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When Pakistanis Matter

Pro-humanity (Photo: AFP/Getty)

In his latest bout of hypocrisy, Barack Obama has drawn the following lesson from a suicide bombing that killed 45 people in Pakistan on Saturday:

Killing innocent civilians outside a World Food Programme distribution point is an affront to the people of Pakistan, and to all humanity.”

Actually, it is more of an affront to the people of Pakistan to only vouch for their right to life when they are killed by suicide bombers. If Obama had wanted to accurately convey his views on when it is and is not appropriate to kill Pakistani civilians, he should have expanded his pronouncement to include the following stipulations:

Killing innocent civilians outside a World Food Programme distribution point is an affront to the people of Pakistan, and to all humanity, provided the killing is perpetrated by suicide bombers—or some other undesirable Arab/Muslim phenomenon justifying continued U.S. intervention abroad—and not by U.S. military drones.”

As PULSE’s Muhammad Idrees Ahmad pointed out at the beginning of this year, U.S. drone strikes reportedly killed over 700 Pakistani civilians in 2009 alone.

Renowned scholar Tariq Ali has meanwhile consistently drawn attention to Obama’s hypocrisy on Pakistan, citing the silence of the U.S. president and the media on the killing of 50 Pakistani women and children by U.S. drone on the very same day that now-iconic Iranian demonstrator Neda Agha-Soltan was killed during the 2009 anti-government protests in Tehran. As Ali points out in an interview, Agha-Soltan earned a “moist-eyed” tribute from Obama on the White House lawn, while the reaction to the 50 Pakistani women and children was as follows:

Not a mention. And then people are surprised at the anger in that part of the world against these double standards”.

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