6 million Afghan refugees who, over the last 35 years, moved eastward to escape the violence that periodically engulfs their own unstable country.

Now Pakistan is soaking up another human tsunami, this time from the North Waziristan tribal area, an oblong of land slightly larger than Rhode Island, set amid the forests and mountains along its turbulent north-west frontier.

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Middle East
3:50 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Down From The Mountains, Pakistanis Flee Military Offensive

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 6:08 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel. Pakistan is seeing a flood of people pouring out of North Waziristan in the mountains abutting Afghanistan. The exodus began after Pakistan began a major ground offensive against the Taliban and foreign militias there. Some 200,000 people are believed to have left since Sunday. Pakistan's military is calling it an organized evacuation. But as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, some fleeing the area describe a frightening chaos.

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The Salt
10:58 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Pakistani Juice Drink Packs A Sweet And Spicy Punch

A man drinks aloo pokhara, a heart-comforting prune juice in Islamabad.
Abdul Sattar NPR

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 5:54 pm

You don't often see a man cheerily quaffing from a half-pint mug on a street corner in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.

But the drink in this gentleman's hand is as innocent as a newborn kitten.

It's called aloo bukhara juice, and contains tamarind and dried plums, or prunes, if you prefer.

Summer's reaching a punishing peak here - it's 104 degrees Fahrenheit - so I assumed he was just drinking to keep cool.

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Asia
4:37 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Taliban Claim Credit For Another Attack In Karachi

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 11:25 am

Militants are attacking a security training facility near the Karachi airport. The incident comes less than two days after a deadly attack on the Karachi airport itself.

Middle East
3:13 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Who Shot Pakistan's Star News Anchor? Some Point To Spy Agency

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 6:29 pm

Pakistan's biggest media house and the country's spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, have been embroiled in conflict recently. Geo TV alleged that ISI tried to kill the network's anchor, who was shot and badly injured in April. Now, government regulators have intervened, banning Geo for two weeks.

Parallels
4:46 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

How One Man's Arrest In London Shut Down Pakistan's Megacity

A Pakistani man reads a newspaper at a closed market in Karachi on Wednesday following the arrest of Altaf Hussain. For more than two decades, Hussain has wielded control over his party β€” and, by extension, parts of the city β€” from half a world away in London.
Asif Hassan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 10:09 am

The city of Karachi, on the edge of the Arabian Sea, has fizzed with life since Alexander the Great was strutting around Asia's deserts on his horse.

This chaotic and ruthless trading metropolis of more than 20 million is the giant turbine that drives Pakistan's creaking economy, providing the largest part of the national revenues.

Yet by midafternoon Thursday, Karachi's shopkeepers began hastily hauling down their steel shutters and heading home, suffering for a third consecutive day from an acute case of the jitters.

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World
3:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Pakistani Woman Beaten To Death By Her Family As Police Stand By

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 10:16 am

Pakistan is reeling from the latest so-called "honor killing." A pregnant woman was stoned to death just feet from a courthouse for marrying a man against her family's wishes. Police stood by as family members, including a woman, took part in the killing.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Asia
3:59 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

At Indian Prime Minister's Inauguration, A Historic Pakistani Presence

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 4:43 pm

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was among the guests at Narenda Modi's inauguration. It's the first time the leader of one of the archrivals has attended the swearing-in of the other.

Music
7:07 am
Sat April 26, 2014

A Millionaire Saves The Silenced Symphonies Of Pakistan

Izzat Majeed address a crowd in New York during a collaborative concert between Sachal Studios musicians and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The Lahore-born philanthropist founded a recording studio and provided opportunities for musicians in Pakistan.
Hiroyuki Ito Getty Images

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 10:30 am

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Technology
3:08 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Man Reaches For The Sun For A Solution To Pakistan's Gas Crisis

Pakistani motorists wait in line at a refueling station in the outskirts of Islamabad on Jan. 20, 2013. Waits of up to four hours have become a way of life since Pakistan decided to switch to compressed natural gas about a decade ago.
Farooq Naeem AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 9:46 am

Spring has crept up to the foothills of the Himalayas and, in Islamabad, Pakistan's purpose-built capital, the air is full of the scent of roses and the yelling of birds.

Yet, even in this most stately of South Asian cities, it is impossible to escape the realities of an unstable nation that has yet to figure out how to meet some of the basic needs of its 200 million or so citizens.

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Asia
4:19 am
Thu April 10, 2014

2 Pakistani Musicians Gain Fame Singing Political Satire

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 6:54 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

There's also anxiety in Pakistan because it is a country where you can get into big trouble because of what you say. Recently, gunmen there opened fire on a prominent journalist who's a critic of Islamic extremism, killing his driver. Twenty-five journalists have been killed over the last decade. Non-journalists like the young activist Malala Yousafzai have been attacked. NPR's Philip Reeves went to see two young Pakistanis who think they're better off singing about their political views than talking. He sent this postcard from Lahore.

