Friday, 11 June 2010

As If Hell Fell On Me

The Taleban came here and settled here. Now they have a dispute with the government, and the government started taking actions against them. If we stand with the government the Taleban will hit us. If we stand with the Taleban the government will target us. If we don't stand with any of them, you can see how bad our situation is.
Four million people live under the grip of Taleban rule in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and the FATA regions of Pakistan, 1 million are displaced and ordinary people are caught right in the middle. The 130-page Amnesty report, As if Hell Fell on Me, was based on nearly 300 interviews with residents of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the surrounding area. It tells the narrative of the suffering of the people.The government tells a story of success in its combat with the militants. Five million people, and probably a good few more, tell a different story.

Consider this comment by Amnesty International. It sums it up for me:
Most discussions of the conflict ignore the fact that northwest Pakistan is heavily populated and that the majority of people who live in FATA and other areas of northwest Pakistan do not support or take part in violence and are going about the business of trying to farm, raise livestock, weave fabrics, transport goods, raise families, and build, repair, or teach. The well-being of these civilians is rarely mentioned in media reports or policy pronouncements by Taleban or US, Pakistani, or Afghan officials and there are few signs that leaders on either side of the conflict factor civilians into their policies or strategic analyses.
The photograph of the old lady from Waziristan reminds me of a great-aunt of mine who was displaced in the Swat exodus last year. That single tear just breaks the heart.

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