Condemning drone strikes: Global activists to take part in PTI’s Waziristan march

Published: August 5, 2012
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Renowned intellectual Tariq Ali will be amongst other celebrities. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Renowned intellectual Tariq Ali will be amongst other celebrities. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Renowned intellectual Tariq Ali will be amongst other celebrities. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE PTI aims to lead a march of 100,000 to waziristan. PHOTO: FILE
LAHORE: 

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has succeeded in mustering international support over what is arguably the most ambitious demonstration against unmanned predators conducting airstrikes in Pakistan.

Hundreds of workers from Reprieve, a UK-based not-for-profit organisation working to raise awareness about capital punishment and drone strikes, will take part in PTI’s long march in September.

PTI aims to lead a 100,000-strong rally from various parts of the world to Waziristan in its protest against remotely-controlled airstrikes in Pakistan’s tribal region. The convention will congregate in Peshawar, from where it will advance towards Bannu and onwards to Miramshah.

Renowned writer and intellectual Tariq Ali along with other international celebrities are said to be participating in the march. PTI chief Imran Khan’s ex-wife Jemima Khan, who is an active member of the NGO, also took part in an anti-drone march in November last year.

“We are talking to the army and other concerned quarters about the arrangements for the march which is expected to take place on September 23,” said PTI’s central vice president Naeemul Haq.

The event will be the first of its kind. The area in question is said to be housing al Qaeda and Taliban militants and with the exception of the army, movement has been restricted for all.

“The world will witness no less than a 100,000 people march towards Waziristan in September. Preparations are already under way,” said PTI’s nformation secretary(Punjab) Andleeb Abbas.

“We are being told it will be very dangerous to proceed beyond Bannu. Some don’t even think we’ll make it beyond Tank. But barring any major tragedy, we are going to Waziristan for sure,” said an adamant Abbas.

“Reprieve is mobilising people from Europe and the US. We basically want to go there to express solidarity with the people of the area, and find out first-hand who is really being killed by the US drone strikes. We are told the drones are only targeting terrorists, but we want to find out for ourselves.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (63)

  • Shahbaz
    Aug 5, 2012 - 11:33AM

    Drones strikes are crimes against humanity. Need to be stopped asap.

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  • Aug 5, 2012 - 11:40AM

    You do it Kaptaan & you rule the hearts of residents of FATA / KPK forever. Tribesmen & Pashtuns will never forget this service. Love you.

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  • Nasir Shah
    Aug 5, 2012 - 11:42AM

    Love you Khan for raising such an important and controversial issue in this country. Innocent people are dying and our generations are orphaned in these inhumane and indiscriminate firing. You dare when no one is getting out of their drawing rooms. Simply love you for being caring about my bleeding brothers and sisters.

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  • nomi
    Aug 5, 2012 - 11:44AM

    To be honest, Pakistani state does not exist beyond Peshawar Cantt. (Not even on papers)

    They are worried about Tank, Peshawar itself would be fraught with dangers.

    This is a wrong choice and will endanger many people. Tariq Ali is a reasonable man, why is he participating?

    Good luck anyway.

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  • Mard-e-Haq
    Aug 5, 2012 - 11:44AM

    Will Jemima Khan be accompanied by Hugh Grant for this international march?

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  • Enlightened
    Aug 5, 2012 - 12:11PM

    Imran Khan and his party men would be getting fool proof protection from all militant groups including Al Qaida who are stationed in NWA since drones are matter of life and death to them. I am not sure whether this (mis)adventure would translate into more votes for PTI.

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  • king of darkness
    Aug 5, 2012 - 12:29PM

    @Mard-e-Haq:
    In order to find that out, you must join the march to waziristan, that is if you have the guts.. ^_^

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  • sadia
    Aug 5, 2012 - 12:40PM

    I am against this march because of the security risks.

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  • Shahbaz
    Aug 5, 2012 - 1:14PM

    @ Mard e Haq: Good if he joins, won’t matter if he doesn’t. Gone are days when people like you fooled public in the name of religion.

