We can’t afford to sit idly and wait for the Pakistani government to attend to its responsibilities. Thousands of people are literally on the verge of death. We as Muslims must act now!
More than 200 people have been killed and another 2500 badly wounded in the last fifteen months in Parachinar, in northwestern Pakistan. The main road that connects this remote area to Peshawar and the rest of Pakistan has been effectively blocked by criminal elements for the last ten months. Those who tried to travel through this road have been literally slaughtered.
To get their daily supplies of food and medicine, the people of Parachinar are forced to take the longer route to Peshawar which requires crossing the Afghan border. The cost of daily supplies and travel to other parts of Pakistan has therefore multiplied five to six times. The Afghan route is not very safe either. At least twice, the passengers from Parachinar have been abducted by the same criminal elements who move freely across the Pakistan-Afghan border. The Afghan forces were able to rescue the passengers in the first case. There is no sign yet of passengers in the second. Many fear that they have been killed already. The Pakistani government has to a large extent turned a deaf ear to various appeals requesting security and emergency supplies to Parachinar. Rogue elements within the state institutions are actively backing the criminals in their protracted, low-scale ethnic cleansing of the Parachinar people.
The humanitarian crisis in Parachinar demands urgent action. We can’t afford to sit idly and wait for the Pakistani government to attend to its responsibilities. Thousands of people are literally on the verge of death. The objective of the protracted, low-scale ethnic cleansing is to drive them out of their ancestral lands. The brave people of Parachinar have been able to defend themselves for many years now. But their capacities are nothing compared to the organized terror machinery of their opponents. Their plight is indeed desperate. In the name of God and in the name of humanity, we must come forward and help our brothers and sisters in need.
What You Can Do
- Educate yourselves and people around you about the situation.
- Organize prayers, vigils, and workshops in your localities (school campus, public libraries, Friday prayers, mosques and community centers, embassies and press clubs). Prepare large posters with images and concise information.
- Write op-ed columns and letters to your local and national newspapers with an informed perspective. Also write to your governments and local and international human rights groups. Hold poster and letter writing sessions in your communities.
- Demand that the Pakistani government ensure the protection of all of its citizens. It should immediately end the blockade of the Peshawar-Parachinar route. The government should set up an independent commission to investigate the complicity of state officials and intelligence agencies. They should also estimate the level of damage and compensate the victims duly.
- Generate emergency funds in your localities through donation and public service. Establish these funds as part of a regular project (with a target amount to be generated each year) to help victims of oppression in various parts of Pakistan and elsewhere.
- As you help these victims with basic humanitarian aid (food, medicine, shelter), also empower them for the longer term by establishing and supporting sustainable development projects, relating to education, health, media/communication s, micro-financing, and community building.
- Keep up with the latest developments in Parachinar and other affected areas in Pakistan.
For a perspective on the origins of the crisis and the factors responsible, please visit Support Parachinar.