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.