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US activists to join anti-drone protest in Pakistan PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Written by Joan Russow
Tuesday, 02 October 2012 16:33

US activists to join anti-drone protest in Pakistan

Press TV http://presstv.com/usdetail/264512.html

 

Anti-drone protesters from across Pakistan and around the world are gathering in Islamabad this week in preparation for a weekend march into the tribal areas of South Waziristan.

 

Ignoring a travel warning issued by the U.S. State Department for Pakistan, a delegation of 30 U.S. activists and parents of U.S. Army soldiers has arrived in Islamabad, where they plan to join the October 6 and 7 march and rally.

 

The march is being organized and led by Imran Khan, the former Pakistani national cricket captain and now head of the political party Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Khan and his party have emerged as the leading critics of America's covert program of lethal drone strikes.

 

Khan has said that he expects up to 100,000 to join this weekend's march.

 

On Sunday, Khan accused the Pakistani government of refusing visas to several international journalists who were traveling to Pakistan to cover the march.

 

Anne Wright, a retired U.S. Army colonel and former U.S. ambassador, is leading the U.S. delegation. Wright had resigned from the army when U.S. started its war against Iraq in 2003. She is now an antiwar activist and a member of CODEPINK.

 

Sunday afternoon, Wright and Imran Khan held a press conference in Islamabad. Pakistan's Express Tribune reports: "We came from U.S. for this historic march against drone attacks. We also went to the places in U.S. from where the drones are operated and we registered our protest. We are also protesting U.S. war policies and we are telling you that American people are also against these attacks," she said.

 

Wright said the U.S. is violating the sovereignty of Pakistan by carrying out drone strikes.

 

"The U.S. president has a hit list on his desk and he looks at it every day to know who will be killed in Pakistan. This is criminal... We believe that travel warning is issued because the U.S. government does not want us to see what they are doing. We believe the President of the U.S. is killing innocent people in Pakistan that is wrong... We as Americans stand up against our government and you [have to] stand up against yours," Wright said. Common Dreams

 

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

 

In May, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta described the use of American drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen as "absolutely essential to our ability to defend Americans." The Nation

 

A report released by the United Nations in June 2010 called the drone attacks part of a "strongly asserted but ill-defined license to kill without accountability". CNN

 

In 2008, after Barack Obama won the presidency in the U.S., the drone strikes escalated and soon began occurring almost weekly, later nearly daily, and so became a permanent feature of life for those living in the tribal borderlands of northern Pakistan. CBS News

 

A recent report by researchers at Stanford and New York Universities' law schools took the lid off the terrorizing effects of the U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.

 

"The number of 'high-level' militants killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low - estimated at just 2% [of deaths]", says the study.

 

 

 

ISH/KK

 

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