US asked to admit civilian casualties
ISLAMABAD – Civilian casualties in terms of deaths and injuries in Pakistan are significant and in 2009, were even greater than those in Afghanistan and the casualties due to the US drone strikes are almost higher than those US has admitted.
However, the civilian casualties receive too little attention from US, Pakistani and donor-nation policymakers, military officials, and international organisations alike.
These are the findings of a report titled ‘Civilian Harm and Conflict in Northwest Pakistan’ launched by Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) here on Thursday in a local hotel. The findings of the report were discussed during the ceremony hosted by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan HRCP. I A Rehman, Secretary General HRCP chaired the event while Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, defence analyst, Athar Minallah, lawyer and Christopher Rogers, Pakistan Field Fellow spoke at the event in the presence of local and international media.
The report has completely discussed in detail civilian conflict losses in northwest Pakistan, the views of victims, and warring parties’ efforts to address their losses. The report considers the warring parties as Pakistani forces, US forces, and militant groups.
CIVIC’s Pakistan Field Fellow, Christopher Rogers spent a year on-the-ground in Pakistan interviewing over 160 civilian survivors, most of whom received little or no help. CIVIC works on behalf of war victims by advocating that warring parties recognise and help the civilians they harm and supports the principle that it is never acceptable for a warring party to ignore civilian suffering.
The report says that number of civilian casualties is significant in Pakistan, though exact figures are unknown due to insecurity and government restrictions on information. In 2009, an estimated 2,300 civilians were killed in terror attacks alone with many more injured. There is no governmental or military mechanism that systematically and publicly investigates or collects data on civilian casualties. Counting losses from Pakistani military operations and US drone strikes, civilian casualties in Pakistan likely exceed in number those in neighbouring Afghanistan.