As newspapers in the United States mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the government of Pakistan has tried to remind Americans of the sacrifices made by Pakistanis in the war against terrorism, by purchasing a half-page advertisement in The Wall Street Journal, the largest newspaper in the US by circulation.
The advertisement, which includes a photograph of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and President Asif Ali Zardari lists several statistics which highlight the impact of the 9/11 attacks – and the subsequent war in Afghanistan – on Pakistan. It was timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
“Since 2001 a nation of 180 million has been fighting for the future of world’s 7 billion,” said the advertisement. It then went on to ask: “Which country can do more for your peace?”
The ad lists several statistics and then asks “Can any other country do so? Only Pakistan … The promise of our martyrs lives on.”
According to the ad, since September 11, 2001, 21,672 Pakistani civilians have lost their lives or have been seriously injured in an ongoing fight against terrorism. The Pakistan Army has lost 2,795 soldiers in the war and 8,671 have been injured.
There have been 3,486 bomb blasts in the country, including 283 major suicide attacks. More than 3.5 million have been displaced. The damage to the Pakistani economy is estimated at $68 billion over the last ten years.
Over 200,000 Pakistani troops were deployed at the frontline and 90,000 soldiers are fighting against militants on the Afghan border.
Foreign Office statement
The Foreign Office released a statement paying tribute to the victims of the attacks on their 10th anniversary Sunday, saying that Pakistan too was a target of terrorism.
“Pakistan joins the people of the United States and of the world in honouring the memory of all those who lost their lives on 11 September, as well as those who have been victims of terrorism around the world,” the foreign ministry said.
The cataclysmic events of September 11 dragged the nuclear power into a decade of fighting and violence that the government in Islamabad says has killed 35,000 people.
The foreign ministry statement said: “As a country that has been severely affected by terrorism, we reaffirm our national resolve to strengthening international cooperation for the elimination of terrorism. It is also appropriate that today the global community renew its commitment to uphold the noble ideals of tolerance, humanity, brotherhood and friendship amongst all peoples and its determination to work for creating a better world.”
The United States government appeared to acknowledge Pakistan’s support in the war on terrorism on Saturday, with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney saying that Pakistan’s action had helped keep Americans safe in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2011.