As anticipation builds up for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI’s) South Waziristan peace march, party vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi outlined the rally’s route on Saturday and declared that the world would finally see the massive destruction caused by drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Along with Central Information Secretary Shafqat Mahmood and other prominent party members, Qureshi urged the interior ministry to ensure that visas are issued to international human rights activists and journalists whose participation will help project the problem on an international scale.
The vice chairman said the PTI had taken a bold step to come forward and show solidarity with the people of South Waziristan who were living under perpetual threat. Qureshi added that while the country’s assemblies passed resolutions against drone strikes, and officials, including the president, often raise their voice against them, the inability to take any meaningful, follow-up action assures the Americans that they continue to act with impunity.
Qureshi cited recent reports published by New York University and Stanford Law School stating that drone attacks cause tremendous collateral damage and were in strict violation of human rights.
According to the PTI leader, the march will start from Islamabad’s Blue Area and will proceed towards Balkasar, Talagang, Mianwali and DI Khan on October 6. On October 7, the rally will gather at Tank and then head towards South Waziristan where a public meeting will be held at Kot Kai.
In a statement issued by the PTI, party spokesperson Ahmed Jawad said all the tribes of Waziristan appreciated the peace march and the Mehsud tribe has offered to provide security to the participants. Any attempt by the federal or provincial government to stop the march will result in serious consequences, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2012.