|With 35,000 deaths and $68 bn in losses, Pakistan fights on|
12 September 2011
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON: Pakistan has told Americans, marking the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, that despite paying a heavy price in blood and treasure, the Pakistanis are fighting militants for the safety of people across the world.
“Since 2001, a nation of 180 million has been fighting for the future of the world’s 7 billion,” the Pakistan government said in a message advertised in The Wall Street Journal, a major US newspaper.
The half-page message, with former Shaheed Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s photo, was timed with the solemn observance of the tragedy in which more than 3,000 Americans were killed in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
Ms Bhutto was killed in a terrorist attack, symbolizing the sacrifices and sufferings of the Pakistanis who have lost around 35,000 people including civilians, politicians and security personnel in its courageous decade-old anti-terror fight.
“Which country can do more for your peace,” the government asked. “Can any other country do so? Only Pakistan. The promise of our martyrs lives on.” Giving details, the government told the American public that since Sept 11, 2001, 21,672 Pakistani civilians have lost their lives or have been seriously injured in an ongoing fight against terror.
The Pakistani Army also has lost 2,795 soldiers while 8,671 soldiers have been wounded. There have been 3,486 bomb blasts and 283 major suicide attacks. More than 3.5 million have been displaced while the country has lost $68 billion due to terrorism.
The Pakistani nation is making sacrifices that statistics cannot reflect. Pakistan remains engaged in the war for world peace, with 200,000 troops deployed at the frontline and 90,000 soldiers fighting on the Afghan border.
The tenth anniversary of 9/11 attacks, perpetrated by al-Qaeda linked militants, has brought into focus the terrorism challenges facing the world.
Pakistan launched a massive anti-terror campaign after hundreds of al-Qaeda-linked and Afghan militants crossed into its tribal areas from across the porous Durand Line in late 2001 following the US invasion of Afghanistan and consequent fall of the Taliban government in Kabul. On the eve of tenth anniversary of the attacks, the White House acknowledged the fact that it has been due to Pakistan’s vital anti-terrorism role that now the United States can feel safer, ten years after the cataclysmic 9/11 terrorist attacks that brought down twin World Trade Centre towers in New York, slammed a plane into Pentagon and killed several passengers in the flight that went down in Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office also issued a statement late Saturday on the eve of the anniversary. It said: “Today, the world commemorates the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Pakistan joins the people of the United States and of the world in honouring the memory of all those who lost their lives on September 11, as well as those who have been victims of terrorism around the world.”
“As a country that has been severely affected by terrorism, we reaffirm our national resolve to strengthening international cooperation for the elimination of terrorism,” it said. It is also appropriate that today the global community renew its commitment to uphold the noble ideals of tolerance, humanity, brotherhood and friendship amongst all peoples and its determination to work for creating a better world, the statement said.
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