Amnesty International alleged in its recent report that Pakistan Army has carried out extra-judicial killings and human rights violations in tribal areas. The Amnesty International’s report “The hands of cruelty”: Abuses by Armed Forces and Taliban in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas was published on 13 December 2012. UK based agency’s report has tried to defame Pakistan army’s image at the international level. First look at the report gives a impression that Pakistan army and Taliban are both working in same direction and carrying out human rights violations against local populations. A person who has no knowledge of Pakistan or Pak-Army and its sacrifices in the war against terror would take Pak-army as a wicked force who is targeting its own people. But reality is different from this fictitious and fabricated report. Pakistan army is a professional force with strict rules and regulations.
This report is based on almost 100 testimonies from victims of alleged human rights violations in army’s detention, witnesses, relatives, lawyers, Pakistani officials and militants. This report is biased and based on only one side’s narrative. Pakistan army’s narrative is missing. Authors of this report failed to bring into notice the barbarism of Pakistan Taliban in this area before military operations.
Militants in this area brought life to standstill. They killed hundreds of tribal elders and totally paralyzed Pushtunwali code of conduct in FATA. They established their own version of Islam, according to which education for women was a sin and hijacked the local population with their cruel laws.
These militants allowed the foreign militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organization and wanted to wage a so called global Jihad against all liberal countries. It was Pakistan Army who challenged their evil philosophy of global Jihad and carried out many successful operations in tribal areas.
The cost was great. In the war against militants in tribal areas, Pakistan security forces lost more than 5,000 men which include personnel from Army, FC, Khassdars, Police and Levies. More than 10,000 men were seriously injured. Many lost their limbs, some were fully paralyzed. All these men had families, friends and dear ones. But Amnesty International focused on testimonies of just 100 people who might have suffered directly or indirectly in the war against terror. It is very easy to criticise Pakistan army but the threats and challenges which Pakistan military is facing had never been highlighted. Sitting in London they can never imagine the level of danger Pakistan security forces are facing.
Pakistan army is fighting in one of the most complicated and tough terrain. Pakistani tribal areas are not only rugged mountainous area but also it has also harsh weather conditions. As of today more than 160,000 Pakistan troops are deployed in FATA. Before 2009 situation in FATA was gruesome. Pakistani Taliban militants organized their network in 2007 and by 2009 they were able to carry out deadly attacks against Pakistan army across Pakistan. They carried out many terrorist attacks and killed many innocent civilians and military personnel. Pakistan Army with the full support and backing of civilian leadership and people of Pakistan carried out successful operations in Swat and South Waziristan Agency and dismantled terrorist network in these areas.
As of today Pakistan army is engaged in six tribal agencies. It is facing this challenge and fighting against those who are challenging not only Pakistan but also threatening global peace and security. On daily basis Pakistan military is facing cross border raids, deadly ambushes, IED attacks, and suicide attacks, but despite all these challenges and hardships it is determined to fight this menace with valor and zeal.
Transparency International never highlighted Pakistan Army’s casualties in the war against terror. If they really want to show a true picture of security situation in Pakistan tribal areas they must highlight miseries of the families of the security forces. There are more than fifteen thousand families of security forces which suffered in the so called “war against terror”. Out of fifteen thousand, five thousand security forces personnel were killed in the terrorist attacks. Their families would never see them again. And remaining ten thousand were seriously injured, some lost their limbs and many totally paralyzed. Their families have to face this reality for rest of their life. It is harsh reality that transparency international has highlighted plight of few families but ignored families of security forces. This shows that a systematic propaganda is being launched to malign Pakistan armed forces by showing one side’s account.
There is no other opinion on Pakistan army’s sacrifices in the war against terror. Army brought peace and stability in Swat and tribal areas. Most of the people apprehended in Swat or Tribal Areas had links with wicked elements. This is a routine interrogation procedure in war zone that you pick up wicked elements and question them. But labeling it as “widespread human rights violations” is unjustified.
Pakistan army is in no comparison with the human rights violations by the US military in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghareb and Bagram Jails. It has also no comparison with the Indian security forces role in Indian held Kashmir. More than 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed in IHK since 1948. But their plight has never been highlighted at the international level. India’s draconian law of Armed Forces Special Powers Act-(AFSPA) still persists in IHK. But Amnesty International can’t see human rights violations but “Shining India” and “super power the United States of America”.
The United States, a major proponent of human rights in the world carried out heinous crimes and massive human rights violations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of innocent civilians were killed in unprovoked air strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. After 2003 the US military personnel carried out mass level human rights violations which include; physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, including torture, rape, sodomy, and homicide of prisoners held in the Abu Ghareb jail in Iraq. Many of the released prisoners have also complained of enduring beatings, sleep deprivation, prolonged constraint in uncomfortable positions, prolonged hooding, sexual and cultural humiliation, forced injections, and other physical and psychological mistreatment during their detention in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan prisons.
It is imperative for the Amnesty International to show both sides of the picture. Such a misinformation against Pakistan Army is not new; sometime it is labeled with extra judicial killings and sometimes it is maligned with forced disappearances. But in reality Pakistan Army is fighting for the survival of Pakistan, protecting its people from wicked elements in tribal areas and sacrificing their lives for the global cause to eradicate terrorism and extremism from this region.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent any organization. The author can be reached at [email protected]