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PTI to take anti-drone drive to New York


LAHORE, Oct 9: Declaring its peace march to South Waziristan a success, the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf has announced two more steps to pace up its drive against US drone attacks — a rally outside the UN headquarters and a signature campaign.

“I’ll lead a demonstration outside the UN headquarters in New York on Oct 26 submitting a petition to its authorities that drone attacks are a violation of UN charter as well as international laws and human rights,” PTI Chairman Imran Khan told a press conference here on Tuesday.

Shafqat Mahmood, Javed Iqbal and Ahsan Rashid were also present.

Khan said a signature campaign would also be initiated to get millions of signatures for putting pressure on the US government regarding the drone attacks. He said the peace march was also a success as it forced presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to criticise President Barack Obama for “excessive use of drones”.

He said the PTI’s mission to Waziristan achieved its objective as it was the first of its kind following military operation in October 2009 in South Waziristan against the banned militant outfit, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

“Our mission has been successful. We have put the issue of drone attacks at centre stage globally, with the international media focusing on it.”

Among the participants were many foreign civil society members and media people including around 30 US citizens.

The foreign participants, he said, helped draw international attention to the illegal drone strikes and specifically thanked members of Code Pink and Clive Smith and appreciated their efforts in spite of consistent warning by the American ambassador himself against accompanying the march.

Khan lamented that instead of helping the marchers, the government tried to scare them away with rumours of suicide attacks. “First it was said that there will be six suicide attacks, and then the number was raised to nine. There were even rumours that the drinking water in Waziristan has been poisoned.”

The PTI chief said the government should have cooperated in making the peace march a success as it was a great opportunity for the country to raise the drone issue at international level.

Replying to a question, he said as military solution to terrorism remained abortive during the last eight years, the PTI had been stressing on political solution.

He said: “The PTI intends to move the Supreme Court while holding a demonstration outside the court premises along with the victims of drone attacks to seek compensation for them.”

Khan strongly condemned attack on Malala Yusufzai and reiterated that these incidents are what we are fighting against. “PTI members and I pray for the recovery of this brave young girl who came under the global spotlight for her efforts to bring back peace to her hometown,” said Khan.