On Tuesday, the son and grandchildren of the 67-year-old midwife from North Waziristan who was killed in a US drone strike – Rafiq ur Rehman and his two children, Nabila and Zubair – gave a heartbreaking testimony before the Congress. Mr. Rafiq’s mother, Momina Bibi, was gathering okra in the fields when a drone was overheard and appeared out of the blue sky, killing Momina Bibi on the spot. Mr. Rafiq’s son, Zubair, gave testimony and described how horrific the outcome was; his grandmother had succumbed to her injuries before she could receive medical aid at the hospital. In his haunting and poignant words, Zubair told the lawmakers that initially the drone did not cause apprehension in him because, "Why would I worry? Neither my grandmother nor I were militants."
The fact is, however, a growing number of innocent Pakistanis have become drone casualties as evident in various human rights reports emanating from international organizations and journalist investigation studies such as The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Code Pink’s reports. As Nabila, Momina Bibi’s 9-year-old granddaughter, said: Due to the US drone strikes in Pakistan, many residents of North Waziristan, particularly children, are afraid of entering open and public spaces and attending schools. Not only does it affect their physical and emotional wellbeing but it has intimidated locals from access to education. Furthermore, without any choice, locals have been driven to revenge and animosity against the US due to losing their loved ones to drone strikes.
In their ending statement, the Rehman family requested the government of United States to view victims of its ongoing war on terror as equal human beings, not mere statistics and collateral damage. If the United States wishes to eradicate terrorism, it should acknowledge its very own mass violations of human rights throughout the world instead of turning a blind eye and deaf ear to its expanding violence.