"Drone attacks are doing nothing but inciting more hatred" say Pakistani protesters

 
Thousands of Pakistanis took part in a “peace march”  over the weekend to Waziristan, the mountainous region of northwest Pakistan where the United States regularly sends drones to kill terrorists. While the police made them turn back, they got close enough to meet many people affected by these strikes. One of the protesters told us what he learned.
 
The two-day “march” from Islamabad to the Waziristan border was led by Imran Khan, a former cricket star turned politician. Accompanying the Pakistani protesters were American citizens from the nonprofit Code Pink and British citizens from the nonprofit Reprieve. The procession of cars, which reportedly grew from hundreds to thousands along the way, was repeatedly delayed by roadblocks set up by the police and the army, until the authorities finally told Khan that they had to turn back due to fears for the protesters’ security. Many commentators in the Pakistani press viewed this “march” as much as a publicity opportunity for Khan as a protest against drone strikes. Khan's party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), is hoping to win big in the upcoming legislative elections. 
 
Protesters on the road to Waziristan.
 
The US drone program in Pakistan began in 2004, under former president George W. Bush, and was then ramped up under President Barack Obama. While the US government says it only targets high-level terrorists, Pakistani news organisations regularly report civilian deaths. Meanwhile, a recent report by scholars from Stanford and New York Universities claims that only 2% of those killed are high-level terrorists. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that between 474 and 884 civilians have been killed by drones since the start of the program, including more than 170 children. These estimates are based on news reports from both Pakistani and foreign media.
Contributors

“One victim asked, ‘I have nothing to do with terrorism; can America explain why they chose me?’”

Oiwas Khan, 30, is an entrepreneur who lives in Islamabad. He took part in the peace march.
 
When we reached the city of Tank, near South Waziristan, we met quite a few people who had fled from this region due to violence there. They came from different tribes. They spent the evening with us, showing us pictures of loved ones they’ve lost and telling us their stories. One had lost his son, who was hit by a drone as he was walking home from school. He said 15 other people died in that attack. Another told us of children studying in school, when a drone hit the building and killed them. And they were not studying how to make bombs! One man I met, who was elderly, had lost his leg in a drone attack. He asked the Americans travelling with us, ‘I have nothing to do with terrorism; can America explain why they chose me?’ Yet the locals thanked the Americans, and those from the United Kingdom as well, for coming so far to meet them.
 
These people were quite friendly, but also very angry. I believe that drone attacks do nothing but incite hatred of the West in the hearts of Pakistanis.  When innocent peoples' families are killed, of course some of them will be tempted to get revenge against those responsible.
 
“Our country not longer has sovereignty”
 
Our government is letting the US attack its own people with drones, and that’s shameful. It means our country no longer has sovereignty. We need a brave new government to stop this madness. And we need citizens of the United States to ask their government to stop spending their taxes on the drone program, as I have no hope the US election will change anything – neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney have pledged to stop sending drones.
 
The solution is not to send troops to catch terrorists instead of drones – the United States knows that the tribal areas would fight back, and this would result in another Afghanistan. So the only solution left is to start a dialogue.
American activists from the organisation Code Pink address protesters at a road-side rally. They are holding photos of children allegedly killed in drone attacks. 

Comments

The people of North

The people of North Waziristan know who the terrorists and Taliban are. They know where they live. They know not to be human shields for them. When they hear an explosion they know another carload or house full of terrorists or taliban bought the big one.

As an American citizen, I'm

As an American citizen, I'm ashamed at the hatred spewed at Pakistani peace marchers by my fellow (?) countrymen. The White House/CIA drone strikes have been shown by the Bureau of Invetsigative Journalism & Reprieve to result in hundreds of innocent civilian casualties & have been declared war crimes by UN special raporteurs. At the very least, "we" should have respect for Pakistanis peacefully protesting a policy that destrioys their homes & kills their children. Please remember, my fellow Americans: You represent America to the world. Don;t show the ugliest face. What hate you spread only comes back to all of us, & spreads more terrorist attacks...

PAKISTAN AND DRONES

There aren't innocent civilians nor collateral damage, Pakistanis are inflicting more death and destruction and war crimes upon themselves. Shooting school girls and murdering one another on a daily basis. Fear, not kindness restrains the wicked! Hate as much as they want, it is not going to change anything. Americans have got wise to
their two-face, double-crossing nature and will no longer be easily emotionally and morally blackmailed.

Drones

Terrorist attacks and hateful rhetoric do nothing except incite more hatred by the West, I have observed. Radical Islamic theocracies, are you listening? I didn't think so.

HOIST WITH THEIR OWN PETARD

Pakistanis are inflicting more death and destruction and war crimes upon themselves. Shooting school girls and murdering one another on a daily basis. Fear, not kindness restrains the wicked! Hate as much as they want, it is not going to change anything. Americans have got wise to their two-face, double-crossing nature and will no longer be easily emotionally and morally blackmailed.

Incite MORE hate?

Really? does anyone think that's possible?

Pretty harsh words coming from the people that hid bin Laden for 10 years, regularly engage US troops with the Afghanis and have called for the destruction of the United States.

I'm fairly certain that no one really gives a rat's butt what the Pakis think...and never will.

mother of terrarism

pakistan whose set fire others now under fire
this is only country whose spread terrarism in all over world now suffer himself
wait and see ur activities destroy u soon

Drones

My response that your hatred grows with the drone strikes is too damn bad. Our anger grows when Pakistan based fighters kill our men. Let's make a deal. You stop your fighters, we stop our drone attacks. Until then, you can stuff your hatred down your throats.

Pakistanis

They hate us already. Keep it up.

"Drone attacks are doing nothing but inciting more hatred" say P

I think that most Americans who know what is happening are against drone attacks, but the American people are not told the truth of what is happening. Only those who look for the truth, who are skeptical of the status quo, are able to find out how America is making a big mistake with these drones. Thank you for this fine reporting. I am posting it on my fb page and hoping that others will read it. M.A. Strom, Marysville, Washington USA

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