By Fazal Rahman, Ph.D. June 20, 2014
The current ongoing military operation in North Waziristan, by the Pakistan military forces, is the worst form of state terrorism imaginable and crime against humanity. One does not even hear a sparrow’s chirp against it by the western news media or politicians. This is in contrast to the deafening noises that were made against the incomparably limited military actions that were conducted by the Libyan government forces, under the late Moammar Gadhafi, against the rebellion in Benghazi and some other parts of Libya. These noises have also been continuous in case of Syria, where government forces are fighting against the rebellion that is being funded and supported by the West, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other oil rich dictatorships in the Middle East. The US and the West have a long history of contradictory double standards in these matters. They blatantly support and rationalize or ignore the atrocities committed by their allies and clients, and greatly exaggerate, distort, and pervert the nature of actions taken by governments and states, which they aim to overthrow and replace, against the rebellions that are, in almost all the cases, instigated and fueled by them to begin with. In Pakistan, that history is being repeated with total predictability. The hypocrisy and dishonesty involved in that have devastating effects on one’s remaining faith and expectations in the qualities of human nature, which have already been greatly eroded by such long history. In fact, the absence of hypocrisy and dishonesty in the policies and actions of the US, the West, and their allies and clients would now be truly shocking and surprising. This is the reflection of real nature of international politico-economic reality that has been created by the US and Western capitalism and imperialism throughout this physically and spiritually polluted planet.
The indiscriminate aerial bombings, firings by the helicopter gunships, artillery, and other weapons, on the defenseless villages, in a full scale military assault, is reminiscent of such actions by the US forces in Vietnam, by the French, Belgian, British, and other European colonialists in their various colonies throughout the world, and genocidal wars against the Native Americans in the Americas. Only in this case, the Pakistani government and military are doing that against a part of their own population, just like they had done in East Pakistan during 1971, which had caused the transformation of East Pakistan into an independent country, Bangladesh, and the loss of more than half the population, as well as the most humiliating and disgraceful military defeat by the Indian forces. Equipped with F 16s, helicopter gunships, and other advanced weapons, mostly supplied by the US, the Pakistani military-addicted to being a mercenary force in much of its history-has once again complied with the demands of its real masters and chiefs in Washington, D.C., who have been insisting on such an operation for quite sometime and recently have specifically linked the continued annual “aid” of around $1 billion to the conduct of this operation. Even the hoax of Malala was created, exploited, magnified, and publicized to ridiculous and bizarre levels for this purpose. Pakistan has been selling its soul for so long that nothing is left of it and it has been replaced with an anti-soul. The amounts that it has been selling it for have been rather petty and do not benefit the common people. To the contrary, people have to pay incomparably heavier costs for such aid, both financially and with their lives. However, for the top military, civilian, and capitalist leaders, these are huge personal fortunes, with which they supplement and accumulate enormous personal wealths.
The government and media are bombarding the public with transparent lies about the casualties. They claim that hundreds of those killed were suspected militants, without offering even a shred of evidence! It is very likely that the numbers of those killed are much higher and most of them are innocent non-combatant villagers, including women and children. Large scale destruction of property must also have resulted from this copied-from-the-US state terrorism. More than 450,000 villagers have already been forced to flee their homes, carrying whatever belongings they could with them, in this extremely hot weather and on rugged terrain. Many were forced to do so on foot, because of lack of transportation. For a Muslim tribal family, it is an extremely humiliating dishonor, besides involving extreme discomfort, to be forced to live in the horrible conditions of refugee camps that do not provide even some of the basic necessities and are incompetently and poorly run and managed, in spite of the false and hypocritical claims of various government officials. These problems are multiplied for women whose privacy needs are far greater than those of men in the Muslim societies in general and those of FATA in particular. It is also extremely difficult for people with no means or very meager means to make alternative arrangements in new locations. Some years ago, similar military operations were launched in Swat and South Waziristan, other mountainous parts of the northwestern Pakistan, causing immense losses of life and economic destruction, and the flood of refugees into the cities. Their experience in the refugee camps and other places was extremely humiliating and disgusting. The numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Pakistan is skyrocketing. According to some estimates, it is already more than two million. Adding hundreds of thousands more to them is total insanity, all caused by the same failed military policy and actions, in the service of US and other Western imperialist masters.