    @ Sadia: And what about those innocent people who get killed in these drone strikes? Are our lives worth more than theirs?Recommend

  • Noor
    Aug 5, 2012 - 1:19PM

    Nice move .

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  • JJ
    Aug 5, 2012 - 1:34PM

    Imran can …… INSHALLAH.

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  • Pakistani
    Aug 5, 2012 - 1:35PM

    one wonders who is sponsoring this march…. ur guess is as good as mine :)

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  • casim
    Aug 5, 2012 - 1:35PM

    No one else could have taken this initiative but Imran Khan! even the so called religious parties, who win elections on the basis of anti-US camping, could never take such a step let alone the mainstream parties! Imran Khan is the real deal for us Pakistanis while other’s are interested in power sharing only. Good luck to Imran Khan & the supporters!

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  • khalid
    Aug 5, 2012 - 1:38PM

    Can be dangerous, dealing with agressive men with mediveal mindset, numerous groups with differnt agenda and leaders fully armed, with limited thinking and knowledge can be unperdicatble and as I said dangerous.

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  • casim
    Aug 5, 2012 - 1:39PM

    @Pakistani:

    People of Pakistan are sponsoring it :) do you have any problem with that or at the fact that it is for a good cause?

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  • Uza Syed
    Aug 5, 2012 - 1:49PM

    It is lot of hot air—-anyone from Khan’s lot wishes to bet (like the bossman) that this won’t take place. If does then Talibans would strike.

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  • JJ
    Aug 5, 2012 - 1:55PM

    @Pakistani:
    This is good cause and its our duty to support innocent ppl who r victim of DRONE

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  • Mard-e-Haq
    Aug 5, 2012 - 2:04PM

    @Shahbaz,

    I did not bring religion into this thread but since you mentioned it, I think a man who promotes Islamic values and even Islamic Laws as part of his campaign to lead Pakistan should live by it. Otherwise, we (yes, we all) will be duped again and again. Imran Khan’s children are not living in Pakistan, much less Waziristan. Legal excuses are just that: excuses.

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  • Humayun
    Aug 5, 2012 - 2:22PM

    we live, we die. But people like Imran Khan do certain things that make a difference. Human history is filled with people who went through great pains to do something and a make this world a better place. Now stop reading and think for a while….. I dont care how many people will be in the demonstration, but know one thing PAKISTAN WILL NEVER BE A FAILED STATE.

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  • Mard-e-Haq
    Aug 5, 2012 - 2:25PM

    @Shahbaz,

    I also find it ironic that Imran Khan’s children are living in the very country that provides auxiliary support for the US drone strikes. Rather tangled and conflicting, don’t you think?

    It’s the duty of every Pakistani to hold their leaders accountable and not place them on a super-heroic pedestal.

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  • Jamal Momand
    Aug 5, 2012 - 2:25PM

    Bravo Khan sab… we ar with yu! the Proud Wazir’s will welcm u

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  • LOK
    Aug 5, 2012 - 2:27PM

    This is a good initiative provided it stops drone attacks as well as the militant attacks on Pakistani soil.

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  • faraz
    Aug 5, 2012 - 3:57PM

    Army won’t permit this march. It hasn’t imposed a media blackout in FATA for past 10 years just for funRecommend

  • Tahir Alyana
    Aug 5, 2012 - 4:04PM

    What a person this man Imran Khan is. Only he can do it. Godd luck to him.

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  • Jalil Malik
    Aug 5, 2012 - 4:08PM

    This is the real step to stop drones attack. Salaam to GREAT IMRAN KHAN, real emerged Leader of world and humanity.

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  • k. Salim Jahangir
    Aug 5, 2012 - 4:22PM

    It is worth trying! IK…we are with you regardless how dangerous this mission might be? My sixth sense says you will be successful…..INSHA ALLAH!!!!!

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  • Concerned
    Aug 5, 2012 - 4:26PM

    Well desperate Khan, I bet it won’t stop the Drons, but you will for sure benifit in the coming Elections.

