Hundreds of tribesmen in the North Waziristan Agency rallied on Friday against US drone attacks, which they said are killing innocent people in tribal areas, witnesses said.
According to an AFP report, more than 1,000 protesters staged a demonstration in Miranshah, headquarters of the North Waziristan tribal agency, shouting slogans against the US and its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which is basically responsible for the missile attacks.
‘Killer, killer, CIA killer’, ‘Stop drone attacks’ and ‘America’s friends are traitors’, shouted the crowd.
Addressing Friday’s rally, member of a local political committee Sarfraz Khan denounced the drone attacks and said: “The drone attacks are killing innocent people, including women and children. We will launch a ‘long march’ on to Islamabad in protest if these attacks do not stop.”
Last month, almost two dozen tribesmen staged a silent protest near the Parliament House in Islamabad. Protesters, most of whom were relatives of civilians killed or wounded in drone strikes in North Waziristan, warned that they will sue the US unless it agrees to pay adequate compensation for victims.
Later in December, a victim of an attack in North Waziristan announced he was taking legal action against US officials for killing a number of his relatives and rendering him disabled for life. Sadaullah Wazir, 17, said that three of his relatives had been killed – two cousins and an uncle – in a drone strike in September 2009. None had any links to any militant organisation, according to his grandfather and another cousin.
Shahzad Akbar is a lawyer seeking to represent Wazir in the suit. According to US officials, the CIA station chief had to leave Pakistan partly after being named by Wazir’s lawyer as a defendant in another suit he is bringing on behalf of another man from North Waziristan who says he lost one of his sons and a brother in a drone strike.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2011.
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