In addition to the immense sufferings, deprivation, and degradation of such large numbers of IDPs, it will also cause great problems for the populations in areas where they are relocating, as they will compete for scarce jobs, housing, necessities of life, businesses, and resources. The already exorbitant prices of food and other items, houses, and rents will increase even further. Already very high crime rates are also going to multiply, as poverty, unemployment, and struggle for survival are the root causes of most of the crimes. As usual, it will be the common Pakistanis who will suffer these consequences. The ruling class, the higher echelons of military and security establishments, and the rich are well protected and insulated.
Pakistani Military-State terrorism is inseparable from that of the US Military-State terrorism and is part of the latter. This structural fact is fundamental to objective understanding of what is going on in the North Waziristan and other areas of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The whole problem of terrorism and suicide bombings etc. started after the US invasion of Afghanistan. The internal resistance of Afghans to the invasion was supported most consistently, passionately, and practically by the inhabitants of FATA and various organized groupings that emerged there, including the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) of Pakistan. The TTP’s opposition to the Pakistani government and military resulted from the latter’s collaboration with and subservience to the US and NATO invaders. That was and remains the most fundamental cause of the conflict between the Pakistan government, military, and security forces, on the one hand, and TTP, on the other. The US has been subjecting FATA to drone attacks for years, in which thousands were killed and injured and numerous houses and other properties were destroyed. After reducing these attacks in exchange for the Pakistani military attacks in North Waziristan and FATA, as a result of some secret, but self-evident agreement, it has again increased these, and now these are being coordinated with the Pakistani military operations. Tribal people in Pakistan have always supported the struggles of their brethren in Afghanistan against foreign invaders. They provided crucial help in destroying the whole British invading force during the 1840s. More recently, they perceived the Soviet forces helping the revolutionary government, against the US and Western funded anti-revolutionary forces, in Afghanistan, during the 1980s and 1990s, as invaders, and became an important part of the anti-revolutionary forces, which were then called the epitome of freedom fighters by the Americans, Europeans, and the Pakistanis. Now, that they are fighting against the US and NATO invaders, they are branded as the epitome of terrorism.
All these are historical facts and truths. The modern advanced capitalist-imperialist civilization has killed all such facts and truths, not only in their own centers, but also in their Third World periphery victim countries, like Pakistan. The news media in Pakistan is even much worse than that in the imperialist centers. It is almost totally subservient to the official government and military line and also to the dominant feudal and capitalist interests, in such matters. The Dawn newspaper, one of the major papers in Pakistan, is the worst in this regard. Its editorials are lauding the state terrorist military operation in North Waziristan and FATA and the comments sections are saturated with the pro-operation commenters. It is censoring any articles or comments that oppose the operations. Other news papers and media are practicing similar policies, even though less extreme than that of Dawn.
It is astonishing that there have been no demonstrations against the military operation in Pakistan, not even in the KhyberPakhtunkhwa Province, in which the FATA is located. There were many terrorist acts committed in markets and other places that were blamed on the TTP. The TTP denied having committed such acts. It is likely that many of those were committed by foreign-supported organizations that wanted to expand the conflict between the government and the TTP and also to turn the public against the TTP. Even if the majority of public is against the TTP, its complacency with the wholesale destruction of North Waziristan and other areas of FATA is totally unjustifiable, callous, immoral, and politically self-defeating. Pakistan’s worst enemy, India, must be laughing its head off at such self-destructive stupidity of Pakistani government, military, and the public.
This recent state terrorist military offensive in North Waziristan has created a new horizon, the point of no return for the FATA. The hostilities and conflicts are very likely to be irreconcilable now and in the future. These are likely to multiply and acquire new forms. It is now very likely that the people of FATA will struggle for separation from Pakistan, instead of remaining a part of it. The initial successes of the military are illusory. That should have been learned long time ago from the incomparably more powerful US military invasions of Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, as well as the invasion of East Pakistan by the Pakistani military in 1971. Their initial successes proved to be mirages, behind which were hidden the great debacles.
The current and past government and military leaders, responsible for state terrorism in the FATA and Swat and for the atrocities committed there and causing the immense suffering and dislocation of millions of people, should be tried in the International Criminal Court, as these are, among other things, crimes against humanity. It is especially repugnant that they committed these crimes against a part of their own population.
Postscript July 8, 2014
The latest official figures show that now there are around 800,000 IDPs from North Waziristan! This is a great diabolical man-made disaster and crime against humanity, by any standards of international law and ethics. However, it is very unlikely that the perpetrators of these will be brought to justice, as the international courts are dominated by and complacent with the US and Western puppeteers of such state terrorisms and the Pakistani courts are totally impotent, gutless, corrupt, and complacent with the military and the government in such matters.