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  • Pakistani
    Aug 5, 2012 - 4:36PM

    another political stunt another drama… behind the scenes they are all the same,… be it anyone.. we public continue to be fooled by these dramas….

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  • Pakistani
    Aug 5, 2012 - 4:38PM

    @casim:
    Cause????? he is just making mockery outta u people & interestingly u people continue to worship him like if he is some kinda GOD……… :)

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  • HAZRAT WALI KAKAR
    Aug 5, 2012 - 5:46PM

    I am very pleased to read this piece of writing that Imran Khan is organizing a march against Drone strikes which kill their Beloved terrorists and insurgents Neik Muhammad in 2004, Biteullah Mausd, Iylas Kishmiri and many more terrorists. Imran is claims about sovereignty in FATA I am really worried how he claims Pakistan state sovereignty even in FATA there is no writ of State and All life affairs are at the mercy of these terrorists whom’s Imran khan is going to save them permanently and to do rule their barbarism in the area forever. It is not a fact these Drones are killing innocents at all and drones are the most efficient technology which hits the real and exact place and killed terrorists as well facilitator of terrorists and for this purpose to read this survey carefully and you all will realize the fact what’s happening there in FATA. Please through Google to read this survey about Drone
    A survey of Drone Attacks in Pakistan. What do the people of FATA think? – By Far hat Taj
    As far as the participation of Tariq Ali is concerned ,he is anti-imperialist and he didn’t bears and wish imperialism anywhere of America it is very good stance and positive step but in case of FATA and Pakistan it is request from him ,to do study the case because he is sensible man and responsible man it doesn’t suits him to follow and joined hand with terrorists and banned terrorist Groups of Pakistan to protect the foreign Terrorists who violated our internal sovereignty and they are killing the innocents while Drones are targeting them that’s their facilitator are against the drones.

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  • Waseem
    Aug 5, 2012 - 6:20PM

    @sadia:
    Stay at home , watch Start Plus with popcorns and worry for Pakistan.

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  • Aslam
    Aug 5, 2012 - 6:51PM

    I will request Iman Khan to not include his ex-wife in his rally. PML-N will make a huge propaganda on this issue and the whole focus will shift on that issue on Media. So it is better to avaid it.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Aug 5, 2012 - 7:17PM

    No participant of march is innocent, therefore Drones will not harm them.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Aug 5, 2012 - 7:27PM

    On one hand you are investing Donation and Zakat money in American Blue Chip companies and on the other hand you are helping America’s enemies. If it had been your money, you would never do it.

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  • Yasir Mehmood
    Aug 5, 2012 - 7:29PM

    Topi drama

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  • HAZRAT WALI KAKAR
    Aug 5, 2012 - 7:38PM

    Drone Fun Ride to Waziristan!

    This is going to be a big picnic under the protection of Taliban and Al-Qaida as long as they protest about the US drone strikes in the area because the strikes precisely kill the Taliban and Al-Qaida militants. This would become journey to their death if they questioned any one or more of the following: the terror siege on the local tribal people’s freedom of expression; the existence of training centers for suicide bombers, where kidnapped young boys are trained for ‘holy’ suicide missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the within the tribal area against ‘non-confirming’ tribals; the sufferings of the local and Afghan parents whose children have been kidnapped for the purpose; the militants’ kidnapping for ransom, the cross border attacks of the Waziristan based ‘good’ militants/Taliban in Afghanistan that kill Afghan police, army, civilians and US and NATO soldiers; the target killing of 100s of Waziristan tribal leaders since 2003; the massacre of the local tribals associated with Awami National Party, ANP, and Pakhtunkhwa Mili AWamy Paty, PMAP; the de-facto ban (imposed through terror) on the entry of ANP, PMAP and PPP for political engagements with the local; an so on. It seems unlikely that they would question any of this. So have fun guys and girls!

