Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Peace and Conflict Transformation in Pakistan

July 18, 2014

  By Ben Martell

Benjamin Martell

The North Waziristan area in Pakistan has been home to many extremists groups as well as many innocent civilians. Just recently, the Pakistani government has launched a ground offensive, targeting the Taliban in the region. This offensive, as well as the activity of the terrorist groups, have caused many civilians to flee in search of a safety. Parents run with children in fear of destruction and death. Like the Hebrews who fled Egypt, the people of North Waziristan left the area, completely blind to the future.

The government of Pakistan has been struggling to keep up with the care of these displaced families and individuals. Food, shelter, and health care are things that the disaster-management team has been working on providing to the people. Thousands of these 100,000 civilians are not in need of help from their own government, however; they have sought refuge in Afghanistan, where resources are just as scarce.

The government that has launched a ground war in the region of North Waziristan, displacing thousands of innocent people, is the same government trying to help to them. The country has not only launched a ground offensive, but has also started a crisis within the country. Could this be necessary evil? Similar to military air strikes, this ground operation has caused many innocent people grief, suffering, and even death. We pray for those who are victims of violence and caught in no man’s land as the conflict continues.

Click here to read the history of Columbans serving in mission in Pakistan since 1938. The history reads:

“Living in the midst of Muslims, dialogue is a very important aspect of the Columban apostolate. This takes place chiefly in day-to-day contacts with Muslims, in the friendships they build with them and in working with concerned Muslims on issues of social justice that affect both Christians and Muslims.”

The work of Columban priests in Pakistan continues to be vitally important. We pray that their efforts of inter-religious dialogue empower more people to work together to promote peace throughout Pakistan.