2,000 Pakistanis rally against US drone strikes

AFP , Friday 28 Oct 2011

Pakistanis stage protest outside Parliament to demand an end to American drone attacks, accusing the US of practicing terrorism

Around 2,000 Pakistanis demonstrated outside the country's parliament Friday to demand an end to US drone strikes, claiming they kill more innocent civilians than Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders.

Cricket hero-turned-politician Imran Khan led the Islamabad rally, attended mostly by members of his Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party, which is gearing up to contest its first general election.

A few dozen tribesmen from Waziristan, where most of the drone strikes are concentrated, also attended the peaceful demonstration.

Some young people in the crowd set fire to a wooden model of a drone, dancing and shouting, "No more drone attacks" and "No to drones, No to USA." Some carried big signs that read, "Stop drone attacks in Pakistan.”

On Thursday, Pakistani officials said two US drone strikes killed at least ten militants in Waziristan, including the brother of a local Taliban commander who sends fighters across the border to fight Americans in Afghanistan.

Under President Barack Obama, the United States has drastically stepped up drone strikes, which it refuses to discuss publicly, killing foot soldiers as well as Taliban and Al-Qaeda commanders active in Afghanistan.

"The USA says Pakistan is a terrorist country, but they come and kill in Pakistan: who is the true terrorist then?" said Nawad Kayani, 28, a Khan supporter and businessmen in the capital's twin city of Rawalpindi.

"We came here to support the Waziri people: 90 or 95 per cent of the drone victims are innocent civilians. Our government is just a puppet directed by America; they just polish American shoes," he added.

There is pervasive anti-Americanism in Pakistan, despite the government's alliance with the US-led war on terror, along with widespread opposition to drone strikes.

Search Keywords:
Short link: