Pakistani military accused of massacre as protesters tighten noose around parliament
Published: 17 January, 2013, 05:47
Pakistan has been engulfed in violence as protests organized by a cleric demanding government resignations continue. Meanwhile villagers in the North of the country demand justice following a deadly assault on their settlement that left 15 dead.
Several thousand people took to the streets of north-western Pakistan shouting anti-army slogans and displaying the bodies of 15 local villagers who they claim they were murdered in their homes by the military in an overnight raid.
Around 3,000 protested outside the governor’s house of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Peshawar. They claim that men wearing military uniforms stormed homes and shot the villagers. The protesters called on the army to end its operations in the area. One sign read: "We are also Pakistanis. Don't kill us." The villagers were killed in a tribal region where the Pakistani military has been conducting a campaign against Islamic militants.
The rally recalled a similar protest in the city of Quetta last week where the relatives refused to bury the victims of a bomb attack for four days until the prime minister met their demands and dissolved the local government.
The rally comes as thousands of supporters of a Muslim cleric press on with their anti-government protest for a fourth day in the capital Islamabad. The man in charge of the protests, cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri addressed his supporters in a four-hour speech calling for the removal of the government and denounced the politicians as corrupt thieves, as he accused them of failing to fix severe energy and gas shortages. The cleric wants his followers to continue protesting until the government is dissolved and electoral reforms are introduced.
The 61-year-old Qadri recently returned to Pakistan after years in Canada, quickly establishing himself as a poliical force in his homeland. His success has sparked rumors that he is lobbying the army to delay parliamentary elections later this year in favor of a military-backed caretaker government. He denies the allegations.
The government has warned the demonstrators to leave Islamabad by Thursday or else the security forces will use water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds, said Interior Ministry spokesman, Nawabish Ali Khan.
Later, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said there would be no operation against the protesters, state-run news service reported. The interior minister then withdrew the earlier threat.
The country’s opposition has demanded an immediate timetable for polls. Their leader, Nawaz Sharif, announced that the opposition would not be joining forces with Qadri.
Being in Pakistan right now, let me add a few thoughts....
-- Please keep in mind this is NOT the first time this sort of thing has happened. In fact another 18 civilians were picked up by the "Pakistan" army, tortured, killed and then their bodies dumped just a week or two ago (admittedly in retaliation for the killing of 15 Federal Constabalary by "Taliban" (who of course were retaliating against 18 of their men being killed a week earliear).
-- The "Pakistan" army has been on this killing spree in the northern areas since the start of the War on Terror
-- The "Pakistan" army/air force, while complaining about U.S. drone strikes, has been bombing the same areas using U.S. supplied F-16s and indiscriminate shelling from miles away (and declaring ALL dead as militants when most of those killed have been civilian men, women, and children)
-- The ONLY news you get is from military mouthpieces which is regurgitated by the local medai. NO media is allowed to go in and find the fact for themselves (those that have tried were killed)
-- The army has been on a killing spree in the province of Balochistan since the creation of Pakistan. Lately things have got so bad that in most schools you are not allowed to sing the Pakistani national anthem or raise the Pakistani flag.
So the army has done (and is doing) an excellent job to alienate the people of half of the current Pakistan (remember they lost half of it in 1971 when they -- following the same tactics -- lost East Pakistan i.e. today's Bangladesh). And it is not loved anywhere else as it is one of the most corrupt armies anywhere.
Just want to add an update:
That "cleric" has made a deal with the government that he rightly said is nothing but a collection of the most corrupt.
And here is a story about that army massacre(s):
Protesters Dump Bodies of Victims at Govt Office in Peshawar
Note: The families of the victims were attacked by police last night and they were forced to run leaving the bodies of their loved ones behind....