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  • Takdir
    Aug 5, 2012 - 7:43PM

    I think it is still ok for Imran Khan to include his ex-wife in the rally. She provided great support last year. Jemima Khan has been, and continues to be a great spokeswoman for Islam and Pakistan.

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  • Cautious
    Aug 5, 2012 - 7:45PM

    Global activist? Anyone heard of Reprieve before this article — didn’t think so. Also – for someone who says he’s deeply concerned about the Waziristans IK has done a remarkable job of staying away from them.

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  • LionOfPunjab
    Aug 5, 2012 - 8:13PM

    Ik will be safe, talibans dont like to hurt their brothers and leaders. Besides, khaki’s will tell their assets the afghan talibans/haqqanis to hold off the attack while their ‘blue eyed’ boys is marching.

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  • amjad khattak
    Aug 5, 2012 - 8:49PM

    i support imran khan. and many youth like me also support him. don’t break our hopes captain.

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  • Asim Ali
    Aug 5, 2012 - 9:19PM

    Waooow, Way to go PTI. PTI is a real daring team.

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  • shazada zahid loan
    Aug 5, 2012 - 10:16PM

    It is interesting to read som idiotic comments – keep going idiots, you could be Hidustanis or MOSSAD – can Pakistanis make those comments? No they are far too smarter.

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  • Mwaqar
    Aug 5, 2012 - 10:56PM

    Unfortunately Pakistanis are very Simple,they can fooled by these idiots easily,it will be just another political stunt by imran fake khan and his jihadi buddies sponsored by their big bosses in the GHQ.Majority of locals in Waziristan support the attacks and see the drones as their ‘liberators’ from the clutches of Taliban and Pakistan’s Intelligence agencies. The people of Waziristan are suffering a brutal kind of occupation under the Taliban and al Qaeda.. It is in this context that they would welcome anyone, Americans, Israelis, Indians or even the devil, to rid them of the Taliban and al Qaeda.We need to wake up to the reality that the enemy has grown very strong in the years we temporized and tried to do deals with them. Clearly, we need allies in this fight. Howling at the moon is not going to get us the cooperation we so desperately need. A solid case can be made for more drone attacks, not less.Most people in FATA think, the drone attacks were accurate and did not lead to anti-American sentiment and were effective in damaging the militants. In addition the locals wanted the Pakistani forces to also target the militants but the problem is the Pakistani forces play double games and don’t target many jihadi groups who are on ISI payroll, locals usually appreciate drone attacks when they compare it with the Pakistan Army’s attacks.So instead of protesting against life savers,pro-taliban Imran fake khan should protest against his buddies in the ranks of Taliban.

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  • Aslam
    Aug 5, 2012 - 11:18PM

    Lions of Punjab were in their den for the last 4 years when Tsunami Khan was on streets to oppose the corrupt PPP politicians. Now the Lions will be sent packing to London and their cages are ready their. No place for “Zoo” Lions in Punjab and Pakistan. Tsunami will sweep away them all.

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  • ali
    Aug 5, 2012 - 11:18PM

    Well done IK, you are a true patriot. It is the job of the govt. and the generals to protect the country but unfortunately the elite wont do it since it takes orders fro Washington. So now the people have to it themselves.

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  • g
    Aug 5, 2012 - 11:50PM

    So many of you recognize this to be a dangerous stunt. If the drones are unnecessary, this would not be dangerous. Therefore the drones must be necessary.

    It’s quite possible that some of these marchers will end up dead. FATA is not safe for outsiders and the locals are paranoid about spies. I would not advise anyone that looks and dresses like IK to go near Waziristan.

    The drones are the most effective tactic against AQ and the Taliban in use today. The frequency of attacks should be multiplied not reduced.

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  • saad
    Aug 5, 2012 - 11:53PM

    i am wid u imran khan

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  • Falcon
    Aug 6, 2012 - 1:07AM

    A really commendable effort by PTI and IK

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  • Najeebullah
    Aug 6, 2012 - 1:27AM

    Imran khan is going to take practical steps to prevent terrorists from the drones. You guys don’t worry about IK security because he is with those people who pose threat to the peoples life. If he don’t do this GHQ will cut its support from him and he will have nothing left.

