PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said on Tuesday that he did not advocate a war with the US but the blockade of supplies to the Nato troops in Afghanistan enforced by his party would continue till the end of drone attacks.
He said the blockade was not a declaration of war against the US but a peaceful way to protest against the US aggression and its continued attempts to impede the return of peace to Pakistan.
“The US poses to be a friend of Pakistan. Which friendly country attacks another friend?” he asked in a speech to his workers who have blocked supplies to Nato forces at the Ring Road Toll Plaza. “But the US has been attacking Pakistan. That’s unacceptable,” he added. The PTI chief said they were angry with the US because it had been disrupting efforts for peace in Pakistan. He said it showed the US did not want peace in the country. “The All Parties Conference (APC) made a good effort to bring peace but the US cheated us,” he said, referring to a drone strike in North Waziristan that killed Hakimullah Mehsud.
He believed the US considered Pakistanis as its slaves and vowed they would not tolerate such behaviour anymore.
Imran Khan said Nato trucks would not be allowed to pass through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa until drone attacks were stopped. He said if anyone thought that the PTI would lift the blockade, they were mistaken. “If anyone thinks the PTI workers would be exhausted, they are making a mistake. The workers would continue this protest for an indefinite period,” he said amid cheers of approval from the protesters.
The PTI workers, along with some from the party’s coalition partner, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), have imposed a blockade on Nato supplies by camping at five points in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. For the last 10 days, they have been disallowing trucks taking goods for Western troops in Afghanistan. They stop vehicles, check their shipment documents and send back those suspected of taking supplies for Nato forces. As hundreds of containers have been stalled by the protest, over a dozen were forced to go back at the Ring Road sit-in.
He advised his workers not to resort to violence or break the law during their protest against Nato supplies. He told them not to create problems for Afghan Transit Trade vehicles.
Imran Khan said his party did not want confrontation with the federal government and instead desired its support in mounting pressure on the US to stop drone attacks. He taunted those parties that supported the unanimous resolutions in the National Assembly and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly against drone strikes and Nato supplies but had now backed out. “Where are those parties? Why don’t they come out against drone strikes and Nato supplies,” he asked.
Earlier, speaking at a function that marked the World Disability Day, he said the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would take responsibility of 80,000 disabled, orphaned and widowed persons. He added that the province would establish a foundation to provide support to 26,000 people in the first year, 14,000 more in the second year and all in the third year. “The state that does not promote humanity cannot be an Islamic state,” he said, vowing continued support to the disadvantaged.
He admitted the PTI government was slow in bringing change but said people would see change every month now. He said his party would discourage corruption that had hobbled investment and brought price-hike. He added that the PTI government in KP would put a halt to corruption at the top level and then it would turn to the corrupt elements at the grassroots level. “No PTI minister could commit corruption. And if they do, they will be fired,” he said to the applause of the audience. “We are going to set an example and the other three provinces will have to follow it. And if they don’t, the PTI tsunami will sweep them all,” he said.
It may be added that the ruling PTI fired two ministers of Aftab Sherpao’s Qaumi Watan Party ostensibly on corruption charges and ended its alliance with it. The party was supposed to take action against its own corrupt ministers, but the decision could not be made until now.