Govt complicit in drone attacks: Imran Khan

Published: April 23, 2011

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s two-day sit-in on Nato supply route begins today .

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairperson Imran Khan has claimed that the government was complicit in the US drone campaign in Pakistan’s tribal regions.

In an exclusive chat with The Express Tribune hours before leaving for Peshawar to lead a two-day sit-in, the cricketer-turned-politician strongly criticised the government for its ‘indifference’ to the killing of ‘innocent tribesmen’ in the drone attacks. “They have sold out our sovereignty to our enemies,” he added.

Imran said the people should know that the corrupt leadership could only issue press statements against the drone attacks. “The government should take practical steps to ensure security and well-being of its people,” he said.

Imran said that the United States has killed hundreds of civilians in drone strikes since 2004. The PTI chief and his supporters will be staging the sit-in on the Nato supply route on Saturday and Sunday in protest against continuing US drone attacks. He warned the US of ‘terrible consequences’, if the drone campaign was not called off.

“The US must realise that the Pakhtun never forgive anyone who attacks them. They will avenge a wrong done to them even after 100 years,” he added.

Through his sit-in at Bagh-e-Naran in Hayatabad, near the Pak-Afghan border, Khan wants to invite attention of the international community to the CIA covert war in Pakistan’s tribal regions.

He appealed to the people to join him in his sit-in. “I ask the civil society, journalists, lawyers, tribesmen, political workers and patriotic Pakistanis to…defend their country.”

PTI’s central information secretary Umer Chema told The Express Tribune that the tribesmen and political workers have assured Imran of their full support in making the sit–in a success.

About Friday’s drone strike, the PTI chief said: “It’s unfair on the part of Washington to kill innocent women and children.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • salman
    Apr 23, 2011 - 8:26AM

    salam.we want change….imran khan is the next prime minister of pakistan.imran tm qadam barao.hum tumharey sath hai….xxRecommend

  • Tahir
    Apr 23, 2011 - 8:33AM

    Imran Khan is a bright hope in these dark times. Inshallah he will change pakistan for the better.The people in all four provinces support you. Recommend

  • John
    Apr 23, 2011 - 8:54AM

    Imran khan is expanding his political base, for political gain. He is tuning into a Politician now.

    Which party would oppose his anti-drone campaign. Would not be surprised if PM also joins in.

    But in the end, he will never become an international leader with this approach.

    If thousands of innocent civilians are dead, as he says, he should by now must have registry of those dead civilians ; age, sex, name, address, date, time, and place of death. Let him bring it to the UN. Let the world compares it with those civilian deaths acknowledged by NATO.

    “They have sold out our sovereignty to our enemies,” ; “The US must realise that the Pakhtun never forgive anyone who attacks them. They will avenge a wrong done to them even after 100 years,” comments make him an excellent PAK politician, but not PAK ‘s new leader with new direction.

    Who are the enemies of PAK he is talking about here, US, UK, or other NATO members?

    The world does not care about Pakhtun bandits. What it cares is thousands of Pakhstun’s living in refugees camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan because of these Pakhstun terrorists who use children as suicide bombers and women as their slaves. Recommend

  • ali
    Apr 23, 2011 - 9:45AM

    Imran has written in an article today that terrorism and extremism in the society is a myth fabricated by western NGOs, and CIA is behind sectarian voilence, and Afghan jihad and strategic depth policy has nothing to do with terrorismRecommend

  • Khan
    Apr 23, 2011 - 10:00AM

    Well-done Imran Khan, let see how many patriots get together in Dharna.Recommend

  • IamConcerned!
    Apr 23, 2011 - 10:42AM

    Chalo Chalo Peshawar Chalo!! Recommend

  • Mahwish
    Apr 23, 2011 - 10:56AM

    Finally some action. Imran Khan and his party are playing the part but I wonder when are the other so called ‘patriotic’ political parties will showcase their love as they do during the electionsRecommend

  • Anoop
    Apr 23, 2011 - 11:17AM

    The Government of Pakistan doesn’t frame Security Policies nor does it have the power to do so. Its the Army which is to blame. Why blame the poor Civilians?Recommend

  • F Robinson
    Apr 23, 2011 - 12:10PM

    Drones are a modern weapon in the war on terror and soon ubiquitous eyes in the skies.Recommend

  • faraz
    Apr 23, 2011 - 12:39PM

    The foriegn policy is entirely under control of the army. He should protest infront of GHQ. Recommend

  • faraz
    Apr 23, 2011 - 12:40PM

    Our foriegn policy is entirely under control of the army. He should protest infront of GHQ. Recommend

  • Apr 23, 2011 - 12:57PM

    While Imran Khan and the PTI have the right to protest on any issue, anywhere, what is the purpose of having this sit in in Hayatabad? Who will be effected by this? The local traders, truckers etc, thats it. NATO supplys have been halted already so they wont be affected.