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  • Shahid Wazir
    Aug 6, 2012 - 2:01AM

    Peoples are talking about Waziristan as if Waziristan is Located in some other planet other than earth. Peoples live there. They have respect and Pakhtun values. Imran will be a guest there. Hope history will remember this march.

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  • Sid
    Aug 6, 2012 - 2:08AM

    @nomi:
    Wake up. There is no more place for cowards. Stand for justice. Most of the time it needs to come out of your comfort zone.

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  • Javed Afridi
    Aug 6, 2012 - 3:28AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    Only and only for once, I will not side with you. Drones do kill innocent people. I would rather say more than 90 percent. Even those, who allow militants to stay in their places are innocent as they don’t have a choice. Just put yourselves in their place and decide if you would/could refuse them stay.
    Even if it’s a drama and meant for votes, I would participate.

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  • My name is...
    Aug 6, 2012 - 5:01AM

    First Time, I like the Idea of Marching…. Yeh Baat

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  • Alaa Qiadat
    Aug 6, 2012 - 12:33PM

    Will there be slogans to stop suicide bombs… or jst go and hug zalimans?

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  • Ed
    Aug 6, 2012 - 12:35PM

    If there is anyone in Pakistan who can raise a voice against injustice, it is Imran and his party. Once there is awareness in the West of the stark reality behind drones, there can be enough public pressure to re-think the US Drone strategy. Awareness is what this is all about. Its interesting to read all the comments against the march. It explains the psyche of Pakistanis and how this country has gone awry. Even animals don’t kill their own, and there are Pakistanis who could careless about the blood shed of their own people. Forget about Islam (or any other belief) whatever happened to humanity?? Are these the so called educated/liberals/progressive Pakistanis? We hope they represent a small but vocal minority, otherwise the nation is all ripe to doom. Imran and like minded folks present some hope for this under developed country and I wish them all the very best.

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  • Abid Khan Jadoon
    Aug 6, 2012 - 12:55PM

    You stand with us in rough time and we will stand with you in all times. Imran we are with you.

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  • Randomstranger
    Aug 6, 2012 - 3:19PM

    Let me guess, these “global activists” are British-born Pakistanis, who are known to be Arab lovers.

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  • Expatriate
    Aug 6, 2012 - 3:43PM

    I am not sure if any thing will be achieved by the so called march by Imran khan as it’s leader.Tariq Ali and former Mrs Khan are not crowed pullers and have mixed reputation.Killing of innocent people by drones and suicide bombers is condemnable and must stop.Should you not Imran khan march against sponsors of suicide bombers and Taliban/alqaida who have created more enemies by their inhuman acts?

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  • sultan
    Aug 6, 2012 - 4:12PM

    that is very good news for all of Pakistanis and even for the world to show the crulity of US remote technology based war which having created much voilence in the region. plzzz for God sake throw away ur selfish politics and be the part of this contoversial issue to show true picture to the world, plzzzzz

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  • Noshad rahman
    Aug 6, 2012 - 4:32PM

    INSHALLAH imran khan will be get success in this march and we will their to join hands with our leader for this noble cause and i request every pakistani to be a part of this march thanks.

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  • KJB
    Aug 7, 2012 - 10:56AM

    operation tight screw will ensure that this march will not cross the planning stage.

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  • Umer Rasheed
    Aug 7, 2012 - 2:31PM

    It goes on to show that how much Imran Khan is focussed on his cause. It is a tremendous stroke. PTI is not just another party waiting for their turn. They happen to have a proper plan and intention and brains to execute it

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  • Khashia
    Aug 10, 2012 - 10:06PM

    @Mard-e-Haq
    Then for that case you yourself are also living in a country which is supporting Drone Strikes!!!,For your Information, and infact your very own government which has a religiousally malana Fazl-ur-Rehman as well, has a hidden deal and supporting Nato troops and all this fuss: War on Terror, blah blah

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