Thursday, April 22, 2010

Increasing terror strikes on Pak civilians akin to war crimes: Amnesty International

Condemning last week's terror strikes in Pakistan's north western Kohat region in which over 40 people were killed and Monday's suicide attack in Peshawar which claimed 24 people, Amnesty International has said that the increasing attacks on Pakistani civilians are akin to war crimes."The Pakistani Taliban and other insurgent groups seem to be escalating their attacks on civilians, in clear violation of the laws of war. Such attacks could constitute war crimes," said Sam Zarifi, Asia-Pacific Director of the global human rights group.

Zarifi said the Taliban must stop killing innocent civilians, and added that the Pakistan government should tighten the noose on terror organisations to prevent terror attacks on people.

"The Taliban and other insurgent groups are subject to the international laws of war, and they must cease targeting of civilians. Meanwhile the Pakistani government has to do a better job of providing security and provisions for the hundreds of thousands of people displaced during the conflict," he said.

It may be noted that banned militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi had claimed the responsibility for the terror strike on a refugee camp in Kohat last week.

The blast took place when the refugees queued up for rations at the camp. The majority of those killed in the attack belonged to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas' (FATA) restive Orakzai Agency, where the Pakistan Army is engaged in an intense battle with the Taliban and other extremist outfits.

Recent fighting in Orakzai and Kurram tribal agencies has displaced an additional 200,000 people.

According to an estimate, 3.1 million people were displaced last year in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and FATA after the military launched an all out operation against the Taliban.

Peshawar residents scream for peace

The nature also joined the mourning in Peshawar with rains that certainly have reduced the sizzling summer heat but could not extinguish the fire of frustration among residents, as the northwest Pakistani city on Wednesday saw angry people screaming for peace."We want peace. Peshawar is a city of peace and we want it badly," yelled Jalal, a businessman from Board bazaar that experienced a blaze on Tuesday. In a nearby police public school, a 7-year-old school boy was killed and 11 were injured in a bomb blast on Monday.While residents are sobbing deaths of 25 in a rally and injury to four dozens others later on Monday, the police chief of the newly-renamed Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa northwest province demands more hi-tech gadgets to counter terrorist designs who have opted to target the soft belly, school children and crowding helpless people."Some 23 of the over 40 injured of Monday's twin blasts are still being treated," hospital sources told Xinhua on Wednesday."Police force can't acquire big scanners due to financial constraints," Malik Naveed, Inspector General of Police for the province told reporters."Terrorists want to de-motivate the police force," he observed in the mourning of the death of a high ranking colleague in Monday suicide bomb blast in the Qissa Khawani bazaar, which also killed the deputy chief of Jamaat-e-Islami party, who was addressing the rally.
Analysts observed that rallies at congested localities should be banned, as political parties choose narrow ally and crowded bazaars to look massive but become more vulnerable to the disguising terrorists.The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, with 20 million inhabitants, is plagued by insurgency and infiltrating terrorists from across the region fighting continuing war against terrorism."Planners, masterminds of terror are residing in the tribal areas," the provincial police chief said.Pakistani security forces are operating in full force to sweep Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan under operation Rah-e-Raast or the Righteous Path for almost a year and achieved tremendous success. At a heavy cost of lives and resources, though.
FATA is said to be a heaven for infiltrating terrorists.