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500,000 displaced as Pakistan Army continues brutal operation in North Waziristan

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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About half a million people have been displaced in North Waziristan where Pakistan's mercenary army has launched a brutal operation at the behest of Washington.

After a week-long air bombardment and indiscriminate artillery shelling the army has launched a ground operation. The military operation has created an alarming security situation. On June 24, a Pakistan Airlines plane was attacked while landing at the Peshawar airport. The plane landed safely but one woman passenger died while two others were injured in the attack.

What is going on in the operation theatre is not known, since like the previous military operations in Swat and elsewhere, it is happening behind the smoke screen. No one knows what are the army targets and who are those people who are being killed as "terrorists." The military operation area is a no-go area for the media and any observers. The only information about the brutal operation comes from the Press Office of Army, which is known as the Inter-Services Press Relations (ISPR).

According to the ISPR more than 300 "terrorists" have been killed in the operation launched on June 15. However, no dead body has been produced. There is no news about the civilian casualties.

The long-awaiting military operation at the advice of the United States has created a humanitarian crisis, with about 500,000 civilians displaced. Tellingly, the US-client government of Nawaz Sharif did not make any arrangement to evacuate the innocent people from the war zone.

According to the Dawn daily, a mass exodus from North Waziristan continued and thousands of displaced men, women and children were waiting in scorching heat on the Bannu-Miramshah road for security clearance. Security personnel give clearance to displaced people to cross into the settled area after verification.

AFP reported that the government-run children's hospital in Bannu was overcrowded with children suffering from diarrhea. Due to lack of space in the hospital, up to five children were being accommodated in one bed. Some children lying outside the hospital were being treated with drip bags hanging from tree branches.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported over 455,000 displaced as of June 24. The OCHA reports that 930,000 pre-existing displaced people are already in need of assistance, a number totally ignored in the ongoing crises.

Tellingly, the provincial governments of Punjab and Sindh have announced that the North Waziristan displaced persons are not welcomed in their provinces. Many political parties have protested the decision of the Punjab and Sindh governments.

According to press reports about 60,000 North Waziristan civilians have taken shelter in neighboring Afghanistan. However, the government of Pakistan is urging the Afghan authorities not to give shelter to these people who are escaping the brutal operation.

Taliban threaten retaliation

Meanwhile, the North Waziristan-based Taliban threatened to launch a counter-offensive in retaliation to the military operation. The Taliban shura after a meeting decided to launch a war for self-defense against the government in North Waziristan, the News reported.

Ahmadullah Ahmadi, a spokesman for the non-TTP North Waziristan Taliban commanded by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, told The News on phone from an undisclosed location that the shura had advised their fighters to retaliate against the use of force by the government in North Waziristan.

In response to the military operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan, the Taliban announced Zarb-e-Momin, which means the strike of the true Muslim.

He said they had no affiliation with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), led by Maulana Fazlullah, who has taken refuge in Afghanistan.

The Hafiz Gul Bahadur-led Taliban, who until now were considered pro-government, had signed a peace accord with the government in 2006 and renewed it in 2007. Both sides under the agreement had promised not to attack each other.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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