    If he wants to hold the government responsible why not have it infront of Parliament in Islamabad where all the foreign press is based? That said, Pakistans security policy is in the hands of the Army and it was she who gave the US tacit approval for the program well before this government came into power. Why not have a sitin before the GHQ? Recommend

  • Ya right
    Apr 23, 2011 - 2:30PM

    Go Imran!! Hope!!!Recommend

  • Hassan
    Apr 23, 2011 - 2:33PM

    @ faraz, if the foreign policy is with the GHQ then the so called leaders of the masses sitting in parliament should tender their resignations, but they wont so till the time they admit that they are in goverment and in charge Imran should be protesting on the streets as his democratic right against this goverment.Recommend

  • General kya nahi
    Apr 23, 2011 - 2:42PM

    Haha, Civilians remain silly, stupid imran makes drone politics howling against the govt, but the policy for drones was made by army by my ex-boss pervez busharraf – kayaniRecommend

  • moeed
    Apr 23, 2011 - 2:57PM

    imran khan the gr8 i hope he becomes the next pm of pakistanRecommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Apr 23, 2011 - 3:34PM

    The NATO forces have already greed to stop the supplies for the two days of dharna.I sincerely hope this continues only then it will hurt the Americans and the NATO.Recommend

  • Srinath
    Apr 23, 2011 - 3:39PM

    Army is working for Imran’s tajposhi, says Asiatimes report. Recommend

  • faraz
    Apr 23, 2011 - 4:46PM

    @Hassan

    I think you need to study the history of civil military relations. The bureaucratic-military alliance dismissed the assembly to enter the SEATO CENTO alliance as politicians especially from Bengal were against such cooperation. It was Bhutto who realigned the policy towards China and Russia, and talked of OIC; he was killed by the mullah military nexus. Benazir wanted to conduct dialogue with India but the right wing pro establishment media geared up against her. Nawaz wanted to develop trade links with India when Musharraf sabotaged it by launching the Kargil operation.

    Our army is built on US money, weapons and training. Its policy of strategic depth had tacit approval of US. Army has close links with Pentagon. It manipulates foreign policy to maintain dominance inside the country. No other country in the world except US is ready to develop security based relations with Pakistan. And apparently, Imran has no problem with proxy wars and strategic depth which are radicalizing the population. Imran is being supported by the pro proxy war section of the establishment for temporary aims; but in the long run such reactionary moves will hurt him politically. Why can’t PTI develop a coherent anti-terrorism policy involving dialogue, military operation, de-radicalization, education, shutting down of jihadi enterprise etc. Why is Imran silent on sectarian violence which is purely ideologically motivated? Like today Imran wrote in his article that CIA is behind sectarian violence; I think the more knowledgeable followers of Imran would seriously find it difficult to argue in favor of such pearls of wisdom. Recommend

  • Tahir
    Apr 23, 2011 - 7:06PM

    @John There is no such registry in the tribal areas for dead people, The dead cannot be recognised due to the burns left by the drone which include women and children. Recommend

  • Anoop
    Apr 23, 2011 - 7:17PM

    @Tahir,

    “..burns left by the drone which include women and children.”

    –> How do you know there are Women and Children? Have you seen any such photos? The Urdu Media makes up these stories planted by the Military and you guys believe it as the truth.

    Ok, lets just say, Women and Children indeed die. But, you didn’t have much problem when the same Predator Drones killed Baitullah Mehsud, along with his wife and Mother-in-law!

    Was it the US’s fault that Baitullah was hiding behind Civlians? They do their job on the Intelligence provided by CIA and ISI, just like ISI told the US where Baitullah would be found.

    In a war casualty is inevitable. Its not US’s fault that Pakistan supported the very forces which are haunting it now.Recommend

  • Mawali
    Apr 23, 2011 - 7:56PM

    Drone attacks have to stop! The illegal use of Pakistani territory and airspace has to stop immediately! Recommend

  • Adil
    Apr 23, 2011 - 8:18PM

    @Anoop:

    For ur kind info. USA/CIA was the one who funded the the so-called Jihad in 1980s, and even Osama Bin Laden used to be their associate back then. Why don’t you look @ all such facts. Plus, what about the old ties and connections b/w Bush and Bin Laden families?They’re both billionaires in their respective nations.
    Fighting Soviets was OK but even saying a word against US or its inhuman foreign policies will get one labelled as terrorist,extremist and/or fascist….WOW

    Pakistan fell into the quagmire of extremism all thanks to US who supported a dictator like Zia-ul-Haq without looking at brutal actions employed by the latter against the people of his nation.

