Imran Khan terms mission accomplished despite rally falls short of destination

Monday, October 8th, 2012 11:04:32 by

Although the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) peach march failed to enter South Waziristan, Imran Khan claimed accomplishment of his mission while addressing a rally against US drone attacks in Tank.

After the security forces denied permission to Imran Khan’s peace-rally, he addressed the participants in Tank.

Khan and his followers had bypassed road blocks to reach Tank, defying official warnings, and then headed towards Kotkai in South Waziristan. On reaching the Waziristan border, the rally was stopped by Pakistan Army at Manzai Checkpost.

According to the independent sources more than 20,000 people thronged the streets of Tank for the final rally, and well-wishers lined the streets of villages along the route from Islamabad to welcome the convoy as it passed through on its two-day journey.

However, this turn-out was well below the 100,000 predicted by the former cricketer in the run up to the event, and the vast majority of those taking part in the march appeared to be party activists.

While addressing the participants, he insisted the rally accomplished the mission. He stated, “We have given our message – it has gone across the world. We have succeeded in raising this issue. We came here to raise this issue; we came here to take a stand against drones.”

Condemning the US drone strikes in the FATA as they are against the international laws and a complete violation of human rights, he was of the opinion that such attacks create hatred against America and should be stopped immediately.

The cricketer-turned-politician urged President Asif Ali Zardari to shun American bondage and raise a voice for the people of the country.

He noted, “No political leader has ever dared to come even to Tank to show solidarity with the war-torn people and IDPs”.

Medea Benjamin, leader of a delegation from the US peace group CodePink, apologized for the drone attacks, saying: “We are so grateful that you understand there are Americans in solidarity with you and against our government policy.”

However, the US peace campaigners left the convoy before it reached Tank, with their spokeswoman saying they felt they had achieved their goals.

Clive Stafford Smith, the British head of the legal lobby group Reprieve, said whether the group reached its intended destination was irrelevant.

Pakistanis call them a violation of sovereignty that breeds extremism, and politicians including Khan say the government is complicit in killing its own people.

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