Pakistan: mobilization against drone strikes
Hundreds of Pakistanis, joined by dozens of activists from the US, on Oct. 6 launched a motorcade "march" against US drone strikes that they hope will reach the Afghan border region in the South Waziristan tribal area. The march—actually, a long vehicle convoy—is being led by Imran Khan, the former cricket star-turned-politician and his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) party. The American activists are from the US-based anti-war group Code Pink. Authorities say the foreigners will not allowed into the tribal areas, and warn that the Pakistani Taliban have threatened to attack the march (presumably because of the PTI's moderate—although not secularist—politics). But Khan implied that the government had created the threat. "I condemn the hypocrisy of the government, who tried their best to make this march fail," Khan told around 5,000 supporters at a rally along the way. "They are saying that Taliban have sent nine suicide attackers. If [President Asif Ali] Zardari sends even a 100 suicide attackers this march will not stop."
The left-wing and secularist Awami National Party (ANP), also in opposition to Zardari, accused Khan of colluding with the Taliban to boost his political standing at the expense of ordinary residents in the tribal areas. "Imran Khan is a Taliban supporter and he does all these activities with the Taliban's help," said ANP lawmaker Bushra Gaohar. "[His rally] will benefit the Taliban, terrorists, and those who have destroyed the tribal people’s lives by hijacking them. I look at [the rally] as political gimmickry, and this will not benefit tribal people in any way, shape, or form." (Al Jazeera, The Nation, Pakistan, Express-Tribune, Pakistan, RFE-RL, Oct. 6)