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Parallels
4:47 am
Sun February 9, 2014

The World's Most Optimistic Law: Banning Graffiti In Karachi

A man walks past one of the many graffiti-covered walls in Karachi, Pakistan, on Dec. 27, 2013. Provincial lawmakers have voted to ban graffiti, but few expect the measure to be enforced.
Athar Hussain Reuters /Landov

If there was a competition to find the world's Most Optimistic Law, then here's a promising contender.

A law has just been introduced in Pakistan that bans people from scrawling graffiti on the walls of Karachi, a vast, chaotic port city on the shores of the Arabian Sea.

It is impossible to drive through Karachi without being struck by the manner in which the city's walls yell at the passersby.

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Middle East
4:05 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Pakistan And Taliban Come To The Negotiating Table

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 8:04 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Parallels
12:32 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

In Pakistan, Another Bhutto Joins The Risky Family Business

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (left), son of assassinated Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, arrives for a festival at Moenjodaro in southern Pakistan on Feb. 1. The event was seen as a political coming-out party for Bhutto, whose family has prominently featured in Pakistani politics for decades.
Waqar Hussein EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:23 pm

His grandfather was hanged by a military dictator. His mother was assassinated. One of his uncles was slain by the police. Another died in a mysterious poisoning.

His father spent eight years in jail, yet later served a full term as president of Pakistan.

The Bhutto family history is a roller coaster ride, veering from prison, exile and corruption scandals to wealth, fame and power.

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Middle East
4:17 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

The Doctor At The Heart Of The U.S.-Pakistan Rift

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 6:56 pm

Prickly relations between the U.S. and Islamabad are becoming even thornier because of one issue: the case of Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden in 2011. Afridi is seen as a hero by many Americans, but that didn't deter Pakistan from jailing him for alleged militant ties. The U.S. Congress is withholding $33 million in aid to Pakistan until the doctor is freed. But Afridi's lawyer fears this tactic will antagonize Islamabad. He urgently wants Afridi freed, warning that the doctor is at severe risk of being killed by fellow prisoners.

Europe
4:17 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

The Shipping Forecast: From Britain's Seas Into Its Soul

Fisherman Teddy Head tells a story to a group of children while mending his nets in Hastings in 1952. The fishermen of Hastings are tightknit; fathers, brothers and sons work together in rugged boats no more than about 30 feet long. Some families in Hastings have worked this way for centuries.
Fred Morley Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 1:29 pm

It is a bizarre nightly ritual that is deeply embedded in the British way of life.

You switch off the TV, lock up the house, slip into bed, turn on your radio, and begin to listen to a mantra, delivered by a soothing, soporific voice.

"Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger ...." says the voice.

You are aware β€” vaguely β€” that these delicious words are names, and that those names refer to big blocks of sea around your island nation, stretching all the way up to Iceland and down to North Africa.

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Parallels
11:51 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Pakistan's Fearless Chief Justice Challenged The Powers That Were

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry (center) is greeted by lawyers in Islamabad after the government announced it would reinstate him, in March 2009. Pakistan's longest-serving chief justice challenged the status quo and fought to chart a more assertive and independent course for the country's judiciary.
Anjum Naveed AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 2:41 pm

He defied a military dictator, sacked a prime minister, and persistently sought to call generals and intelligence chiefs to account.

He became a symbol of hope for an impoverished multitude, seeking to assert their rights in a land where these are frequently ignored and abused.

He was one of his country's best-known figures who was seen β€” though not usually heard β€” on his nation's television screens as frequently as celebrity actors and cricket stars.

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Asia
4:35 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Human Rights Group Investigates Drone Strikes In Pakistan

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:53 am

Amnesty International released a new report on Tuesday on U.S. drone strikes along Pakistan's chaotic border region with Afghanistan.

Europe
3:57 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Skateboarders Mobilize As Art Center Tries To Reclaim Cavern

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 4:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

In medieval times, the south bank of the River Thames in London was full of seedy theaters, brothels and scoundrels. But centuries later, it has become one of the world's finest centers for the arts. Recent plans to expand the arts center has revealed a uniquely, contemporary conflict. As NPR's Philip Reeves reports, this conflict is reviving grassroots activism in Britain's capital.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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World
5:19 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

U.K. Lawmakers Vote Against Syria Strike

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 5:04 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Media
4:13 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

U.K. Detains Partner Of Journalist Who Talked With Snowden

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 5:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Religion
3:59 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Church Invested In Pay Day Loan Companies It Admonished

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 11:01 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. The Church of England's top bishop is in a little hot water. The archbishop of Canterbury is embroiled in a controversy about ethical investment. As NPR's Philip Reeves reports, it involves a company called Wonga.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Let us greet our newly installed archbishop with great gladness.

