On 12th July, AAJ Tv boradcasted a program of Live with Talat in which Talat Hussain visited Jamia Hafsa. While touring the bullet ridden compound a number of military personal hovered around, at a certain point Talat Hussain asked an accompanying Army personal about all the evidence of smoke around the area asking, “Why is there so much smoke?”, the solider replied “WP”, Talat put another question “Please explain WP?”, the solider answered “White Phosphorus.”
White Phosphorus is a flare / smoke producing incendiary weapon which is also used as an offensive Anti-Personnel flame compound capable of causing serious burns or death. White phosphorus weapons are controversial today because of its potential use against humans, for whom one-tenth of a gram is a deadly dose and according to the Geneva Convention which was later amended by the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons signed into effect in 1997, expressively prohibits the use against civilians. White Phosphorus weapons have been used in the recent past by Israel in Lebanon and US and UK in Iraq, but probably the first time ever by a an army against its own people
Article 1 of Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (Wikipedia) defines an incendiary weapon as ‘any weapon or munition which is primarily designed to set fire to objects or to cause burn injury to persons through the action of flame, heat, or combination thereof, produced by a chemical reaction of a substance delivered on the target’. The same protocol also prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against civilians or in civilian areas. However, the use against military targets outside civilian areas is not explicitly banned by any treaty.
There continues to be a strong debate on how Musharraf should have handled this situation, but what surprises me is the inhumanity of this attack, dexterity of the assault should have meant targeted exchange of fire maybe an occasional rubber bullet to pacify the milder militants, but the indiscriminate use of chemical weapons, by the National Army against its own people. Is jaw dropping serious, its akin to the mass murder which happened in Karachi on May 12th when the Army headed off to the barracks leaving the city at the hands of ruthless killers for six hours..
To understand the gravity of the situation one has only to look at these two images of burnt bodies the sight is excruciatingly painful, when the Americans used White Phosphorous on the victims in Fallujah back in April 2004.
If you look at the top most image which appeared in Dawn on 13th July (link) one sees the classic signs of a high intensity flame, which reached astounding temperatures to melt the steel framework of ceiling fans, one must also noted that the public was not shown the remains of numerous people killed in the disaster and quickly buried them in concealed wooden coffins the next day.
I am shocked and stunned at what has just happened, it should be enough for the world to wake up and ask for an unconditional removal of the dictator