Students protest ‘civilian deaths’ in NWA operation

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Students from different villages of the troubled North Waziristan Agency on Friday blocked road outside the Peshawar Press Club here to condemn the death of civilians during the military action against militants in the area.

Speaking to reporters on the occasion, Hashim Dawar, president of Waziristan Students’ Society, said that civilians had been killed and injured could not be shifted to hospitals due to curfew.

“My uncles’ houses were burnt down, rendering their families homeless,” he said, adding that the houses were bombed because they were near the military camp.

Waseem Dawar, who studies at the University of Peshawar, said that they were not against the security forces’ action against the militants, but were against the killings of innocent civilians and bombing of their houses.

Another youth from Miramshah, Naeemullah, said that he had been hearing from his family that dead could not be buried and injured couldn’t be shifted to hospitals due to curfew. “We request the government to avoid killing civilians,” he demanded.

Athar, another youth from Hurmaz village of North Waziristan, said that if something happened in the country, NWA was bombed. The bombings are not the solution since they don’t target the militants, he claimed.

“People of Waziristan are becoming mentally sick because of the continuous violence,” he added.

“Is there no value of our blood and are we not Pakistanis?” asked Athar. He mentioned that a family had lost 40 members in the recent action.

“Only one member of the family, who worked in Nowshera, is alive now,” he said. Another student, Jalal Dawar, said that during the last 13 years or so it was observed that there was more collateral damage than actual elimination of militants when such action were launched.

“We are against the anti-state elements and we support action against them, but civilians should be secured before any such action is launched,” said Mr Dawar.

Qaseem Dawar, another youth from Miramshah, said that there were children who got killed in such actions, and next day media quoted military that militants were killed.

“I am just wondering when the military is going to eliminate the militants,” asked Qaseem.

The youth demanded that there should be some way of weeding out militants from the civilians as the innocent people had suffered the most in such actions.

Source: Dawn