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Says his march could have exposed lethal drone attacks and their immense collateral damage
 
 
Mumtaz Alvi
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
From Print Edition
 
 

 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan claimed on Monday the PTI’s peace march was a golden opportunity for the government to convey to all and sundry that drones were producing horrendous results and adding to the militancy instead of its elimination but the rulers let it go waste by creating hurdles on its route.

 

He said the march had provided a golden opportunity to the government to show to the world that the militancy was increasing because of drone strikes. Imran came hard on Maulana Fazlur Rehman for his various tactics to paint the march as a move of Jews and Christians (Yahood-o-Nasara). He alleged the Maulana was the ‘right hand man of Zardari’.

 

PTI chief referred to various machinations adopted by his opponents to create an air of fear and danger to deter the marchers from advancing to Waziristan. He said such attempt was made through distribution of pamphlets.

 

Imran called upon the politicians to desist from uncalled for propaganda against his peace moves and play their role in restoration of peace in the country. The calm and composed Imran told a news briefing here at the party’s central secretariat that if the government really wanted peace, it should have had helped the marchers but instead it created hurdles in its way to make it a failure.

 

“The government proved that it followed a policy of double standards. It privately allowed drone hits inside Pakistan while in public it condemned these attacks and the same was revealed by the WikiLeaks, wherein top US officials said drone strikes were mounted after the government of Pakistan’s permission,” the PTI chief said.

 

He was flanked, among others, by Javed Hashmi and Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who accompanied him in his peace march to Waziristan. Explaining the rulers’ hypocrisy on drones, Imran noted that ex-premier Gilani had clearly told the US to continue with drone hits, as they would on their part, continue condemning these in the parliament.

 

Imran also referred to President Zardari’s statement that the collateral damage caused by the drones was of no significance to him.

 

About returning half way from Waziristan Sunday afternoon, he pointed out they decided to return after the army made them aware of the serious threat in the dark. However, he noted well over 100 media outlets had given extensive coverage to the event.

 

He claimed the march had achieved all the objectives set in sight before its launch and said that a global debate was on now on drones. The PTI chief also talked about various conspiracies directed at sabotaging the peace march and pointed out that rumours were rife in Dera Ismail Khan that poison wasmixed in water to trigger fears among pro-march people.

 

Imran said they were the first to go to show solidarity with the people of Waziristan, particularly of South Waziristan, most of whom had now settled in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan and living there in a miserable condition, as most of them were devastated by these attacks: had lost their livelihood and even livestock.

 

He regretted not having met victims of drones due to his late night arrival in DI Khan. But said he met a person, whose son had died in such attack and his friend (cousin), a student of Namal College, Jafar, then resorted to a suicide hit in Ghazni to take revenge of that. He was a student of electrical engineering.

 

PTI chief thanked the media for objective and free coverage to the peace march and also apologised to them for some mismanagement, particularly at the Farm House, the venue of their overnight stay prior to leaving for Waziristan.

 

Imran was highly appreciative of the party’s ISF youth, who paid no attention to concocted security threats and even faced criticism from their parents but made their way to Waziristan along with the march.

 

Online adds: Imran said hurdles were created to stop the march from proceedings toward Waziristan by Maulana Fazlur Rehman who was making fortune just like he did in Musharraf’s regime.

 

Replying to a query he said that he had never changed his stance on MQM chief Altaf Hussain and he had told the Scotland Yard police whatever he had to tell

 

NNI adds: He said that as many as 150 foreign media outlets covered the event despite being threatened by some elements.

 

Imran Khan said that his march was a success and whole the world was now speaking against the drones.