Anti-drone protests: Nawaz urges Imran to end ‘counterproductive’ protests

Published: December 6, 2013

Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

With Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)-led anti-drone protests reaching the federal capital on Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif issued directions to the interior minister to end the anti-drone campaign that started from Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (K-P) after a drone targeted the Hangu district.

Officials from the Prime Minister House on condition of anonymity said that Nawaz, in his instructions to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said, “PTI Chairman Imran Khan should be convinced that the protests and sit-ins are not yielding any results to his drone strategy. Instead, they are causing damage to national economy and provincial administration that PTI is taking care of.”

The officials further quoted the premier as saying that if Imran did not pay heed to this request, then the governor, chief secretary and inspector general of police in K-P should be directed to look into the matter and chalk out a strategy to end the unproductive protests as they are embroiling other parts of the country including the capital and heightening security threats.

Officials said that Nisar had assured the premier that the chief secretary and IG police are civil servants and will follow the instructions that have been issued by the centre.

NATO explores alternatives

As the premier called for an end to PTI’s protests, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) expressed its resolve to continue the uninterrupted supply of cargo to allied forces in Afghanistan, while Pakistan’s Foreign Office pledged its assistance in the drawdown of Nato forces despite the temporary blockade of the supply route at Torkham border.

“We will use all supply routes available and will use all available means – including air and ground – ensure supplies and equipment continue to move,” a Nato wrote in an exclusive email response to The Express Tribune.

Official John Ripley commented on behalf of the Atlantic Alliance, saying, “While travel via Pakistan is favoured because of convenience, we have flexibility and redundancy for all means of transportation.” Nato’s headquarters did not, however, respond to several other queries relating to financial losses or shortage of goods, and referred the matter to the US Embassy in Islamabad.

An embassy spokesperson on Thursday said that while the US and Nato have alternative routes for shipping supplies to and from Afghanistan, the demonstrations are having an adverse impact on local commercial trade, which comprises the overwhelming majority of the supply route’s traffic.  “As a result, both Pakistani and Afghan business interests are suffering, as are the people who depend on products, including perishables that are shipped via this route,” the official said.

In response to a question, the US Embassy official explained that the shipments are expected to resume s when it is safe for the drivers to perform their work.  “While we favour shipping cargo via Pakistan because of cost, we have built flexibility and redundancy into our overall system of air, sea, and ground routes to transport cargo into and out of Afghanistan. We anticipate no long-term impact to our retrograde movement.”

Foreign Office pledges support

At his weekly news briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry told reporters that the federal government continues to facilitate arrangements for the passage of Nato supplies to ensure the safe exit of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

The spokesperson emphasised that the government has consistently called for an end to the CIA-led drone campaign in the tribal areas.

“The government has taken up this matter at the highest level with the United States and has also taken it up at United Nations. The government believes that all aspects related to these issues need to be settled peacefully and through talks,” he added.

The US military on Wednesday announced that it was ‘voluntarily halting’ shipments leaving Afghanistan via Pakistan due to security of drivers.

However, the State Department said the US favours using Pakistan overland routes for the retrograde movement of equipment out of Afghanistan and voiced the hope that the current situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with regarding to the Torkham route would not have a long-lasting impact.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • SK
    Dec 6, 2013 - 9:56AM

    so seems like we will soon see arms twisting techniques from govt (aka US slaves) in order to insure US interests

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  • Last Word
    Dec 6, 2013 - 9:57AM

    Nawaz Sharif is spot on to state that this blockage is totally un-productive and un-called for and if I write something more, the ET moderators would axe the same.

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  • Iram
    Dec 6, 2013 - 9:59AM

    Protest is proving productive for people of Pakistan as Pentagon refused to carry backlog through Pakistan. All ambassadors of Nato assured that they will put pressure on USA , issue is highlighted this time across the world but according to PM this is not productive. Actually he made promised with his lords (USA, IMF) and this protest is restricting him to serve the master that is why he is of the view that this is counter productive.

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  • S
    Dec 6, 2013 - 10:11AM

    Question to PM: And whats your productive step to save the innocent people of Pakistan?

