the growing murder of Pakistanis by U.S. and NATO forces, don't Pakistan citizens
have a right to ask what our military is doing? … If a citizen is guilty of
militancy he should be punished according to the law - not simply be made a
sitting duck for foreign forces."
Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi tells the world of his nation's plight, including the devestating flooding in Pakistan, at the opening of the 65th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Sept. 28.
As so many have said, if the
Pakistani state doesn't delink from America's misguided "War on Terror",
the Americans would eventually shift the center of gravity of its war from
Afghanistan and move militarily into Pakistan. But now, that is precisely
what's happening. For quite sometime, the U.S. has been carrying out drone
attacks and killing thousands of innocent Pakistani citizens - perhaps in the
process, killing a few militants as well.
Meanwhile, as revelations and
warnings in the Pakistani media have been making for some time, covert U.S. operatives
and Special Forces have spread across Pakistan. Now the United States has begun
the next phase of its agenda targeting Pakistan: attacks by aerial gunships across
the Afghan border into Pakistan. On Friday, NATO admitted that two helicopter gunships
entered Pakistan killing 30 people - euphemistically called “suspected
militants” - just as Dr. Aafia
Siddiqui has been penalized for being a “suspected terrorist”!
Since the government of
Pakistan has, to its eternal shame, kept silent on this new military targeting
of Pakistani citizens, NATO has become emboldened and on Monday two more helicopter
gunships entered Pakistani territory and killed a few more citizens - so far
the tally is five killed in Kurram
Agency. And alongside this upping of the military ante, U.S. drone attacks
continue - and with their frequency rising quickly, especially since Obama came
to power. Almost every day, there are reports of 10 or more people killed by
these unmanned drones - as if Pakistani lives are worth nothing. As far as
Pakistan's rulers are concerned, perhaps the U.S. is right about this, since
President Zardari is said to have told the CIA chief that collateral damage
from drones isn't an issue that bothers him!
Given the growing murder of
Pakistanis by U.S. and NATO forces, don't Pakistan citizens have a right to ask
what our military is doing? After all, our defense forces are meant to protect
our borders and Pakistani citizens from external military threats. Yet not only
are they unable or unwilling to do so in the case of NATO helicopter gunships,
they are actually complicit in U.S. drone attacks - if the statements of U.S.
government officials are to be believed.
This is truly contemptible
and brings into question the purpose of the military and the defense budget. If
the Pakistan military aids in the killing of citizens - no matter how misguided
or militant some may be - then who can Pakistanis seek for security and
protection? After all, if a citizen is guilty of militancy he should be
punished according to the law - not simply be made a sitting duck for foreign
forces. It's time the Pakistani nation demands of its state that it provide
protection and not be a party to such murder.
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