Condemning drone strikes: Former US envoy advises Pakistanis to stand up to govt

Published: October 1, 2012
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PTI chief Imran Khan along with Ann Writs addressed a press conference in Waziristan to oppose drone strikes. PHOTO: ONLINE

PTI chief Imran Khan along with Ann Writs addressed a press conference in Waziristan to oppose drone strikes. PHOTO: ONLINE

ISLAMABAD: 

Former US ambassador and peace activist Ann Wright – who has arrived in Islamabad to participate in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s peace march to Waziristan – urged Pakistanis to stand up against the government, maintaining that Americans do the same for themselves.

“The US president has a hit-list on his desk and he looks at it every day to know who will be killed in Pakistan. This is criminal,” said the outspoken former diplomat, who resigned from the US foreign office in 2003 following the Iraq invasion, during a press conference on Sunday.

“Our government tells us the US president is not killing Pakistanis, which is wrong. But we go to the places our government doesn’t want us to go to and see the things they don’t want us to see,” she said.

Wright is visiting the country along with a nine-member delegation called ‘Women for Peace’ despite a US State department travel advisory, warning US citizens against visiting Pakistan. “We as Americans stand up against our government and you [have to] stand up against yours.”

With PTI chief Imran Khan by their side, Wright and her peers sported banners announcing, ‘Americans against drones’. She added that “60 more peace loving Americans would join the South Waziristan rally.”

Calling for an immediate end to drone strikes, Wright said: “We are going to South Waziristan to witness the destruction and apologise for the killings. The US is violating the sovereignty of your country.”

She revealed that her group was carrying a petition signed by thousands of US citizens condemning drone strikes which would be presented to Charge d’affaires Ambassador Richard Hoagland at the US Embassy.

Also speaking on the occasion, Imran said, “These campaigners against the war on terror are here to raise their voice against atrocities. Anti-Americanism will reduce when people like them visit Pakistan.”

He criticised the government for employing “double standards” over drone strikes. “On the one hand, it condemns drones, while at the same time it did not issue visas to foreign journalists who wanted to cover PTI’s peace march.”

Khan stressed the march is symbolic and that they do not want to put their guests’ lives in danger by visiting North Waziristan, which is known as the bastion of the Taliban.

“Several tribes in North Waziristan welcomed our initiative and ensured their support, but they could not guarantee security due to some unidentified miscreants. Tribesmen of South Waziristan, however, have ensured us of security.”

He lashed out at the country’s leaders saying “not a single one has ever shown the courage to visit Waziristan and ours would be the first step towards peace.”

The PTI plans to march towards South Waziristan on October 6 with an estimated crowd of 100,000 people in a bid to sympathise with locals and hear their suggestions on how to deal with the militant insurgency.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Aijaz Haider
    Oct 1, 2012 - 11:00AM

    I wish I could attend the peace march. Now NATO will have to think thrice before flying drones. PTI has beaten them all to it. Well done IK!

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  • Mulla Nasuruddin
    Oct 1, 2012 - 1:39PM

    Does really pakistanies has guts to stand up against US on this issue!?

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  • Cautious
    Oct 1, 2012 - 4:03PM

    “The US president has a hit-list on
    his desk and he looks at it every day
    to know who will be killed in
    Pakistan. This is criminal,”

    No – it’s not criminal. It’s something that has the approval of the American people who elected the President. If Pakistan gets rid of the terrorist who are attacking it’s neighbors and allies the drones would stop immediately. No one has the sovereign right to give sanctuary to terrorist.

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  • Oct 1, 2012 - 4:12PM

    Peace March would not become great hurdle in the way of drone attacks impossible.
    once American decided and come to the conclusion that action or policy was in
    their interest they never move back .

    Now they understand,drones are favorable,it is very hard to change their mind.They would keep it continue until unless their real designs are fulfilled.

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  • Oct 1, 2012 - 5:18PM

    Love it when former envoys open up like this

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  • himayoun
    Oct 1, 2012 - 8:16PM

    sincere steps towards mankind deserves to be praised.well done ik

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  • himayoun
    Oct 1, 2012 - 8:20PM

    sincere steps towards mankind deserve to be appreciated .so i salute mr khan

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  • Aijaz Haider
    Oct 2, 2012 - 11:22AM

    @Cautious: “No – it’s not criminal. It’s something that has the approval of the American people who elected the President. If Pakistan gets rid of the terrorist who are attacking it’s neighbors and allies the drones would stop immediately. No one has the sovereign right to give sanctuary to terrorist.” Please the questions below:
    1. Is Ann Wright a non-American?
    2. Approval of which American people? Ann Wright is not an idiot like those who elected the President.
    3. US is the biggest terrorist in Pakistan’s neighbor. Pakistan must get rid of the US and NATO to stop the drones. Agreed?
    Regards.

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  • Shakil Ahmed
    Oct 21, 2012 - 3:37PM

    Friends,

    I just created a new petition and I hope you can sign — it’s called: Stop drone attacks in Pakistan & pull out troops from Afghanistan NOW

    This issue is very important to me, and together we can do something about it!

    Read more about it and sign it here:
    http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/StopdroneattacksinPakistanpullouttroopsfromAfghanistanNOW/?launch

    Campaigns like this always start small, but they grow when people like us get involved — please take a second right now to help out by signing and passing it on.

    Thanks so much,

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