Seven year-old disabled Pakistan girl, Laiba adjusts her artificial foot as she sits in a wheelchair in the street outside her house at Hayatabad in Peshawar. – AFP

Laiba is only seven years old, but she’s a poster girl for thousands of Pakistanis who have lost limbs in the war between the militants and the armed forces.

The girl, whose name means “Fairy of the Heavens”, was shopping in Peshawar with her uncle for a new pair of socks for the Muslim festival of Eid in November 2008 when tragedy struck. Their car was travelling alongside a convoy of the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary. Mistaking them for potential suicide bombers, her father says, troops raked the vehicle with gunfire, shattering Laiba’s left leg. Doctors could not save her foot and her leg was amputated mid-shin. Her right leg, despite five major operations, is still embedded with shrapnel. Now, Laiba lies in bed at her grandfather’s house in Peshawar, capital of North West Frontier Province, playing with an artificial foot, shy and silent after her trauma. 

“It is strange to be scared in our own country of our own people,” said her mother, Razia Khan. “If we escape from suicide attacks, our own forces fire shots on us. I get afraid when any of my relatives leave the house.”

 Although the government does not keep statistics, doctors estimate thousands of people have lost limbs in a wave of attacks and suicide bombings blamed mostly on Taliban militants that have swept the country since July 2007…..

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I remained numb with some unexplained sadness for a while….what are they trying to create ?

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