A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: The dubious role of Pakistan army in dealing with Taliban thereby legitimizing the massacre

After the failure of the peace initiatives with the Taliban and Tehreek-e- Nifaz-e-Shariah Mohammadi (TNSM), the government of Pakistan has started an operation with the help of the Pakistan army in the northern parts of country, bordering Afghanistan, on the request of provincial government of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), resulting in the killings of innocent persons and the migration of several hundred thousand people from homes. According to information received from the affected areas, people find themselves trapped between the deep sea and the devil.

Caught in the cross-firing from the Taliban on one side and the Pakistan Army on the other, people have not been able to even collect the dead bodies of their loved ones. The military operation against the militants is carried out by gunship helicopters, mortar and jets but the entire land mass and vast mountainous areas are covered by militants armed with rockets, rocket launchers and other sophisticated arms which they captured from the NATO and allied forces as well as from the Pakistan army during the siege of almost three districts since six years. Media reports claim that the arms were allegedly supplied by the ISI – the intelligence agency of Pakistan.
The army is reluctant to either directly target the militants or disarm them, but instead is just retaliating to the gun fires from the Taliban militants in the mountains and blindly firing on the civilian population. The Inter Service Public Relation (ISPR) of the armed forces claim that more than 90 Taliban are killed in the military operation but local media sources claim that ISPR are providing wrong information as the most killings are from civilian population. More than two hundred security personnel including, army persons, are captured by the militants and about half a dozen army men were slaughtered by the militants since the last week of April. Civilians have to walk several miles to take refuge while both the governments – the NWFP and federal, have become mere spectators. The inland migrants have dispersed in different directions and are settling under the open skies.
The NWFP government has acted very arrogantly by pressurizing the federal government to implement the NAR and have an agreement with TNSM so that peace can be established in the northern parts. But when militants, particularly Taliban refused to abide by the agreement, the NWFP government has left people of the area at the mercy of the militants. More than half of the cabinet of the provincial government of NWFP is out of the province and are running their government from Dubai and Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Media access to the areas is not allowed and local journalists are under surveillance of state intelligence agencies. The notorious intelligence agency – the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) are consistently asking local journalists to give them their stories before they are published or aired. The ISI has made it mandatory for local journalists to disclose the source of their news reports.

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(Submitted by Abdul Hamid Bashani Khan)

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