Four year non-violent campaign in Pakistan against drone strikes

NATO supply containers to and from Afghanistan via Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are stopped at border points until US drone attacks stop and a formal apology is given for human killings in Pakistan.

imran contianers blockadePakistan’s Express Tribune reports that former University of Bradford Chancellor, Imran Khan, (2005-2014), Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf leader, is to seek compensation for the victims of US drone strikes and vows to take their cases to parliament and the courts.

“PTI will raise this issue in parliament and also go to court to get compensation for the drone victims,” Khan said at the launch of a report demanding compensation for drone victims, organised by the independent Foundation for Fundamental Rights and international legal aid charity Reprieve. No link has yet been found for this report – the nearest source appears to be news of an ‘analysis of data’ in this Guardian article.

Though the Afghanistan and Yemeni governments get compensation for the families of civilians killed in strikes, he said, Islamabad receives nothing from the US government and no compensation has been offered to a single victim.

Imran, whose PTI party has always vigorously opposed drone attacks, had earlier demanded the blocking of NATO supplies going through the country, blaming the US for sabotaging efforts to establish peace in Pakistan by repetitive drone strikes in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. He added that the PTI-led government in the province possessed the mandate to block NATO supplies.

imran rallyNon-violent resistance

On a sister site some news of the precursors to the 2013 demonstration has been covered: Gandhian non-violent resistance, a two-day sit-in on the NATO supply route near the northwestern city of Peshawar, blocking trucks carrying NATO supplies from the port at Karachi and a long march in 2011 from Karachi to Peshawar in protest against the Obama-sanctioned drone attacks which began in 2009.

PTI, which governs this region, acts:

In 2013, 10,000 demonstrators staged a protest against US drone strikes, blocking a main road, and the provincial secretary announced that NATO supply containers to and from Afghanistan via Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be stopped at the border points.

This blockade of supplies would continue till US stopped drone attacks and formally sought apology for the human killings in Pakistan. The blockade has been maintained without the approval of central government and despite pressure from the US and European Union. See 2014 video – still below.

imran blockade videoIslamabad officially opposes US strikes in its territory, calling them a violation of its sovereignty, though leaked documents in the past have shown the two countries worked together on the campaign. Clive Stafford Smith, the director of Reprieve, said that the US does not acknowledge the innocent civilians it has killed in drone strikes. “This report reflects in stark terms the fact that we value Pakistani life at zero, a situation that is offensive and simply cannot continue. I therefore, call upon my own government to compensate those innocent people caught in America’s cross-fire”.

Fahim Qureshi, 18, whose entire family was killed in a drone strike in 2009 in northwest Pakistan that left him critically wounded, said he still did not know why they had been targeted. “There is a question in my heart, why did it happen to us? What did we do?” he said, adding that they had no links with militants. Interviews with some bereaved drone-strike survivors may be read here.

According to the Britain-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, since 2004 the CIA has carried out 421 drone strikes in northwestern Pakistan killing up to 3,989 people, as many as 965 of whom were civilians, including dozens of children.

This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Airstrikes, Armed drones, Civilian deaths, Drone strikes, EU, Human rights, NATO, Pakistan, President Obama, UN, US, US government, Yemen and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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