Animals fight without rules—we, human beings, have rules that govern our wars. Traditionally, the rules guiding the moral conduct in war are known as jus in bello and one of the clauses is on identification of legitimate targets in war. A hospital is never a legitimate target even in war. Hospitals enjoy a special protected status under international humanitarian law—it is a war crime to deliberately target a hospital. The bright red cross is a prominent identity marker to warn air-raiders and others in the field to stay away from this target. The deliberate attack on Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre has been a shameful act, laying bare the filth in our politics. We hit a new low by disregarding the sanctity of an institution protected even during war.  Everyone has a right to criticize Imran Khan’s politics but it is extremely irresponsible to drag a charitable hospital into the mess of politics—a hospital should never be a battleground to fight dirty politics. Those hurling these allegations just had to make a few clicks on the Hospital’s website to learn they are about to spit lies; it was an abhorrent malicious attempt. Such people should not forget that Imran Khan did not make this Hospital for himself—he can go for a clinical treatment anywhere in the world—Imran Khan made this hospital for the people of his country. They should realize that declaring a war on this Hospital will not hurt Imran Khan—it will end up hurting children like Huzaifa (the SKMCH&RC Zakat poster child, 2016)and many children of the future generation. 

MARIAM IBRAHIM, 

Lahore, June 16.