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.
Fahad Deshmukh, a reporter, writes about covering the operation in Swat, “We came across countless civilians whose family members or friends had been killed in the conflict.” After talking to many affected civilians, he attempted to file a story that talked about people who welcome the army operation and also those who have suffered and opposed it. When the story ran, his editors censored out all army inflicted casualties. Upon questioning he is told, “Sorry, the management has told us that we can only run pro-Army stories. These are orders from the top”. He wonders what the impact would be if the media shows the true visuals behind the airstrikes the same way bombing of hotels in larger metropolitans are shown.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has provided a list of 249 suspected extra-judicial killings from July 30, 2009, to March 22, 2010, mostly in Swat. They go on to say that independent journalists and locals widely believed security forces were behind these executions. According to estimates by Institute for Peace Studies in Pakistan, in 2009 alone — 3,021 were killed by insurgents, 6,329 in Pakistan army operations, 1,163 in army-Taliban battles, and 1,419 in other violence, including drone missiles.
Since March 2010, the military has started a new operation in Orakzai. By some sources, in just 21 days 423-558 “militants” have been killed. Given the opacity of these operations, the reports coming in from independent sources and the army’s attempts to black out all negative news, we need to understand and question the army’s conduct in this war and its role in these killings.
Peoples’ Resistance does not accept the official ISPR versions of this conflict and demand openness and accountability from the army and the media. We do not condone the human rights violations and war crimes being committed by our military under the guise of clearing the region of insurgency. We condemn the Pakistan military giving logistical support to the US to carry out drone attacks since 2004. The UN Human Rights Council has been sharply critical of US drone attacks and their failure and lack of interest in tracking civilian casualties, and finds that these violate international law.
We demand that all military actions in these operations, whether direct or indirect through support to the US drone attacks, be brought before tribunals. We also demand that the media fulfill its duties and monitor this war boldly and truthfully. Only truthful and uncensored news can bring about an end to the war and the insurgency – when the people are able to judge from facts and form authentic opinions that can lead to viable solutions to the insurgency and the war.
We express solidarity with all the victims of this war, and especially the people of Orakzai, Khyber, Swat, Buner, South and North Waziristan – people who have borne the brunt of these operations.
Your grief is not unnoticed.
Its great to see so many people speaking out for what they believe in and holding those who should be better than the extremists and terrorists accountable for their actions.
What KP has to with Karachi ?
Pakistan is become just like the USA – killing innocents.
SHAME SHAME SHAME
IS THERE ALSO A PROTEST AGAINST TODAYS BOMBING BY TALIBANS?
SHAME ON THOSE WHO BLINDLY SUPORT THE TALIBAN LUNATICS
yesterday two suicide bomb explodes at orakzai idp's camp and today a suicide attack in kohat, nearly 49 displaced people lost their lives in 2 days. so is there any apology and compensation from your beloved tehreek e Taliban Pakistan for the innocent lives????? at least army chief apologised to the jani khel tribe for their tactical mistake and announced the compensation money…. even though , any innocent human life can not replaced by monetary assistance, but instead of protesting I'll do things in my own capacity to raise awareness so that this kind of mistake won't happened again.. all people either in fata , Baluchistan or any other place should be treated equally….jeay pak fauj, jeay Pakistan and salam to all shaheed's.
but again, why they are protesting in Karachi ? What purpose would it serve ?
They at least received apology from COAS that such normal, deadly and routine collateral damages are part of their combat mission.
Sorryeeee and get money and pardon them for poor intelligence.
Seems like in our day and time worldwide we are simply not used to finding ways to speak out in protest of two groups (apparently diametrically opposed to one another) who are each doing plenty of killing.
So how might we now globally find a way to address each/both?
They are both/each creating havoc, displacing, engaging in crimes of war and when/if apologizing at all in need of much more signs they are genuine.
So how do we build accountability from the people for both/all sides of this problem? And/or who is already doing the best job and how might we support their efforts?
There is one glaring difference I've noticed so far: there are terribly heartbreaking photos often from there horrific bombing allegedly by the Taliban – yet where do we find similar photos from the hellish bombing of civilians by our military forces? (Including the US in this accountability)
What I often find is missing as well are our global connections. How can we get them going? Surely we will all be better off with more global accountability?
"but again, why they are protesting in Karachi ? What purpose would it serve ?"
sunshine, what sort of an enlightening question is this? it served the same purpose as it would serve anywhere else in the world: raising your voice. you expect them to go to tirah and protest or what?
About the opinion presented in this priece, I want to ask the writer's opinion about the apology that was handed out by the Army for the very first time in our history. That might not be much in your view but thats something, aint it, given how regularly and dispassionately we recieve news of death on our screens and how equally rarely do we hear of any apologies. Collateral damage is an inevitable part of ANY operation, not that it can be justified at all. I'd like to ask the writer about the alternatives then. What to do with this TTP that sprung out from nowhere and had the whole country whimpering from head to toe until Army took the bull by its horns?
Let me just say this that civilian killings are not justified anywhere in the world. In Pakistan sadly many civilians are losing their lives on regular basis so measures must be taken to stop this immediately. I am glad the people have come out and raised their voice. Siezure to extremist actions must take place.
Pakistan second most hated nation on earth
we didn't secure the first spot. We envy the 1st position. What will it take to get there?
At Top University, a Fight for Pakistan’s Future
That day is not far when the entire nation will come out on streets and speak out against terrorism and these crazy people. It is this time when we speak out against issue such as terrorism and corruption. These must be stopped for the country to thrive.
There is no need to come out of street just ask kiyani or core commander Peshawar through papers and media that who is responsible of poor intelligence and execution of such forceful attack on its own people.
For last years army has awarded record number of promotions particularly on senior ranks , extra incentives with sharp rise of basic salary to all its personals.
Only 20% army is stationed in war side but 100% force is enjoying such rise as opportunists over destruction of mother land.Contrary to this whole nation is suffering depression of mismanagement in all other sectors of governance.
So instead of this typical protest, one should prepare civilian groups which can produce verbal and written effects on national and international courts of justice for placing our army on the table of accountability too on such collateral damages and mass destruction purposelessly.
@nazia. You are just crazy. You don’t want the people voice to be heard? I think they need to com out and speak against these terror elements in the country. Islam teaches to speak against whatever evel you see and this is what these people are doing.
Where crazy factor exists in my point?
I am hearing people voice as I am part of this group we called people and that is why reacting like that which sounds you crazy.
Nobody wants to live in state of horror and terror but that is job of defense line how they are tackling such threats which are mostly hitting poor people.
First they groomed such homemade terrorists among us now they are being removed by poorly displacing settled locals through forceful military operations
At the end sorry and excuse me like decent word are garland on their deadbodies.
This is only option left for poor in this country?
SIR YOUR NUMBER PLISEC
I bet (Na)Pak Army had called them terrorist too, as often they do, but when the *Masters* came out with the civilians death report then only (Na)Pak Army admitted the truth.
Even in the news when ISPR claims to have killed x number of terrorists, how do they know the number? Were the counting the deadbodies after (Na)Pak-Airforce dropped bombs? And how do they certify that the people killed were TERRORISTS?
or any body killed by (Na)Pak-Airforce and (Na)Pak-Army is a terrorist?
Its like (Na)Pak-Fauj has the rubber stamp to classify any body a PATRIOT and any body a TRAITOR based on their own whims and desires.
I wish the haram-khour Generals of (Na)Pak Army are reading this!!