April 19, 2010 § 3 Comments
The head of the Pakistani Army, General Kayani, has issued an apology for the latest attack in Khyber Agency in which at least 73 innocent civilians were killed. Kayani offered his apology to the leaders of the Kokikhel tribe, which the civilians were members of. It’s important to note that the tribe is a pro-government tribe, and the apology appears to have been motivated at least partly by this fact. The apology does not appear to admit any error or wrong-doing regarding the Army’s overall policy and strategy in this war. Indeed, one might even worry that by offering this apology, the Army can position itself as seemingly concerned about civilian casualties and as generally sensitive to the concerns of the people on the ground, which might then allow it to remain even more fully committed to its war policy.
But let’s remind ourselves what this is all really about. Let us remember that this is the same Kayani who was in Washington just three weeks ago with a fifty-six page shopping list of arms and ammunition that he wanted from the United States. These are weapons designed to kill innocents, but more importantly for the Army, there is much money to be made in weapons deals. So to keep the gravy train going, the Army needs to keep finding punching bags, and right now, the people of FATA are it.
But while we’re at it, let’s ask the Army to apologize for the slaughter of innocents in the following as well:
1971: The East Pakistan/Bangladesh massacre, in which millions may have been murdered
1974: The Baluchistan operation, which massacred thousands
1983: Army operations in Sindh against the MRD movement, killing thousands
Now: Operations in Baluchistan which have killed thousands, as well as the operations in Swat and FATA
And certainly, the brutality and oppression visited on the Afghan people under the Afghan Taliban is more blood on the hands of the Pakistani military establishment.
We don’t want apologies, General Kayani. We demand accountability for the murders that you and the Army have committed for decades.