LONDON: Former cricket hero and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan Thursday announced his intention of taking Western media representatives as part of a peace caravan into the heart of Waziristan in September to expose the reality and devastation caused by the United State’s drone campaign in Pakistan.
The PTI leader is in London for a week to meet media organisations and human rights groups about the proposed peace march to Waziristan. According to reports, Imran Khan is also hoping to take at least 1,00,000 people from across Pakistan with him as part of the peace caravan.
Imran Khan is in Britain to attend a grand ceremony where he will be honoured with the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Human rights charity Reprive — headed by Clive Stafford Smith — is helping Imran Khan organise the march.
Khan was speaking at a reception hosted by a charity of Kenyan Muslims where he was presented with a cheque of £40,000 for Namal College. In his address the PTI leader accused the United States of committing “war crimes” against its own ally Pakistan, adding that these strikes needed to be stopped. He also regretted that the campaign had killed hundreds of innocent tribal Pakistanis who had nothing to do with terrorism.
Imran maintained that for the first time mainstream western media would be taken into Waziristan so that they could see the war-torn area for themselves and meet the families who had lost everything in the incessant drone campaign. He added that expecting anything from the Pakistani government would be an exercise in futility. “Our rulers are slaves of America, they are in power because they serve the American unjust war. They are killing their own countrymen on behalf of America. They will never do anything about the innocent victims of the drone strikes,” Imran held.
He asserted that the government had failed to release the names of drone victims because it was hiding the fact that countless innocents had also been killed in the strikes. Imran Khan lamented that drones also killed those involved in rescue and relief efforts.
“What kind of war is this which has not achieved any of its targets in over a decade and has killed thousands of innocent Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This war is in violation of the international law, it needs to be exposed,” he maintained.
Commenting on the government’s tussle with the judiciary, Imran Khan said the corrupt political classes were against the supremacy of rule of law. “It is scared of an independent and competent judiciary. Raja Pervaiz Asharf has been made prime minister precisely to create a buffer between the courts and Asif Ali Zardari’s ill-gotten money in Swiss banks,” Imran charged.
He said the government cried foul whenever courts held them accountable. “The people of Pakistan can see through the scare tactics of this government, they know this government is bent on subverting the course of justice,” he said.
Imran Khan also alleged that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its allies were banded together in a plot to subvert the judiciary. “Asif Zardari has bought the majority in the Parliament through bribes, and they are all together to subjugate the judiciary. They have made a coalition against the rule of law in Pakistan and they are doing so under the umbrella of democracy. In reality, they are only saving and serving corruption,” asserted the PTI leader.