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  • TRUE Boy
    Dec 6, 2013 - 10:14AM

    COUNTERPRODUCTIVE ?
    Yes because my wealth is abroad & in Danger.

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  • MAC
    Dec 6, 2013 - 11:42AM

    PTI knows only to agitate, not govern. Full support for PML-N to teach PTI a few basics about politics.

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  • KAKA
    Dec 6, 2013 - 11:44AM

    Any more wishes PM ?

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  • kamran
    Dec 6, 2013 - 11:48AM

    Time to Stand with IK the great!

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  • salman
    Dec 6, 2013 - 11:51AM

    I wish Mr. Sharif would also outline his PLAN to stop the drones. Remember he was all for stopping drones BEFORE the elections! Height of hypocrisy!

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  • Sexton Blake
    Dec 6, 2013 - 11:59AM

    It is easy to see which side Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff is on. However, if he really is concerned about economics he should look at the economics of the last ten years and not the last few months. With personnel numbers and war toys Pakistan has one of the largest military machines in the world, although less than India. You cannot fight continual wars and have money in the bank. Additionally, if Pakistan listens to US economic advise it will go broke very quickly the way America is going down the drain. A good start for Pakistan would be to spend less than it is making., and the PM would do well to listen to IK

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  • mughalisam
    Dec 6, 2013 - 12:08PM

    @

    Nawaz Sharif acts like a Mughal Emperor. Is that your definition of real politics?

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  • Anon
    Dec 6, 2013 - 12:20PM

    US embass­y says protes­ts are damagi­ng Pakist­ani and Afghan busine­ss intere­sts.

    has to be the funniest line ever…

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  • Anon
    Dec 6, 2013 - 12:21PM

    Wait a second… i thought drones were counterproductive… now protest is counterproductive.

    So we have a counter-counterproductive situation which should prove very productive!

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  • Hassan
    Dec 6, 2013 - 1:14PM

    And what productive steps have Nawaz Sharif taken to stop these drone attacks?

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  • Adam Zogby
    Dec 6, 2013 - 2:34PM

    Unnamed “Officials from the Prime Minister House” – not the Prime Minister. Stop making things up ET.

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  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Dec 6, 2013 - 2:46PM

    Stop your drone attacks, then the supply route will open as usual. I am surprised the US, after almost 12 years of using and abusing Pakistan, cannot even make one compromise. This arrogance will cost them. Pakistan should have never agreed to enter this war in the first place and remained neutral.

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  • Rex Minor
    Dec 6, 2013 - 2:56PM

    @Sexton Blake:

    Well said! While IK is leading the peoples resistance against hegemonic control of the USA, the Prime Minister is graduly being pushed into the becoming the ceremonial Prime Minister of the divided country.

    Rex Minor

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  • Rex Minor
    Dec 6, 2013 - 3:00PM

    @Sexton Blake:

    Well said! While IK is leading the peoples resistance against hegemonic control of the USA, the Prime Minister is gradualy being pushed into the becoming the ceremonial Prime Minister of the divided country.

    Rex Minor

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  • Ahmed Rauf
    Dec 6, 2013 - 3:55PM

    If PM sahab’s family had been under attack of a drone then i am sure he would have had different thoughts

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  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Dec 6, 2013 - 6:19PM

    Solution: PML should announce it will not tolerate any drone and will shoot any foreign aircraft, be it US, India, or any other country. Shoot down one drone, and send that drone back to USA. All drone attacks will cease. Likewise, the Pakistan army can arm local Tribal people with anti-aircraft weaponry to prevent future attacks.

    Regardless, Pakistan should declare itself neutral in the war against Afghanistan and not allow itself to be used by foreign powers. It’s a matter of principle. This is end all of Pakistan’s internal security issues, as well as increase its power and influence in Afghanistan and Kashmir.

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  • Sameer Hassan
    Dec 6, 2013 - 6:41PM

    Wasn’t a PTI fan to be frank, but IK has proved his mettle as a national leader.

