Drone strikes kill militants, others kill the innocent

Published: January 18, 2013

While the news might report that just 5 militants were killed, reality presents a different picture. PHOTO: AFP

While the whole nation is engrossed in the drama being performed by Dr Tahirul Qadri in Blue Area, something more serious and disgraceful is going on in our beloved country.

I don’t really know what the media is saying about what happened yesterday morning in North Waziristan, or if it even qualifies as something worthy of being reported in the media.

I know of this incident solely because it involves the family of a close friend.

At around 8.30am. yesterday, a Pakistan Army gunship helicopter appeared in the skies above Hassukhel, a small village in Tehsil Mir Ali, North Waziristan. The helicopter descended above a house and started firing indiscriminately. According to reports by the locals, at least twenty five people were killed, with most of the deceased comprising predominantly of women and children.

My friend’s aunt lived in the said village. As she saw the helicopter open fire, she instantly worried about her buffalo, her only source of income. Thus, she ran towards the animal and tried to lead it inside. Unfortunately she could not gain shelter in time and the fire from the helicopter shot her and the buffalo.

When her children – both under ten years of age – saw their beloved mother writhing in pain beside the dead animal, they ran towards her in panic.

The gunship helicopter, oblivious to all of this, continued to fire.

The two children, a boy and a girl were shot while they were trying to rescue their mother.

The girl died on the spot, whereas the boy is still struggling to live. Their mother, too, is under critical care with meager hopes of survival.

I don’t know what the media will say about this; they will probably something like 5 militants killed by the Pakistan Army in a battle where our soldiers fought gallantly.

I just want to set the record straight for all those who are willing to listen and for those who are ready to see and accept the truth.

The simple village-dwelling woman was not a militant.

Her little children were not terrorists.

The buffalo was not armed.

Similar catastrophes occurred in the neighboring houses. Why?

One local explained that they are not worried about drone attacks as much as they are about their own uniformed defenders.

Drones strike with a lot of precision,” he explained, “they mostly kill the terrorists, and we are happy with that. It’s our army that fires indiscriminately. What was the crime of these children and their mother? Who are they defending? What are they doing?’ he asked before cursing the people responsible.

I don’t know what else to say. I just don’t know.

Read more by Sarmad here or follow him on Twitter @sarmadtariq


Sarmad Tariq

A motivational speaker, and a writer with the aim to help others realize the positive significance of limitations at organizational and personal levels.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • ignorantways

    sorry brother , its very difficult for me to digest that Pak Army can bring such brutality . . .

    because from last 10 years we heard Taliban , TTP , LeJ, SSP only the culprits and killers and brutals in our beloved Pakistan . . . (although some blaoch leaders already against Pak army )

    and also we heard that CIA RAW MOSSAD BLACK WATER left pakistan many years ago. Recommend

  • Sane

    It is a sheer crime to kill innocents. This parallels to any terrorist activity.Recommend

  • asif

    Dont know what to say but i have one question for u..
    What are the odds of ur (writers) friends Aunt being in the area or u just trying to catch attention of ppl. using sympathy tactics.

    and dude dont say i am isi paid man
    or whatever
    its just a lot of coincidence.Recommend

  • Faiz

    Harboring militants knowingly in your village isn’t a sensible idea either. In a urban locale one could never know but spare me the crap that people don’t know in tiny villages. Collateral damage exists in all situations even drones that is why most of the time people are crying about drone strikes because of collateral damage. Don’t claim that suddenly drones are better because they are not.Recommend

  • http://www.sarmadtariq.com Sarmad
  • BlackJack

    A textbook approach to furthering cognitive dissonance in a highly confused nation – very interesting to see the responses. While the truth is hard to decipher, the fact remains that no air operation that the Pak military launches can be as precise as drone strikes, so collateral damage can only be higher; and given the army’s exemplary record of bombing their own citizens in Swat to kingdom come, this is not too difficult to believe.Recommend

  • Parvez

    For a judgement call it would be necessary to hear the side of the army. This is believable but is still only half the story.Recommend

  • Turbo Lover

    The author has confused drones with helicopters. I’m not buying this story.Recommend

