Killing humanity

Pakistan is effectively being turned into a no-go area by militants.


Editorial May 11, 2012

In a highly unusual move for an organisation that rarely ever suspends work even in war zones, is widely respected for its neutrality and the giant ‘red cross/red crescent’ symbol it uses, which signifies that those falling under its wide umbrella are not to be harmed, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has decided to suspend its activities in Pakistan while it reviews the situation in the country and weighs humanitarian needs against concerns for staff safety. The ICRC’s national staff have been placed on paid leave for an indefinite period and its international staff has been recalled to Islamabad. The move follows the discovery of the beheaded body of an ICRC health worker, Dr Khalil Rasjed Dale, 60, just outside Quetta on April 29. Dale, a Yemen-born British national, had been abducted some four months ago. A note found with his body stated that the ICRC had failed to meet the ‘conditions’ set for his release. There have been reports that the ICRC had been engaged in talks with the kidnappers, but the Geneva-based organisation has declined to comment on this.

Dale became the third foreigner to be killed in the country by abductors following the murders of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002 and a Polish geologist who was kidnapped in Attock in 2009. Others, like former UNHCR official John Solecki, have been more fortunate and were released safely. At least one American national, Warren Weinstein, kidnapped last year in Lahore, remains in militant hands.

According to spokespersons for the organisation, the ICRC’s decision affects tens of thousands of people. In recent years, other international humanitarian groups and NGOs have also cut back or stopped their activities in the country. It is, of course, the people — usually the most vulnerable and deprived ones — who suffer when this happens. Pakistan is effectively being turned into a no-go area by militants, whose victims are not only the persons that they abduct and kill, but also thousands of ordinary citizens across the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2012.

COMMENTS (2)

Claude Visi | 9 years ago | Reply

@kaalchakra:Every thing you say he's reasonable, but one. To say the move smacks of Islamophobia stinks of unfounded prejudice - and ignorane, too. 1) Khalil was Muslim. 2) Even if he wasn't, what's the difference? 3) The ICRC's work benefits mostly Muslim populations, not because they're Muslims, because they are human beings affected by armed violence. 4) The move is taken with deep sadness and regret within the organization. ICRC has cured thousanfs of surgical and medical cases, assisted millions of displaced. But being kidnapped and killed is not acceptable. I'm sorry for Pakistan that it happened in Pakistan, and so should you.

kaalchakra | 9 years ago | Reply You have blocked my earlier post on this subject but opposition to your views must be heard. Red Cross' move is unfortunate and smacks of Islamophobia. Not every Pakistani has been involved in killing their man, nor have all their men been killed. Hence associating the death of their man with Pakistan in any way is not right.
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