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  • Imran
    Dec 6, 2013 - 6:47PM

    @Ahmed Rauf:
    But I doubt his family would become terrorists, as the excuse naively portrayed by Imran Khan.

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  • Jibran
    Dec 6, 2013 - 6:49PM

    NS assigned the task to Chaudhry Nisar! This sure will happen now.

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  • unbelievable
    Dec 6, 2013 - 6:52PM

    Sharif is missing the point. Nothing wrong with protesting drones or anything else – but that doesn’t give you the right to stop traffic, harass drivers or otherwise take control of the border. Sharif should do his job – provide protection to drivers and toss those who are breaking the law in jail. Taliban Khan’s boycott won’t stop drones but it does make Sharif look weak and Pakistan look duplicitous.

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  • Sanity
    Dec 6, 2013 - 7:17PM

    @Iram:

    All ambassadors of Nato assured that they will put pressure on USA

    Yeah sure like they’d love to let the terrorists like who kill their soldiers in Afghanistan. Or maybe they think Pakistan and IK are perfect leaders to build a strategic alliance with by ditching USA?
    PTI troll’s rhetoric is growing increasingly bizarre and comic each passing day. Same as their leaders.

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  • Waqar Hassan Butt
    Dec 6, 2013 - 9:14PM

    The P.M. has advised Imran to stop counter productive way to protest against the drone strikes.MR Sharief is in power and P.M. of the country so if Imran’s idea is counterproductine. the govt. of Nawaz Sharief should adopt some productive way to atop the drone strikes. It is obvious if govt.is unable to do any thing than it is the duty of the opposition to take some steps. Hence the step taken by Great Khan is very right

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  • Easy
    Dec 6, 2013 - 9:50PM

    @Sanity:
    Please choose an opposite username, this one doesn’t go by your comment.
    PEACE :)

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  • Maj
    Dec 6, 2013 - 9:50PM

    Is this same person Nawaz shariff who did not want the ban lifeted dorm NATO trucks when PP were in charge

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  • rkfrom ny
    Dec 6, 2013 - 10:28PM

    now that US stopped using their roads, the beggars are feeling the pinch of lack of funds flow….no wonder they are rebuking their own kind…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • John the Baptist
    Dec 7, 2013 - 12:07AM

    What economic problem? Dar can print another zillion billion rupees and just give it to the truckers! Is’nt that how the country is paying its bills at the moment?

    A billion here and billion there, what does it matter?

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  • Gratgy
    Dec 7, 2013 - 1:02AM

    Good IK keep it up. Lets see how long the $3Bn foreign exchange lasts.

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  • Sexton Blake
    Dec 7, 2013 - 4:21AM

    People can write as many insulting articles as they want. The bottom line is that as the PM has stated in so many words, Pakistan has an economic problem. In other words outlay is greater than income, and IK cannot be blamed for that, although that is obviously what he is attempting to do. Also of course it is a US political ploy to discredit IK. Pakistan is not alone in spending more than it has got. One only has to look at the US and Europe to see that many countries have an economic disaster on their hands, either now or impending in the near future. The PM should talk to some of the 90 million or so women in Pakistan who have to keep their households going on a limited budget. It really is quite simple to balance a budget. Every family in the land has to do it. If they do not the results can be very tragic. There is still time PM, but it is running short for Pakistan, and you cannot rely on the US or International banking systems forever. Balance the budget now, and make any adjustments accordingly. If you do not it will be far worse later on.

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  • Ahmad Nasser
    Dec 7, 2013 - 5:52AM

    @S: And who are these innocent people? Foreign nationals using Pak territory to plan terrorist attacks, and killing and maiming Pak security forces and citizens in markets. For God sake, have some common sense. Let them go somewhere and fight their fight. They can take Imran Khan as well with them.

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  • sabi
    Dec 7, 2013 - 12:34PM

    Some of the people IK misjudged only after damage done i.e Ziaulhaq ,Jamaima, fazlurehman, ,Parvez Musharaff,political lotas.Some of the situations he missanticipated and earned embarassment.i.e Trial of Altaf Hussain, clean people, Tsunami,clean sweep..26 years gone!

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