Pakistan Increasing Military Presence

Pakistan

Pakistan is increasing its military presence after an attack at a busy airport in the southern part of a port city called Karachi, according to a report by The Guardian. An operation to send troops into the mountainous area of North Waziristan was planned, and implemented days after the attack at the airport took place. About half a million people were evacuated from the area prior to ground troops paving the way to search “house-to-house” for militants in the main town called Miranshah. According to the report, the area is headquarters to “different militant groups” such as the Taliban from both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Al-Qaeda. During the first 15 days of the operation, 376 militants were killed, and only 17 of the Pakistani Army forces were killed. Mansur Mahsud, a researcher of the Fata research centre who accesses tribal areas, was reported as saying there are reports many militants fled to nearby Afghanistan, or more mountainous areas, but agrees the ground operation was necessary to “clear the area.”

The Telegraph from the U.K. was able to obtain footage from a BBC camera-man stationed in the area of North Waziristan who deemed Miranshah a “kill zone” with homes turned flat, schools turned into rubble, and a mosque severely damaged. The Telegraph also obtained information from Pakistani Army spokesman, Major General Asim Bajwa, who had announced anyone remaining in the area would be considered a target since only terrorists would remain behind. Although the army is reporting minimal damage from the operation, The Telegraph states local resident, Muhabat Gurbaz of a village called Gur Baz says two airstrikes which took place a couple of weeks ago left a dozen residents dead including a woman and her cow- rather than any foreign fighters. General Bajwa is reported as saying the operation is an “indiscriminate one,” and that his forces will kill everyone without discrimination.

Speaking of killing without discrimination, although Pakistan is increasing its military presence, the National Assembly of Pakistan approved a bill on Wednesday called the Protection of Pakistan Bill 2014 allowing law enforcers to shoot at a suspect on-site with the approval of an official who is ranked grade-15 or higher, according to a report found on the website, Dawn.com. The bill had been passed in order to protect the “waging of war against Pakistan,” and that which threatens Pakistan security. The report states the Minister of Science and Technology, Zahid Hamid, had encouraged the bill to be moved from the recommedation of the Minister for Interior, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. In short, the bill declares any “militant,” or “enemy alien” against Pakistan, Pakistan citizens, and Pakistan armed forces, or, who commits any threats on Pakistan soil can be searched without warrant, and arrested for possession of any weapon, vehicle, or article used to offend. However, a judicial review must take place within two days of any search, arrest, or order to shoot any persons authorized by an official ranked grade-15 or higher. The report further details what constitutes to offense and evidence which includes any instruments used to carry out a bombing, suicide bombing, and target killing, and even includes a cell-phone containing messages relating to these offenses as an item that can be used against detainees.

Although Pakistan is increasing military presence, it does not appear law enforcers can protect everyone from heinous crimes, including so-called, “honor killings.” A report by CNN states a young couple, Sajjad Ahmed, 26, and Muawia Bibi, 18 were married on June 18 by a Pakistani Court against the wishes of Bibi’s family. Shortly after, the father and uncle of the bride had convinced the couple to return to the village of Satrah in the Punjab Province where the couple were reported to have been tied up and decapitated, according to police official Mohammad Ahsanullah. CNN’s report further states there were no witnesses, but the family members had decided to turn themselves in, and are now jailed. Although CNN reports the U.N. estimates around 5,000 women are killed a year from honor killings, police do not interfere since it is a family matter, and such killings originate from “tribal traditions.” The report concludes that last year, 869 women were killed in Pakistan over these types of killings.

By Liz Pimentel

Sources:
The Guardian
The Telegraph
Dawn.com
CNN.com

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