    If you watch Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michale Moore then you’ll know that Talibans used to be a VIP guest at White House in 1996.Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Apr 24, 2011 - 12:07AM

    @Adil:
    Stop talking Rubbish!! Taleban was never recognised by USA, let alone be guests at White House!!! Especially in 1996 !! Do some home work please !! My 12 year old knows more than you!!!Recommend

  • Adil
    Apr 24, 2011 - 1:33AM

    @ Hedgefunder

    Alrite then, kindly see the following video where Hillary Clinton herself admits everything.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2CE0fyz4ys

    Plus check the following clip too titled ‘CIA – Operation Cyclone – Afghanistan in 80′s’

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mikVOf1blqo

    I don’t know about the general knowledge of your 12 year old but if you don’t know anything about CIA’s covert operations in Afghanistan,Tibet and other areas, or anything about Afghan War back in 1980s, then after watching your comments it’s way easier to understand whose knowledge is better or worse than a 12 year old.

    I hope that next time you’ll reply with some facts and references without any personal attacks.ThanksRecommend

  • Hassan
    Apr 24, 2011 - 11:34AM

    @ faraz, I think you need to start with the concept of independent thinking; you do not need to study the history of civil military relations you need to understand the dynamics. Starting from Bhutto who named Zia as his COAS over many competent officers so that he could control him turned out to be the classic case of Frankenstein’s monster being let loose and the end of ZAB is known by all.

    Nawaz made the same mistake of preferring someone like Musharraf over many senior and competent officers thinking that he will subservient just like Jehangir Karamat, it did not happen Musharraf also turned on his political benefactor. The politicians woo the army when they need it and when the army bites back they cry foul.

    The concept of strategic depth was first advocated and its implementation starting in the mid seventies under ZAB, his daughter then helped create the Taliban under Gen Naseerullah Babar. Please refer to Yossef Bodansky, “Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America”Yossef Bodansky besides being Director of the United States Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, is also the Director, Research at the International Strategic Studies Association and a senior editor for the Defense & Foreign Affairs group of publications. He had earlier been a senior consultant to the US Department of Defense and State. His analyses on military and global threats are well respected and therefore his information on former Pakistan Premier Benazir Bhutto can be taken as authentic.

    So your assumption that the army alone can be blamed for this mess is way off the mark the Army is not innocent either but the elected leaders and their machinations has brought Pakistan to this point. Imran has a problem with military solutions to political problems, I think that stand is very clear and includes all sorts of violent means such as proxy wars. The radicalisation of the population is taking place because of the lack of justice and fairplay that exists in Pakistan where the ruling elite is subjugating the people of Pakistan into fighting a war that they never started and do not want to be a part off.
    Imran and PTI have a very comprehensive policy around dealing with this insurgency, and when given the chance we shall prove it as well. Imran has spoken against all types of violence which part of it can you not understand he does not need to speak against each and ever incident his position on all types of violence is very clear.

    Resorting to falsehoods to further your argument is a regular feature of your responses; Imran has never said the CIA is involved with sectarion violence in his article “Reclaiming Pakistan’s Lost Space”. A knowledgeable supporter of PTI and Imran has just showed the hollowness of your arguments.Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Apr 24, 2011 - 1:30PM

    @Adil:
    Which US administration ever acknowledged or for that matter had any diplomatic relations with Taleban Govt ??/
    I have no dispute as to the mess created by cold war politics of early eighties and Zia’s role in the cauldron created with the support of USA & Saudis !!!!
    When the soviets withdrew and USA policy in the region changed !! Who assisted to create Taleban and recognised and endorsed them??? Yes it was Pakistan under PPP Govt of BB.and the Saudis too! there concept was to expand Wahabism, but what was Pakistan’s objective???
    Your nation is falling apart due to policies of your past leaders and one simply can not defend that!!!
    The greatest concern is how long can Pakistan survive without imploding from within!!!!Recommend

  • faraz
    Apr 24, 2011 - 6:37PM

    @Hassan

    Well whats wrong with appointing an army chief? It is the right of the prime minister given by the constitution And if you seriously think Benazir conducted foreign policy and she order the ISI to create strategic depth, then i am afraid your understanding of civil military relations is extremely naive. If the army nurtured ‘strategic assets’ while a civilian was the prime minister, then it doesnt mean the prime minister had ordered it.

