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National

April 26, 2011

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Drone politics

The campaign to stop pilotless US aircraft from bombing our areas is picking up pace. It has been taken one step forward by the two day sit-in staged by several thousand Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers at Hayatabad in Peshawar to stop Nato supply vehicles from carrying their cargo into Afghanistan. The success of the action reflects just how badly people want the drone strikes to come to an end. As PTI chairman Imran Khan pointed out, the drones are a grotesque distortion of justice. He is quite correct when he says that the aircraft do not always target terrorists but most often result in the deaths of innocent persons who have no links with militancy. Khan has said that a long march to Islamabad will be staged and the Nato supply routes will be blocked if the government does not take action to bring an end to the strikes by unmanned aircraft. It is worth noting that politicians other than PTI leaders also joined the sit-in. A call was also made to the courts to act swiftly against the drones, although it is somewhat unclear what the judiciary can do in this matter.
There can be no doubt that public sentiment demands immediate action. The dual game played by the powers that be fools no one any longer. Feelings are even stronger in the north where drones regularly drop bombs and bring sudden death to so many innocent civilians. The efforts by the PTI to take direct action to raise the immediacy with which this issue is considered must be admired. We can only hope that they succeed and that the menace of the planes flying over the conflict areas in the tribal belt comes to an end.

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