Peace March, Political Stunt and Killer DronesOct 9th, 2012 | By Aisha Aijaz | Category: Latest, Pakistan
You don’t have to be a PTI worker to see what Imran Khan’s peace march to Waziristan has achieved. Nor can you be so blind, unable to read and recognise the hypocrisy written all over Fazl-ur-Rehman’s and Abdul Ghafoor Haidri’s statements calling Imran Khan an agent of the ‘Jews’ and by personally attacking his ex-wife and children. And guess what! Fazl-ur-Rehman, self-proclaimed Pakistani pseudoliberals and US were all on one side, either due to being Anti-Peace-March or pro-drone or both. Not surprising actually!
Any independent unbiased activist, anti-war and anti-drone humanist would wholeheartedly appreciate this big step that was taken by Imran Khan. I was appalled to hear and read some lame arguments from some ‘senior journalist’ who once shouted Why-Islamabad-and-Why-Not-Waziristan. Now the objection changed to Why-South-and-Why-not-North-Waziristan. Some of them asked why invite Americans to protest in Waziristan and rather not go to USA and protest in front of the White House (which CodePink activists did before coming to Pakistan). A few days before the march, the pseudo-liberal lot claimed TTP and Imran are friends and so they will provide him security which was later denied by the Taliban. Then, the march was stopped near Tank and was denied access to the area. It sounded amusing to some. The critics somehow overlooked that the mission was to highlight the issue with the help of the international activists which was symbolic as well as revealing. Do the noise makers suggest it should have been turned into a violent protest, to get to the area by hook or by crook? Hilarious indeed!
The international media covered the issue for two consecutive days. This same media is used to brainwash people about the effectiveness of War on Terror and ‘accuracy’ of American drone strikes killing ‘militants’ alone. By raising the issue in an extra ordinary way this march has shown the people of these countries, the other side of the story.
Clive Stafford Smith (who came from UK to attend this rally) writes in his article,
“During the day I shook the hand of a 16-year-old kid from Waziristan named Tariq Aziz. One of his cousins had died in a missile strike, and he wanted to know what he could do to bring the truth to the west. At the Reprieve charity, we have a transparency project: importing cameras to the region to try to export the truth back out. Tariq wanted to take part, but I thought him too young.
Then, three days later, the CIA announced that it had eliminated “four militants”. In truth there were only two victims: Tariq had been driving his 12-year-old cousin to their aunt’s house when the Hellfire missile killed them both.”
According to a major study released by Stanford University and New York University named ‘Living Under Drones’ only 2 out of every hundred killed may be militants and the fear is immeasurable.
“Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves.”
Drones are a familiar phenomenon for Pakistanis, Yemenis and Afghans but not so for the rest of the world. It was effectively highlighted; no sane person can deny the fact. And how many Pakistanis know where they operate from, how illegal they are according to international law and even US constitution and how they CANNOT operate without our government’s permission. ‘We condemn; you carry on’ policy of the Pakistani civil and military authorities is utterly disgusting. And now the whole world knows our leaders have made us a US colony where they are only puppets displayed to deceive us.
Some leaders labelled the march as a ‘political stunt’ risking the lives of people and activists from the world to gain votes? Not so surprisingly, this does happen in Pakistan by the parties who have ruled us again and again so they painted their formula to label the march as a political drama. The silliest argument that really surprised me was ‘Would this march stop the drones?’ If that’s the point then beware: All marches are political stunts, all processions are pointless and all protests are useless as they don’t change anything most of the time.
Let’s leave the intentions to God and not undermine the cause by such unjustified and childish squabble. The issue is national. There is a war imposed on us without declaration and one faction of intellectuals is bent upon legalising what the world holds illegitimate i.e. drones. The biggest ally is the major sufferer with innocent women and children being killed in double tap attacks (targeting the rescuers) or left amputated with post-traumatic stress disorder; Attacks that are carried out on the basis of ‘local intelligence’ gathered by awarding a few thousand dollars and using locals to tag the target with a GPS device, make someone’s fortune and ruin someone’s home and family. The march has brought attention to the forgotten people of Waziristan living under the killer buzzes in fear, avoiding meeting with each other with confidence and trust due to suspicion and terror created by the US.
Support whatever is good and let not your personal, political and/or egoistic ‘self’ weaken the cause and make the world laugh at us. We have a problem, we raise voice, the good people from the world come out to help us but we doubt each other’s intentions. Woah! Don’t let the voice go weak. Strengthen it for the sake of the country and humanity. Play your part, positively. You’re answerable for your bit and every word that you contribute for or against the truth.