Malik Jalal is on the drones ‘Kill List’. The US government has already tried to assassinate him four times, and killed many other innocent people in the process. He is a community leader, anti-drone activist and a prominent member of the North Waziristan Peace Committee. Malik Jalal has been told that he is a target because he is “inciting” people against the drone strikes.
“All I want is for the West to stop trying to kill me, my family and my colleagues with the North Waziristan Peace Committee. They have tried to kill me four times, and my children are terrified. This Kill List is just making things far worse in my homeland.”
The name ‘Malik’ is given as a term of respect for a local tribe elder. He came to Reprieve in 2011 because his people were repeatedly coming to him for help when their loved ones were killed, but he was powerless to help. He wanted to stop the mayhem the drones were creating in his community.
It is not hard to understand why Malik Jalal is so committed to ending drone strikes in North Waziristan – he has seen the devastation they have caused, and he has been specifically targeted four times himself. Each time the US government has tried to assassinate Malik Jalal, they have missed him but killed dozens of other innocent people instead.
This includes a 2011 strike that left forty innocent tribal elders dead as they gathered to solve a local dispute in a community Jirga. Malik Jalal and other members of the Peace Committee were among the first on the scene after the missiles struck. They spent hours picking up the pieces of their friends and rushing the injured to hospital, all while the smell of burning flesh and the wails of the bereaved filled the air.
Earlier that year, three men were killed and Malik Jalal’s nephew was hospitalised for a month after a missile attack.
Malik Jalal has since resorted to desperate measures to protect his his wife and children from the strikes aimed at him, including sleeping in the mountains away from his family home. One evening, his 6 year old son, Hilal, followed him out to the mountainside because he was scared of being killed by a drone while he slept. Malik Jalal tried to comfort his son by telling him that the drones wouldn’t target children – but they both knew that U.S. drones had often killed children in the past. It was then that he made the decision to relocate his family out of North Wazirstan.
“It is horrifying that, in the 21st Century, we have drawn up a list of people we want to kill. Malik Jalal puts a very human face on the horror of this policy.
Clive Stafford Smith, Director of Reprieve