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Every Child is Aylan al Kurdi

Sagid KhanIn the history of the world, mothers have reared children to be slaughtered in the wake of bloody conflicts between the greedy nations. The day Aylan al Kurdi drowned, it was like every children drowned. But thanks to God, they are immature and innocent enough that they hope for the new peaceful morning after the harsh bloody day in different corners of the world. Aylan was 3 years old Kurdish ethnic background whose image made global headlines after he drowned on 2 Sep, 2015 in the Mediterranean Sea, washed up on the Turkish beach as a part of the Syrian refugee crises. Like many other unlucky boats that are still making headlines and some not that boat was abandoned by the Turkish smugglers on its treacherous journey and left the struggling in the capsized boat.

From Middle East to Africa and from Africa to Pakistan and Afghanistan every boy that is stranded under the shadows of decades old regional and international great and petite games is Aylan al Kurdi. They are not only affected by the wars but by the incompetence of native and host countries.

According to the latest report by the UNICEF, there are some 14-million children are suffering due to the escalated conflict in Iraq and Syria. Among them 5.6 million children are living most desperate, which includes 2 million children living in the areas which are cutoff from the humanitarian assistance, and 2.6 million Syrian children are still out of school. Almost 2 million children are living in the refugee camps inside Lebnon, Turkey and Jordan but those communities hosting refugees have 3.6 million children are vulnerable to strain policies in education and health. Some 2.8 million children are trapped in the areas controlled by the armed groups.

Coming to Afghanistan and Pakistan, back in 1980s children like chickens were made the cannon fodder to feed the Frankenstein of Soviet-Afghan War. On Afghan side of border it was to fight against atheism (Soviets were dubbed as Godless people) and on our side of border children from all over the world were brought to fight the Communism under the shadows of Capitalism. Although Capitalism won at the expense of disintegration of Soviet Union in many small Central Asian states and Russia but people of Pakistan and Afghanistan lost the future of generation for decades and may be for centuries. No End Game was devised to handle stranded fighting groups back in 1990s civil war of Afghanistan. Afghanistan lost generations under their shadows while Pakistan lost enthusiastic generations to rule the world under the protégés of Afghan warring lords.

The connection between Pakistan and Afghanistan is unique. Pakistan is hosting some 3 million Afghan refugees while 1.5 million living illegally needs to be registered till June, 2016. Where Pakistan busy to curb the terrorism out, at the same time scapegoating of Afghan refugees is routine blaming them of their allege involvement in illegal activities. After the APS tragedy 2014, many calls were given for the Afghan refugees repatriation but still in quandary. The grievances are mostly of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Baluchistan is grieving over that if consensus is carried out in current situation then Baloch people will turn into minority because of the Afghan turned Pakistani Pashtuns residing in Balochistan. Afghans don’t want to return to their country because of the lack of the satisfactory security situation and their settled businesses in Pakistan. But at the same Afghan children are losing their coming bright days under our shadows. They are beggars, show makers, cricket and scrap collectors, and cart puller etc. They are prone to corporal punishment, child abuse, child trafficking, and different unhealthy activities. Many Pakistani and Afghan people are working for their well-being of Afghan children and leading one of them is Khalid Amiri, a Pakistan based Afghan writer, documentary maker and journalistic. His documentary on abandoned children is a “Guloona Zama da Khawray” flower of my soil is worth watching.

Where Pakistan is blamed that future of Afghan children is going to be domed because of the non-availability due resources at the same time Pakistan children are too losing their hopes for the future. For the last 13 years, Pakistan is fighting against the hydra type menace of terrorism and sacrificed above 80 thousands lives of civilians and security personnel. On another hand, according to the annual report 2014-15 by National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) Pakistan has 50.8 million children (5-16 years) among which 24.0 are out of school and 18.6 millions have never been to school. According to a report, 2016 conducted by Society for the Advancement of Education (SAHE) in collaboration Alif Ailaan that ‘over 70 percent teachers believe corporal punishment is useful’ which is only that “violence begets violence”.  The reports of child labor and molestation make headlines in different newspapers. The biggest scandal that arose in 2015, in the Punjab province of Pakistan where 280 children were molested by a gang and made around 400 videos which the later used to blackmail the bereaved families.  While the number of our children moving behind the pied pipers in shape of different Pakistan based terrorist groups are still uncounted.

The peace in our region is bound to the future of our children. Afghanistan has to mend its own ways because time and again Pakistan is blamed for the insecurity but the war lords of past, present and future are elected members of Afghan Parliament. On the other hand the future of Pakistani children from FATA, Balochistan, interior Sind and Southern Punjab is at stake due to lack of facilities necessary for human personality building then how can one forced Pakistan to secure the doming future of Afghan children? The international and regional stakeholders in our region specifically Pakistan and Afghanistan needs to complete overhaul their policies of national interests through holistic approach. Otherwise our every child is drowning on un-trodden paths where every child would be Aylan al Kurdi.

Writer: Sajid Khan 

The writer hails from South Waziristan Agency. He is a research scholar at NDU, Islamabad.

He can be reached at  mahsud38@gmail.com


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