On Saturday April 10, the Pakistani army bombed villages in Tirah in the Khyber Agency and killed more than 70 civilians. While the military denied the incident, local government confirmed compensation payments for civilian deaths and injuries. “All of those killed were civilians, 100% innocent,” said Ikramullah Jan Kukikhel, a tribal elder. He further elaborates that a house with women, children and elderly was bombed and as villagers rushed to rescue those caught in the rubble, they were also attacked, killing many more.
Given the lack of transparency surrounding the many operations it is safe to say this is not the first time civilians have been killed by the army. The media has, in some cases, been strong-armed into publishing only ISPR approved stories, while independent news from the conflict regions has been systematically suppressed. Civilian deaths and army’s conduct are not reported or questioned in the mainstream media at all. Stories criticizing the army are virtually non-existent because the army does not permit them. After the bombing in Tirah, a BBC reporter was not allowed access to the wounded brought to Peshawar’s Hayatabad Hospital.