Here is a picture of a Pakistani mother and her two infant children recently slaughtered by Cobra helicopter gunships provided to Musharraf by the US. This photo and several other similar pictures are currently circulating on the web and are being viewed with feelings of profound horror and distress by scores of ordinary Pakistani citizens.
I have been told by a Baloch acquaintance that the pictures are undeniably authentic – for one the rather frayed sandals worn by one of the men standing by the ravaged corpses are typical Baloch tribesmen footwear.
Collateral damage is a loathsome word made-up by the US military to gloss over civilian deaths in countries it picks to invade. This word becomes even more repulsive when it applies to the massacre of civilians by their own national army, as is apparently now taking place in the Balochistan province of Pakistan.
Rather than admit to their misdeeds, the Commando General and his flunkies have resorted to a pathetic game of semantics. These shameful individuals are now parroting the same specially chosen stock phrase:
General Musharraf - ‘made it clear no military operation was going on in Balochistan’.
Director General ISPR Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan - ‘no military operation is going on in Balochistan’.
The same idiotic mantra of ‘no military operation’ has also been publicly repeated ad nauseum by political poltroons such as the likes of Shaukat Aziz, Aftab Sherpao, Sher Afgan Niazi and Sheikh Rashid.
According to this week’s Newsweek magazine:
Thousands of paramilitary and Army troops, backed by Air Force jets and helicopter gunships, recently launched a major offensive. Baloch nationalist leaders allege that hundreds of people, including women and children, were killed in bombardments in Kohlu district.I wish someone would ask these reality-challenged morons a simple question: How can the obvious abundant use of high-tech night vision capable, TOW-missile carrying helicopter gunships and Air Force jet fighters not be termed a military operation?
And so what if in bureaucratese the Frontier Constabulary uniformed militiamen are not officially part of the army? Not only are the FC militiamen recruited and controlled by the Ministry of Defence, but these uniformed troops are also commanded by serving army officers under the ultimate command of General Musharraf.
(And by the by, since when were these humdrum militiamen given direct control over the use of sophisticated helicopter gunships, Air Force jet fighters and heavy artillery, as are now being used in Balochistan? )
Yesterday I read a local news report on the Internet (which all of a sudden seems to have disappeared – surprise, surprise!). This news report stated that when radio’s Voice of America correspondent Murtaza Solangi tried to contact Akbar Bugti on his satellite phone the call was answered by a person who reported that everyone in Dera Bugti was sheltering in trenches as the town was being bombarded by artillery and mortar rounds. Then the man from Dera Bugti apparently lifted his telephone receiver above the trench and the radio listeners of VOA were suddenly provided with live graphic sounds of heavy bombardment.
And so, as I said, this report suddenly vanished when I attempted today to link it to this blog. To compound this bizarre reality today I read that the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s (HRCP) chairman Asma Jahangir was fired upon as she attempted to reach Dera Bugti to find out the on-the-ground reality. This is what the Daily Times had to say:
According to the government, Ms Jahangir’s car was targeted by ‘miscreants’ and was escorted to safety by security forces. Ms Jahangir denied this vehemently. She said Afrasiab Khattak, former HRCP chairman, left Multan for Sui on Sunday. They were accompanied by journalists in a separate car. The cars were photographed from Multan to DG Khan by what appeared to be security personnel, Ms. Jahangir said. As the convoy approached the Balochistan border, a man pointed a torch at HRCP officials’ car and then two gunmen sprayed bullets around the car, not actually hitting it. The driver reversed the car. The journalists’ car was untouched. An FC unit is stationed half a kilometre from the site but paramilitary soldiers did not help the HRCP team.Subsequently a shocked General Secretary of the HRCP Iqbal Haider told the Press:
That instead of being provided security, the [HRCP] delegation came under fire at the checkpost manned by the law enforcing agencies.So website news reports conveniently vanish and fact finders approaching Dera Bugti get warning shots to dissuade them from visiting. Obviously something is extremely rotten in current state of Pakistan – the smell of Khaki rot has suddenly become all too pervasive.
Terming it as unprovoked, Haider said the authorities had no legal or constitutional right to fire at peaceful citizens or to prevent them from visiting Kohlu and Dera Bugti areas.
Sadly to date the generals of the Pakistan army have failed in every war (1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999). Their only success so far has been at the expense of Pakistani civilian lives – East Pakistan (1971) and Balochistan in 1973 – 76. It looks like our ill-fated history is being repeated by Musharraf yet again.
Killing of innocent men, women and children in Pakistan is a crime punishable by the death penalty. It is high time Musharraf and his goons were reminded that laws are meant apply to all in a country and a khaki uniform does not grant anyone any immunity.
Dear readersIf you truly care about Pakistan then please make others aware of what is currently happening in our dear country.