  • Falcon

    It is really really sad. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. That’s why I like IK’s stance of using any military operation with a great caution because collateral damage is difficult to control and very often spills over to innocents.Recommend

  • sidjeen

    Dear Author it is very courageous of you to report that incident but unfortunately their are many such incidents occurring in the tribal areas everyday the war on terror at least on this side of the border is nothing short of a genocide of the pashtoon people. and now i am afraid for your safety.Recommend

  • The Pukhtoon

    Since i held my conciousness,,, i had been hearing only one thing,, My innocent Muslims, My Pukhtoons are killed,, by their own Muslim brothers.! I did not knew wat to do.! I did not knew how to write abt it.! I thought People will never beleive, since i belong to that region.!
    Please read this.!
    Thank you sir, for explaining a single story out millions untold stories of brutality and injustice.Recommend

  • ab

    unfortunately this is not the only story. when the survivor starts a revenge mission we call them terrorist. very sad.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    There were no militants nor terrorists in former East Pakistan, when the army moved in and cut down bengali Nation ito pieces without any discrimination. Was that not a genocide?

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • http://www.pakistanaffairs.pk Agnostic Muslim


    While the allegation that only civilians were killed is valid, and should be investigated further, an objective commentator would also try and explore whether there was any possible motive for the entity (in this case the Pakistani Armed Forces) accused of carrying out such acts (of civilian casualties) to do so deliberately.

    Your article does not explore any such motive, and your language suggests that the Pakistani military merely decided to ‘bomb away at innocent women, children and livestock’ – accidents and collateral damage certainly happen during war, but trying to paint the military as somehow killing its own civilians on purpose without offering any justification or facts for why they would do so is not objective commentary or journalism by any stretch of the imagination.


  • observer

    Tsunami Khan will soon organise a long march and Dharna against Helicopter Gunships.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Turns out, the alternatives to drones aren’t heck of a lot nicer.

    Who would’ve thought? (Ans. Everybody who thinks)Recommend

  • http://www.pakistanaffairs.pk Agnostic Muslim


    Since you have made claims about the accuracy of drone strikes and the lack of collateral damage in them, in comparison to this alleged strike by the Pakistani military killing civilians, please take a look at the claims in this interview with a former US drone pilot (for six years):


    “Did we just kill a kid?’ – US drone operator ..Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    @Agnostic Muslim:

    Pakistan military is not a national army. A soldier of a ational army is brought up to refuse illegal and unconstitutiol orders. The use of military against the citizens is illegal, but time and again Pakistan military has been used to cut down its own people. It would seem that they are acting on the intelligence of CIA which if inaccurate causes loss of innocent lives of its citizens.

    The only solution is to nationalise the military!

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    I don’t know what else to say. I just don’t know.

    With the many questionable and tragic things our army, politicians, courts, people, etc have or have not done, I end up sharing the same frustrated sentiments as well. Recommend

  • thinker

    now its time to change, i dream of chnging my country, its late but not too much…at first we have to chnge ourself.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    A start is better than doing nothing! Release your energy in support of a change and this will direct the minds of like thinkers and will attract the cosmic energy. This is the secret of life on this planet, people and people alone have the power to change.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Insaan

    @Rex Minor: “The use of military against the citizens is illegal” …….It would seem that they are acting on the intelligence of CIA which if inaccurate causes loss of innocent lives of its citizens.

    You forgot to mention RAW and Mossad.

    I remember reading a news…….before a Pakistan’s prime Minister’s visit to DC, Pakistani government wanted to show progress on war of terrorism and decided to bomb a terrorist camp. A call was made to ask high level terrorists to leave the camp before bombing. Call was intercepted by a foreign intelligence agencies. Camp was bombed and some low level terrorists were killed.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Agnostic Muslim: “your language suggests that the Pakistani military merely decided to ‘bomb away at innocent women, children and livestock”

    There could be another reason, some powerful person or government wants that land for some reason. These kind of things are do to terrorize people and make them run.
    You call yourself agnostic but you think like a “true” Muslim.

    It is a shame innocent people were gunned down and most Pakistanis are trying to justify the deaths as some kind of mistake.

    Most Newspapers even don’t report such incidences. Journalists are scared even to go and investigate.Recommend