ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday said that the drone attack in Hangu was tantamount to declaring a war and in retaliation the Nato supplies would be blocked on Saturday (tomorrow) for ever.
He accused the prime minister of adopting a policy of double standards on this issue.The PTI leader said that prior to the Hangu drone strike, his party was planning to stage a sit-in and halt Nato supplies at the party level but now an emergency meeting of the provincial cabinet would decide that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government should lead the event.
“Why is the prime minister silent even on the Hangu attack and why did he not issue a statement when the peace process was crushed after a drone had targeted the TTP top leader? Hangu is a part of KP and not Fata. He must come up with a clear statement on drone issue,” Imran said while addressing a press conference at the party’s Central Secretariat here. He was flanked by Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Dr Shireen Mazari and other party leaders.
He came hard on the prime minister and noted he was focused on foreign visits, saying that he should be asked about the price of tomatoes. Imran claimed the rulers were setting up a sugar mill in Sri Lanka.
Imran claimed that there was no mention of drones during talks between the prime minister and US President Barack Obama and recalled Nawaz Sharif relied on chits in his hands while speaking on key issues. “Prime minister had disgraced the entire nation and it was a matter of shame,” he retorted.He alleged in public the rulers were seen condemning the drones while privately they had allowed the US to continue with drone hits.
The PTI chief questioned why Nawaz Sharif was asking investors abroad to invest in Pakistan, when the government was unable to stop those, who were shifting their capital to other countries. He alleged the government had failed to protect life and property of the people.
He lamented that the US had now targeted a settled area. Imran urged all peace-loving Pakistanis to join the planned sit-in at Ring Road, Peshawar on Saturday (tomorrow) and vowed the halt of Nato containers would continue for an indefinite period.
Imran contended that it was a time for the nation to rise or continue living in US subjugation with begging bowl in the hands of rulers, who found it easy to burden masses with taxes and increase power tariffs for their lavish lifestyle.
He regretted when PTI talked about dialogue with Taliban, they were accused of being their supporters.He reminded Nawaz of the promise he had made before the polls to talk tough to the US in order to halt drone attacks but then he even did not take up this issue with US president.
To another question, Imran said had he been prime minister, he would have never allowed the US to carry out drone strikes inside Pakistan. He said, “I wish, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister would have powers but the Pakistan Air Force comes under the federal government,” he said.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah castigated the government for claiming that the United States had assured of no drone attack during talks with Taliban saying that the government’s claim proved wrong as just within hours after PM Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz made this claim, a drone attack was reported.“It was a drone attack on the statement of Sartaj Aziz, not on Hangu,” he said while talking to newsmen.
Sartaj Aziz made a statement on Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs that the United States had assured Pakistan that drone strikes would not be carried out during talks with the Taliban.
The opposition leader said instead of reduction in the drone attacks, these attacks had been intensified. “It seems that there is a lack of coordination among top policymakers of the government as Sartaj Aziz made such a big statement which was proved wrong within hours. It is a big challenge for the Nawaz Sharif government,” he added.
Shah was of the opinion after the statement of Aziz and drone attack in Hangu, serious doubts had been created on the government’s foreign policy. “It also seems that the government has failed to use diplomatic channels for stopping drone attacks,” he added.
He doubted if the Taliban would trust the government’s efforts for peace talks in the current circumstances.