Who Is Responsible For Civilian Casualties In Swat

Pakistan Army is fighting to take back the valley of Swat from militants. There have been continuous statements from the Government and Army that they are trying to restrict collateral damage as a small low as possible. Media had shown the war conflict zone where the rubble portrays a scene not less than earthquake and a deserted area. It seems that it was a blind operation and every inch of the land has bombarded to ensure cent percent removal of Taliban. It doesn’t seem that the civilians are spared as the Washington Post reports that people had to drag the blown apart bodies on wheel barrow to bury them. The report clearly named the military operation as “US backed Pakistan Army Campaign”.

The Associated Press conducted more than 150 interviews in refugee camps from Mardan to Swabi, at hospitals and basic health units as well as into the battle zone in Buner to seek a picture of the plight of civilians amid the combat.

No independent tallies of the dead have been conducted. Aid groups like the international Red Cross and U.S.-based Human Rights Watch say such a task is impossible until they are able to enter most parts of the roughly 4,000-square-mile (10,360-square-kilometer) area of fighting. The civilian casualties seem to be much higher than that of Taliban or Army losses.

The International Committee for the Red Cross fears the fighting has taken a high toll on civilians but that verification is impossible in most parts of the battle zone. In areas it has been able to enter, such as Dagar in Buner, the Red Cross has treated 240 war wounded. Both sides were firing mortar shells, which is an inaccurate weapon that often hits targets other than the intended one.

It has been said by many refugees that when people are fleeing from the war conflict zone they got hit by Army, who is trying to hit Taliban. Many casualties occurred after residents defied the curfew to flee their homes, often out of desperation because of little food, water or medical aid. Most villagers blamed the casualties on government aerial assaults and missile attacks.

The situation is becoming fierce day by day. Still medical assistance and food provision is lacking. Amnesty International’s report accuses the civilian government of Asif Ali Zardari of “failing” to fulfil its pre-poll pledge to ensure human rights protection. “Violence in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan spilled over into other areas of Pakistan as members of the Pakistani Taliban took hostages, targeted and killed civilians, and committed acts of violence against women and girls,” it points out, highlighting reports of arbitrary arrests, “enforced disappearances” and abuses by militants as well as the Pakistani security forces.

Who is responsible for the crisis? Is it Government, Taliban, Army or US? The suffering is for the dwellers of once called a paradise valley. Why 2.5 million people are paying the price? Why there is no count for those who lost their lives as collateral damage? Are they not the martyrs?

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