ISLAMABAD – In 2006, the first drone strike in Pakistan killed 82 children in a religious school (locally called madrassah) and the world didn’t cry. It was taken as a counter terrorism practice and it is continued till the day. There has been a complete absence of empathy for civilian victims of war on terror.
This was lamented by Aisha Ghazi, a UK-based Pakistani writer and activist, who has painstakingly researched the suffering of the people living in FATA and has highlighted the psychological impact of drones and the controversial war on terror on the community in North West Pakistan, the intensified feelings of revenge in youngsters and its after effect on overall society in Pakistan.
The whole purpose of making this documentary, said Aisha Ghazi, was to bring the bleeding truth of this war policy and indiscriminate killings in to account.
She was speaking at the screening of her documentary “Suffering in Silence” at the Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad here on Sunday.
IPS LEAD – the Learning, Excellence & Development Program of IPS – in collaboration with Positive Pakistan, a youth organization with country-wide representation, hosted the screening of the documentary film.
The event was also addressed by DG-IPS Khalid Rahman, senior journalist Mohsin Raza Khan, and senior IPS associate Brigadier (retd) Said Nazir Mohmand.
“To me, it was a journey of finding nerve-reckoning truth and cold-blooded hypocrisy behind war on terror in Pakistan”, she said.
“If the sole purpose of war on terror is to make the world safer place and to safeguard lives of innocent civilians, killing of 50,000 civilians in Pakistan in the name of war on terror cannot be justified. If we believe, right to life is absolute for innocent civilians without any discrimination of race, how can we allow killing 50,000 innocent civilians in Pakistan? How is it justified and legal to kill 2000 innocent civilians (without counting the “unknowns”) out of 3000 people killed in drone strikes. Why media and officials refer all those who are killed by drone strikes as militants while drone attacks had been reported even on funerals and jirgas? How is it justified to kill 82 school children in Bajaur and still claiming it was counter terrorism approach,” she questioned.
Other speakers and participants were also of the view that the intensity of agony doesn’t alter with geography. There has to be an end to hypocrisy. Right to life and a peaceful life should be equal for all. Life of an innocent child living in FATA should be considered as precious as of an innocent child living in New York. The pain of losing a loved one, the pain of witnessing transition of ones child from being healthy to being disabled for life is same for all.