Campaigners from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) into their second week at a protest camp standing against drones and military operations in the region were boosted by a visit from politician Imran Khan. The Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) had early tweeted that he would try to pay a visit and wished he could be in several places at once as he was also dealing with the aftermath of the horrific bombing in Quetta at the week-end which has led to protests across Pakistan in support of the mainly Shia victims. As if that wasn’t enough to contend with, news also broke of the shooting of Dr Syed Ali Haider, a respected eye specialist gunned down and killed IN Lahore alongside his 12 year old son, Murtaza http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/02/18/news/national/shia-doctor-son-gunned-down-in-lahore-in-apparent-sectarian-hit/
Others active at the camp on Monday were PTI leader of South Waziristan Doost Mohammad, Elders of Mehsud Tribe, Defense of Human Right Activist (DHR) Amna Masood Janjua, Human Right Activist Dr Farzana Bari and leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PLM-N) on Monday who joined Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs ) in front of National Press Club Islamabad to express solidarity with the tribesmen. All the participants at the protest camp demanded that the government stop military operations in South Waziristan Agency (SWA) and compensate the Mehsud IDPs for their losses in the war on terror.
Imran Khan Former highlighted that both Former President General Musharraf and the present government were responsible for the present worst condition of the Mehsood tribe. He argued that tribesmen should be part of the decision making process and questioned the future of Waziristan’s children with schools closed and 80% of people from the region homeless. He also stated that drone attacks were occurring with government consent and that people should be compensated for their losses and the issue of missing persons addressed http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/islamabad/18-Feb-2013/tribesmen-should-be-part-of-decision-making-imran-khan
One supporter of the protest questioned why the deaths of thousands of innocents in Waziristan were not shown in the media and also criticised NGOs and academics for not condemning what he described as “Waziristan genocide”. These are his words:-
How many times has the need of a crackdown on the outfits based in Peshawar/Pindi/Islamabad who create justification for Waziristan genocide been publicly discussed? There is no way of knowing how Waziristan has been ravaged in our name, in name of peace, in name of Pakistan. Media during past 10 years have not shown fraction of killing of civilian innocents, Goverment (Peshawar & Islamabad) brutalities, secret assassination in Waziristan due to media blackout/cover-ups. The Waziristan Genocide whether by Taliban, mercenaries, militias, insurgents, or by soldiers of a nation, NATO, ISAF, drones is terrorism.
Since 9/11, under US patronage Pakistan LEAs (Both Military and Non Military) have been “responsible for torture, inhuman treatment and even extrajudicial executions of Pashtuns from Southern KPK (Waziristan, Bannu, DI Khan, Kohat, Orakzai, Kurram & Lucky Marvat).
Pashtuns from Waziristan don’t have enough to eat, don’t have a job and no prospects in life. They are wronged they have no redress. There are tortured daily by political agents, police, caught up for years in endless grind of court cases. Thousands of people have gone missing without any trace. Killings and kidnappings have become the order of the day in Waziristan. There are arbitrary arrests of citizens as well as arbitrary searches of homes. Prolonged pre-trial detention is a serious problem, and judicial corruption, inefficiency, and executive interference undermines due process. Ruling elites (mostly from Peshawar, Charsada, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi) backed by US/UK have monopoly over all newspapers, television and radio stations.
Much of the known world has suffered at the hands of colonials but not Waziristan. However during past decade Waziristan has been made the real big bazaar and virtual laboratory of the global arms /drone industry. Most of us are not familiar with the real colonial history of Waziristan and the clever, petty games Western colonial powers and their puppets in Kabul, Greater Mardan, Peshawar, Islamabad and Pindi have played to exploit it in every possible way. Major reason that the masses and world polity don’t have a clear idea of the situation in Waziristan is that any criticism or complaint about genocide, no matter how well-researched and moderate, is swiftly attacked and labelled by strong war profiting mafia as either Pro-Taliban or Pro-al Qaeda or Anti-Pashtun or Anti Pakistan or Conspiracy Theory.
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”.