    This is what Imran wrote:
    “By opening up the whole country to the US, our rulers have also allowed all manner of external intruders into conducting low intensity operations in our sensitive areas not only of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but also of Balochistan. Add to this the bombings of shrines and mosques and the accentuating of Shia-Sunni and Deobandi-Barelvi divides, and the costs for Pakistan of the present alliance with the US rise even higher.”

    Have you ever heard of takfiri ideology? A vocal proponent of takfiri ideology is the madrassa where Imran gave his latest speechRecommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Apr 24, 2011 - 7:31PM

    @faraz:
    What are you ? some kind of mouth piece for Imran Khan ?
    The fact is that however a nice guy he is, he is well out of his depth when it comes to pakistan politics! This is not some fund raising venture to build little hospital!!!
    This is a challenge to rebuild a nation and introduce new strong transparent culture, where education, healthcare and economy can develop.
    While Army is returned to Barracks in the interest of the nation.
    Sadly there are no candidates in the main frame at present, as those on the sceneare too seasoned in robbing the state.Recommend

  • Hassan
    Apr 24, 2011 - 8:43PM

    @ faraz, can you not read or is their a problem with comprehension, the political leadership chooses Army Chiefs based on their politcal afflications and not on their competence. When you pick politcal people to lead the Army their politcal ambitons come through sooner or later as in the case of Zia and Musharraf. Benazir was not an inoocent babe as you would have us believe she was a shrewd politcian and she used Gen Naseerullah Baber (who was initially used by ZAB in the seventies). The Army has a say in foreign policy but to say that the politcal leadership has given a free hand to the Army is inaccurate. If the military was doing things while the civilian PM was not aware then the moral thing to do is to resign, but our politcal leaderships don’t have that moral courage.

    Again I repeat how this translates into “CIA is causing sectarian violence”!!!!! Imran is talking about the destabilisation due to the rise in extremism in Pakistan after the support given by the state to the US. The US is conducting operations in Pakistan of which our government is not aware what is their mission what is the mandate given to these people.

    I am well aware of what takfiri ideology is and so what if Imran gave a speech there has he joined them he gives speeches in all sorts of schools and colleges and if this madrassah is illeagal then the government of the day should shut it down. Till that is proven and it happens Imran is free to give a speech anywhere in Pakistan and all Pakistanis, you might see Pakistan as people with beards and people without beards I see Pakistan as one people one nation.Recommend

  • Hassan
    Apr 24, 2011 - 9:14PM

    @ Hedgefunder, you asked a question with regard to the US having any sort of relations with the Taliban here are few news snippets to consider

    1996

    September – The Taliban capture Kabul. U.N. envoy Norbert Holl arrives in Kabul and says Taliban are willing to work for peace.

    1997

    January – Peace talks are held in Islamabad between the Taliban and opposition forces but no significant progress made.

    A Taliban delegation led by Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil visits the United States and meets with Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel.

    1998

    April – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson visits Kabul to ask Taliban to attend peace talks and discuss fugitive Osama bin Laden. No positive results from the talks.

    details available on the reuters website.

    ” Within Hours of Kabul’s capture by the Taliban, the US State Department announced it would establish dimplomatic relations with the Taliban by sending an offical to Kabul – an announcement it also quickly retracted. State Department spokeman Glyn Davies said the US found ‘nothing objectionable’ in the steps taken by the Taliban to impose Islamic Law.
    He described the Taliban as anti-modern rather anti – West. Us congressmen weighed in on the the side of the Taliban. ‘ The Good part of what has happened is that one of the factions at last seems capable of developing a goverment in Afghanistan,’ said senator Hank Brown, a supporter of the Unocal project.”

