Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pakistan elders demand end to US drone attacks

PRESSTV Thursday Dec 30, 2010

Zahid Hussain, Press TV, Peshawar

In Pakistan, hardly a day passes without the killing of innocent civilians in US drone attacks in northwest tribal belt. In at least 170 drone strikes since August 2008 in the region, more than 1500 people, mostly women and children, have lost their lives.

Local people have become angry with what they call a dramatic increase of the attacks in 2010 compared with previous years. There has been strong resistance against these attacks as Pakistanis believe it is mostly killing innocent local people. To address the issue, a grand Jirga was held in collaboration with the Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, in metropolis Peshawar to call for an immediate end to the ongoing attacks in Pakistan.

People from Pakistan's tribal regions hold the US responsible for what they call violation of human rights and massive killings of innocent civilians through the deadly US drone attacks in their regions. Besides, they believe the US incursion is the only factor liable for current instability in Pakistan's tribal regions.

The tribal elders urged that it is the duty of the incumbent Pakistani government to protect the lives and properties of the country's tribal civilians against such attacks. They also called on the government to strongly condemn the drone attacks and to quit its alliance with the US in the so-called war on terror.
Washington says it has been hunting down Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants hiding in Pakistan's northwest, and the drone attacks have mostly targeted high profile militants, however, reports based on local witnesses suggest that the majority of those killed in these attacks are innocent civilians.
The Pakistani people have publicly protested the attacks saying they violate the sovereignty of the country, and they are proving to be counterproductive. Analysts believe the government has covertly reached an understanding with the US over drone attacks.

Pakistanis at all levels including elders of the Jirga have demanded that the government call an end to the ongoing US military operations in the tribal areas. However, we will have to wait and see if Washington will take the demand of the Pakistani people seriously and put an end to such attacks once and for all.

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