After rallying in the streets of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will be holding a protest demonstration in the federal capital and in front of the parliament house at D-Chowk today (Thursday).
The party will also submit a petition against the drone attacks in the National Assembly on Thursday, the first day of the lower house’s seventh session. The party had perhaps waited for the NA session to file such a petition, as it has no representation in the Senate, which has been in session since December 2.
The US suspended its shipments of military hardware out of Afghanistan via the Torkham border for the safety of truck drivers amid the PTI’s ongoing blockade of Nato supplies. After this, the party now plans to take its protest against drone attacks up a few notches, leading to the decision of submitting a petition.
Accompanied by a select group of MNAs, K-P Chief Minister Parvez Khattak will go to the National Assembly Speaker’s chamber where parliamentary leaders including Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan will receive the petition, as per the plan. A statement issued by the party said that the CM would present the petition to the interior minister and the leader of the opposition, the Pakistan Peoples Party’s Syed Khursheed Shah.
PTI Secretary Information Dr Shireen Mazari claimed the US decision to suspend the ground shipments as a ‘tactical success’. “However, the strategic success will come when the US commits to stop drone attacks on Pakistan.”
Criticising the government over its stance on the US drone campaign, she said, “It has become abundantly clear that the Nawaz government has arrived at a covert deal on drones with the US in the same manner as its predecessors had.”
Dr Mazari said the impact of PTI’s protest had been admitted by Pentagon’s spokesman Mark Wight who conceded that the protest had affected outgoing ground shipments of equipment and other goods from US units on Afghan soil.
Earlier on November 24, the PTI blocked the NATO supply route in Peshawar after inviting all political parties to join their protest against the drone attack in which Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed.
Both the government and the opposition benches shared a common thought that the attack had scuttled the peace process with the Taliban, but the PTI was advised not to ‘fly solo’ in blocking the Nato supply route.
In response, the party still went for the blockade and its chief, Imran Khan, has now vowed to continue the protest until the drone strikes come to a halt.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2013.