    This extract is from the book Taliban by Ahmad Rashid.Recommend

  • faraz
    Apr 24, 2011 - 9:35PM

    @Hedgefunder

    Mouthpiece of Imran, me?Recommend

  • faraz
    Apr 24, 2011 - 10:39PM

    @Hassan
    In a country where army has ruled for most of the time, of course the civilians look for an army chief which seems to have no political ambitions. ZAB did support Afghan elements that were against Duad, but he never opened up full time madrassas to indoctrinated poor Pakistani children to wage proxy wars. Benazir, when came into power in 1989, made a compromise with the establishment that she would retain Sahibzada Yaqub as foreign minister and wont peruse the party policy of socialism. Which country do you know where the prime minister is conducting peace talks, while the army is busy infiltrating troops across the border? This is not a ‘say in foreign policy’ but total domination. In a deadly power struggle, you expect the ruling party to resign? Your solution of resignation suggests your political naivety that is the hallmark of PTI.
    So by cooperating with US, Baloch started killing Punjabis, army started killing Baloch, Sunni-Shia started killing each other, Deobandi-barelwi went after each other’s throat? Sectarian violence started in the 1980s; thousands died much before 911 in sectarian violence. The leadership of TTP, the Imran’s pushtoon nationalists, are members of LeJ which was formed in 1980s.
    I support Imran and I may vote for him because he isn’t corrupt, but I don’t agree with his views on foreign policy and terrorism. A party can have supporters among left, right, liberal, conservative; but when he starts visiting extremist madrassas which openly adhere to violent sectarian views, then it becomes too hard for me to swallow. This madrassa is not just another school or college; it represents the lunatic fringe that has torn apart the social fabric of the society. Well this madrassa is just too powerful, it’s the nerve centre of our ‘strategic assets’; nobody will ever be able to give any proof. Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Apr 24, 2011 - 10:41PM

    @Hassan:
    My dear man, you should please read your own comments, and mine too!
    I asked , when did USA ever have diplomatic realationship with Taleban?
    When did Taleban get invited to White House?
    You stated that in U.N. Envoy Hall !! There is a big difference between USA and UN !!!
    You mentioned Assistant secretary of state met Taleban, well that does sound that important either!!!! and certainly does not constitute diplomatic relationship!!!!
    My whole point was that there was never any relationship between USA and Taleban !!! Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Apr 24, 2011 - 10:43PM

    @faraz:
    Sorry if i offended you, it was not intent! But you seemed well informed on his party manifasto!!Recommend

  • Hassan
    Apr 25, 2011 - 2:48PM

    @ hedgefuner, Unfortunately your perception of what is important is not the reality. Diplomatic relations are built on a step by step level and the US goverment and its assistant secretary of state meet with Taliban diplomats post their capture of Kabul. Senators who were supporting the UnoCal oil & Gas pipeline projects were wooing the Taliban so that they choose Unocal over Bridas as the chosen company to begin the project back in 1996 -1998.

    When lower to mid level diplomatic engagements take place that is classfied as having diplomatic relations. Being invited to the white house isnt the only criteria.Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Apr 25, 2011 - 3:56PM

    @Hassan:
    Yes offer to hand over Bin Laden prior to Invasion was also Diplomatic relations!!!!!
    get real man!
    When two Nations exchange Emissaries and set up consulates or embassies, perhaps one can call it relations between nations! Not some candlestine meetings between representatives on the fringe!!!!!
    The actual defination is ” A relationship between two countries in which they send diplomats to work in each other’s countries ” I don’t recall such being the case here!!!
    thank you.Recommend

  • Saima Afaq
    Apr 25, 2011 - 7:55PM

    Imran’s arrogance, dictatorial attitude, his refusal to listen to and tolerate any body else is the prime reason he is alone even in his own party. Imran is once again playing in the hands of the agencies and just playing their game and dancing to the tunes of the establishment. The way Imran is contacting PML-Q and MQM, two establishment-parties is one proof of that. More than half of FATA is in the control of Terrorists. Elders of FATA have been killed by them. Society, culture and economy of FATA has been crushed by these brutal people but Imran Khan is tight lipped against all these criminal guests of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Mustafa Zaidi
    May 7, 2011 - 7:11PM

    National pride or ghairat has traditionally been punch line of establishment’s version of Pakistani nationalism. It makes a lot of sense to Pakhtuns who have also been a favorite proxy for army. But the way it has been invoked again and again by rightist intellectuals and politicians like Imran Khan, it has become perhaps most common currency of politics across board to the extent that after drone attacks, Aafia Siddiqui and Raymond Davis issues are considered to be the most important national issues both rendering their legitimacy from ghairat argument. Imran Khan in his recent protest in Peshawar against drone attacks went to the extent of saying that Pakhtuns’ ghairat in terms of taking revenge is something to be proud of. The problem with ghairat argument is that it is not an accepted norm in today’s world. This norm is product of authoritarianism, feudal society and chauvinism. An English equivalent of ghairat is honor. While dignity is an accepted value in today’s political discourse, honor is not. Both are different. Former is individual centered and lies within human rights framework while latter is collectivist and status quo centered. In Pakistani context, in order to carve another basis of hate against India and to leave the outdated social setup unchanged, ghairat discourse has been propagated by the rightist intelligentsia so much that most sensitive issues are being high-jacked by a hyper-emotional mob mentality.Recommend

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