Drone attacks: Political parties gearing up to cash in on anti-Americanism

PPP lawmaker Akhundzada Chatan to organise grand jirga in Peshawar today, all political parties to attend.

Qaiser Butt April 20, 2011


As a new wave of anti-Americanism is sweeping across the country, the ruling alliance in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and tribal regions has joined hands with the opposition and politico-religious parties in condemning the US for continuing drone attacks in Pakistan.

All mainstream political parties plan on accelerating their anti-US campaigns in Peshawar this month, cashing in on public support against drone attacks.

The campaign gathered momentum after the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and the United States developed differences on rules of engagement following the Raymond Davis saga.

“There appears to be a race among all political parties, including the ruling alliance. They want to outshine each other in the ongoing campaign against the drone attacks,” said an ANP leader requesting anonymity.

“After the Raymond Davis saga, drone attacks in tribal regions have become another (rallying point),” he added.

Asfandyar Wali, whose Awami National Party (ANP) is also trying to rally public support against the drone attacks, criticised the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) and the Jamat-i-Islami for their ‘point-scoring campaigns’.

He also opposed a sit-in planned by Imran Khan in a bid to block Nato supplies. “Why are they planning to bring people on to the street?” he asked.

So far Imran Khan, the chief of the Tehrik-e-Insaf, is fast emerging as a hero, riding on the crest of anti-American wave fast sweeping across the province.

Khan, who is said to be backed by the establishment against the PML-N, announced last month that his party would stage a two-day sit-in in Peshawar on April 23-24. He is being supported by leaders of JUI (Samiul Haq), the JI and hundreds of displaced people currently residing in Jalozai camp.

Before Khan’s sit-in, the PPP, ANP, PML-N, JUI-F and JI will hold a grand jirga in the provincial capital on April 20 to work out a strategy to force the US to stop drone attacks. The organiser, Akhundzada Chatan, a PPP lawmaker from Bajaur, has appealed to social workers and traders to attend the jirga.

A similar jirga, organised by Chatan in Peshawar on April 15, had declared that tribesmen and all political parties would take practical steps to halt Nato supplies if drone attacks continued unabated.

In a related development, the Jamiat-e-Ittehad Ulema-e-Khyber also criticised the drone attacks at a convention of religious leaders of all sects.

The alliance’s provincial president, former MNA Abdul Akbar Chitrali, presented a strong-worded anti-US resolution which was unanimously adopted by the convention.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2011.


All BS | 10 years ago | Reply @John: Since drones are such a blessing, why not share the love with everyone including militants back in USA
John | 10 years ago | Reply KP assembly passed a resolution for drone technologies to be transferred to Pakistan so that they can target militants without killing civilians. Opposition political parties say drones violate sovereignty. PAK Message: Drones are good as long as it is operated by PAK. US Message: We all agree on militants then. PAK people : We want militants out, do something.
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