(APPLAUSE)

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Four months have elapsed since Justin Welby was enthroned as the 105th archbishop of Canterbury.

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Parallels
2:08 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Would Brits Throw Out Royals With Baby's Bathwater?

Cards depicting the 'royal baby' either as a boy or a girl, specially made by a games company as a publicity stunt are pictured, backdropped by members of the media waiting across the St. Mary's Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London on July 11, 2013.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 2:17 am

"Royal Baby Fever" is gripping Britain.

So say the breathless TV pundits gathered from round the world to report the infant's arrival.

Is it true?

An Ipsos Mori poll published this week found the Royal Family's certainly enjoying a golden age, after rebounding from the disasters of the 1990s β€” including the death of Princess Diana.

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Parallels
1:15 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

That Blows: Cricket's Trumpet-Playing Superfan Silenced

Former England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott listens to Barmy Army trumpeter Billy Cooper during the second test between New Zealand and England at Basin Reserve on March 15 in Wellington, New Zealand. Cooper's trumpet will be silent at Trent Bridge, in Nottingham, England, because the ground doesn't allow musical instruments.
Gareth Copley Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 3:42 pm

The English national character is an eternal mystery. But from time to time we get a glimpse of some of its components. The story of Billy The Trumpet is one such occasion.

Billy is the embodiment of English eccentricity. He belongs to a boisterous ragtag band of sports fans called the Barmy Army. They're considered "barmy" for very good reason: These people follow England's national cricket team everywhere.

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Parallels
11:15 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Britons Bask In A Summer Of Good News

Britain's Andy Murray celebrates after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia at Wimbledon on Sunday in London. Murray was the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years.
Mike Hewitt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 3:10 pm

All news is bad news. Or so the saying goes. Many Brits firmly believe this β€” and use it as a branch to beat their journalists, one of the more despised species in these isles.

It is, of course, untrue. There's no better example of the media's appetite for good news than the tsunami of euphoria with which they've greeted Andy Murray's Wimbledon triumph on Sunday.

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Middle East
3:47 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Pakistan's New Prime Minister Gets No 'Honeymoon Period'

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:38 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's been four weeks since Pakistan's new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took the oath of office. In that time, Pakistan has suffered a wave of militant attacks, an economically crippling electricity crisis, and now a deadly drone strike. Many Pakistanis deeply resent U.S. drone attacks against targets in their tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. Recently, there's been a lull in these, but overnight a fresh missile strike killed at least 17 people.

NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

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Europe
2:01 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Thar He Blows: Trump Tussles With Scots Over Wind Turbines

Donald Trump plays a stroke as he officially opens his new Trump International Golf Links course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, last July. Now, he is aggressively fighting Scottish plans to build 11 wind turbines off the coast overlooked by his golf course and other proposed projects.
Andy Buchanan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 8:52 am

A fierce legal battle is under way in Scotland, involving U.S. tycoon Donald Trump.

At the heart of the wrangle: wind.

Europe is leading the way in generating energy using wind. Huge turbines whir away on the hills and in the seas throughout the continent.

The roots of Trump's hatred for these turbines can be found, at least in part, in what was once a stretch of rolling dunes and grassland in northeastern Scotland, overlooking the North Sea.

He is spending hundreds of millions creating a resort there.

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Parallels
11:56 am
Sun June 16, 2013

Violence Defies Pakistanis' Efforts To Define Their Nation

Pakistani security personnel inspect a burned-out bus on Sunday, a day after it was destroyed by a bomb attack in Quetta. The bus was carrying students from the region's only university for women. Fourteen women died.
Banaras Khan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun June 16, 2013 12:36 pm

There is no more graphic example of the daunting challenges facing Pakistan's new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, than the bloody events playing out in the west of his nation.

Just over a week after Sharif was sworn in for a third term, at least 24 people were killed in a day of violence that underscored the threat presented by violent militancy to the fabric of the Pakistani state.

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Parallels
2:47 pm
Sun June 9, 2013

Murder Case Appears To Buck Trend Of Pakistani Corruption

Shahrukh Jatoi, top center, convicted of killing 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan, is escorted by members of the police to an Anti-Terrorism court in Karachi, Pakistan, on Friday.
Shakil Adil AP

"There are times when one's faith is restored in the judicial system here, in Pakistan," writes a gentleman called Sajjid Khan, in an unusually optimistic letter published by one of his nation's leading newspapers The Daily Times.

Pakistanis generally take a bleak view of their system of law and order, which tends to be dysfunctional and corrupt. Khan was inspired to put pen to paper by a criminal case that seems to buck that trend.

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