The apology is only for killing Pakistani soldiers and not for illegally entering Pakistan. Apology is unacceptable until US and NATO concede they have no legal right to violate international borders. Pakistan must continue to block supply lines.
By SHIREEN M. MAZARI
Friday, 8 October 2010.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—So the US and NATO have apologized for the Kurram incident in which NATO gunship helicopters attacked an FC post and killed FC personnel – deliberately and in contravention of established SOPs. However, this is not enough because the apology is not for NATO’s illegal incursions into Pakistani territory repeatedly and the killing of Pakistani civilians and until NATO and the US concede that they have no legally justifiable reason to enter Pakistani territory and kill Pakistani citizens, the Pakistan government must continue to keep NATO supply routes closed – including the one that is presently still open. Why should NATO only acknowledge its mistake in the killing of FC personnel? Does the state of Pakistan not value the lives of its civilians? Surely the Pakistan government should have responded to this half-baked apology with a demand for a proper apology for all the NATO intrusions into FATA which have killed Pakistani citizens?
It is this lack of respect for civilian lives – what President Zardari, according to Bob Woodward’s latest book – simply dismisses as “collateral damage” – that has allowed the US and NATO to go on a killing spree against Pakistani civilians. It is not just the recent upping of the ante by these forces with the advent of NATO gunship helicopters into Pakistan; it is also the drone attacks which have increased substantially since Obama came to power in the US and the present government’s advent into power in Pakistan.
The NATO violence against Pakistan and the increasing targeting of NATO supplies within Pakistan shows the necessity of delinking from the US-led so-called war on terror. NATO and the US still have not paid up their backlog of payments to Pakistan but it is not simply a question of money – it is now a question of Pakistan’s security – including the threat from the NATO supply convoys themselves to Pakistanis living in the areas where they pass through. It is also the time for the government to stop allowing drone attacks which are a major cause for creating more space for militants in Pakistan. The justification for the drones is becoming ever more farcical and nothing reflects this more than Envoy Husain Haqqani explaining that the drone attacks were necessary to prevent anticipated terrorism in Europe – in other words killing of Pakistani citizens by drones to save Europe!
How much down this bizarre path will our rulers go to defend the indefensible? Every day scores of innocent Pakistanis are being killed with the occasional militant also becoming a target. It is truly despicable that a government that has been elected by the people and a military that is supposed to defend the country’s borders and the citizens are both allowing the borders to be violated and citizens to be killed at will by the US and NATO. Such is the tragedy of the Pakistani nation today.
This editorial was published by The Nation. Reach Dr. Mazari at
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