BHAGWAL: Bereaved Pakistanis are demanding an end to their country’s alliance with the US and banning of drone attacks in the region. It remains unclear the extent to which the government or the military will implement changes.
Relatives of martyred soldiers believe that Pakistan should not be paying a high price to figh this war.
Sergeant Mumtaz Hussain was deployed to fight the Taliban on the Afghan border and was the sole breadwinner of the family. The survival of his family, which includes his mother, wife and two young children, depended on the military salary and pension.
“The day he died, the children missed him immensely. They told me they just wanted to see him and would not go to school until they had. My son still does not believe he is dead,” Mussarrat Bibi said.
“This is not the first time the US attacked our soldiers, but our government is not responding,” she added. “If our government decides to come out of this alliance, things may improve … These drone strikes are fuelling terrorism and strengthening the Taliban,” said his uncle Muhammad Nazeer.
Tasleem Akhter’s 20-year-old son, Rizwan Abbas, was recruited last year.
“He desired to sacrifice his life for his country. I can sacrifice all my sons for my homeland but our government should also take necessary action,” said Akhter. “While we were out walking down the streets, he told me this might be his last trip to the village and asked me to change the national flag on his grave regularly after his death,” recalled Jameel Akhter. “He always told stories about fights against the Taliban. I never expected he would die so soon,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2011.